Thursday, November 17, 2011

Briddon Birthdays

Last Saturday was my birthday. I was 42 which is the answer to the ultimate question of life the universe and everything so I am expecting great things from the next 12 months.

I had a nice birthday. I watched qualifying for the Abu Dabi Grand Prix, then I played a bit of Modern Warfare 3, then I played a bit of F1 2011. Once my gaming was over I ordered a load of winter clothing from Wiggle using the vouchers my family had bought me so that I could cycle in to work warm and cosy.

In the evening Victoria cooked us homemade fish and chips and an amazing but super unhealthy ice cream cake with a cheesecake style base and caramel on the top. Really nice.
On Sunday we went to my mums where I drank too much wine and I took the Monday off work to give me a nice long weekend. It was all good.

More importantly though on the 1st November it was Alice's birthday. She was 7!!!! Where the hell did all that time go? I can't believe it's been 7 years since she went from this to this.

Alice decided on a bowling party for her birthday. We went to Hollywood bowl and they had cake, lunch and did lots of bowling. Amazingly enough Amelia won!!

We both really enjoyed our birthdays, and it's nice that they are both so close. Let's not rush to get to any more though OK. :-)

Pictures of Alice's birthday are available here. Please excuse the fact that Alice seems incapable of keeping her eyes open when having her picture taken. :-)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Silverstone Single Seater Driving Experience - 29th August 2011

As you know, I love motorsport. You probably also know that the motorsport that I love the most is Formula One. It is for this reason that my lovely wife Victoria decided in her infinite wisdom to buy me a Silverstone Single Seater Driving Experience for Christmas last year. The weather got a bit better so I finally booked my experience a few months ago for the 29th August.

Victoria knows me well. She knows that any driving experience bought for me would have to be as close to F1 as possible. It's OK driving a Ferrari or an Aston Martin but no matter how fast they are they are still road cars and therefore sanitized to allow people to drive them safely. She also knew that we both consider Silverstone to be our own personal racetrack so as great as Donnington is, Silverstone is where I would want to be.

We had to be at Silverstone for 07:45. As we were driving in we were excitedly explaining what everything was to Alice and Amelia and they listened but I don't think they were particularly bothered. We were though. We love Silverstone and get excited whenever we drive past let alone actually go there.

We arrived and headed to the middle of the track to the experience centre. I went to reception and was signed in and nearly made a big mistake. I was offered £10 insurance cover in case I prang the £100,000 car I was driving as otherwise I would have to pay £50-100 of the damage myself. Pah! I'll take the chance I thought and said no. Victoria then piped up and said I was mad. I then realised that I mis-heard and would have to pay £15 hundred towards the damage. I paid the £10!

First of all we had a drivers briefing. All those driving sat in a room while a Silverstone instructor was arrogant and patronising towards us all. Still, I resisted the urge to call him a cock and instead listened to him talk about racing lines, breaking points and the 110mph smash that someone had the day before because they were being stupid. Once this was over it was finally time to drive!

We walked over to the pits and were all given helmets. We there then allocated cars and were strapped in by they instructors. Then we were told what the various controls were and how to start the engine (a switch AND a button! Very cool).

At last it was time to drive.

The cars were were driving were specifically built for Silverstone and are actually called 'Formula Silverstone' cars. They are 1.6l open wheeled single seater's that have no ABS, no traction control and no synchromesh on the gearbox. This meant that is was a bit tricky to get the car into gear at first but I soon got the hang of it. They are 'proper' racing cars. None of that road car nonsense!

They also had a very sharp clutch with is why I managed to Kangaroo the car down the pit-lane when I first set off. The liberal application of 4000 revs soon fixed that though.

Once I got going we had 2 laps behind a couple of pace cars, mainly to make sure we all got used to handling the cars while driving at a reasonable rate rather than slamming the accelerator to the floor and immediately putting it into the wall. A good idea indeed. Once the initial 'slow' laps were done the pace cars pulled into the pits and it was time for some fun!

The cars were so amazingly fast. I can't tell you how fast as there was no speedometer but they felt fast, and when accelerating you were really pushed back into your seat. The most incredible part though was how fast you could go round corners. These things really stick to the road like glue and my neck was aching by the time we had finished.

My lap times were improving as the session progressed which was good. I started by doing a lap in 1:28 and at the end I was doing it in 1:09. There was one annoying point where I was being overtaken by a faster car. I pulled to the right to let it past and four cars behind him took the opportunity to overtake me too as I wasn't fast enough to get back on the racing line. DOH!! Apart from that it was all good.

