Saturday, 30 April 2011

Z is for Zero

That's Zero, 
no more,
entries for the A-Z blogging challenge !!

And I guess having now decided on a title and an opening line I could stop, but I'm not going to ! Instead here is a report from yesterday !!!

For those that may have missed it, yesterday here in England we had a "bit of a do" for Her Majesties eldest grandson. It was the stuff of fairy tales, a Prince goes to University and falls for a commoner who he after a long courtship marries. Although even as late as, in the church Prince William was seen saying to his future Father in law "thought we were going for a small family do" it was anything but !

It seemed that some of the quests decided if the boys could dress up as soldiers, they could come in fancy dress too. Princess Eugiene in particular stood out in her beige Reindeer outfit, the heavily pregnant Mrs Beckham defied gravity with her Pill box hat and the Queen came in a lovely Daffodil outfit.

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You will of course now realise, I am not a fashion expert !

I enjoyed watching the comings and going of various cars to and from Abbey, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge looked stunning in her dress (note as she is not of Royal decent she is not a Princess) and I thought the service reflected in a very direct way, the fact that we are still a Christian nation.
It is reported that 500,000 people stood in front of the Palace to watch the newly weds share their first kiss (twice)

As a family our day didn't end after the wedding though, we to had tickets to the Palace !!!! Yes you read that correctly we had Tickets to the Palace, I jest not ! Not THE Palace that was on TV though, ours were for the Palace theatre in Manchester, to see the stage show of Mamma Mia. Grandma and Grandad had arranged for them some time ago to treat the kids and Mrs RJR and I were allowed to go too. 

It was an unusual experience, as a man I did feel somewhat outnumbered, in fact to be totally honest I felt like I had gatecrashed a hen night ! It turns out poor Jacob the middle child felt the same and later confided he doesn't even like ABBA. I have to say it was funny, upbeat and well performed, with some excellent performances. A few too many topless men for me to really be comfortable with, but most of the crowd seemed to like that !
After the intermission it became obvious that  the bar served alcohol, as some of the "older" ladies who should of known better were dancing in their seats. The older gentleman sat across the isle from me, that seemed to have come on his own, didn't know what to make of it all!!
Top songs... "Chiquitita" for its comic timing, "Slipping through my fingers" because it makes you think and Super Trooper. Then when the encore came around the entire house stood, danced and clapped , except the men, who stood, smiled and folded their arms !

If you get the chance go and see it you will enjoy it ! 
Here is how it looked but this clip is the London cast.

At this point I would normally say "Til tomorrow" but that's the end of the A-Z challenge...

I have one more "review" post planned though :) 

Friday, 29 April 2011

Y is for YouTube

I have to say, I think YouTube is fascinating, and couldn't let Y go without mentioning it! This is a modified repost of one I made 2 months ago, titled "Getting noticed on YouTube" but I have spent a fair bit of time creating a new video added at the end, so skip there if you have read the first bit before.

Just out of interest I have left the viewing figures that were correct at the time of the original posting and just crossed them out, today's figures are added to show what a difference 2 months can make !

I've had an account with YouTube since November 2006 and as part of my model making hobby I have been uploading videos ever since.
In the 4+ years, I have created and uploaded 153 155 videos and collectively they have had 493,396 538,735views. But of them all, one video stands out head and shoulders above the rest for audience pulling power, with a whopping 255,292 288,501 views. 

My brother-in-law (who doesn't share an interest in my hobby) did suggest the video had been watched by several thousand sad individuals OR it has been watched by ONE VERY SAD individual several thousand times !!!

Now as much as I enjoy my hobby, I don't take it seriously enough to imagine small plastic trains hold that much of an attraction to thousands of people, so I did some delving into the YouTube insight statistics.
It would seem this video is most popular amongst middle aged men, in Asia, who found it searching Google.

Not convinced that Model Railways are the biggest hobby in the Asian continent, I decided to type "first night video" into and on YouTube search.


It turns out that the term "first night" has a bit of an adult theme particularly on the Asian Google  !! So I would imagine that most of my 288 thousand plus watchers, were somewhat disappointed with what they found.

Of course this could be considered a disappointment for me,
but there is a twist.... I get the last laugh....
Because of the videos popularity I was approached by TrackoneRecordings who asked if I would accept £50 to use YouTube's audio swap function to promote one of their songs !!!!
So for all you middle aged guys out there, that felt you had been let down by what you found... THANKS.... I probably enjoyed spending the cash more than you enjoyed watching my video.....................

So as not to be a complete cheat, I have created a new YouTube video to go with this post.  "A day with RJR Daydreamer" to mark the occasion. If you haven't been to England here is your chance to see a little bit round the Manchester Area.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

X marks the spot

Its taken some time but I've decided on an X !
I have gone for "X Marks the spot" in true treasure seeking style,
in honour of the many hidden treasures I've found while browsing through the 1200+ blogs in the challenge.

