Monday, 26 September 2011

Branding Gone Mad

I am fully aware of the importance of creating a unique brand, Some companies are masters at it. Their logo's are subtle, understated and yet iconic.

I cant help feeling that some organisations have gone just that one step too far though !

You will have noticed that every item of food one retail outlet sells, starts with a Mc. Seems fair enough, but I spotted branding in our local store has gone just one step to far.

In the toilets they have very modern automated hand wash and dry units. Not unlike this one..

The big difference is ... It is branded with a Mc label! 
Yes you can now McWash your hands in an automated machine.

Insert hands in McWasher for a spray of McWater, closely followed by a squirt of McSoap. The process is finished with a blast of McAir. All well and good, but the air blast was not quite enough to dry two hands, causing the McCustomers to shake their McSoapy hands on the McFloor tiles. This very nearly made me slip and fall on my Mc ..... Its a step to far! I tell you, a step to far ! Well it nearly was anyway.

This just leaves one final problem that you always encounter in a public toilet. You now have clean hands but the exit door opens inwards, so you have to take hold of the McHandle and the last guy didn't wash his hands!!!!!

Family Friendly Blog Included in the Family Friendly Blogger listing ... Click logo for details.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

1 Angry Man

I love it when I come across someone I know in the "real world" that has decided to take up blogging. Partly because I know they will have immense fun doing it and partly because its says they think I'm normal !

Yesterday a cool guy I have known for years decided to start his own blog. I half expected it, as I had noticed a repeat visit on the feedjit widget from the Glossop area!

By day, Mike is a a mild mannered Company Director of Achieving Excellence UK and family man. But looking at the picture it would seem he is only short of the green skin for the complete transformation to "1 Angry Man".

Don't be put off by the title ! The aggression is pure fun, a poke at those annoying little things in life that we all come across. So if you get 5 minutes today please help out a fellow fledgling blogger. Pop over, leave a comment and follow him along. I am sure he will appreciate it !

Family Friendly Blog Included in the Family Friendly Blogger listing ... Click logo for details.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

American Soda - Root Beer

Last Saturday I blogged about American Soda. Just as I always do I was there again this morning, dropping Rachel and Jake off for work. I don't always go in when I drop them off as its far too tempting. But I decided this morning, that to day would be the day to make a decision about Mug or A&W Root Beer.
While I waited for the till to warm up, the conversation went something like.

"We don't open til 10 Dad"
"The customer is ALWAYS right !"
"You'r not a customer, your Dad"
"I'm a customer. I'm on this side of the counter with money!"

It was one of those times I was in their world and what little control over them I have, was no longer mine! To be fair they remained courteous under pressure from a stroppy customer (me) who had other places to be.

My purchase? Mug and A&W Root Beer.
The task to finally determine which I prefer the most!

After taking the picture seen above I opened a can of each. First impression, the A&W made much more noise, obviously under more pressure. This confirmed my thought that Mug is not quite as fizzy.
The smell of the A&W despite being quite iconic, does seem a little more artificial. Most non Root Beer fans in the UK would say it smells of Germolene antiseptic cream!

On the other hand the Mug has a similar but softer smell.

When drinking the A&W certainly is the more carbonated of the two. I also think the Mug has a smoother creamier taste. Mrs RJR joined in the tasting too and pretty much agreed with my thoughts, not really a Root Beer fan she can't get passed the "medication" thoughts.

For some facts about Root Beer and its origins (the root of a Sassafras tree) click HERE

Conclusions, well overall despite having been familiar with A&W for longer I have decided I prefer Mug from the two !

So last week I asked what you would miss from the vast range of foodstuffs you can normally get. The question this week. If offered a Mug or an A+W which would you take ??

Family Friendly Blog Included in the Family Friendly Blogger listing ... Click logo for details.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Google +

If you know what the picture is, then you have already embarked on the adventure that Google have launched and are marketing as the Google + project.

It has been tested amongst an invited few (I wasn't one) for some time, but is now open to the great unwashed in beta format. 

So what is it, I here those that don't recognise the pictures ask. Well its is suggested to be the new Facebook, or better put it is yet another social network site. Free to use, part of the ever growing Google stable, which I suppose makes it an ideal complement to Blogger users ?

I signed up yesterday, a simple process which basically adds the service to your existing Google account. You will see I have also added a gadget to the top right sidebar so you can now find me on Google Plus. 

So what are those circles?  It would seem that the Unique Selling Point of Google+ is the ability to add people to specific circles. When you post a status update, you can choose which of your circle of friends can see it. If you post "I'm taking a sicky tomorrow, to go to the beach" you may choose to share this with the circles FAMILY and FRIENDS but not the circle WORK ! 

There is also the facility to "hangout" with friends which is a video conferencing function.

Two days in and I sense it is a hybrid of Facebook, Twitter and Skype ! I have a lot to learn and maybe the next time I post about Google+ I will either love it or hate it. Its hard to tell at the moment as I only have 3 friends on there !! Feel free to add me to a circle !

