Last Year Stats

Sunday 7th April 2013

I was reading that Muscat Mutterings has had over 1 million viewers of his blog since he started, and I wondered what the stats for my blog were.

When I first started, and was posting regularly, and was involved in expeditions, I was averaging a low but respectable figure of 50,000 a year.

In total, I have had 150,000 views, but what shocked me was the country break down.

In the last year, people from over 135 countries have viewed my blog! On top of that, the top countries are surprising in that I expected Oman and Bahrain to figure slightly higher, and there were some surprise entrants like Denmark (thanks to DD perhaps?) Sweden, Belgium…countries with small populations, and where I seem to have no connection.

Country Views
United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom 7,392
United States FlagUnited States 3,064
Canada FlagCanada 588
France FlagFrance 556
Germany FlagGermany 541
Italy FlagItaly 539
Australia FlagAustralia 450
Qatar FlagQatar 371
Denmark FlagDenmark 355
Spain FlagSpain 339
Poland FlagPoland 335
Sweden FlagSweden 332
Ireland FlagIreland 316
Belgium FlagBelgium 254
Brazil FlagBrazil 250
Oman FlagOman 247
Norway FlagNorway 247
Netherlands FlagNetherlands 231
Japan FlagJapan 226
India FlagIndia 220

Another, admittedly accidental, World Record

Tuesday 7th February 2012

Pondering over the world record attempt this weekend, and my supporting role in Rick Ryan’s world record Land’s End to John O’Groats traverse in a wheelchair, I realised that I had actually been involved in a world record long before I had become an adventurer. I was visiting a good friend in Budapest, when we had to walk back to her flat from the centre of town. This journey took us across a bridge over the Danube near the parliament building. The bridge was crowded with thousands of people and at each end were officials registering and counting people…

As says…

In 2004, the Philippines attempted to break the previous mass-kissing record of 4,445 couples in Chile. A total of 5,347 pairs crowded Baywalk, Roxas Boulevard in Manila on the eve of Valentine’s Day. A year after the world record breaking event, the second Lovapalooza was held. The event encouraged wider participation of the four major cities including Manila, Angeles, Cebu, and Davao. However, it was also during this year when Hungary took the record of 5,875 couples kissing at the Elisabeth Bridge in Budapest on June 25, 2005.
That record has been broken numerous times since and currently stands at over 20,000 couples, but for a few months back in 2005, I was a participant in my first world record!

Eyes Wide Shut

Tuesday 9th August 2011

Don’t blink, or you might miss my big screen debut in Eyes Wide Shut…I am right in the middle for the first 5 seconds, playing with the bubbles with my white 8 year old daughter that casting decided to give me!

This was filmed in Hamleys in London, although the film is set in New York, and was done during night shooting. In other words, as soon as the shop shut at 6pm, it would open at 7pm for the film crew to come in and convert the store into a film set, and we would work until 4am or 5am.

We spent 5 nights doing the same scene over and over again, until Kubrik the perfectionist was happy. It is shot with one camera the whole way through for 2 mins and 30 seconds, so any mistake and we had to start again!

20th Anniversary of the WWW!

Sunday 7th August 2011

Rewind 20 years and there is no world wide web. There’s an internet, of course, but there’s no simple, user-friendly way to browse its information.

Come 6 August 1991 and that all changes. It was on that day that Tim Berners-Lee launched the very first website –​h – a simple site which gave an explanation of what the world wide web was (as well as a suggested abbreviation which sadly never took off: W3), help on using your browser and information on the overall project.

The world had changed forever but, at the time, no-one really noticed. It took a few more years before the web gradually made its way into our homes, schools and workplaces. Slowly we each got our first experience of the web, and it was brilliant. And also, at the same time, a bit rubbish.

Michael Learns To Rock – Someday!