Although we don't have any pirates in the family, last year our eldest Rachel was selected along with around 35 other 16-18 year old's from schools around the country, to crew a tall ship for 12 days out on the North Sea. It was a fantastic opportunity as the voyage was fully sponsored by HSBC bank. The trip was mostly under sail with the kids manning the boat on a 24 hour shift rota.

Leaving from the North East of England, spending time in the North Sea and docking in Holland the finale of the cruise was sailing up the river Thames into London. Mrs RJR and I went down to the capital for a couple of days to pick her up. We got to watch as they came under Tower Bridge, while passing by the youth crew were all standing up in the rigging. (2nd from left, front mast)

To carry on with the pirate and treasure theme here is how you can join in. Did you know if you have a Facebook account you can select Pirate English as the language ??

From Settings at the top right you will find various options, on the language tab select English (Pirate) Once changed you will find the tab names change and when you now use Facebook, it will be just that bit more fun !!

To all A-Z bloggers, I hope you have found as much hidden treasure this month as I have ...

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

W is for Weird Al Yankovic

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To be fair looking at these two pictures it is hard to tell which one is truly weird, but only one uses the description in his name. Weird Al Yankovic has release his latest parody song based on Gaga's single, Born this way. It would appear that for a time the song was being blocked by her agent (Al's Gaga Parody Blog) but now it has been given the thumbs up. Most artist accept being parodied by Al as a mark of having "made it"

There is no image to go with the song as yet, but Al's YouTube channel has the music with lyrics available..

I have always liked a bit of Weird Al, Michael Jacksons 'Bad' vs Al's 'Fat' is up there, but I think my favourite is his mickey take of Coolio's 'Gangsta's Paradise'... 'Amish Paradise'  This is a very clever video in that it actually takes from many sources, references to Harrison Fords Witness being one.

Things to look out for:

Up at 4:30 milking cows, but only into his breakfast bowl !
Look what he is feeding the chickens .. Pizza !
Tonight we're going to party like its 1699, Prince has never allowed him to Parody one of his records.
When he looks at the sundial watch the guy behind is playing golf but follows through with a scythe
The newspaper is Lancaster PA, a reference to Witness
In the Barn raising scene, when the wall falls over him, this is a reference to Buster Keaton one of Al's Hero's

There are lots of others and it really does deserve a close watch to catch it all, with nearly 7million views you wont be the first !

So as we close on W for Weird Al there are only 3 letters left and the A-Z challenge will be over..

Until tomorrow.......

Als image source Gaga image source

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

V is for Vincent

Vincent van Gogh

30th March 1853 - 29th July 1890

Vincent, a Dutch post impressionist painter, who only sold one painting during his life is now one of the worlds most famous artists. Like many creative people he led a troubled life with various bouts of mental health problems.

As well as painting he is also famous for self harming, resulting in cutting off his own ear, or part of it. Finally in frustration from being at the peak of his ability, but being too depressed to work, he shot himself in the chest with a revolver dying 2 days later from the wounds inflicted.

Possibly even more famous than Vincent himself, is the song written about him by Don Mclean. This is from the 1971 album American Pie that also features a track that shares the Albums title.

I found the following video on YouTube that combines the song and the art perfectly.

Van Gogh's style may not suit everyone but much of modern art is influenced by and inspired by his work. Our world would be quite dull without the colours and vibrancy we have become used to.

Monday, 25 April 2011

U is for "U cant touch this"


Just in case you were wondering, after hours of extensive research, I can confirm this is definitely "U can't touch this" not "You can't touch this" !!

Of course with my random view on life, it would be no fun to just show Mr Hammer, so for you entertainment I present the most bizarre "U cant touch this" videos from Youtube

LORD VADER: Summon your 4 finest Stormtroopers
MINION: Why sir !
LORD VADER: Its Hammer time !!!

Next up its not shopping time ...... Its Hammer Time !!!!!!
Some of these shoppers look freaked out, probably because they cant work out how anyone can get hold of this many pairs of Hammer pants ?

Don't put a file in the cake .... Its time for a Hammer !!!
Maybe they get time off for good dancing ? But the guy in orange is out of step !

How to spice up a slow and soppy 1st wedding dance ? ... Add some Hammer
This was SO the Brides idea !!

Finally in an effort to educate and reward you for getting this far down the list, a tutorial so YOU too can have some Hammer time !!! 

Till tomorrow remember .........."U cant touch this !"

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Sunday

Okay now I have your attention, or at least the box of Doughnuts do, I'd like to share an Easter message, in a some-what food related way.

I was reading a blog I follow Easy as Pie and was reminded of a story I have read and used a couple of times before.

