July 2012 Archives

London Street Ping Pong: Ping!

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From the end of June, 100 ping pong tables have been turning up in public areas throughout London to encourage people to play a free game of ping pong. The event is known as Ping!, and the ping pong tables will be in their locations throughout the city for a month. This event is similar to the London Street Pianos that were around the city this summer (London Street Pianos Encourage 'Play Me, I'm Yours'). Ping! hosts several parties and events (everything from comedy to tournaments) around the ping pong tables to bring the community together.

I really like the Ping! website; I like the colours and the imagery. Users can upload their photographs and videos and find a ping pong table or an event near them by visiting the website. 


For more information about this project and where to find a table, visit: http://www.pinglondon.co.uk/

Meeting Lemurs at the Zoo

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A few weeks ago, I visited Paradise Wildlife Park to see the animals. I also had an experience to meet with lemurs and see monkeys. I got to go inside the lemur enclosure and feed the lemurs. Lemurs are social animals, and they jumped onto my shoulders and happily ate the fruit I fed them. The zoo has many different types of animals, and you can get close and personal with some of them, and visitors can walk all the way around cages so that they are able to catch a glimpse of the animals. (Many of the animals sleep a lot, so being able to walk around the outside of the cages gives more probability of a glimpse of the animals.) The zoo also has regular feedings of the animals, bird displays, and discussions where visitors can learn more about the animals and see them being fed. After meeting with the lemurs, I think that they are interesting creatures.

A red panda

Meercat watching out and penguins

The lion sleeps

These two lemurs seemed to be copying each others' movements as they held hands and leaned backwards

I forget what this fellow was called (a type of lemur?), but his eyes are a little frightening.

A lemur

Meercat and her baby

This monkey holds tightly only her baby

A meercat stands up to watch over the enclosure, and a lemur gets fed by piece of fruit.
I had an early morning start to pick up the rental car so that I could get a ferry from Drevnik, Croatia, to Hvar island (Sućuraj). In low season (May), there are only very few ferries operating. We arrived at Drevnik just as the 10:00 ferry was pulling away. I expected that this would happen as the earliest we could get the car was 8:00, and the journey to Drevnik was expected to take two hours, minus time for filling out the paperwork for the car and waiting in the immigration queue for the small sliver of Bosnia and Herzegovina that anyone using the coastal road must pass through. We waited until 13:00 for the next ferry. We parked our car at the front of the queue and waited. At Drevnik, there are a couple of cafe restaurants, and we admired the views over the Adriatic. 

Once on the ferry, the journey time to the island was only twenty-five minutes, and the views of the mountains from the ferry are beautiful. Despite being on the edge of the high season, the small ferry was busy, but there was still room for other cars. With many more ferries and available space, I can only imagine that Hvar is extremely busy in the summer months.

The accommodation for the next two nights was located in Hvar Town, which was on the opposite side of the island. The total journey is probably around an hour, but we stopped off along the way to admire the beautiful views. The south-eastern side of the island has particular amazing views of the mountains on the mainland, and there are also views of neighbouring islands. Soon after leaving the port, the road climbs into the mountains. The roads are small and quite narrow, and I advise letting other cars go in front so that the ride can be enjoyed. (It's also probably not the safest road, but I didn't run into any issues.)

On the way to Hvar Town, we drove through several fields of lavender with glorious views of the sea on both sides of us. The island of Hvar seems to be almost completely covered with beautiful lavender. In fact, the island is known for its lavender.

The roads on the island are generally okay, except for a few places. Steer clear of unpaved roads if heading onto a mountain. (I will discuss this more in a moment.) Some of the roads on the island are sheer drops with no guard rails in places, and some of the local traffic goes quickly along these roads. I'm not a fan of extreme heights, so a couple of areas of no guard rails on a bend frightened me. However, if you can get over the heights, the views are stunning. In fact, the island was voted one of the most beautiful in the world.