Sadly the session was over far too quickly. The chequered flag was waved and we all peeled into the pits. What a great experience though. I'd recommend it to anyone. I was giddy for the rest of the day and really want to do some more race driving as soon as possible.

Victoria took loads of pics while I was driving, the best of which are here.

Thank you for such a great present.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Legoland - 11th and 12th August 2011

OK, so once again my post is about 2 weeks late, and I can't really say I've been busy as I've just had 2 weeks off, but children take a lot of looking after and there was a lot of SpongeBob to watch!

Anyway, 2 weeks ago we took the kids to Legoland in Windsor. I have to admit that this was partly because Victoria and I wanted to go but it was for the kids too. :-)

We left Sheffield on the morning of the 11th and headed straight for the park. We had a 2 day pass and wanted to make use of both days so we went straight there.

What a great place! We were all really impressed. The staff were all really friendly and seemed to be happy in their work. The park is big enough not to feel totally packed with people and the rides mostly have an interactive aspect to them which makes them much more fun.

The first place we headed to was the driving school. Alice has seen this on the Legoland website and was very excited about earning her Legoland driving licence. There was a section for under fives and a section for 6-13 year olds. I have to admit that I didn't think that Amelia would have a clue about what to do driving a car but she was great. Alice too was brilliant, stopping at red lights and junctions. The only bad part of the ride was that the driving licence cost £6 each!! I think not! At the end of the rides you got a blank licence which you then paid £6 to have a picture put on it and have it laminated. I brought the licences home and did that myself. :-)

OK, so that was a bit tight but considering we had paid for the park and the hotel already I was spending a massive amount of money on food and sundries. For example, Alice wanted burgers for lunch from the Legoland own brand McDonald's/BK stand and 2 burgers and 2 chicken nuggets came to £25!! Crazy!

Over the 2 days we were there we managed to have a go on most rides. All were a success apart from the Pirate Ship which scared the shit out of both the kids. We only took them on it because they insisted and neither of them enjoyed it. Strangely enough though they loved the rollercoaster which I would have thought would have scared them more. Personally I think the new Atlantis ride was the best. You ride on a Lego submarine and get to see lots of live fish and sharks. This was one of the few rides we had to actually queue for but it was worth it.

At the end of each day we exited through the shop and bought some Lego. We like the kids having Lego as we like to play with it with them, which as all parents know is a big bonus when you think of the hours playing with some of the crap they have.

The hotel we stayed in was the Hilton St Anne's Manor in Bracknell. We were just as impressed with the hotel as we were with Legoland. The staff were all very friendly and seemed to enjoy being at work. There was a colouring area for the kids, a Nintendo Wii for them to play on and the food was excellent. The bar was a bit expensive but this is a Hilton so what can you expect. At least when I ordered my 16year old Lagavulin the Spanish girl behind the bar explained how it was her favourite whisky and after pouring in a single measure she added at least another half measure as a little bonus. Now that's what I call service.

All in all a great couple of days away. If you have kids I'd highly recommend going. It's a bit expensive but what isn't these days? If you go to the Legoland website you can get some great deals on the hotel and park if you buy them both together.

Pictures can be found here.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

RIP Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse died yesterday. This makes me sad.

I remember seeing her when she was just starting out on T4 and thinking how good she was. I went out and bought her first album the next day.

I know she had her issues and had been sporting the 'tottering goth poodle' look for a few years but that doesn't change the fact that she was incredibly talented.

RIP Amy Winehouse. :-(

Friday, July 22, 2011

British Grand Prix - 8th, 9th and 10th July 2011

OK, so it was 2 weeks ago but its hard to find time to write posts at the moment. :-)

After missing last years British Grand Prix due to buying a house and the following lack of funds, Victoria and I were determined to go this year. In fact we were so grumpy last year about missing out that we ordered the tickets straight after qualifying last year, a year in advance!

How about that for pre-planning.

Our tickets were on the new Internationl Pit Straight. The start line has been moved from the traditional place to the other side of the circuit to allow more room for the teams and to allow the building of a MASSIVE pit complex. It really is impressive as you can see here.

When we normally go to the Grand Prix we like our tickets for race day to be at the front of the grid and we were slightly dissappointed to find we were nearer the back this year. Not a problem though when we found that we were right opposite the podium and the finish line and could see right down to Stowe, Vale and Club. What great seats!

We were staying in the Ibis hotel just off the M1 junction 18. The hotel was great and all the staff were Spanish for some reason. Not what you would expect in the middle of England. They were very polite and efficient apart from when one girl didn't know what a gin and tonic was. Very strange. The hotel was clean and modern and the food was excellent which is all you really need.