Now to set the scene you need to know that like lots of LDS folk, I have a church assignment or to put into non LDS terms, an unpaid job! In fact I have a couple,
Each Sunday morning I teach a scripture class from the New Testament to a group of 18-30 year old single adults.
Every Thursday night I teach a bigger group of 18-30s in an class called Institute.
Finally just for a rest, I occasionally teach an early morning daily class of 14-18 year old's as a substitute teacher. This last class is known as a Seminary. In the UK Seminary is done early each morning before high school. In places with a higher density of church members Seminary is fitted in during the school day.

Now you have the background, I'd like to share the story of Seminary Doughnuts... The last time I shared this was with the Seminary class, as I know them all really well (2 are my kids) I decided to change it slightly to include their names. I guess its, "likening the doughnut unto yourself".  I put my name in as the teacher,
I should point out I didn't compose the story, just tailored it to suit, but despite searching, the origins of the author seem to be conflicting, so unfortunately I can't ascribe credit to where it should be due. Also I wasn't mean enough to make them act out the story, we just read it...

Seminary Doughnuts

One day, John asked Joseph to stay after class so he could talk with him.
‘Joseph how many push-ups can you do?’
‘I do about 200 every night.’
’200? That’s pretty good ‘
‘Do you think you could do 300?’
Joseph replied, ‘I don’t know…. I’ve never done 300 at a time.’
‘Do you think you could?’
‘Well, I can try,’
‘Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,’
‘Well… I think I can…yeah, I can do it.’
‘Good! I need you to do this on Thursday. Let me explain what I have in mind.’

Thursday came and Joseph got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, John pulled out a big box of donuts. No, these weren’t the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centres and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited, it was thursday, the last class of the week, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a doughnut party.
John went to the first girl in the front row and asked, ‘Leah, do you want to have one of these donuts?’
Leah said: ‘Yes Please’
John then turned to Joseph and asked, ‘Joseph, would you do ten push-ups so that Leah can have a donut?’
‘Sure!’ Joseph jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Joseph again sat at his desk. John put a donut on Leah’s desk.
John then went to the next desk,Nathan, and asked, ‘Nathan, do you want a donut?’
Nathan replied ‘Yes.’
John asked, ‘Joseph would you do ten push-ups so Nathan can have a donut?’
Joseph did ten push-ups, Nathan got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle, Joseph did ten push-ups for every person before they got their donut.
Walking down the second aisle, John came to Brent . Brent was on the basketball team, and in as good a  condition as Joseph. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship.
When John asked, ‘Brent do you want a donut?’
Brent’s reply was, ‘Well, can I do my own push-ups?’
John said, ‘No, Joseph has to do them.’
Then Brent said, ‘Well, I don’t want one then.’
John shrugged and then turned to Joseph and asked, ‘Joseph, would you do ten push-ups so Brent can have a donut he doesn’t want?’
With perfect obedience Joseph started to do ten push-ups.
Brent said, ‘HEY! I said I didn’t want one!’
John said, ‘Look! This is my classroom, my class, my desks, and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don’t want it.’ And he put a donut on Brents’s desk.
Now by this time, Joseph had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.
John started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.
John asked Leah, ‘Leah, do you want a donut?’
Sternly ,Leah said, ‘No.’
Then John asked Joseph, ‘Joseph, would you do ten more push-ups so Leah can have a donut that she doesn’t want?’
Joseph did ten….Leah got a donut.
By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were beginning to say, ‘No!’ and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks.
Joseph also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these push-ups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.
John asked Jacob, who was the most vocal in the class, to watch Joseph do each push up to make sure he did the full ten in a set, because he couldn’t bear to watch all of Joseph’s work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Macauly over to where Joseph was so he could help count the sets and encourage Joseph.
John started down the fourth row. During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When John realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Joseph would be able to make it.
John went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Joseph was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.
Joseph asked John, ‘Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?’
John thought for a moment, ‘Well, they’re your push ups. You are in charge now. You can do them any way that you want.’ And John went on.
A few moments later, Joe, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, ‘NO! Don’t come in! Stay out!’ Joe didn’t know what was going on.
Joseph picked up his head and said, ‘No, let him come.’
John said, ‘You realize that if Joe comes in you will have to do ten push-ups for him?’
Joseph said, ‘Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut.’
John said, ‘Okay, Joseph, I’ll let you get Joe’s out of the way right now. Joe, do you want a donut?’
Joe, new to the room, hardly knew what was going on. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘give me a donut.’ ‘Joseph, will you do ten push-ups so that Joe can have a donut?’
Joseph did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort. Joe, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.
John finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Joseph’s arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. By this time sweat was profusely dropping off of his face, there was no sound except his heavy breathing; there was not a dry eye in the room.
The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders, and very popular.
John went to Olivia, the second to last, and asked, ‘Olivia, do you want a donut?’
Olivia said, very sadly, ‘No, thank you.’
John quietly asked, ‘Joseph, would you do ten push-ups so that Olivia can have a donut she doesn’t want?’
Grunting from the effort, Joseph did ten very slow push-ups for Olivia.
Then John turned to the last girl, Rachel. ‘Rachel, do you want a donut?’
Rachel, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. ‘John, why can’t I help him?’
John, with tears of his own, said, ‘No, Joseph has to do it alone; I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not. When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Joseph here is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work. Joseph told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do push-ups. I told Joseph that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your push ups. He and I made a deal for your sakes.’
‘Joseph, would you do ten push-ups so Rachel can have a donut?’
As Joseph very slowly finished his last push-up, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor exhausted.
John turned to the room and said..