Hvar island has several attractive villages and some abandoned villages. Spend longer and you can take a boat to surrounding islands and have a chance to relax and soak up the atmosphere. One of the abandoned villages visited is Humac, and it was based on an ancient settlement near where there is a cave. A dirt road from Humac leads up into the mountains with beautiful lavender on both sides. On the way to try to find this cave and following signs, we ended up overlooking the village of Jelsa (with a viewing platform). Further up, a man-made and single track dirt road winded around the mountains, and it started to climb up around the bend. At that point, I got very frightened as there were no guard rails, and the single-track dirt road got narrower and did not look sturdy enough to hold over a tonne of metal car. The car was slowly reversed back around the mountain. (This was probably the single most frightening adventure in my life, and I was shook up for the remainder of the day.) Besides the frightening experience with narrow dirt roads winding up mountains, the beautiful views and lavender fields were the highlight of the day.

After this experience, we drove to Hvar Town, and we spent the evening in the old town. Singing was taking place in front of the beautiful cathedral, and we stopped to listen. We enjoyed walking around the harbour and exploring the winding streets by lamplight.

A small lighthouse in Sućuraj, Hvar greets us.

Beautiful mountain views and small boats on the way from Drevnik to Sućuraj

The abandoned village of Humac, Hvar

An abandoned building in Humac, Hvar

A building in the abandoned village of Humac, Hvar. This purple plant was also discovered in the village.

Fields of lavender, Hvar

Fields of lavender, Hvar and mountain views in the background

Lavender, Hvar

An insect flies next to a lavender bloom

Lavender, Hvar


A circular stone hut stands in the middle of nowhere near Humac, Hvar. I assume that these were built for those keeping animals. The building in the foreground is actually an alter. It's solid except for the small window.

This layered pile of stone may have been another stone hut. I didn't investigate it.

On the side of the crossroads is a cross and purple iris flowers. I think it is a grave, perhaps.

The purple iris flowers look beautiful in front of the mountains of the island of Brac, in the distance.

The dirt road winds through fields of lavender with various mountains in the distance.

A cactus flower

On the first night, we had dinner at a restaurant near the monastery; these beautiful yellow lemons were on a table.

St. Stephen's Cathedral in Hvar Town; singing is taking place in front of the cathedral.

Hvar Town lamps

Cobbled narrow streets of Hvar Town in the evening
BMW Art Cars are visiting London for a couple of weeks as a part of the Cultural Olympiad 2012. The cars are located over six floors in a parking garage in Shoreditch, off of Great Eastern Street, which is not far from Shoreditch High Street station. There are sixteen cars on display, and each one has been painted by a famous artist; the cars range between the years 1975 and 2010. Information about the artists and the cars is located on each level and next to the cars, and a video is located at the end of the tour where you can watch some of the cars being painted and hear more from the artists and their reasoning behind their artwork for the cars.

Artists of BMW Art Cars include Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Jeff Koons, Ernst Fuchs, Matazo Kayama, and Jenny Holzer.

BMW Art Cars are on display until the 4th of August, and admission is free. Once you've finished visiting the exhibition, you can also visit BoxPark (next to Shoreditch High Street station) and grab a bite to eat and do some shopping.

For more information and to visit, here's the information on the London 2012 website: http://festival.london2012.com/events/9000966105

Alexander Calder (1975) is the first BMW Art Car.

Jenny Holzer's (1999) car depicts several bold messages, some of them about consumerism such as "Protect me from what I want"

Matazo Katama (1990) used foil printing and metalcut to create this effect, which resembles snow and bright gold. This is one of my personal favourites.

Cesar Manrique's (1990) design uses bright, bold shapes that intersect. The wing mirrors look like eyes.

Frank Stella (1976) was inspired by the grid pattern with this black and white cross-hatched design.

Another image of Frank Stella's (1976) car.

In 1979, Andy Warhol wanted to convey speed. This is a colourful car, and the paint strokes are easy to see. 

Robert Rauschenberg (1986) used traditional images and photographs on this car.

Esther Mahlangu (1991) uses a bright tribal cross pattern.

M.J. Nelson (1989) is an Australian artist, and this car uses an aboriginal style. This is one of my personal favourite car designs.

Sandro Chia (1992) created a pattern with faces to reflect society. This is my favourite car.

David Hockney's (1995) car portrays a driver and his dog.

Ernst Fuchs' (1982) car depicts flames.

