Thursday, 27 November 2008

The future is balls

Well, spheres actually - specifically AirSpheres.

I just watched the world's first (okay, second technically) flight of this Zorb-in-a-chimney concept and it looked, well...wrong.

The concept is deceptively simple: take one eight-foot beach ball, the kind people like to roll down hills, and stuff it inside a vertical wind tunnel. Get a few people to climb inside, crank up the power, and watch as they rattle around at the mercy of the wind, much like...a ball in a vacuum cleaner.

And the entry/exit hole looks like a massive, crimson sphincter. The Freudians are going to have a lot of fun with this.

At first glance it seems like a strange idea. In fact, at second and third glance it stills seems like a strange idea, and by the fourth or fifth it doesn't look much different.

But the people climbing out did have smiles on their faces - albeit slightly wobbly/forced smiles. So perhaps this could be The Next Big Thing.

You heard it here first, friends.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Bodyflying is not skydiving, obviously

"We're here to do a skydive," he said as they presented themselves at the registration desk.

"No," I thought. "You're here to rattle gamely around inside a vertical wind tunnel. It's not a skydive on account of the fact that there's no sky. Or diving."

I guess that's me; a stickler for accuracy. Some might even say pedant.

But really, that guy is going to go home with balls the size of grapefruits, and tell his mates he's done a skydive. He hasn't, any more than standing next to a tank full of pelagic carnivores is "swimming with sharks".

Do not misunderstand me; bodyflying is a huge amount of fun. But to confuse it with skydiving, even in the pub with mates one is taking bragging rights several yards too far.

I guess those savvy marketing people are due a big bonus, though, for coming up with that winning phrase "indoor skydive".

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

"The answer to all your waste disposal dilemmas"

I am as enviromentally-minded as the next person, assuming the next person has their own business dedicated to environmental and sustainability consultancy.

I recycle avidly, and encourage others to do so. I shop locally. I decline plastic bags.

I mention all of this not as an invitation to applaud my eco-credentials, but as a prelude to this statement:

I find it impossible to get excited about a bit of bent plastic designed to hold carrier bags.

Ben the Bin is billed as the answer to all my waste disposal dilemmas, which irritates me straight from the get-go as I don't have any waste disposal dilemmas, I really don't. Does anyone? Surely waste disposal is as easy as putting stuff in the bin. Or bins. Or carry-to-kerb waste-separation-and-pre-recycling-storage solutions. It's so easy a child could do it, as my friend's 2-year old daughter has demonstrated.

But Ben offers so much more. The design boasts handles for increased portability. Which I think means it's quite easy to carry. And it's "easily stackable" when not in use. Brilliant. Why is this not a consideration for other bins? Oh yes, because they're used all the time. They sit in the corner, quietly minding their own business, something we're all quite familiar and comfortable with, I suspect.

Ben is singularly ugly, too, which is particularly offensive as the marketing gushes that "Ben" makes waste separation "glamorous!". I may not be a style guru, but my definition of glamorous does not include a crumpled carrier bag swinging from a scrap of plastic.

"You never need to hang a carrier bag on a door knob ever again." No, you get to stare at it all day long, dangling from the piece of plastic you just spent money on.

Seriously, if this makes it easier for you to recycle then I applaud it. Buy one. Buy two! And recycle away.

But let's be clear about this: Ben is a large piece of plastic (albeit recycled) that serves the same purpose as a hook, or a door knob. Actually less of a purpose; at least a door knob has an additional, primary function.

And let's not even get started on the whole anthropomorphication (or is that anthropomorphization?) of a scrap of plastic.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

A Very Tedious Bond Film

The Sparkly One and I went to watch the new Bond film today, something I was rather looking forward to, being a fan of explosions and car chases and that general silliness that Bond films usually do so very well.

Sitting in the cinema, some way through the film, I idly found myself wondering if there wasn't something better I could be doing with my time. I caught myself sternly. At least give the movie a chance, I thought. Perhaps I'm in the wrong mood for it.

At which point the Sparkly One nudged me and remarked "I'm bored of this film."

We watched the whole film, which is replete with explosions and car chases and Bond silliness. But for me there was something missing.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

After all the purchases and preparations, the innoculations and immunisations, Timbuktu will have to wait.