‘And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to the Father, ‘Into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, Although Perfect as a gift he paid our debts, He yielded up His life. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.’

Saturday, 23 April 2011

T is for Twighlight

Okay so Twilight may not be in the top ten films/books of the average 40 something Dad, but what the heck I like it. I have read a fair amount of YA fiction, I don't censor my kids reading but its good to know what they are into.

I guess part of the draw of Twilight in the first place was the whole Stephanie Meyer being a Mormon thing, I was intrigued how a Mormon would tackle the underworld type theme ?

I was quite taken by the book and the different approach to vampires, aren't they supposed to die in the sunlight ? It certainly wasn't how I remembered them when I used to watch Buffy the vampire slayer !

One of the  things I noticed when we went as a family to see the film, was how much of the book was quoted in it. Much of the screenplay was almost if not completely direct book quotes. This could well be because Meyers short punctuated dialogue lent itself to movie sound bites ? I'm no book / film critic but I liked how true to the book the film had stayed.

Some favourite scenes / quotes ??

Edward to Bella
I'm the world's best predator, aren't I?
Everything about me invites you in - my voice, my face, even my smell. 
As if I need any of that!
As if you could outrun me.
As if you could fight me off.

Edward: And so the lion fell in love with the lamb ...
Bella: Stupid lamb.
Edward: Sick, masochistic lion.

You're worried, not because you're headed to meet a houseful of vampires, but because you think those vampires won't approve of you, correct?

About three things I was absolutely positive.
First, Edward was a vampire.
Second, there was a part of him-and I didn’t know how potent that part might be-that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

With the film I also like the subtlety of how scenes include information not yet divulged (unless you know the book)

In fact after thinking about using Twilight for T, Ruthie and I had a daddy / daughter date watching it on Tuesday !! Only she doesn't know this is my letter T yet (if you reading Hi Ruth !) Wonder if she will have the same idea?

The other thing I like about the film is the soundtrack. Muse is just the ideal track for the Baseball scene, and Paramore are pretty cool too!

Not a Twilight fan ?? You may like the alternative "Movie in minutes" parody ?

And just for the record, I don't get involved in the whole Team Edward / Team Jacob thing I leave that to my girls ...................

cos I'm  .......................                          Team Alice 

Friday, 22 April 2011

S is for ...........

Today I am going for the "I've used the longest letter S word" award



Even though the sound of it

Is something quite atrocious

If you say it loud enough

You'll always sound precocious

Should we just take it as read that I have won ?

Thursday, 21 April 2011

R is for Royal Wedding

If you don't live in the same "Green and Pleasant" land my family and I do, with rolling hills and red post boxes , (cue music for Jerusalem) you may be forgiven for not knowing we are having a bit of a get together for a wedding a week on Friday. Well I say bit of a get together, my invitation must have got delayed in the post, but I'm sure its on its way. 

The government has kindly decreed a national Holiday, so we can all attend the nuptials, or at least watch them on TV. They have also relaxed the rules, to allow more people to organise street parties, like those we held in June 1977 for Her Majesties Silver Jubilee.

 In reality I don't know of any streets that are getting the trestle tables out and serving bits of pineapple and cheese on cocktail sticks, I'm guessing the public liability insurance is still too much. 
On the whole I think most people will treat it as an extra day at the shops, or an excursion to the beach ? 

But let us not put a dampener on things, Royal weddings are cool, you cant beat a bit of tradition and pomp to pull the nation together. There are also economic benefits, all you lovely tourists for a start! Then there is the merchandise and the Global TV rights. To be fair, how often does the world see a real fairy tale wedding with a Prince and Princess ? 
I am sure a good day will be had by all but its starting to make me feel old , it doesn't seem like 30 years ago (1981) that we were all glued to the screen in the lounge watching Charles and Diana. We only had 3 channels on TV then, I cant remember, but I bet it was on all of them !

Like most families even the Windsor's need some practice, so I leave you now with some exclusive footage of rehearsals for next week, brought to you by the mobile phone giant T-Mobile 

I should thank Dave at American Soda for finding this clip on YouTube and inspiring this post !

Till tomorrow......

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Q is for queue !

I'm told , but I don't know for fact, that us Brits are world experts at orderly queueing. We are so good, we plan to add it as an exhibition event at next years London Olympics, all can join in.

