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Happapapapapay New Year!

Have a Happy New Year!

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Rusty New Year

We took Rusty for a New Year’s day walk out to Tweseldown today. A huge wooded area with all sorts of things for a pup to get excited about… Mud, sand, grass, trees, and plenty of water.

She’s just turned 21 weeks old and is already 22″ tall to the shoulder, and weighs in at 24kg.

I didn’t get a chance to take many photos before she took to the water… over and over again.

DAMN I’M GOOD LOOKING!

DITCH JUMP!!! HELLS YEAH!

YAY!!! WATER!!!

SAND!!! OMG!!! I BLOODY LOVE SAND!!!!

WHAT? You still have the ball? THROW IT, DAMN YOU!

CAN’T…BREATH… BUT MUST FIND STONE…

MORE SAND!!!! AND I SEE WATER!!!!

COME ON IN!!! IT’S FREEZING!!!

GOT IT!!!

THROW IT ALREADY!!!

WA… WAIT… JUST CATCHING MY BREATH…

LET’S PLAY MORE!!

OKAY… NOW STOP THROWING MY STICK AWAY ALL THE TIME…

I’M DONE…

More photos HERE (Lots more…)


Twitter Collapse

It’s that time of year when SMS, email, phone networks and so called social networks all grind to a constipated halt, just letting out dribs and drabs of messages  in flatulent bursts….

With that in mind, I hope that this WordPress blog entry gets out to you all!

From all in the Black household, be that human, hen, cat or horse….

….. We wish you all a…

HAPPY NEW YEAR

2012

Click image to biggerfy it


New Land Rover ‘Defender’ revealed

It’s a sad day if this is how the Defender replacement is going to turn out.

Really glad that we brought a Series 3… and by Hell are we going to keep it if the DC 100 is the future….

According to FunRover.com

This is a preview of the vehicle which is planned for release, according to FT, in 2015. Land Rover’s Design Director, Gerry McGovern says that it’s not the finished vehicle, but rather, the start of a 4 year journey to design a ‘relevant Defender for the 21st-Century’…

I’m sorry, but the beauty of the box, from Series 1 to the latest Defender… a family line (and interchangeability) has made the Land Rover one of the very last true iconic cars on the UK roads… and one of, if not THE last true iconic UK car on foreign soil, so I hope you’ll forgive me when I say that the released photo of the DC 100 leaves me greatly saddened.

I seriously hope that this is a ‘way out’ concept, and that the final design is more in keeping with the REAL Land Rover shape – which to me, and to countless other people, is a huge part of the Land Rover heritage.

This new DC 100 is just a fat version of the Japanese Nissan Cube… and you don’t even have to squint to see the similarities.

DC 100 (top). Nissan Cube (bottom)... I think.

If you MUST go this way Land Rover, then can I suggest that you also bring out some simpler, more basic utilitarian models that still have interchangeability of parts, simple nut & bolt maintenance and retain the classic box shape. Maybe call it the Series 4, or to be cool, the SX, because X is cool, isn’t it?

This DC100 looks too curvy & aimed at a softer crowd than the current Defender and the older Counties and Series before. This new shape will just make people buy similar looking Japanese pick-ups, after all it looks like that’s where it’s from (design wise).

People put a lot of faith in the familiar Land Rover box shape, regardless of what is good or bad under the hood. By losing the old faithful image of a tough, established work horse, you’re going to loose followers. Other companies would give their off spring away to get such a visual branding as the old box…. I can’t see it as anything other than a bad move.

By all means, make the DC100, but badge it as Discovery X or something and keep the Defender simple, boxy & utilitarian.

We like to mess around with generic bolt on parts & make OUR Land Rovers that bit individual, to suit OUR purposes… and there’s a HUGE range of after market bolt ons & spares that we use across the Series ~ Defender range.

By coming out with a totally new design (which is only recognisable as a Defender because YOU told us…), you take ALL of that away from us.

On that matter… The new Beetle, Mini & Fiat 500… even Morgan & Citroën 2CV concept… are all recognisable as modern incarnations of their original models. The DC100 fails at even that. It looks more like a more focused Disco/Freelander clone with no hint of the heritage we’ve grown to trust.


A brief pause… and ZOMBIES!

Christmas came and went. New Year landed.

Lots of fun time was had with Chris and Alex as we spent quality time together. Thank you to those who sent greetings and/or gifts, they were greatly appreciated. Alex has had a wonderful time and is really getting into the Christmas thing.

Tesco, Earlier today.

Anyway… ZOMBIES!!!

At the supermarket  earlier I was surprised to see so many vacant eyed mouth breathers wandering around masticating on gum with their mouths open. Some even doing it as a family…

I wondered what was happening… and then it clicked… 2 days into the New Year and these were the New Year ‘resolutionary’ non-smokers.

I give them a week at best.

You see, the way I see it is; if you have to wait until New Year to set a resolution, then you probably don’t have what it takes to make it happen anyway.

If you really want to do/quit something that much, then why would you wait? Just do it.

You don’t believe me?  Tell this to someone who just set a resolution and watch them break sweat and reach for a cream cake and a cigarette as they realise that it is absolutely correct. See the realisation creep into their eyes as they understand how weak they really are, and how the resolution was never going to work….

I gave up smoking many, many years ago. At my worst I used to smoke 20/40 a day…. I simply decided enough was enough and stopped. No gum, no patch, no hypnotherapy. I used that long lost tool humankind seems to have let wither and almost die…. “Will Power” and “Getting the Hell on with it“.

