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Chromecast for frequent travellers

December 9th, 2014

A quick guide to using Chromecast for those who travel frequently

I bought a Google Chromecast yesterday. Well that’s not strictly true. I actually bought a Chromecast over a week ago, used my Amazon Prime account, and eventually received it nine days later. So much for one day delivery.

Google Chromecast - a great streaming device for frequent travellers or those on business

Now, I already have an Apple TV, and I’m thrilled with it – I have my digital home sorted for all of my streaming needs. But I bought the newer Chromecast device for two reasons: Continue reading “Chromecast for frequent travellers” »

Afterglow – Incredible Night Skiing Film

October 30th, 2014

Often when I find something that I consider ‘blog-worthy’ I might create a draft, or at least save the URL so that I can post it later. With this I couldn’t wait, I had to share it.

First things first, Afterglow is a short film (11 minutes for the full version) made by Sweetgrass Productions and funded by Phillips to promote their Ambilight TV (which I’ve had my eye on for years, to hint to any kind-hearted and/or wealthy readers out there).

There are hundreds upon thousands of skiing videos on the web, many of which are well worth watching (hint, here’s a bonus ski video I love), but this one is something different – not only is it shot at night, with incredible skill and creativity, but the production values are well beyond a slow-mo GoPro on the end of a pole. Yes I know they’re not all like that, but it starts to feel it.

At this point you should probably watch the video (this is the abridged version, scroll down for the full whack).

If that didn’t excite/inspire you, then you probably don’t need to read on, the rest could just be pretentious drivel about how a) I will probably never make anything this beautiful on film and b) we all need to take a 6 month holiday and travel the world with a rucksack and a camera (and a plane to carry 9000lb of production gear up a mountain).

No, I’ll resist. This video is beautifully shot, and wonderfully original. The soundtrack and voiceover are just pretentious enough to please the creative types out there, but understated enough so as to not be too overbearing. To take something that’s been shot so many times and represent it in a new way like this is a great achievement (even though I’m sure a rather large budget helped).

Enough though, here’s a suggestion:
Take 11 minutes and 35 seconds out of your day, turn off the lights and watch the following video – preferably on a large HD screen – and just enjoy it. Enjoy what you’re seeing and hearing and, dare-I-say-it, feeling.

Enjoy the moment.

If you have a few other moments that you’d like to enjoy, take a look at the nofilmschool article, which writes a little more, and references a Behind-the-Scenes video that shouldn’t be too hard to find.

Full video link: Vimeo
Shortened version: Vimeo
Referenced article: Nofilmschool

A screenshot from the Afterglow ski video

The Simply Guys

July 27th, 2014

Well it’s finally happening, the Family Guy/Simpsons crossover.
It’s only taken 12 seasons (of Family Guy… wayyyy more of The Simpsons!). Take a look at the sneak peak trailer below, aired this week at SDCC. What do you think? Comedy gold or cheap publicity stunt? Let us know on our facebook page.

It is your Destiny

July 23rd, 2014

The time has come, the day has arrived – the Destiny beta is here!
(Well if you’re a Sony type it’s been here for a few days… anyway)

I’m excited, if you can’t tell, and am looking forward to getting home from work to play away!

Now, to business – Bungie kindly gave out three codes to download the beta, and I am but one person, with one console.

SO, being the lovely person I am, I’ve decided to share the wealth.

Check back at 5pm UK time to get a code – be quick, they’re single use!
(Note: the codes only work with Xbox 360, and Gold membership to Xbox Live is needed – apparently a trial membership won’t work)

Here are your codes my lovelies!


First come, first served! Good luck! Don’t forget to say thank you, let me know if you got one!


July 14th, 2014

Another music post! I love when things like this happen!

I noticed @edgarwright tweeted this afternoon about a new album, available to preview now via free stream.

Having given it a listen, I’m impressed – it’s full of subtle poppy grooves, with lots of sequenced synth goodness. To double my excitement, it’s a collaboration between two artists who feature in my favourite film of all time, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.


Dan the Automator (@dantheautomator) provides the slick backing to Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s (@M_E_Winstead) relaxed, easy vocals, reminiscent of Sophie Ellis-Bextor, with a little Lana del Ray thrown in.