When I watch US films people at bus stops kind of "gather" then get on, but look at this picture of a British bus stop, nice, neat, orderly and everyone in their own personal space.

I am further led to believe that we are in fact, inventors of the queueing phenomena, of course in the days when "the sun never set on the British Empire" we were able to form gigantic queues around the world and with missionary zeal, teach the true order of Queueing.

Queueing in such an orderly fashion is bred into us from an early age, we are taught to form nice straight lines in the playground before being led into school and from that day on we are hooked. It would be safe to say if you start a random queue of people, 3 or 4 long, you are sure to get 5 or 6 strangers joining the line just because they don't want to miss out on whatever they are queuing for.
There are obvious downsides, look again at the top picture and how much room that queue takes up !!! Don't even think of trying to cross the road if it involves passing between the queue, they may assume you are "queue jumping" or not joining at the end, this will result in glares that will drain the life from you. We are of coarse British and more than a tut or stare would not be "cricket"

Thinking about it, on all Gods earth the only other queueing experts are ....

.....but I digress. We stand in line for drinks, buses, trains,cinema,rides,the bank,the doctors. We will queue for anything and everything but the rule is we maintain dignity at all times. If you are from the North of England you may well chat to those next to you in the queue, but experience tells me that down in the South queues are silent ?

There is a classic film clip that uses the queue to great effect. The Full Monty is the story of 6 steel workers from Sheffield who find themselves unemployed in bad times and in desperation form a male "Chippendale" style strip act. There rehearsals start of very reserved but mid way through the film they prove that Gloria Estefan is right "the rhythm is going to get you !" IN A QUEUE !!!     (No stripping here !)

So am I correct, is the Queue something we Brits can claim to be Gold medallists in, or are your nationals waiting in line for a medal too ???

title image source  penguin image source

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

P is for plastic

If I say "think of something plastic", chances are all of you will think of something different. The word itself appears in lots of pairings, plastic bag, plastic bottle and even plastic surgery and I'm sure we could all think of a dozen others.
Today's post may well be about a use of plastic that you wouldn't think of, and my even leave you thinking RJR is a bit of a geek !

For some time, as a hobby, I have used A4 sheets of plastic (styrene to be precise) to build scale models. I use to be pedantic about the phrase "model" but really I now accept they are just big boys toys. The particular form of models I build are railway related, so yes that would be toy trains.

So take an old motor and wheels out of a Playmobil train, buy about 12 sheets of plastic, and get hold of some drawings for a real train, then start cutting measuring, looking at photos and gluing and generally making it up as you go along. We are not talking about a kit of parts, that would be far too easy, just flat sheets cut and bent to suit. Its like card making in 3D.





And just to give you and idea of size

Then all you need is to hunt down a recording of the real thing to load onto an mp3 player built into the bodywork and some lengths of track in your garden. And if you don't like dirty diesels the video also features a steam engine I created the same way.

So, from hopeless romantic yesterday, to big kid today, the many sided life of RJR

If your curiosity has been tweaked there is a link to "my other blog" in the sidebar, that's all about RJRmodels although since starting this blog, I haven't done a whole lot of model making ....

Till tomorrow....................

Monday, 18 April 2011

O is for On my Own

Mrs RJR is away this week, she is organising a Stake Youth Convention, which basically means she is at a scout camp with a dozen other leaders and 60+ teenagers age 14-18. So today's post is in the hope of some for pity for me, but to be fair she might be the one deserving the most !

I am not totally alone, although both our eldest are at the camp our youngest, my fellow blogger Ruth, is not old enough to go, so is at home with me.

Now don't get me wrong, I am a thoroughly modern man, washing, ironing,cleaning and cooking hold no fears for moi ! The practicalities of being a single parent for the week don't scare at all, but even though I work on my own 8 hours a day normally, I'm not looking forward to quiet nights and an empty bed ! But such is life when your parted from one so close,even for a short time, we move on and overcome!!
Sat pondering the coming week a song kept coming into my head. Years ago when it was me that was away from home, Joanne wrote me a letter including the lyrics of this song and by changing it slightly from Male to Female it works well for how I feel today.

On My Own - Les Miserables

And now I'm all alone again nowhere to turn, no one to go to
without a home without a friend without a face to say hello to
And now the night is near
Now I can make believe she's here

Sometimes I walk alone at night
When everybody else is sleeping
I think of her and then I'm happy
With the company I'm keeping
The city goes to bed
And I can live inside my head

On my own
Pretending she's beside me
All alone
I walk with her till morning
Without her
I feel her arms around me
And when I lose my way I close my eyes
And she has found me

In the rain the pavement shines like silver
All the lights are misty in the river
In the darkness, the trees are full of starlight
And all I see is her and me forever and forever

And I know it's only in my mind
That I'm talking to myself and not to her
And although I know that she is blind
Still I say, there's a way for us

I love her
But when the night is over
she is gone
The river's just a river
Without her
The world around me changes
The trees are bare and everywhere
The streets are full of strangers

Les Miserables is probably my favourite stage show, Joanne saw it a couple of years after we were married and were captivated by it. We have always had  the music around, but this Christmas we got the DVD of the 25th Anniversary concert and now the kids rate it too.