Interestingly although Facebook set the minimum user age of 13, Google + have chosen to set the opening age at 18, perhaps they see it as a more adult version of their competition?

Which all leave's just one good question that my brother in law posed .....

"Do I really need another Social Network in my life?"

Family Friendly Blog Included in the Family Friendly Blogger listing ... Click logo for details.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Modern Family

I have to say, I'm a fan of Phil Dunphy, In fact all the Modern Family cast if I'm honest.

As far as comedy goes, the writers just hit the spot with their mix of subtle and in your face jokes.

So are their any other Modern family fans out their ?
Do you have a favourite moment ??

Family Friendly Blog Included in the Family Friendly Blogger listing ... Click logo for details.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

American Soda

American Soda is a family run business that specialises in the import of traditional American products to the UK market. Their warehouse is a familiar sight to me, not only because I pass it a lot of days each week but because on Saturdays for quite sometime now, I have dropped of my eldest daughter to work.
Along with a big internet sales department American Soda also has a small shop within its warehouse where Rachel has become know as "Saturday Girl", serving behind the counter. If you have ever been in the shop on a Saturday you will have probably met her.
Last week my son, Jake, started work with Rachel, hopefully he will have been given a more appropriate title than "Saturday Girl 2"
At the end of the day I pick them up and in return for the taxi service Rachel buys me a can of Root Beer.

Inside the shop... you are greeted in the corridor with "Pete's Mural" and the mini bike..


Then once inside, rows of sweets, 
soda and American goods that as a Brit look very unfamiliar.

Here we see Rachel and Jacob preparing for opening time.

I'm guessing those of you from the other side of the pond, will spot lots of familiar packaging without even having to read the labels ! 

So what do my American friends recommend to those of us with a British pallet. 
What, if you travelled abroad, could you not live without?

Or if you are an American Soda Customer what do you buy ?

Me I can't even decide from one week to the next if I prefer Mug or A&W Root beer !!!  I thing it may be MUG tonight 

Family Friendly Blog Included in the Family Friendly Blogger listing ... Click logo for details.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Banking Reform

How to teach your children about the banking system... and why we need Banking Reform

Once upon a time there was a little piggy bank who loved to look after children's money. He would take as much as possible and hold it safe and sound until the children wanted it back. He was his own pig, he answered to no other pig and he was happiest when he was looking after money.

One day piggy was talking to his friend from the city and they came up with a great plan. What if they shared the job of looking after money???


It was a real success. The city piggy decided that they had so much money they could loan some of it out to other children to buy sweeties, so long as they gave it back when they got their allowance, plus a little extra for the service of borrowing. All went well the two little pigs were very careful about which children they would trust to lend money to. The children they trusted always paid back their sweetie loans on time. It was such a success the two little piggies had far more money than they could hold. They began to wonder, perhaps we could lend some of the money to other piggies? City piggy had another well connected friend !


Things began to go wrong ! The new pig on the block was not quite as careful who he lent sweetie money too, and he didn't collect many saved penny's from children either. Before long all three piggies were getting thin. The worry was, what would happen if all the children that saved money, wanted it back, there would not be enough to go around.

The new pig on the block said he'd had a wonderful idea. What if we take some of our money to Las Vegas and try our hoofs on the penny slot machines? The first two pigs were not sure, but they had grown to like being popular, lending sweetie money to the children. So they decided to give all their money to piggy 3 and send him to find profits.

Piggy 3 did well, he made a lot of money on the penny slot machines and was thrilled thinking of how the other pigs would tell him how amazing he was. Piggy 3 was so excited with himself, he decided to try making even more money. He would be the most famous and successful pig in the land....

Do you know what this is children, its a Roulette wheel ! You can bet lots of money and win even more, if you can guess which colour and number the little ball will land on when the wheel stops. Piggy did well for a while, then his luck ran out !!!! He lost some and then some more. Then he had no money left to gamble and had to go home to the other pigs.

When he got home he found the other pigs excited to here curly tails of the pig city.. Piggy 3 said ...

There is some good news and some bad news 

First the bad news, I have had a bad run of luck with my "investments", there is no money left.

Depressed, the first two pigs asked what the good news was..

Well said piggy 3 " I had a great time !"

And so it is with Banks today, they take our money and invest it in what we think are safe places, only for us to find that they have actually bought up each others debt, trying to make a quick buck. Meanwhile they ensure they pay each other big bonuses and have a "great time"

Family Friendly Blog Included in the Family Friendly Blogger listing ... Click logo for details.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

TV commercials

What do you remember about TV as a youth? We had a TV not unlike this one, although I could never work out what the 4th channel select button was for? We could only get BBC1 BBC2 and ITV, then in 1984 we found a use for it with the launch of Channel 4! This gave us 2 commercial channels and the scope for TV advertising doubled. In those days multi-media meant you had a TV and a Radio. The only thing you could get that was cordless would be Pyjamas and they were high tech  
(image from Rewind Museum)

Sad to say when I was younger my parents would tell me I watched to many TV ads. It must be a child/youth thing because I now find my kids can quote current ads verbatim. This thinking got me wandering down memory lane and pondering commercials I have enjoyed.

