Signet jewellery shops, from exclusive to slums

Seiko kinetic watch

Birmingham has a shopping centre called the Bullring, you should visit this place, just to reinforce how wonderful online shopping is.

Much like Unilever & Kraft controls half the delicious goodness you shove into your disgusting cake hole, Signet group has a decent hold over shiny objects that make women think he must “be the one” if you are willing to brave the Bullring to buy her something.

On the Bullring upper level, lit by heavenly god rays and the blaze of angels, we have Leslie Davis, a brand so exclusive they don’t go in for common activities such as an online store. You are going to be lucky if they even open the door for you. Maybe if you come back in a suit and a job in the city they will think about it.

On the Bullring middle level, where you aspire to be in life, we have Ernest Jones, this is the sort of shop that you nudge the Mrs to stop by and gaze at the window, getting her hopes up that she might actually get a flashy bauble for christmas, and therefore your chance of a cooked tea that evening increases. They will let you in, but you’ll know you don’t belong.

At the Bullring lower level, where the fast food packaging is strewn around your feet and you make the pigeons hop out of the way because *you* are the man in charge here, we have H. Samuel. This is more your level. The shop is coldly, brightly, coarsely lit with strip lighting at a frequency your subconscious can perceive just enough to give you a headache. The staff have a certain urban, street aspect, they are young enough to look good in their suits. You ask to see a few watches, they tell you they can’t take that many out the display case at one time, because thinking you are a thief is a more logical starting point than thinking you are a customer. Believe me guys, I would pop up a few levels if I was going to steal stuff. You ask to take a nice Seiko Kinetic outside so you can see what it looks like away from the sizzling white dwarfs overhead. They decline your request, you thieving scumbag. You suggest they turn the lights off instead then. They look at you like you are insane. You might be.

So you go home and buy the same watch from Amazon instead, £20 cheaper. At no point in the transaction do Amazon infer you are going to steal from them.

To change this article from an Ufff, to a Rejoice, I would like to state how amazing it is to own a watch that; never needs the batteries changing, is insanely accurate, easy to read, easy to use, shower/bath/cenote proof and robust (the last Seiko Kinetic I had lasted 20 years). Glorious Japanese technology. Thanks guys.


Katherine Hepburn, acrylic on canvas

Hepburn, 2016.
Acrylic on canvas.

So, after I had suitably dulled her better judgement with booze, I find myself at a real life ladies house, and notice she has this canvas print on the wall:

Examining it, I decide this is a bit of a mess. It looks like an ex of mine when she decided that eyelashes were extraneous in her life. The decision to use only black and white takes away alot of the detail. So I find the original image, then using my 733t hacker skills I get this rough version:

Notice how by using a secondary level of grey you get more detail and realism from the eyes and eyebrows, whilst it still being an easy/lazy job to print/paint.

So I choose a different origin photo, and paint the top image. Then before I get the chance to give her the picture, she decides that trivialities like sleeping and looking after her son are more important than me. So I ditch her (i.e. she ditched me) and I keep the picture.

Here are my rough notes on how to “Obama” images in
Open original Picture in
Resize upwards if needed, because doing it later will emphasise rough pixel boundaries.

To create the first black layer:
Edit -> Select All
Edit -> Copy
Edit -> Paste into New Image

(the new 2nd image is now currently selected in
Adjustments -> Brightness/Contrast
Brightness -> Whatever (e.g. -20)
Contrast -> 100
Click OK – you now have a new black and white image

Get rid of small clumps of pixels hanging around with the following:
Effects -> Artistic -> Oil Painting…
Brush Size -> 1, 2, 3 or 4 (I find 3 best)
Click OK – you now have a smoother black and white image

To create the secondary grey layer:
Select the original 1st image again
Edit -> Select All
Edit -> Copy
Select the new black and white image you just created
Edit -> Paste into New Layer

(the 2nd image is still currently selected in
Layers -> Layer Properties
Opacity -> 128
Click OK – You now have an odd colour/black and white hybrid
Adjustments -> Brightness/Contrast
Brightness -> Whatever, make it greater than the previous value (e.g. 10)
Contrast -> 100
Click OK – you now have a black, grey and white image!

Get rid of small clumps of pixels hanging around with the following:
Effects -> Artistic -> Oil Painting…
Brush Size -> 1, 2, 3 or 4 (I find 3 best)
Click OK – you now have your final smoother black, grey and white image

I was tempted to use 3 layers originally, but it was a little too faffy for something that is supposed to be simple and fun.
Paint entire canvas white first or touchups are a mess. Forget Gesso.

Or just give me £100 (+postage), and I’ll whip you one up.

The Chase players, put your fucking hands on the buzzers

You only have 2 minutes to win the money, that time you spend moving your hand to the buzzer is wasted. Put a little more effort into the important parts of your life. He must be terrible at QTEs.

In the above video “Roger” (probably a stage name to avoid the shame of his behaviour) proclaims to have been a librarian. Which makes sense, he has made of career of wasting his time and being paid for it.

Related article.


Flowers in Burlington churchyard, acrylic on canvas

Flowers, 2016.
Acrylic on canvas.

Flowers in Burlington churchyard. Bit of a pain in the ass this one. The blurred stained glass windows were difficult to get near the reference photo, and I remain unconvinced the flower on the right is much good. The background isn’t particularly accurate, but hey, one blurred mess is much like another. On the plus side, I somehow managed to fluke the translucency of the lower middle greenery, and the main flower gives the impression of light passing through it nicely.

Fuck the disableds, I prefer greenery

Trees planted in middle of pavement

You wake up in the morning, and due to various terrible decisions in your life up to this point you actually have to go outside. What would you rather see on the pavement, some half man, half machine wheeled mech trundling along, or the beautiful cool lush greenery of trees?

The image above shows that the Athenians have the right idea, their pavements have the two fold benefit of being impassible to the ones the gods have cursed, so they have to stay inside, and a verdant wonder to those of use who sacrificed appropriately at the local temple, and can thus perambulate at will.

In the UK, the pavements are clear of such obstacles, and everyone has to suffer the sight of the morbidly obese whirring along on scooters and no one gets to see any greenery. Lose lose. Instead we have to look at the four wheelie bins outside every bloody house, stinking up the place because they only get slothfully taken away once every 3 weeks.

So go grab a shovel, and go plant all kinds of wondrous foliage in your street, try to ensure that the navigable gap is less than 24 inches. Add a patch a dirt at the bottom that nature can also reclaim, to further hinder the disableds, and as a bonus perhaps funnel those with baby pushchairs into the traffic too.