PHPWM User Social Event

Hey folks,

The West Midlands PHP User Group (PHPWM) is having a social event for anyone who uses, or is interested in learning more about, PHP. It’ll be hosted at the Little Lark pub, down in Studley. As usual, there is also a Facebook Event! See you there (if I make it myself… work deadlines are a biatch :().

PS Sorry for the late notice. I’ve been on holiday for the past couple of weeks and I’m still in that post-holiday depression.


Radio 1′s Sport Relief 2008 Comes To Brum


If you’ve listened to Radio 1 at all recently, you’ve probably heard someone mention the Sport Relief Challenge 2008. This year Comedy Dave and Chappers are running a mile at 32 different Football Club pitches around the UK, plus an extra bonus mile at Wembley. They aren’t told until on the day which club they’ll be running that day, however after the initial start (Portsmouth on the first morning, followed by Inverness that evening!) they’re now following a logical path south towards London. Today, day 7, they finally made it to the West Midlands, racing around at the Derby, Aston Villa, and Birmingham grounds. After losing the race at Derby, Dave’s punishment was to wear the Hercules the Lion costume while running around Villa Park. At St. Andrews the fund-raising duo were met by the BBC’s Greg James, who, for some reason, had to do his mile wearing nothing but his pants while singing Kylie’s “I Should Be So Lucky.”… random!

Anyway, they’ve all raised over £75,000 for Sports Relief so far, so well done them! If only my job was as fun… ;)

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Birmingham Half Marathon

After running the Great North Run last year I decided I’d quite like to keep a modicum of fitness and run a few more events this year. The problem with the GNR is, as the name implies, it’s way up North. Also, due to the popularity of the event, it’s a nightmare trying to find a place to stay within a reasonable travelling distance to the race. Fortunately there are plans afoot for Birmingham to host it’s very own half marathon! Rumour has it that it should start this year, although I haven’t found much concrete information about the event other than a couple of newspaper articles and a “coming soon” website.

Well, until some more details emerge, I’m gonna train for the Great Midlands Fun Run, an 8.5 mile run around Sutton Park. This takes place on Sunday, the 1st of June. Registration is still open until the 12th of April, if you fancy joining in! Alternatively, if you fancy something a bit less serious, there’s always the Birmingham Hash! :-)

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Check out the new look!

Wow! Sean & Co sure have been busy. Check out the new look on the metblog network! Behind the scenes we’re also now using WordPress instead of Movable Type, which I personally find nicer and easier to use. So what do you think about the new design?

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The Birmingham Hash House Harriers

Finally Birmingham has it’s own Hash House Harrier (HHH or H3) kennel! I was looking for a local “chapter” when I first moved to Birmingham, but there didn’t seem to be an active one… until a few months ago!

The Hash is a free-for-all club of “drinkers with a running problem,” who meet once a month to follow a predetermined route (set by the “hare” the day before). The pace is as fast or slow as you want it to be, and the trail usually ends up at a pub where the group can gather for refreshments.

The Birmingham kennel has been set up by Mark Williams and Neil Cooper, who can be contacted via the BH3 Homepage, which will also have the details of upcoming runs. The next is to be held on Saturday, April 19th, starting at 12 noon at Sutton Coldfield railway station. Hope to see you there!

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Birmingham Bloggers Meetup, Take 2

Woohoo! Another meetup, and I’ll actually be able to attend this one!

It’s taking place next Monday (Feb 18th) over at the Dragon Inn, on Hurst Street. There should be a meeting room and free WiFi access from some on-the-go blogging. The meeting is scheduled for between 7 and 9pm.

I hope to see you there.


Birmingham Bloggers Get Together!

*cough* *cough* woah… it’s a little dusty around here. Time to brush off the cobwebs and get a brand new year rolling! I hope you all had a great Christmas and a happy new year!

Nick Booth is organising a Birmingham Bloggers meetup TOMORROW (that’s Thursday, January 10, 2008. Sorry for the short notice!). It will be held down at the Kitchen Garden Cafe (see map below) from 5:30pm onwards. A few people can’t make it that early, but the event should last for a good few hours at least. Unfortunately Thursdays are bad for me, so I won’t be able to attend this one, but hopefully the next one as I’d like to be able to put faces to some of the names I keep reading on the Birmingham blogsphere.

PS There’s also an official facebook event so you can RSVP!

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HOV-lane Hopes

The UK’s third High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane opened along the A47 Heartlands Spine Road today, hoping to ease some of the morning rush-hour congestion. The HOV lane is just like a bus lane, running along one side of the road, which is only supposed to be used by cars containing at least two people. Although the council webpage says that police will be enforcing the rule and issuing penalties to perpetrators, I can’t see this being very effective unless the fines are steep enough (no mention of the amount?).