In 2010, Jeff Koons painted the last in the BMW Art Cars series; the car uses a bright linear pattern.
The small city of Wells is located in Somerset, England. The city is known for its impressive cathedral (with rows of sculptures on the facade), Bishop's Palace, streams that run down the city's streets from the market square, and swans. I have visited the city several times in the past; I did not live too far away from it. It is always a pleasant place to visit.

I visited the city of Wells over the Diamond Jubilee weekend. Like all areas in England, bunting and decorations was on display. The continuous rain over the two days put a damper on my spirits, but I still managed to make the most of it and take plenty of photographs.

The moat at Bishop's Palace is attractive with reflections of the medieval walls. On a nice day, many swans can be seen in the water. Obviously, I believe they wanted to keep out of the rain and cold on this day.

In the distance and around the medieval architecture, people feed the swans in the moat.

A small strand of bunting hangs outside of a window. I liked the cream and sage colours of this little house.

Vicars close, next to Wells cathedral, is covered with bunting.

Vicars Close is covered in bunting. This street was built in 1342, and the houses are still lived in by clergy.

A Diamond Jubilee themed sugar cookie is tempting; I had this at Pickwick's Cafe Bar in Wells (Broad Street).

I enjoyed this Diamond Jubilee sugar cookie in Wells.

A hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows from Pickwick's Cafe Bar was the perfect way to warm up after walking along the streets in Wells after a very rainy and cold day.

Pretty flower displays in front of a shop front in Wells add some colour to the dreary day.

The Palace Fields, on the edge of Bishop's Palace, have a footpath to the village of Dulcote.

Northwest of Dubrovnik (Croatia) is a small group of islands known as the Elaphiti Islands, and visitors can use a boat from Dubrovnik to visit these islands. Three of the islands are inhabited, and we went to these three and took in the scenery along the way. The first island that we visited was Koločep, but before we got there, we had to take an uncomfortable trip on a speedboat (with many other tourists) around the old walls of Dubrovnik to this island. While sailing around these old city walls, it was not difficult to imagine older times and the power and wealth of this city. In some areas, the walls contain sculptures of the patron saint of Dubrovnik, Saint Blaise. Those sailing by the imposing city walls must have felt a bit frightened when looking at the walls and sculptures of the patron saint, a symbol of this city.

After the speedboat arrived at Koločep, packed with wet tourists (the driver of the speedboat was quite speedy, and there was water spray), we spent a few minutes on the island and walked through a small forest to a secluded cove. However, we did not stay on the island for long, before we were whisked away to the next island.
On the way between the islands, we viewed the shores of the islands and rock formations. We also saw other boats and tourists on jetski. Seagulls followed the boat, and this reminded me of previous trips (Greece and Carolinas). We saw an island that had a white cross on its shore with a statue of Mary praying underneath a tree in the shade. (Perhaps this marked a shipwreck.)

The next island we visited was my favourite island out of the three: Šipan. The island of Šipan has an attractive harbour and ruins of a castle near the harbour. The harbour is littered with shells, and local children collect and sell these shells to tourists. The harbour is picturesque and lined with boats and buildings. I also discovered some nice gardens here. We did not have too long to spend here, and I could have spent a little longer.
Lopud, was our final destination. The island is more populated with a sandy seafront. A walk away is a quieter sandy beach; this is a little bit of a trek through forest and down a lane, and it was unfortunate that we did not have a little more time. (We were able to walk to this beach and back again and have an ice cream in the time we spent on this island.)
After our trip of Lopud was completed, we sailed back to Dubrovnik.
Koločep - a secluded bay
Koločep - flowers
Islands - on the way between the Elaphiti islands
Šipan - fishing boat
Šipan harbour 
Šipan - old fortification
Šipan harbour
Šipan - boy selling shells on the harbour
Dubrovnik - wooden tourist boat and a cruise ship

London Gets Ready for the Olympics

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As London gets ready to host the 2012 Olympics, the city is decorated with flags and giant Olympic rings. There's also been several cultural and artistic events throughout the city. To celebrate the 2012 Olympics, Regent Street is lined with flags from every country. (There are many more flags and banners throughout London.) Giant Olympic rings have also appeared on the top of Tower Bridge and in St. Pancras international train station, which will welcome many tourists coming into London from mainland Europe.