You can do it – gum, patches, self help books, plastic cigarettes – these things may help a few people, but mostly they are there to make money off of you by convincing you that YOU ARE WEAK AND CAN’T QUIT WITHOUT THESE PRODUCTS….. they just want your money… You ARE strong enough… all you have to do is dust off that back bone and get on with it – and it’s in this area that hypnotherapy can really help. Yes… use it to unleash that will power – You don’t need drugs or patches or other gizmos…you already have it in you.


Improving on perfect

BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes… they all make superb saloon cars. They are well made, refined, smooth and drive well.

So when these top marques then bring out a sport model (be it an AMG, S, M etc), then they improve on the already great basic saloon car model.

They improve the handling, they tighten up the feedback, driver involvement, road holding. They tweak the chassis, engine and suspension. They end up with the same saloon car… but different – better – each part honed to a higher level.

What they don’t do is stick on some gaudy graphics, a big exhaust pipe and a huge spoiler and then try to palm it off as a sports car…

Where is this leading then?

For the past 2 weeks I have had the pleasure of test driving an aluminium bodied (hand finished in the UK no less), tweaked and more responsive version of an engineering marvel that I have blogged about before.

Will King (King of Shaves) hasn’t sat on his backside and let the already great award winning Azor (and Azor S – Sensitive) blow away the competition, oh no, he’s been working on improving perfection.

Well, that’s a bit strong. Azor had it’s bad points for some users, and a few quirks that first time users weren’t ready for… so maybe not improving on perfection, but most definitely improving on the Azor, the best multiblade shaving hardware since the Gillette Mach 3.

The trouble some people had with the Azor is they expected it to be the same as any previous razor – but it isn’t. For one it is sharper and more responsive.

Like all things different you need to get used to it – so a couple of shaves really won’t give you the real benefit of the Azors great shave. Try it, stick with it for a month and then see how you feel. You wouldn’t expect to get into a new car and have everything be in just the right place straight away, as each driver adjusts and gets used to their new car – so you should adjust and get used to the Azor.

So anyway today, the official launch of the Azor M…. I wasn’t expecting a great improvement leap, as the first Azor was already a benchmark product.

The NEW King of Shaves AZOR M

For the two weeks prior to today’s launch I have been a tester using the Azor M and the new slimline blade cartridge. The M stands for metal – an aluminium body hand finished in the UK. The slimline cartridge is an improved version of the original, already incredible Azor blade.

The heft is good – this is down to the extra weight of the metal over the previous Azor models. It feels more controlled & has a certain quality feel about it  (Azor 1 & S have great quality & design, but to some people a light razor is seen as cheap & tatty). Azor M nicely addresses that & more.

The 3 colour look… it sounds a bit dicey, but when I saw it I was immediately impressed. No tarty chrome look like Gillette use. A subtle, almost Audi-ish brushed Aluminium that wasn’t pretending to be anything else, because it is what it is. Very stylish.

The shave… Okay, I was surprised at how different it was. Doing my head really showed the improvements. That weight made for more control & a smoother glide.

Better still – and this shocked me….the blade life is longer! I thought the first Azor blade was good, but this is still as blisteringly sharp now after two weeks of full head and beard shaves as when I first used it. This surely is the KoS standard now – Cheaper, longer lasting and far, far sharper blades.

Azor M - Perfection squared

The new cartridge design seems to be more than meets the eye. The trimmed & squared off lube section made for a more accurate trim around my goatee. Now there is a definitive squared end across the head of the cartridge that is parallel to the blades, which actually gave more confidence around the beard and that just worked better – I didn’t need to think about it so much as I knew exactly where I was shaving.

I managed to shave several areas around my ears that the previous cartridge wouldn’t touch due to the old larger cartridge – so a marked improvement there.

The reduced top end section also appeared to pull/tighten my skin slightly more than the Azor S (not in a bad way). It felt taut & controlled – referring back to my car analogy I’d say the Azor M is the sports saloon of the range – tweaked to give a firmer, more accurate & closer ride. It’s all a bit more “together”, which is amazing, seeing as the previous Azor danced over the competition without bothering to even take it’s shoes off!

The distinct but minimal packaging of the Azor

Even though Azor has one of the narrower side walls on the cartridge than other brands, I personally would like to see even thinner side walls with the blades as close to the edge as possible – but that’s a wish list thing & no complaint against any Azor.

I don’t know how many of the above improvements were intentional or just a by product of the new M design, but I can say that King of Shaves have improved on something that was near perfect anyway, and improved it more than I could imagine!

As for Gillette and the Fusion range…. remember the comment about sticking on a big spoiler (more blades) a big exhaust (shove a battery in it) and gaudy graphics (oranges, blues, greens, and chrome)……Well… there’s an old saying…

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig

Gillette were great in the Mach 3 days, in the same way the old 1980’s BMW M3 series was great… but times have moved on and things have improved.

Look at the modern designs we are seeing in cars, mobile phones, computers etc…. it’s all smooth, simple, no fuss, functional and thought out (much like the early days or race cars, aircraft etc… smooth and flowing).

Gone are the days of angular brash and loud designs that were definitely more show than go… It’s easy to see which of the two camps the Azor and the Mach 3 belong to.

Gillette Fusion yesterday

The King of Shaves press release for Azor M is HERE.


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