Thursday 14th July 2011

You know how it is…you hear a song, and it instantly transports you to memories from long ago. I hadn’t heard this song since Dec 95/Jan 96, but the band at Pavo Real managed to do a very close rendition, and I was flooded with long forgotten memories! So cool…

The Prisoner

Tuesday 28th December 2010
Rover, shortly after incapacitating Number Six...

Image via Wikipedia

I have just finished watching the 60’s TV series, “The Prisoner“. I used to love watching it when I was a kid, though I probably had no idea what was going on. However, the opening and closing credits, along with the theme music, were brilliant and had me hooked.

Since then, the opening sequence of over 3 minutes has become iconic and the series has garnered a cult following and is frequently referenced, parodied, and paid homage to in comics, movies and television shows.

The series follows an unnamed British agent who abruptly resigns his job, and then finds himself held captive in a mysterious seaside “village” that is isolated from the mainland by mountains and sea. The Village is further secured by numerous monitoring systems and security forces, including a mysterious device called Rover that captures those who attempt escape.

The agent encounters the Village’s population, hundreds of people from all walks of life and cultures, all seeming to be tranquilly living out their lives. As they do not use names, they have each been assigned a number. The agent is told by the Village’s chief administrator “Number Two“, that he is “Number Six“, and they are seeking “information” as to why he resigned; the task of doing this is carried out by the ever-changing “Number Two“, acting as supposed proxy to the unseen “Number One”. As the series unfolds, the audience learns that the Village authorities have other interests in Number Six aside from the knowledge he possesses: interests that often spare Number Six from the more destructive information-gathering techniques employed by the Village authorities upon other inmates.

Number Six, distrusting of anyone involved with the Village, refuses to co-operate or provide answers. Alone, he struggles with multiple goals: determine for which side the Village works, remain defiant to its imposed authority, concoct his own plans for escape, learn all he can about the Village and subvert its operation. Some of his schemes, while not resulting in an escape, do lead to the dismissal of an incumbent Number Two on two occasions. By the end of the series the administration, becoming desperate for Number Six’s knowledge and fearful of his growing influence in the Village, take drastic measures that threaten the lives of Number Six, Number Two, and the rest of the Village.

The series features striking and often surreal storylines, and themes include hypnosis, hallucinogenic drug experiences, identity theft, mind control, dream manipulation, and various forms of social indoctrination. A major theme of the show is individualism versus collectivism.

After watching most of the 17 episodes, the final chapters become more tedious and ambiguous, and unfortunately I felt that the 17th episode couldn’t finish quickly enough. It generated controversy when it was originally aired, because the last third of the episode was designed to be very obscure and be open to interpretation. On top of that, the desperately sought after answer to the question “who was number 1” was a big let down, and the whole ending caused the actor and writer Patrick McGoohan to go into hiding from angry fans demanding answers.

But the opening’s high production values have led the opening sequence to be described as more like film than television, and is one of the main things I remember about this series…along with the shout “I am not a number…I’m a free man!”

Sink the Bismarck!

Thursday 26th August 2010

Sink the Bismarck! is a 1960 black-and-white British war film based on the book “The Last Nine Days of the Bismarck” by C. S. Forester. It tells the true story of the Royal Navy’s attempts to find and sink the German battleship, the largest in the world, during the Second World War. It stars Kenneth More and Dana Wynter (who was funnily enough born in Berlin!)

The film depicts the hunt of the Bismarck, including the sinking of HMS Hood. Although not entirely accurate, the movie paints a great picture of what it was like, in an understated B&W manner, during the desperate days of 1941, when for 7 days, the chase for the Bismark took on the importance of a war winning moment, especially after the pride of the Royal Navy, and probably the second largest battleship in the world at the time, had been suck so quickly.

The Bismark deals with everything thrown at it, but after constant attacks by battleships, torpedoes and planes, the Bismark is slowly worn down until it is caught and attacked from all sides. Even then, the armour of the ship was so good, that it has now been shown that rather than being sunk, the Bismark was scuttled to prevent it being captured by the British!