We went down on the Thursday this year. We would normally set off early Friday and head straight to the circuit but we were sick of missing the beginning of first practice so we went mad and had an extra night away.

Friday was practice 1 and 2 and the first time we had seen the new circuit and pit buildings. What an improvement! The place looked much more modern and up to date and as I said our seats were great.

We watched practice 1 from the pit straight and had Kobiyashi crash right in front of us which was nice of him. It was also great when Alonso spun his car and 90,000 fans cheered. We watched practice 2 from Woodcote which meant we could see the cars coming down the Wellington straight in the wet which was very impressive.

Saturday was practice 2 and qualifying. We got up at 5am (!) and left for the curcuit as soon as we were ready. As we always say, we'd rather be sat at the circuit rather than being stuck in the car in a massive queue of traffic. When we got there we bought hot chocolate and fresh doughnuts and went and sat in a stand. Yummy. We watched practice 2 from the pit straight again and qualifying from Luffield which was great as we saw Alonso go off-roading during Q1. More cheers! Unfortunately Lewis Hamilton only qualified 10th which was not too good.

Sunday was race day which meant another 5am start. We essentially spent the whole of Sunday sat in our seats watching the various races and goings on that accompany a Grand Prix. GP3 races, GP2 races, celeb spotting on the grid and finally the race.

The race was great even though Alonso won which is not something you want to pay hundreds of pounds to see. At least it wasn't Vettel! Hamilton drove like a man possessed and was up to second at one point before his team told him he was short fueled and if he didn't slow down he would not finish! DOH!

Apart from that it was a great race, as usual at Silverstone, and a fantastic weekend in general. It was nice to get back to the kids though. We really miss them when we are away for a few days.
I've said this before and I'll say it again. Even if you only have a passing interest in motorsport you really should attend a Grand Prix at least once in your life, and what better race than the British Grand Prix. You can join a hundred thousand Mclaren fans in cheering on Lewis and Jenson.

Pictures of the weekend are here. Beware! They are very heavily bias towards pictures of cars which while obvious to most people seems to have confused my brother. :-)

Monday, June 20, 2011

R.I.P Clarence Clemons

Clarence Clemons died yesterday. For those that don't know who he is he was the sax player with Bruce Springsteen's E-Street band.

Clarence Clemons is widely regarded as the best rock saxophonist ever and he has played with too many people to list, his more recent and sadly last contribution was playing on the new Lady Gaga album.

I saw him play 4 times with the E Street band and its sad to think that should I ever be fortunate enough to see Springsteen play live again it will be without the most recognisable member of his band. He has helped provide the soundtrack to my life since I was 16 years old and first started listening to Springsteen, making such songs as Kitty's Back, Tenth Avenue Freeze Out, Born to Run, Jungleland and hundreds more just sound so damn good.

Even if you are not a fan of Bruce Springsteen I suggest you check out Clarence Clemons. You can start with the video above and listen to his Jungleland solo.

Rest in Peace Clarence. :-(

Sunday, May 15, 2011

@cbriddon just tweeted :

Lunchtime soon. :-)

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

@cbriddon just tweeted:

Why are people giving Jedwood 12 points? Are they mad? #Eurovision

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@cbriddon just tweeted:

Moldova FTW. They rock. Great hats.

ifttt puts the internet to work for you. via task 18757

@cbriddon just tweeted:

Watching Blue on Eurovision means you are actually watching the death of their careers. :-)

ifttt puts the internet to work for you. via task 18757

@cbriddon just tweeted:

Forced by Victoria to watch Eurovision tonight. Not good. Just printed out scoresheets. Might end it all before it starts.

ifttt puts the internet to work for you. via task 18757

@cbriddon just tweeted:

Just finished Portal 2. Stunning game. Nice to see SDL in the credits too.

ifttt puts the internet to work for you. via task 18757

Friday, May 13, 2011

@cbriddon just tweeted:

Lol. New imacs have a propriatory SATA cable to stop you upgrading the hard drive. Good old Apple. What a bunch of gits!

ifttt puts the internet to work for you. via task 18757

@cbriddon just tweeted:

My legs ache. Much cycling this week and all of it fun. :-)

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@cbriddon just tweeted:

Finally experienced Tok You. Now I feel very full indeed. Tasty though.

ifttt puts the internet to work for you. via task 18757

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

@cbriddon just tweeted:

Trying a new route home this evening. Hopefully it will allow me to avoid the painful climb up Twentywell Lane. :-)

ifttt puts the internet to work for you. via task 18757

@cbriddon just tweeted:

Isn't it lunchtime yet? :-(

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Saturday, April 09, 2011

Lightsaber Graph

Thought this was funny. :-)

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

It's A Great Year For Bad Movies!

