I’ve been listening to the Depeche Mode 101 live album recently on my Google Play. It was such an awesome concert, I would have loved to have seen them live. The beat and the atmosphere sounds incredible. It is definitely an album that has to be turned up loud. To think Depeche Mode recorded that concert at the Pasadena Rose Bowl on the 18 June 1988. That is a long time ago.
I was 16 years old, had three years left of school and had no idea what I was going to be doing with my life. My days were spent at school, learning stuff, doing cadets, singing war cries for the rugby team, playing sport, riding my bike and discovering new music. I remember going to a friend’s house and hearing this album for the first time on a cassette tape. I somehow remember the day, it was hot and we were lying next to pool and this album was playing. Those were the days.
Back in 1988 Hi-Fi systems were all the rage, my Dad had a Technics with an amplifier, two cassette tape decks and a record player. We had 4 huge speakers in the lounge and a couple in the kitchen. It produced great sound.
2015 has proved to be an extra special year in a number of ways.
There were a few firsts along the way for the Bowens.
You know you are getting old when the f#@!ing optometrist tells you it is time to wear glasses. “No way!” I said, but there was no denying the skewed results, so I got to pick some sexy expensive “old fogey frames” to compliment the even more expensive lenses. (yes, had to remortgage the house).
I still can’t believe I needed glasses, as my eyesight is great (denial). To be frank I have only worn them on airplanes, because let’s face it, those crappy TV screens are tiny. Lots more after the break.
My work trip to Houston turned out to be a very productive week. It is always fun going to Houston as my colleagues at Platts like to spoil me rotten, and this time was no exception. There was no rest for the wicked and I was out every night with them.
Highlights of my trip; the English pub in Jon’s neighborhood , electronic darts evening with Ariana, Julie and Chris, the editorial drinks evening, the lunch at Killen’s Barbeque with Marc, Gauri and the team and finally the golf evening under the lights with Mike. (That was competitive).
On Monday we said goodbye to our SKY broadband and telephone package. Our broadband package really sucked. It was a 15MB SKY broadband package but we never actually got more than 7MB download speed. The upload speed was atrocious at under 1MB. Running PLEX media server to stream movies was impossible as the speed was too slow.
Now we have EE fibre. They told us we can expect download speeds between 30MB and 50MB and upload speeds of 5MB to 10MB.
The router supports both 2ghz and 5ghz channels, where 5G is the much newer faster technology. Regardless, I have tried both, and the results are staggering.
Above you can see some of the speed results I am getting using Wi-Fi in my house. There is one result in the list which was taken in Angel, London, that is LTE speed, but the top two I got this evening using both channels. Very impressive speeds, 5 times better than SKY broadband. EE rocks! Happy days streaming PLEX movies.
The 6th of July was an interesting day because Jo and I flew back from Budapest, where we had been staying for the weekend of the Red Bull Air Race. It was an early start to the day.
It was also the day I flew British Airways to Atlanta. It was a mad dash home to have a nap, pack and head out to Heathrow to catch my flight.
Atlanta was lovely and hot. I stayed at the Sheraton Hotel off the big ring road around Atlanta. It is a great hotel with large comfortable rooms.
The Uber taxi ride to ICE head office was not great and my colleague and I were almost killed at the ICE entrance gates because the idiot Morman Taxi driver didn’t understand the rules of the road and somehow managed to cross an intersection without looking. I tell you my life flashed in front of me. If the Uber app allowed it I would have rated him -5 stars.
After the near death experience in Atlanta I decided to fly back home in business class, just in case it would be my last flight home 😉 Business class is like the holy grail of travel, until they tell you it will cost you £400 to upgrade.
Disaster! South Africa beaten by Pakistan in the cricket world cup at Eden park, New Zealand.
A game we should have won with ease. Even more disappointing as I was up the whole night.
Our wicket keeper/opening batsman DeKock has not being playing well in the world cup, so why on earth did they let him open the batting again with Amla? Doh! Isn’t it obvious? Put JP Duminy in at 2 with Amla and put De Kock in at 7, where he had less pressure to perform with the bat.
I recently hired a BMW from the Tower Bridge branch of Thrifty.co.uk and I can tell you the service and experience was excellent. The price was equally good considering they beat every other car hire place I looked at for a BMW 320D. The website was very easy to use, and picking the car was simple. Shortly after placing the booking, I received an email with the details attached in a PDF file.
The day before I was meant to pick up the car I received a reminder from Thrifty Tower Bridge, which was a nice touch. (yes probably automated but still it is great they care). I arrived ten minutes before pick-up time and was greeted by a very friendly man called Frances. He was very cheerful despite the miserable weather outside. He ran through all the details with me in his office, and he was extra helpful when it came to the insurance and costs etc.
One thing I will say – Make sure you bring all the necessary paper work as stated in the email or PDF file. Without those documents Thrifty will not hire you a car. There are quite a few negative comments on Google, clearly by someone who arrived with no papers expecting to hire a car. Not Thrifty’s fault at all.
I had all the correct paperwork and was in and out their offices in under 15 minutes. Thrifty guarantee to give you a car upgrade if your vehicle is not available on the day. It so happened mine wasn’t so Frances bumped my rental up to a lovely brand new BMW 320D Estate. It had a little under 3000 miles on the clock.
It was a lovely car to drive for our two week holiday and if ever there was a ever a great place to test out a car, Scotland and the Lake District must be the place.
Something I learnt today when I dropped off the car. Thrifty own their cars unlike other car rental places that lease their cars. They also pay high insurance for them and if you cannot bring the right documents as stated then why should they trust you with their expensive cars.
Would I buy a BMW 320D Estate = Maybe, unless it had all the bells and whistles (electric mirrors, seating adjustments, spare wheel, front sensors, lane sensors etc). This one didn’t, but it had everything else, so that is why I said maybe. It was quite crap getting into my car and not having all of the above. Still my car isn’t costing me anything so until it go kaput it will have to do.
You might have read about a blogger scrapping with a protestor at a political conference recently, if not take a look at the video below.
You can also see photographs and a report by Sky News. The blogger was Iain Dale, the drive-time presenter of LBC 97.3 radio, the same presenter who recently won ‘radio presenter of the year’.
So what happened: Iain Dale is the publisher for some blokes book and while the author was being interviewed by ITV, a protestor (Stuart Holmes) moved into the camera view with his anti-nuclear placard. Iain not wanting the protestor to steal the authors thunder, rushed over to him and tried to forcefully push him out of the way. The protestor held his ground, and in the process both ended up on the ground in a scuffle, with Iain trying desperately to lick the dirt off the Brighton pavement. In the confusion the dog bit its owner and you can hear him scream.
Being an avid blogger Iain Dale decided to write about his experience on his blog.
NO, you are not going to find that post where he boasts about “what a self respecting publisher would do?”, because Iain got such a backlash from the public, he removed the post off his website along with all the comments. (#FAIL).