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When you are: March 2009

30 March 2009

Logo Recognition #2

I've talked previously about logo recognition, and this weekend we've been on a roll. And they all lead to one thing... those blasted toot-toots!

Here's the first:
This is the age...
OK, not too bad when you think on that this is in fact the old British Rail logo, still in use today for station direction signs and on tickets for the "Rail Settlement Plan", and adapted for the Train Operating Companies logo. But this is how the recognition came about, and it all started very innocently.

At Christmas he got a magic doodle pad which with the help of magnets you can draw monochrome pictures on a white board. Simple, really. Anyway, guess who drew a train while the little fella was playing with his wooden train set? Yes, the Muppet formerly known as Daddy. Why? Because now he frequently wants me to draw a train. And my forte is the profile of an HST (Intercity 125 to the people who wear jackets rather than anoraks). "Window, door", he shouts out as the image grows. "Wheels". And then the old BR logo gets drawn on the side. Puzzled. Stumped. Gotcha! Until a little later on, passing our local station's sign at the top of Station Road - "Train - Train - that way, Daddy - train". Bollocks! No Gotcha!

Next up:
Cbeebies? How do we get back to trains, I hear? Well, there's a really naff show called Chugginton. It's just not right, but on our first sit down visit to www.cbeebies.co.uk yesterday and again today a couple of clips from this show is what we like to watch. Especially the clip with the monkey (go on watch it - it's funny) - our monkey gets a little clip around the ear when the monkey clips the dog around the ear - hilarious he finds it. And he's banging on the table when the monkey bangs on the roof of the train. "Again!" I must have watched that clip a dozen times tonight (that's 24 clips around the ear - come on Social Services, there's a confession).

But how did we land there? In most modern browsers there's a neat little option called the favourite icon (favicon.ico) that displays in the browser's address bar or tab bar rather than the old folded page logo. Gives graphical identity to an otherwise bland bit of text. So when one of the Cbeebies characters, one of the little yellow traingle thingies, is used for the cbbebies website, we instantly get this pointed out. "Beebies". And then it's two clicks away from being slapped around the head purely for pleasure.

I haven't quite worked out how the "cake" logo (Starbucks, Sunday, after Socatots) works into being a train, but I'm on the look-out!

Shhh, baby sleeping

With the Stevensons up this weekend we've had different routines to juggle given the age differences. JJ being the old timer that he is, and me being the sprightly 20-something.

Eh? Oh, yeah, our boys being different ages...

So when MAS went down for his kips we had to keep our monster sedated. Shhh, baby's sleeping. And it stuck, as we known he gets told the same at nursery if he's off down the opposite end with the toddlers for a quick visit. But, the absolute defining moment was when he was playing in his bedroom, with the rest of us downstairs (poor Joe at work), and MAS asleep in the room next to his. We hear a voice... then coming round the corner of the staircase there he is... "Baby, this way". Eh? "Baby, this way". And he comes over to JJ (past me and MOTS to get to him), and leads him by the hand upstairs. Why? MAS had woken up. Enter the bedroom? No. Come down and tell us? No - he told MAS's Daddy, and took him up to see him.

Fantastic! MOTS and I were amazed at this.

A great weekend

It's been all go this weekend, with visitors up from Yorkshire. There's only one true Yorkshireman among them - one Southerner, one Manc, and one proper Yorkie who doesn't know his true and proper heritage yet - but he will when he's old enough!! With enough to keep the two young lads (and their offspring) happy all weekend it's been a great few days.

Friday - Time Twisters

Poor Joe, at work while the rest of us played. It's only our second visit to Time Twisters and I have to say it was better than last time, not saying last time was in any way a negative experience or anything, but this was just better. Now we know there's multiple exits over two levels to watch for (ie our own little Pharaoh can appear from any direction with no warning) it's manageable, after the initial shock. But they are safe, electronic doors that are permanently manned, there's no escape route. Lunch was a must given the time of the visit, and I have to say there are two things a place like this needs to get right.

  1. The play area - has to appeal to kids, be safe, be interesting, have variety, and develop multiple skills. Tick.
  2. The food - if the coffee is like sludge then Mum & Dad aren't going to relax, sit back and enjoy their time. Tick.

No instamatic rubbish here, a proper espresso machine. And an extensive menu with healthy eating awards splattered across it. Run of the mill? Nope, certainly well above average. In all areas except the price - while they will make money on it it's very reasonable. Our old haunt never got a look for lunch as it never looked that good, we tried a snack once and wasn't taken with it, so only ever had a sludge coffee and muffin (Costco's I guess), so played it safe.

On the plus side, our old haunt had a big tick in box one, until it shut down at Christmas without warning. The good news is it re-opened today under a new name with new management - Hoorah!

Swimming for the first time in a while on Saturday. While we've always seen our little fish as ahead of the game he's not having formal lessons, which Mac is and it shows. Better now than at aged 11, when I started learning.

Sunday - the play area in our development is trashed, it was never installed correctly, or builder refused to rectify it, the factor is useless, so it's going to ruin. The next one along, however, is great, and a good walk ending in there in the afternoon (after a good morning at Socatots, a strop-free quick shopping blast and lunch out).

I think it ranks as one of, if not the, best weekends we've had as a family in a long time.

03 March 2009

Aquafresh Milk Teeth Toothpaste Recall

After buying our first tubes of toothpaste (we're still using the freebies given out by the health visitor, MOTS' dentist, nursery), we are hit by a recall on the product. This is a month later, so we're not quick off the blocks here, but we only found out about it last week.


What does concern me though is how it's been handled. We saw the recall notice in the window of the store where it was purchased. Now, and this is our fault entirely, we didn't read the whole notice, just enough to read the recall, and that the two tubes we had were subject to it. So, armed with them, I went in expecting a refund. But no, there in clear black and white on the notice is a freephone number to ring. D'Oh!

OK, Saturday morning comes, so I ring the freephone number, to be greeted with an answering machine - lines open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm. OK, I'll try on Monday. At 17:54 on Monday I called, and again get the answering machine telling me lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.

Surely it would be better to deal with distributors, wholesalers and retailers than individual consumers? Especially when (eventually) they do call the line, during operational hours, to get no answer.

To cut to the chase, after trying again at 09:35 (well in the hours, to account for any late arrivals or as last night early departures) we are getting a padded envelope sent out to return them. Surely it would be better to deal with distributors, wholesalers and retailers than individual consum.. oh hang on, that point has already been made. But there are two tubes, so the point can be made twice I guess. And I did get a call back on the mobile at 09:52 as a result of the message I left on their machine last night.

At least their answering machine works!!

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