Regent Street 

Regent Street 

Oxford Circus

Tower Bridge

St. Pancras International
I've been looking forward to seeing the BT Artbox project since I heard about it in February. Unfortunately, not working in London any more makes it difficult to see these events and displays, but I managed to get up to London a few weekends ago to see most of the phone boxes dotted around London.

The red telephone boxes are one of the symbols of the UK. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott created the first phone box for King George V's Silver Jubilee. The iconic telephone boxes have been given the artistic treatment by artists. There are over fifty phone boxes on display, and some of the artists include Ted Baker, Accessorize, Sir Peter Blake, Lilly Cole, Julien Macdonald, HoWoCo, Inkie, and Benjamin Shine.

The project helps to raise money for the children's charity, ChildLine, as it is the 25th anniversary. The telephone boxes are currently being auctioned off to raise this money, and they have now been removed from London's streets.

For more information about the BT Artboxes project, please visit: http://www.btartboxes.com

I've captured some photographs below of a few of my favourite telephone boxes.

Ryan Callanan's "Long Live Life Love", Cavendish Square

Willie Christie, "Kiss", at Mayfair

Michael Waller-Bridge's "Press for Help", Berkeley Square

Ian Ritchie, "Copper Box", Off Piccadilly Street

"Flower Box" by greyworld and "Beacon" by Steven Dray, both at Piccadilly Circus

Conveniently near Hyde Park Corner is "City of Birds", Pete Bishop

"Mr. Smith" by Justin Smith is located on Park Lane, near the Hilton Hotel

"Connected" by David Crow, near Broadgate Circle

Harvy Nichols designed this phone box, "Harvy Nichols London", located in Covent Garden

Soho Square is home to "The Teleporter" by Cameron H. Christie.

Trafalgar Square hosts a Big Ben phone box, "Big Ben BT Artbox" by Mandii Pope. To the right, details of "The Poetry of Life" by the DnA Factory (Spitalfields Market) and "How Many People Can You Fit into a Phone Box" by The Times (near Embankment Station)

Day 2: Visiting Korčula Island, Croatia

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On the second morning, rain was coming out of the sky in Dubrovnik. I had arranged a trip to the island of Korčula for this day, and after waiting awhile in the wet and cold for our transport, we were finally on the bus to take us to to the island. I did not feel very well, and the drive through the mountains along the coast made it worse until we stopped at a cafe outside of the village of Ston, and the hot chocolate I had made me feel better. I met a couple from Ireland on the bus, while sipping my chocolate in the cafe, but the bus consisted mainly of German tourists.

We travelled through the peninsula of Peljesac, which is a region known for its vineyards, to get to the passenger ferry to take us across the sea to Korčula town. The ferry was packed with many other tourist groups, so we stood by the side of the ferry so that we could look out to sea and take photographs. Luckily, the dark clouds mainly cleared by the time we boarded the ferry, and we had sunshine when we got off the ferry on the island of Korčula.

After arriving on Korčula, we had a quick guided tour of the town, followed by free time for lunch and photographs. Korčula town is a walled city, and the old town can be discovered in a couple of hours. The seafront is lined with restaurants, and wonderful views can be had from the outdoor tables that line the seafront. We had lunch at one of the restaurants where we could look out to sea and watch ships sail past. The views are beautiful, and the mountains on Peljesac peninsula make a perfect backdrop.

After lunch, we explored the old town and climbed the Marco Polo house. Explorer Marco Polo is rumoured to have lived in Korčula, and one of the buildings there is credited to being the explorer's house. There's not too much about the explorer to be seen on the island, but they are planning to excavate the area as the building is mainly in ruins, but you can climb the tower to the top and see amazing views over the sea. Unfortunately, the main cathedral was being repaired, so we could not see the façade.

On the ferry back, we took in the amazing views again, and on the drive back through Peljesac peninsula, we stopped off at a winery to sample the regional wine. Croatian wine is too dry for my liking, and the percentage of alcohol is strong for wine. The vines on the peninsula do not get very large, and they are low to the ground. I assume this is due to the variety and dryness/rockiness of the landscape. Olive trees are also common on the peninsula.

On the way back to Dubrovnik, we had a quick stop at Ston. Ston is an impressive ancient village built around a mountain, it is known for its salt. The village was protected by steep city walls to protect the salt fields. Unfortunately, the the salt fields and factory were shut, but I managed to look at them through the gate. We did not have enough time to walk up to the city walls, but I imagine that the views from there are beautiful.