This is how the promo site describes it, why not have a listen before it disappears:

Musician/producer Dan Nakamura (aka Dan The Automator) is known for his work with Gorillaz, Kool Keith, Handsome Boy Modeling School and others. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is an actress (Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Sky High) and also a singer. The two met on a film set, bonding over a shared passion for 60s French pop. Fluxblog confirms the album “sounds like French and Brazilian pop from the mid-20th century,” while UK blog Dots And Dashes describes a “kooky pseudo-travelogue centered around their shared penchant for the Swinging 60s, Winstead’s blase sighs complemented by the Automator’s keen ear for swoonsome yet louche retrospective soundscaping.”


Stream source: hypem
Preorder: iTunes

AIM/Pedal for Pounds

June 1st, 2014

Last Tuesday I had the privilege of attending an event at Compton Acres, hosted by AIM Community Bournemouth, which included a musical performance from my good friend David Ashley.

The atmosphere was beautifully chilled out, with the always welcomed opportunity of sharing a relaxed drink with great company. Before the entertainment added to this calm aura, a couple of inspiring fellows shared with us their cause.

Tim Evans and Alastair Jones, two lovely gents, had stopped in as part of their mission – 1000km on two wheels (each) in 9 days – and this to raise awareness of the important work carried out by the charities they were representing, Worth Unlimited and Frontier Youth Trust. Pedal for Pounds is a worthy cause, aiming to raise the hopes of young people who have been written off to society – but still have huge potential awaiting release. Head to their Facebook page to find out more, and do consider donating.

Anyway, here is a selection of photos, taken on my superb new compact camera. Check out the Forest:JungleCollective page over at mixcloud to hear some of Dave’s stuff, the two podcasts recorded at this event will be uploaded there in the coming weeks.

Soaking up the atmosphere

Mr David Ashley, host for the evening

Alastair Jones, Frontier Youth Trust

Tim Evans, Worth Unlimited

Dave hard at work

Put the needle on the record when the drumbeat goes like…

Tycho – amazing record

Minor adjustments



May 30th, 2014

Yes, it’s been a quiet few months on Sticks and Stones, ain’t nobody denying that.

In my defense, I am now married…

On 10 May I married my lovely wife Naomi – we had a fantastic day followed by a very relaxing honeymoon in Egypt.

In other news (because you’re so interested in my life), here is a little taste of what’s coming on the site – albeit dependent on the amount of time I have to process it all…

Keep an eye out – or open, at least, because out sounds painful.

P.S. A massive thank you to Olly Knight for our photography, I’m sure you’ll see a little more soon!

Fair Play Mate

March 12th, 2014

This is nice, some fair play in football – not something we see often. And the other players clearly appreciate it and thank the ones that owned up.

Fair play lads.

Got some new photos coming soon. Peel. Your. Eyes.

School of Rock 10 Year Reunion

January 6th, 2014

This is one of my favourite ever youtube videos as of right now. Loved the original film when it came out, and this just warms my heart :)

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

December 9th, 2013

Whilst there are many things I need to get around to uploading here, and many unwatched films on my “play next” list, tonight it’s all about The Hobbit (although we did watch The Muppets’ Christmas Carol first)

Due to our practices last year (evenings of rustic food and The Hobbit being read aloud in anticipation of the first film, An Unexpected Journey) there are now few things that get me feeling more festive than some early Tolkien. And recent production videos (see my previous post about this if you don’t know what they are – although the name does kind of spell it out) all point to the conclusion that this next film will be just as gorgeous.

#nofilter? The Hobbit's eagles fly at sunset

Few shots move me as much as this one. #nofilter?

I’ve talked before about the mixed feelings of awe and frustration that these brilliant films give me, so I won’t waste space here whining about it, but I’d compare it, in a way, to a minor form of the ‘Pandora blues‘ – the frustration of seeing something beautiful but knowing it just doesn’t exist like that in real life. Even small things like the vivid, oversaturated colour pallettes. Kinda makes me want to travel and see what beauty really is out there.

This musing started with an aim. It may have got lost somewhere along the way. Potentially as a result of my tendency to only write blog posts after 11pm.

A summary: I’m really, really looking forward to seeing The Desolation of Smaug this weekend. Let’s hope it inspires me enough to write a review after, although I think I made my views on film-review blogs clear in my last review of The World’s End.

On another note, I hope to use some time this week to upload a huuuuuge stack of pictures to my Flickr, with the aim of some of them sauntering their way over to the photos page in the near future!

First Edition Dust Cover for The Hobbit
PS: Just started watching the film in what I assume is Chinese, just to have something in the background. Brilliant.