Hot on the heels of Sharktopus come Rubber. The story of a killer tyre. Can't wait to see this one. Looks like a classic. :-)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Amelia's 3rd Birthday - 27th January 2011

I finally got round to posting Amelia's birthday pictures. You can see them here.

She had a nice day on her birthday and a party at Wacky Warehouse.

I can't believe she is already 3 years old. It doesn't seem long since she first popped out to say hello.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Movie Night

Its Valentines weekend and its Victoria's movie choice. So what does she choose? Love Actually.

I really don't like this film. It has some funny parts but I think the main problem is that there are too many famous people in it and they all get screen time. This makes the film very disjointed.

Still, its all over now. I will clense my movie pallet by watching The Evil Dead on Sci Fi. :-)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Windows Phone 7 - 2 Months In

I've had my Windows Phone 7 device for 2 months now and I thought I'd share some of my thoughts.

The first thing I have to say is that normally I never NEVER buy first generation gadgets. There are too many quirks to work out and they always end up being annoying. So why did I buy a Windows phone? Because I wanted something a bit different and it was the only phone that fitted that requirement.

I was bored with my iPhone so was considering an Android phone, but they have the same grid based icon arrangement so I would be buying something very similar to what I had before. The Windows phone however used a completely different UI which I really liked the look of so I decided to break my own rule and took the plunge.

The phone I bought is the HTC HD7 which has a massive 4.3 inch screen. It seemed big at first but I soon got used to it and now Victoria's iPhone seems tiny when I use it.

The OS is very slick. It never stutters and seems to flow really nicely from one application to another. After a bit of playing about with it you easily get used to it. Nothing is hard to find and you are never left wondering how to do something.

Internet Explorer is excellent, the mail application is superb, the calendar and messaging apps are also superb. In short I love this phone.

Instead of having a grid of icons on the home screen Windows Phone 7 has what are called 'Live Tiles'. These are essentially big shortcuts to applications but they show useful information such as when mails arrive, what the weather is like, which music you are playing etc. It works really well.

So, I like my phone. Does this mean there are no '1st Gen' issues? No. there are some. None are show stoppers but some are a bit annoying.

The main issue I have, and this is the stupidest thing I have EVER seen on a phone, is that you can't connect to hidden wireless networks. This is not a bug but it is by design. I am hoping it is changed in the upcoming update.

Secondly, you have a dedicated search button which is dynamic in that what appears when you press it changes according to what screen you are currently looking at. If you press it from the home screen it opens the brilliant (not kidding!) BING search screen, if you are in the marketplace (app store) it brings up the market search etc. My problem is that if you are in Internet Explorer it bring up the yahoo search page and there is no way to change it. WTF!? They have a brilliant search page in BING and they lock you to the shittiest one on the internet? Crazy.

The third issue I have is that unlike the iPhone there is no dedicated mute button. You have to reduce the volume to zero. I think I have just been spoiled by the iPhone mute button as no other phone has one but I really do miss it.

That is about it for issues. There are some problems with apps occasionally crashing and not supporting landscape view etc but that is really down to the app designer and not Microsoft and the apps I use are being updated so frequently that these issues are fast disappearing. The main improvement is in the Facebook app which was terrible at first but excellent now.

...and talking of Facebook, the Windows Phone 7 integration with it is exceptional. It ties your contacts into Facebook (if you want) it matches your normal contacts with Facebook ones and presents both sets of data as one. It downloads pictures from Facebook for your contacts. It really is great. If you use Facebook. Luckily I do. :-)

There is an update to Windows Phone 7 coming any time now. It will apparently increase app loading times and fix some known bugs but to be honest I've not found many. So far this phone has been a pleasure to own and if I were buying it today, although I would have a good look at the lovely Nexus S I would still buy the HTC HD7.

Well done Microsoft. :-)

Christmas 2010

DOH! I forgot to tell you about Christmas! Essentially, it was great. We were all alone this year so the four of us had a really nice relaxed day.

We got up at about 7 with the kids to open presents, then Victoria put the lunch on, having engineered a 90 minute gap in her tasks at around 12:30 so that we could all wander to the Castle for a few pints. After than we came home, had the best Christmas lunch ever and then watched TV and chilled out for the rest of the day. Bloody excellent if you ask me! :-)

Pictures here.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Mac OS X is the Most Dangerous OS

According to this article on Tom's Hardware, OS-X is the most dangerous OS to run due to the long release times between updates and Apples habit of pretending there are no problems with OS-X.

And I bet you thought it would be Windows.

Thankyou Microsoft for your monthly patch cycle and for making the online world a safer place. :-)

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