The following clip is taken from the 10th anniversary concert of Les Miserables with the part of Eponine sung/played by Lea Salonga. Interestingly, if you're a fan of the musical, for the 25th anniversary concert Lea Salonga stars again but this time as Fantine.
Lea also provided the singing voices for 2 Disney films Aladin (Princess Jasmin) and Mulan (Fa Mulan)

Of course no blog that includes mention of Les Mis would be complete without a version of "Bring him home" and I cant decide whose version to include !! So lets start with the current star Alfie Boe.

But if you want to choose for yourself here is a quartet of all the past players

Colm Wilkinson (1985 Cast), John Owen-Jones (Barbican Company), Simon Bowman (Queen's Theatre Company) and Alfie Boe (25th Anniversary Company).

For me.... Colm Wilkinson will always be Valjean as we saw him live ! But oh my word, I defy anyone to listen to either of these two tracks in a quiet room and not get goose bumps !!!

Till tomorrow ....................and the letter P

Saturday, 16 April 2011

N is for NOTHING

Although people are uncomfortable with silence,
sometimes the most profound thing you can say is 


Friday, 15 April 2011

M is for Music

I had lots of thoughts for the letter M including M&Ms those chocolate balls of fun, but decided to go with MUSIC.. After all can you imagine a world without music? Well I guess if you make regular commutes on public transport sitting next to a 'nice' person with headphones that leak THEIR music, you may like the idea of a world without arranged notes and beats?

I have blogged about music before HERE and about live concerts HERE, but this is more about music in general. What is it about music that can divide opinions, as far as different genres go it certainly seems a case of "one man's meat is another man's poison" . I did  a quick Goggle search for styles of music and was AMAZED at how many sub categories of music there are!! Hundreds, to many to list, but if your really keen have a look on Wikipedia's listing of styles.

I love music, of all types, we are very fortunate that both our girls play Piano which means there is often nearly always live music in the house. In fact the eldest Rachel has just passed her Grade6 piano exam and the youngest Ruth is doing well too, with Grade 4 done and dusted.

I do wonder if our decision to like particular music is effected by where we heard it, or the circumstances at the time, we all have songs with sentimental value. I think I'm pretty open minded and often my choice to like or dislike is more to do with lyrics than the composition of notes, hence I have a quite diverse music collection. I guess moods play a part too, what I choose to listen to today will be different tomorrow.
If you really look into things, there are reoccurring sections of music, or what in modern parlance would be termed sampling.  But delve deeper and I guess there are only a limited number of combinations of notes or chords. Not thought about that before ?? Check this out, 4 chords 30 + songs

Perhaps we choose to like a set of songs because at their basic level they are all the same ? Even classical music turns up in a simplified form in many modern songs if you listen closely enough. So having theorised I now have to listen to every track I own and see if they all actually have the same underlying tune, or maybe not, maybe I will just enjoy them for what they are !

Now just before we go I need to clarify that although I am open minded there are still some music and musicians I don't like, for example Justin Bieber, not my thing. I can safely say I'm not a "Belieber" at all. so any fans of the teenage wonder LOOK AWAY NOW !! Parody alert !!!

Till tomorrow ........

Thursday, 14 April 2011

L is for Luggage and laugh

     Making Luggage Funny......

Some may say I have an unusual sense of humour, I might agree ! Every now and again I find a comedian that stands out. I think creative people express themselves in different ways, but the key to creating is always observation. Great artists spot details in life, musicians can spot emotions and portray them with notes, A good comedian spots the funny in everyday situations and crafts his script to reflect the humour we find all around us.
Today's post is L so I'm sharing a sketch by a Welsh comedian by the name of Rod Gilbert. Timing is everything and I just love comedy with props. Enjoy,its worth the 3 minutes 46 seconds !

Enjoy your day and keep smiling !!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

K is for Knight Rider

Knight Rider


Michael Knight

Knight Industries

I think this qualifies on 4 accounts !

"Self-made billionaire Wilton Knight rescues police detective Michael Long after a near fatal shot to the face, giving him a new identity (via plastic surgery) and a new name: Michael Knight. Wilton selects Michael to be the primary field agent in the pilot program of his Knight Industries-funded public justice organization, the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG). The other half of this pilot program is the Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT), a heavily modified Pontiac Trans Am with numerous features including an extremely durable shell and frame, controlled by a computer with artificial intelligence. Michael and KITT are brought in during situations where "direct action might provide the only feasible solution".
Heading FLAG is Devon Miles, who provides Michael with directives and guidance. Dr. Bonnie Barstow is the chief engineer in charge of KITT's care, as well as technical assistant to Devon" source

Of course once you start thinking about 80's TV programs you realise that if you can overlook the poor acting, the dire effects, wobbly sets and recycled plots, TV was just so much better than today's diet of reality junk ! 
To support my case, I put to you ....