Pianos have been set up in various public squares and other areas throughout London. The pianos come with a sheet of music and a plastic covering (if it rains). They have been set up to encourage people to play. These pianos are a part of an exhibit known as "Play Me, I'm Yours" by British artist, Luke Jerram, that has been touring since 2008. This year, one of the exhibition cities is London. (According to the official website, the pianos have been in London for a few years, but I do not recall seeing them anywhere until now.)

A street piano at Carnaby Street

The pianos encourage users in the area to participate and enjoy their community. There are fifty pianos set up across London, and the pianos are in place until July 13th. The pianos have been decorated, and some of them have been designed by local artists. The pianos have been set up in various locations, including the following:
  • Leadenhall Market
  • Museum of London
  • Finsbury Circus
  • St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Carnaby Street
  • Chinatown
  • Soho Square
  • St. Pancras Station
  • Borough Market
  • Potter's Field Park
  • London Eye
  • Canary Wharf
  • Portobello Road
  • Cavendish Square
Cavendish Square has a colourful street piano waiting for a player

It was nice to see the pianos on the street a couple of weekends ago, and it was nice to see some of them being played. (I would have loved to have played one, but I cannot play musical instruments or read sheet music, unfortunately.)

For more information about this exhibition, see http://www.streetpianos.com/

For more information about the street pianos in London this year, see http://streetpianos.com/london2012/

This street piano entices City workers in front of the Royal Exchange Building

I arrived in Dubrovnik in the evening and had a chance to explore the old city in the glow of lamplight as I conveniently had booked a small apartment off of the Stradun (main street) to stay. Dubrovnik is charming at night, but it does get busy with tourists from cruise ships. There are many places to have a meal, and there are a couple of ice cream parlours on the Stradun; one of these was just outside the apartment. I discovered a restaurant selling slices of pizza, and this was enough for my evening meal on most days. I enjoyed these pizza slices as they tasted exactly like pizza slices I would get in the mall in the city I was born in (in Ohio).

On some evenings, Dubrovnik is especially magical as several flames are lit around the city, and the shadows dance on the golden walls of the buildings. There were flames outside of the Rector's Museum and a restaurant, and it made the experience more magical. It was fairly cool that evening, and the fire was welcoming to cold hands!

I spent the first full day exploring the ancient walled city of Dubrovnik, which is often referred to as the "pearl of the Adriatic". The city can be explored in a day, but it does get busy with tourists, as I experienced in my first evening, as it is on the cruise route. In fact, I found Dubrovnik to be busiest in the evenings. 

The city is the most charming in the early morning when very few are around. Groups of tourists start to arrive just before 8:00, and delivery vehicles park up to unload before then. Dusk is picturesque if staying out late enough and the busiest areas are avoided; the glow of the lamps on the shiny and well-trodden cobbled stones is romantic. As tourist groups start to arrive around 8:00 in the morning, it is worth visiting before this as this provides an ample opportunity to take photographs without so many people in them. The chimes of the clock are also more noticeable, so you are able to absorb the atmosphere. Staying in the apartment on Stradun was perfect for seeing Dubrovnik in the quiet and for people-watching.

The Stradun is picturesque with spires of clock towers and the monastery on either end, and the buildings along it are look the same: light brown stone and shutters that are all the same shade of green.

The first event of the day was to walk the city walls, which can be done in about three hours, with a stop off for a drink overlooking the sea on the southern walls and a visit to the Maritime Museum. The views from the walls are beautiful, and the walk was best done earlier as the walls do get quite busy as the day progresses. The views are amazing, and one can sit and watch the cruise ships. The cruise ships cannot go into Dubrovnik harbour, so they wait outside and ferry passengers into the harbour on smaller boats. I watched fishermen in wooden boats, and I saw one catch an octopus (or something similar to an octopus).

While in Dubrovnik, I also visited the Rector's Museum and viewed photographs of the city under attack. I visited the aquarium and took a trip up the cable car for amazing views over the city. 

