The Visual Dictionary Poetry

We had a couple of friends around for dinner last night, and I broke out the box of moo cards. I then had to run to the shops to pick up some cheese, and by the time i got back, even with the limited amount of words in the pack, Emma had written a little poem with them. I’d never thought of that idea. I’m going to do a bunch of other moo packs with a better/wider selection of words, and some themed sets also.


Image of Spain

Fred was at MADINSPAIN this weekend, and showed the visual dictionary to the audience as part of his talk. Hello to anyone who is visiting the site from Spain, especially to those who heard about us from Fred. Its really hard to track word of mouth referrals, but just today, we had quite a few visits from Madrid, so you never know. I should have given him some moocards to hand out ;)

(oh, and strangely enough… the most popular word in the dictionary is Madrid. Go figure!)

Tunes on the Tubes


Balham LUL station has station has started playing classical music in its ticket halls this week (perhaps to appease for the lack of Heelies allowed on station?). Personally, i find it quite calming, and has brought a smile to my face each morning. Its a shame they don’t extend it to the platforms. However, the reasoning behind it is rather more pragmatic (and perhaps Orwellian). My sources tell me that it was first implemented at Brixton station as a form of crowd control, or rather pushing on ‘undesirables’ who were hanging out at the station, mostly in the form of gangs of youths, who find it ‘uncool’ to be at locations where classical music is playing. A little googling turns up plenty of evidence to support that. You never see kids hanging out in the glassed off classic and opera sections in HMV, so it must be true. I think its kinda ingenious, although just pushes the problem on to other areas. I wonder if this was a result of the recent interactive questionnaires they had on the station asking how ‘safe’ people feel there in the evenings.

And whilst on the topic of tubes.. the new Barclaycard/Oyster/Cashless thingy seems like a good idea, and first mover advantage is definately key here. The minute you have two in your wallet, you’re screwed, as you’d have to take the card out of your wallet to swipe, destroying (i think) 80% of the benefit. So.. wait for another cooler one to come out, or get this one immediately? Oh the questions an not-so-early adopter faces…

Spotted / Helvetica


Went to watch Helvetica by Gary Hustwit last night at the design museum. A 90 minute documentary on the topic of typography, primarily discussing the use, impact, ubiquity, backlash and reaction to Helvetica – which celebrates its 50th aniversary this year. Very interesting film, despite Time Out labelling it as a new height in banality (which i think could actually be seen in complimentary light?), and the panel discussion with Hustwit and a handful of typography visionaries was very engaging. I’m not sure whether the movie really answered the questions I had at the end of it – is Helvetica popular because it is ubiquitous or because it is good? Personally, I think the latter, as Verdana and Georgia don’t have the same appeal, and surely appear more often on a Windows user’s screen every day.

I came away really regretting I hadn’t done some Moo cards linking to the visual dictionary though (doh), but I am tempted to go into the database, and tag up all of the entries featuring helvetica (indeed, the typeface of every image if users are able to tag them up).

Also.. spotted this link to the visual dictionary whilst reading my blogrolls at lunch today.

Cough Splutter

(Image used under a CC license. Author: quitelucid)

Great. I’m about to leave London to go on an adventure weekend of rafting and quad-biking, and I manage to come down with some form of nasty illness which has been plaguing decon all week. Typical. I blame the media.

PS. If I do manage to get down the rapids, and I’m not blogging on Monday, avenge my death.

The reason my teeth are so bad…?

Maybe, just possibly maybe, just the tiniest small chance at some microscopic level, this is why i have a mouth full of orthodontic concrete. It isn’t helped by the face I stumbled past cyber-candy in covent garden this evening on the way home – a visual cacophony of international confectionery. I had to, of course, spend some of my hard earned pocket change on an american and australian range of teeth melting goodies.


(the irony is not lost on me that the twizzler strapline is ‘makes mouths happy’)

A modern Paddington Bear story


In this morning’s metro:

The London that greeted Paddington Bear in 1958 is a far cry from that of today.
The small brown bear was found sitting on his suitcase with a note attached to his coat reading ‘Please look after this bear’, having been sent to England from Peru by his aunt. That would count as a plea for asylum these days and land him a place in a detention centre. At the very leat he would be likely to be ordered to spend six months in quarantine before the Brown family could take him home. Offering a pigeon a bite of his sandwich could land him with a £500 find in London. On the bright side, presuming he is a spectacled bear, the only bear species in Peru, he would then be taken to a zoo with a breeding programme as the species is threatened with extinction. If he was not a real bear, but in fact a teddy, Mr Brown would be required to tell station staff or police, and the station would be closed and poor bear blown up by a bomb disposal squad ‘due to security’. If Mr Brown did get to bring him back to his Edwardian family home in Notting Hill, it would now be extremely expensive flats. In 1958, Paddington would have elevenses with Mr Gruber, an antique dealer on Portobello Road. If his shop had survived the sky-high rents of today, they’d now be more likely to grab a Starbucks coffee regularly interrupted by their mobiles. Halcyon days….

Ow! My Face!

I was the lucky winner of nearly an hour’s session in the dentists chair today. Being a stupid idiot, I’d left a cavity in one of my teeth (riiiight at the back) to the point where the whole thing was practically hollow inside. The dentist seemed to treat it with a mixture of awe and shock, but generally I think he felt it was a bit of a challenge, so decided to go at it, whilst discussing the potentials of root canals, and other scary sounding procedures. Needless to say, I was under local anaesthesia, which is now wearing off, leaving just an aching and slightly swollen jaw. It feels just like when I was mugged and punched in the face, except when I was mugged, the guy didn’t get any cash from me. This morning, the mugger ran off with £95, and I was pretty thankful for it being that low.