And the list goes on and on ....

If I have caught your interest check out this site with links to dozens more 80's classics.

So which 80's TV show do you remember most ????

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

J had to be for Joanne

Joanne and Ruth

There was never going to be any other 'J' than Joanne.  Often referred to in posts as Mrs.RJR.

Jo and I met through church activities when I was 19 and she was 17, and after a short time started dating but this was put on hold when I was 21, as like many young Mormons I served a mission for the the church. Most people are familiar with the pairs of young clean cut guys in suits knocking on doors, well I was one of them between 1989 and 1991. Part of the commitment is to put daily life behind you for the two years and as such one of the rules was contact with home and friends by letter once a week. This from the outside seems hard and sometimes it was, but it does help prevent home sickness. 
While I was away from home, Joanne lived at college and did the last two years of her studies to qualify as a Physiotherapist. To this day we have stacks of ring binders full of letters we exchanged during those two years. I don't believe in coincidence, so it was no surprise that my scheduled return home date fell on the day of her final exams, our time apart was over and we picked up where we left off. Looking back we learnt more about each other through those letters than we would have any other way, we also learnt trust and the ability to sustain each other as one of us was busy with outside responsibilities.

Just under 12months after my return we were married, our belief is that marriage is not just "till death do us part" if performed by the right person, in the right place, by the right authority. As such Mormons build temples to perform Eternal Marriages. After a civil marriage in our local chapel here in England,we flew to what was then our nearest Temple, in Frankfurt Germany.

After the hustle and bustle of a full on family wedding at the chapel, complete with buffet in the church hall, the temple experience was complete contrast. We flew out on our own and the ceremony was just for us. This is not always the case but distance and cost limited family attendance.

That seems a long time ago now (1992) and since then we have added 3 wonderful children to our family Rachel, Jacob and Ruth (R.J.R) I realise there are those reading that share my beliefs, some that don't and some that may even object, it is not my intention to Preach. Its just hard to express the depth of feelings I have for Joanne without sharing some of what and who we are. I could have just put " I love you "at the beginning of the post but that defeats the object of having a blog and sharing feelings?

To borrow a line from my last post, Joanne " I SEE you"

For those of you that have endured my mushy post to this point .. tomorrow we will go for some humour to go with the letter K !!!!

Monday, 11 April 2011

I is for ... I SEE you

I thought of a few possibilities for the letter 'I' , but decided writing about this one fitted best with me and the essence of my blogging experience. The tag line of my blog includes the suggestion that some times every day experiences prompt deep thoughts within me. I wonder if this is unusual or weird but that's the way I am. So back to the subject matter, I have to say I think AVATAR is one of the all time movie greats, from story line to special effects. I realise in many ways the story has been told before, in fact I bet if you were to watch Pocahontas and AVATAR back to back they would be very similar. Invading force takes advantage of indigenous population. Lead character from invading force (John Smith / Jack Sully) falls for chiefs daughter ( Pocahontas / Neytiri ) and changes sides. Throw in a spiritual tree and the films have a very similar storyboard, but of course, you all knew that.

Now taking away the jaw dropping effects in AVATAR and the film still stands out for some incredibly deep reasons. I consider myself a spiritual person, feelings and promptings play a big part in my life, there are some elements of AVATAR I found very inspiring on lots of levels. In particular the phrase the native Na'vi people use as a greeting .... " I SEE you " this on a very shallow level seems a pointless greeting, obviously they see you or they wouldn't offer a greeting !! But the key is in the emphasis on SEE, note I capitalised it in each quote. This is more than using vision, this is implying seeing into the soul. Yes this is just a film, but in life there are people we know so well, we can 'SEE' them on another level.

There are occasion in my life I have experienced speaking soul to soul, not in a fantasy / fiction sense, not a magical non speaking way, but in a real and personal way, just knowing that the other person gets what you are saying in their very inner being. Think of your own lives,

Ever looked into the eyes of the one you love and known you would do anything for them, that they would reciprocate that emotion?
Ever held your new born child and gazed in wonder into its eyes and know that you belong to each other?. Ever saved a choking child's life and known you would swap places if required, for them to live?
I have experienced all of these and they are captured by " I SEE you " It is a connection deeper than words -  it is on a spiritual level.
I could pick out other deep aspects of the film, but that would be straying from today's letter 'I' so they can wait for another day... In the meantime enjoy Leona Lewis singing the movie theme " I SEE you "

and a message for Mrs RJR " I SEE you "

Saturday, 9 April 2011

H is for High School music !