I remember when I lived in Texas the HOV lane was a separate lane in the middle of the highway, with concrete walls on either side. Entrances / exits were only every 5 miles or so, so other drivers couldn’t just nip in-and-out as they pleased. On the whole I think it was very useful, although it did mean that if there was a big accident inside the lane then you were quite stuck until the mess could be cleared up.

Although I don’t think the A47 is quite as busy as, say, the A38, hopefully this trial will prove successful so they can roll it in other places. Anything that makes the commute quicker and easier is a good thing in my books!

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A Message To All Of Birmingham’s Trick-or-Treaters

Halloween is TOMORROW (the 31st), not tonight! For ringing my doorbell 24 hours early I’m putting arsenic in any sweets on my doorstep tomorrow. Mwahahahahaaaaaaaaa!

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Webpages For The Deaf

I just noticed an amusing clip over on the Daily WTF featuring our very own West Midlands Fire Service.

They’ve very kindly added a flash animation of a woman signing what I assume to be the web page’s text for all the deaf people who can no longer hear with their eyes. Clicking on the animation takes you through to the WMFS Deaf Community Homepage with even more helpful videos!

EDIT: Upon reading the comments on the WTF site I realise that the logic behind providing the signed alternative is probably that sign language is not just a direct translation of English, therefore some deaf people may not be able to the text. But I still found it funny.


International Cleanup Weekend

A link from a Google Maps lead me to discover that this weekend is “International Cleanup Weekend”. Anyone fancy organising or joining in a clean-up somewhere in Brum?

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Guitarfest 2007

I finally managed to get out of the house and do something interesting tonight! Guitarfest 2007 is on today and tomorrow over in the Cocks Moor Woods Leisure Centre.

This evening featured the acoustic show, with performances from Gaz Twist (another Gaz! woohoo!), Dave Goodman, Derrin Nauendorf, Antonio Forcione, and Doyle Dykes.

Each artist put on a brilliant performance showcasing his own particular style. I think my personal favourite was Antonio Forcione’s… he just seemed a little more “in it” than the others, but that’s not to say any of them weren’t great!

Tomorrow will be the electric show, with a line-up including Bernie Marsden, GMT, Michael Angelo Batio, and the Chris George band, which should be really interesting. Unfortunately I have to drive up to Liverpool, but if you’re looking for something to do there are still plenty of tickets are available at the door, for £12.50 each. Doors open at 11:30am!

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Swimming

Since I’m already in a club on Facebook that officially despises people that barge in front of fast walkers on a pavement in the street, just to walk slow, I thought I’d get my revenge on people who do this in a SWIMMING POOL.

In a certain Birmingham City Centre Gym with a red company colour that shall not be named, I, the fastest longest swimmer at the gym, am constantly interrupted by guys with egos that fills the gap where their brain should be. They wait until I get to the edge, just before I tumble turn, before they are off, breast stroking their little hearts out – for one length. Others, wildly thrash about either in front of me or in the lane next to me.

You all know who you are, so if you feel like you need to prove yourself, at least use me to do that when you’re fast and fit enough! God!


Delerium

Wow. It’s a long time since I blogged. I’m sorry, guys. But, if it takes this subject to get me back it’s got to be good!

Delerium, by Cirque du Soleil, is coming to town, so if you’re not doing anything from 10 to 12 October, go to the NIA. One of the US’ top five “Grossing” concerts promises to bring the greatest magical mix of audience interaction, magic, acrobatics, theatre and international music.

There’s also 540 feet of prjection surfaces – the equivalent of four IMAX screens – setting the stage for a massive multimedia show, so performers will pretty much be materialising and vapourising just about anywhere.

Plus, it’s the NIA, so it’s well worth a visit. Any takers?


Multiculturalism is at it again

Being a foreigner, it’s not so bad when the semester of uni is starting, or has started, because you’re not the only one surrounded by your family, taking pictures of almost everything in Birmingham. Every building, structure, colour and opportunity.

The language, on the other hand, is something no foreigner can possibly prepare for. It’s a “dialect”, but to you, it’s a completely different language.

But to have a team of classical indian dancers, with capoeira dancers and contemporary/urban dancers using the fountain at Victoria Square as their canvas, on a sunny friday, is surreal. How wierd it must be to have so many cultures cramped into one city?

I have to say, it was this live stage performance that represents Birmingham in a nutshell. It was such a beautiful performance, and the music was incredible. I wonder where they were from?

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