We start with an ad for the Yellow Pages phone book.. apart from just generally being funny I love the word "eejit"

Next up, the laughing Martians "Then they smash them all to pieces"

Lest we forget, be warned Elephants never do !!

This final one was not meant to be funny but it is now.. 
As you watch on your computer with 3-4MB of memory, remember the day when a unique selling point was 48K of memory !!

If you have been wondering why my posts have been a little less frequent, I have actually been blogging like mad to establish a new blog for the youth class I teach. I mentioned this new assignment a few posts ago (Exciting New Challenges) Now things are settling into a routine I hope to find the time to be selfish and indulge in some blog viewing and writing! I have added a 5 post feed to the new blog on the right side of here or, if you fancy meeting my students or just generally being nosey your welcome to pop in and visit at ..

Family Friendly Blog Included in the Family Friendly Blogger listing ... Click logo for details.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

United States of America

SHOCK  FEAR  anger  pain, grief  Resolve  HEAL  PEACE

Remember ! 

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Does your brain need a rest ??

The phenomenal power of the human mind

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid! Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? Yaeh, and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt.

Now you have marvelled at how your brain can work things out, let your eyes deceive you

These are NOT animated pictures, honestly, they are just plain .jpg images. If you don't believe me, focus on just one element of any of the pictures and it doesn't move. Look at the entire picture and it starts to move again !!!

Family Friendly Blog Included in the Family Friendly Blogger listing ... Click logo for details.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

9/11 ten years on

Although I am English, not American, I can still vividly remember watching the events of September the 11th 2001 unfurl as every Television channel seemed to be covering the events. I remember standing in an office in Glossop thousands of miles away and being stunned by what I saw.

They say there are events in history that pause your life for a moment and you will always remember what you were doing and where you were.

I came across the following inspirational video, and thought I would share.

If the events of 10 years ago affected you directly or indirectly,
I hope that you have or will soon...... find peace.

Family Friendly Blog Included in the Family Friendly Blogger listing ... Click logo for details.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Opera Mini and your Blackberry

For those of you, that like me are Blackberry Users, you may have noticed that what was a poor Blogger experience is now a non existent Blogger experience. Blogs still view, you just can't log into and do any editing or posting.

With the fancy new Blogger User Interface (Which I do like) has come a message when you try to log in from a Blackberry...

"Your browser in no longer supported by blogger"

In my attempt to overcome this I set out searching for an alternate browser for my phone. After a bit of Google work, I came across Opera Mini. Now if your thinking this is a cure for all my ills, it turns out that after a very simple installation process, I get the same message...

"Your browser in no longer supported by blogger"

Never mind, I never really used my phone to blog that much anyway !! I can still use the rather lame email blog posts to yourself system. Maybe Blogger will one day make a mobile app?

But as a positive, Opera Mini is a far better phone browser than the default Blackberry offering. It took me about 10 minutes to grasp the navigation, but once I did, I found that it displays blogs and other websites much more effectively than I have become accustom too.
For example if you view this blog using a Blackberry browser, the right hand column sits on top of the main post area. You can use options to change to Column view, but this puts both the right and left columns at the bottom of the blog. Opera mini however shows the full blog correctly with a clever zoom box. If I set up the blog to use "mobile view" It makes no difference to the Blackberry Browser, where as Opera mini shows the true mobile version correctly. Add in a nice bookmark facility and MUCH faster downloads, I'm impressed enough to blog about it.

So if you are a Blackberry user, or for that matter any smartphone user, give Opera mini a try. It is Free it downloads easily, just click this LINK from your phone and follow the instructions. It doesn't delete your default browser but downloads into your Application folder.

Of course this could lead to the whole Fruit Phone debate..


We have a divided home, Mrs RJR is an Apple, where as I am a Blackberry. I like it, it goes every where with me, I feel like I have lost an arm when I don't have it. I'm a Facebooking, Tweeting, blogging Blackberry addict.

Why not Apple? Well the big put off is the iTunes lark !!
iTunes just seems overly protective. While I can just drag and drop mp3 files to my fruit, Apple owners are stuck with a music format only you can use. Then don't get me started on transferring your iTunes from one laptop to another, which we have had to do a couple of times. I hate the words SYNC in Progress !
Fancy a different ringtone ? Just select any mp3 file and your done, oh sorry forgot for iPhone users you need to PAY for a new ringtone from iTunes in an "iRing" format !!

To try and be non biased, I do think Apple make pretty slick products with a very nice User Interface, all this sliding and pinching images is a bit addictive. The products have a very aesthetically pleasing look, Mr Jobs has an eye for detail. But the final nail in the coffin.. I just cant imagine an iPhone touch screen surviving in my world of construction, tile adhesive, wood glue and dust ?

Family Friendly Blog Included in the Family Friendly Blogger listing ... Click logo for details.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...