Just in case you are panicking expecting I am going all Zac Ephron I'm not !!

I was thinking the other day about songs that were in the charts the year I left High School. I am sure that we all remember those days, no matter how long ago  they were.

Our local Radio station often plays  'guess the year' games in which they play tracks and have listeners phone in. I often play along in the car and use my High School year as a base line.. Was the song before or after I left...?

So just for fun here are some of my favourite songs from THAT year...

Ah! they don't make them like they used to ....... but what was the year ?

Friday, 8 April 2011

Are you having a Giraffe ?

Today's letter is G 

and the phrase is 

"Are you having a Giraffe?"

Now there may be some of you that are confused about the question above. I would imagine (perhaps wrongly) that if you are not a native of the shores of the green and pleasant land we call Great Britain, it is a bizarre question. If you are not familiar with it, you may presume this is a rude query to pose to a pregnant lady "Excuse me are you having a giraffe?" Thankfully its not...

In reality the phrase is a selection of Cockney Rhyming Slang, and although such colloquialism is concentrated in London it would seem some of these phrases have escaped and are in general use 'up north' It is not unusual, in my circle of friends to use the the phrase "Are you having a giraffe?" meaning "Are you having a Laugh?"

Now I am hoping to educate those of you to whom this is a new turn of phrase, my hope being, if I ever bump into you in the land you call home, I will hear you using this new question.

How to use. Please note for best effect this is meant to be used with a hint of sarcasm. So for example asking a comedian, a clown or a group of laughing friends "are you having a laugh?" doesn't make any use of the question.

In its truest context - when your boss asks if you want to work 3 hours late with no extra pay you can reply with - "Are you having a laugh ?"

When your kids ask for money for an expensive branded item of clothing, when the local bargain shop sell one just as suitable, you can now ask "Are you having a laugh?"

If you get pulled over for speeding and the officer tells you that a ticket is the only option, you can ask "Are you having a laugh?"

Now I do have to say two of the above examples will get you in a lot of trouble (you can figure out which two) but they do serve to illustrate the context.

Finally just between you and I, if  because of me this catches on in a big way, there is a counter question that can be used as in this next example.

You tell your child they cant have a new games consul and they reply "Are you having a laugh?" to which your answer should be....

"Am I wearing a red nose ??"

PS... If you have arrived from MormonDaddyBloggers for your first visit, Welcome ! Feel free to have a browse around, or click HERE to view the most recent entries. 

Picture Source

Thursday, 7 April 2011

F is for Follow

Firstly, thank you to those that are following RJR Daydreamer, I hope that you continue to find at least something's I write amusing, enlightening or better still a cause for reflection. If you have started following as a result of the current A-Z challenge I appreciate you joining us.

Now a question, how many blogs can you realistically follow? I have been working my way through the 1200+  on the challenge list, my technique is to scan a couple of posts, have a look at the profile and make a quick decision on whether to Follow. If something strikes a chord in the first couple of posts I will also make a comment. This has resulted in a pretty big increase in  the number of blogs I follow, but I have to be honest and say I have become more discerning in my selection. That is not to say I am being critical of those I don't choose, just that at this moment in time with so much choice they are not the most appealing to my taste.

When I log on now, I check the dashboard for new post on my following list and make comments if I have something to offer. I think at the end of the month I will have to review my list and thin it out a little  ? I say this because I cant see how I will be able to follow, in a worthwhile sense, the number of blogs I will probably select on my journey through April.

So to some of you that are old hands at this blogging thing, how many blogs is it practical to follow and keep yourself firmly anchored in the "Real" world ?

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

E is for .... well you choose today !

In the famous line from 'The Matrix' Morpheus says...

"You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland ..."

So today I'm going to give you the choice -  click the red or blue pill below and you will be taken to one of two hidden static pages here on the blog. Not a matrix fan, don't worry, the matrix theme is not in either post ! 


Of course unlike the film, you can always choose one, then click the back button and try the other  !

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

D is for Dynamic Views

Blogger has recently announced some exciting new changes that will allow for 5 new dynamic changes. Now they say that there are only 2 certainties in life Death and taxes, I would like to propose a 3rd.. CHANGE.

It took me a while to work out how to use the new views but I got there in the end, I am probably a bit slow but it wasn't easy to find.

If you would like to see my, or any blog in dynamic view simply add /view to the end of the existing address.

So my normal URL is

to see the new dynamic views the URL is

As said there are 5 new dynamic views, if you go to the link, in the top right is a blue drop down button, which allows you to select which of them you want. My favourite is Flipcard, as with all the views you can also make them part of the URL

There are currently limitations for example if your blog has a sidebar it doesn't show, there doesn't appear to be a place to "Follow" bit if you want to share a link to your blog and make it look a bit "Fancy" simply add /view on the end of your URL.

Finally a quick report on my endeavour to visit all the A-Z bloggers, So far I have popped in on 300 of you!

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