I stayed in the city for four nights, with one day to explore the city and two days to go on excursions. (Dubrovnik is a good base for day trips to other places, such as Montenegro and Bosnia and the islands.) A trip to the cable car is also necessary, and this is best done in the morning as well, avoiding the crowds. Do note that coaches of tourists start to arrive bang on the opening time, and these continue in the morning. Tour buses bring people to the base of the cable car as soon as the cable car opens, so arrive early, but note that it is a popular attraction, and the numbers of tourists will be a slight issue to visitors. (Perhaps later in the day is not as busy.)

Overall, Dubrovnik is a charming city and offers much in culture and architecture, but do note that it is a very touristy place. The old city is picturesque. Generally, the Croatians seem to be quite friendly and helpful.

During my walk on the old city walls, I discovered ruins of other buildings and gardens. The walls are extremely tall in some places. This area faced the open sea.

This view of washing hanging out to dry was taken from the old city walls in Dubrovnik.

A cruise ship is anchored outside of the old city of Dubrovnik, and I captured this photograph from the old city walls. I also captured the view of the Dominican Monastery's layers of stairs from the city walls.

The Franciscan Monastery and the fountain are bathed in the evening glow. The fountain suffered in the 1990s war, and it was fortunately rebuilt.

A fisherman fishes outside the old city walls of Dubrovnik.

This cute tabby cat entertained me during my lunch in an outdoor cafe. I preferred her company to the pigeon that huddled around the square. There are many cats in Dubrovnik, and all seem to be looked after by the locals feeding them fish. This tabby had recently had kittens.

The Stradun, main street in Dubrovnik.

I liked this white-washed chimney, which I captured in a photograph from the city walls.

The Stradun buildings look the same, and the window shutters are all the same shade of green. The spire is of the Franciscan Monastery.

I saw this fish in Dubrovnik Aquarium; it blended into its surroundings.

The clock tower and Franciscan Monastery and the length of the Stradun feature in my first photograph. The Dominican Monastery tower and a cruise ship feature in the second photograph.

Old city, Dubrovnik

The cloisters of the Franciscan Monastery and a single yellow rose in the garden

A fisherman catches a fish outside Dubrovnik's city walls.

Dusk comes to Dubrovnik, and the lights begin to glow.

The sun sets behind the Franciscan Monastery on the Stradun, Dubrovnik.
When I learned that "Red Ball Project" was visiting the UK, I was excited. I was even more excited to learn that it would be visiting London and be in a new place each day. My current circumstances prevented me from seeing it sooner as I no longer work in London, but I made the effort to travel to SouthBank, London, to visit it on Sunday, its final day in the city.

On Sunday, the inflatable red ball was wedged underneath a cafe on SouthBank's Royal Festival Hall terrace. It's not my favourite setting for the project. I've seen photographs of it hanging up on one of the new bridges or wedged in an alley between two buildings in Exeter, and those look nicer to me than wedged in the SouthBank terrace. However, it was still great to finally meet "Red Ball Project", as I've been following it online since I heard about it visiting the UK. It was great to see others interacting and drawn to it to investigate. I watched how people interacted with it for a few minutes, and I overheard comments from passers-by wondering what the purpose of the large inflatable object was. Many people that gravitated toward the ball were drawn to touch the ball or get photographs in poses with it, such as attempting to push it, climb around it, or pretend that it would crush them.


About "Red Ball Project":
Red Ball Project features a large fifteen-foot inflatable red ball, and this ball is positioned in an unlikely place amongst the architecture or cityscape. The project engages the viewer. The creative mind behind this project is Kurt Perschke, a New York artist. In an interview on DesignWeek, he mentions that people actively imagine and participate by suggesting ideas for where to put the ball, and goes on to state that "good sculpture is about tactility about touching," and "The work is ultimately not about the ball, it's about what the ball facilitates and the energies around it." (1)

Kurt Perschke gives an in-depth interview upon his arrival in the UK at the start of the project launch this year, which you can read (2). The official website for the project is: http://redballuk.co.uk/. You can follow Red Ball Project to all of the other places it visits in the world.


1) Banks, Tom. Red Ball Project gives you wings. http://www.designweek.co.uk/blog/red-ball-project-gives-you-wings/3034021.article [14 February, 2012].

2) Guise, May. Red Ball Project at London 2012: Interview with Kurt Perschke. http://www.theurbn.com/2012/05/redball-project-at-london-2012-interview-with-kurt-perschke/ [2 May, 2012].

With the Olympics fast approaching, this event is the event that everyone is talking about this year. From postage stamps to collectors coins, to shops dedicated to selling merchandise for the Olympics and posters designed by artists, every item is fair game to be branded with the London Olympics 2012 logo.

Last year, the Royal Mint commissioned twenty-nine new designs for the 50p piece coin for the Olympics. Each coin represents a different game: archery, football, basketball, boxing, judo, rowing, hockey, sailing, wrestling, wheelchair rugby, and gymnastics - to name a few.

Over 30,000 individuals in the general public were involved in creating the new designs, and twenty-nine were selected, and this included a nine-year old girl's design, and two winners were lucky enough to have two of their designs chosen in two different categories. A few designs are pictured below, and all of these designs can be seen on the Royal Mint website (1). 


The coins can be bought individually (with a collector's card) and put into a special collector's album. The coins are sold at a variety of shops, and various stamp and coin sets can also be purchased. (I bought my coins and collector's book in October last year.)

The Royal Mail has also released a series of stamps (one for each Olympic sport), designed by a variety of artists. A few of these stamps are pictured below, and the stamp set can be purchased from the Royal Mail at http://shop.royalmail.com/.

olympic stamps.jpg

1) Royal Mint. The London 2012 Sports Collection. http://www.royalmint.com/olympicgames/sportscollection/fiftypence_design_nation.aspx [27 December, 2011].
I discovered an issue while looking at someone's jQuery code, and the issue seems to be misunderstood elsewhere on the web as well. The issue is using $(input[type=select]) to try to reference a drop-down menu (which uses a <select> HTML tag). Since this seems to be catching developers out, I felt that I needed to write an entry about it. For those who use the Javascript library jQuery, note that a drop-down menu (or list) may involve a different jQuery selector. Normally, a drop-down list would use a <select> object in HTML. It is important to know the structure and the output of the HTML so that the Javascript knows how to understand the DOM (and how this is rendered in jQuery).

An example drop-down menu HTML example is described below:

   <option value="giraffe">Giraffe</option>
   <option value="zebra">Zebra</option>
   <option value="monkey">Monkey</option>
   <option value="lion">Lion</option>

The confusion may come out of the fact that many form objects are <input> tags with a defined 'type', such as 'radio' or 'text'. 

The correct way to reference the <select> HTML tag in jQuery is to simply use: $('select').

Note that $(input[type=select]) does not work because the HTML tag is not an <input> tag with a type. It's a <select> tag. Simple.

Red, White, and Blue

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It's been a little while since I posted an article featuring nice products that I find on the Etsy website, a website for artwork, crafts, and handmade goods. Since today is Independence Day in the United States of America, I felt that I should publish an article featuring patriotic red, white, and blue colours. Also, red, white, and blue are the colours of the flag of the United Kingdom, and the colours (particularly the flag) are featuring quite a bit here at the moment with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics this year.
I have included a few red, white, and blue items below.
SewnNatural: This shop sells fabric goods, and I like these red, white, and blue felt hearts.
LatherRinseClean: I love this "Red white and blue popsicle soap". It reminds me of the popsicles (ice lollies, as they are called in the UK) that I used to eat in America. These look too good to use, though.
Cakes in jars! I liked this cake in a jar in the bright red, white, and blue swirl.
RockefellerCrystal: This red, white, and blue bracelet has a star clasp.
I absolutely love the Union Jack icon and have it on t-shirts, my purse, and even on the roof of my Mini Cooper car. That's why I was so excited when I discovered these Union Jack eye shadows from make-up company Rimmel in the shop at the beginning of the year. I read about these in one of my magazines at the end of 2011, so I am glad to see them in the shops. These Union Jack eye shadows were inspired by Kate Moss.

My favourite palette is the one the red/pink cross, but this really is not practical. I do own some red eye shadow, but I rarely use it. Instead, I have purchased the silver/black/grey palette (great for achieving the 'smokey eye' effect) and the blue palette (to match my eyes).

(Image is from: http://thingsllove.blogspot.com/2011/12/swatches-rimmel-glameyes-hd-green-park.html)


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