Stefan's Naturally Aspirated Blog

120 Years of Icelandic Art - 9 Favourite Artists and Artworks

IcelandIcelandic ArtIcelandic Artists

This post was inspired bizarrely by an advertisement in the ’Seaman’s Day’ issue of ’Fiskifréttir’ - an Icelandic fishing industry weekly which my Dad brought with him when he last made a visit. Seaman’s Day is a public holiday in Iceland (first weekend in June) to celebrate all those who work at sea and in related fishing industries. This issue featured another advertisement by Icelandic bank Landsbankinn featuring the unique talents of Iceland’...

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LEGO yet again underlines its credentials as the King of Licensing with superb new Stranger Things The Upside Down Set

DemogorgonLegoLicensing StrategyQuality ControlStranger ThingsThe Upside Down+-

Just announced today and available right away for LEGO VIPs - the topsy-turvy Set of the Byers’ home features both the right-side-up and ’Upside Down’ versions of their house - which you can turn up either way - tree-side or creeper-side! You get 8 key character minifigs including Joyce and Will and the gang, a Demogorgon and Eleven of course - and you also get Chief Jim Hopper and his jeep/truck.


The concept and execution here are just superb - whoever thought this ...

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Japanese Kawaii Culture and the ever pervasive influence of Cute

Childhood MemoriesCultural InfluencesCuteCute ArtKawaiiPop Surrealism+-

I am not ashamed to say that I’m a massive fan of ’Cute’ or a Kawaiiista of sorts and this has seemingly been with me my whole life as born out by the following key references. In Japan - Kawaii culture is a sort of obsession with everything cute - which informs a lot of Japanese society in the like of manga, anime and popular culture in general, including things like Pokemon, Hello Kitty, pack-lunches even and various Arcade and Computer Games over the decades. For some ...

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The Death of UK Customer Service - AKA Please phone unconnected 3rd party call centre helpline with Zero Executive Powers

Customer AutomationCustomer CareCustomer CharterCustomer HelplineCustomer ServicesSelf-Service+-

I’ve born witness to declining service standards for a number of years now and things are alas still getting worse. We have seen such a huge decline in customer services over the years that the customers themselves have now almost become the customer service departments for many companies and service providers - often being the ones offering advice and support on communal bulletin boards and the like.


Nowhere is this drop more acute than with airlines - where I believe if they ...

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Spotify is Failing to Meet Expectations!

Mobile Music LibraryMusic PlayerMusic StreamingPlaylistsSpotify+-

Spotify’s recent Q1 results show overall subscribers up to 217 million, with paying subscribers reaching 100 million for the first time. At the same time revenues are rising to $1.68 billion while the bottom line is still one of loss - or around -$159 million this quarter - slightly down year-on-year.


In Q1 I also discovered a limit to Spotify’s capabilities that did not impress me much - the maximum 10,000 tracks you can download to your mobile devices. I for one am ...

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May The 4th Be With You on Combined Star Wars and Comic Book Day!

Free Comic Book DayMay the 4th be with youMay the force be with youStar Wars DayStar Wars Graphic Novels+-

I’ve long grown up and out of Record Store Day and ’FREE’ Comic Book Day - I’ve never liked queues, and there are very few things that make long-term queueing anyway worthwhile. When I used to indulge in Free Comic Book Day the whole thing was fraught with disappointments - you queue for an hour or more selecting 5 preferred free comic books from the longlist - but unless you were out queuing the night before - most or even all your first picks are gone by the time you ...

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Tuckshop Rules are the New Adult Dietary Discipline

Binge BustEating HabitsFood ControlHealthy EatingTuckshop RulesWaistline Maintenance+-

As we grow up and grow older we no longer need to abide by the usually far more regimented rules of youth. We are free to set our own rules and of course make our own mistakes as such. Over my lifetime many a food has changed significantly in composition. Your average processed food now has twice as much sugar and salt as it did in my childhood - as these flavour-enhancers obviously bring out the win in the various head-to-head taste tests (New Coke vs Pepsi etc.!).


Besides sugar and ...

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If you’ve been anywhere near YouTube recently you cannot have failed to have seen one or two of the many thousands of complaints made by content creators about YouTube’s entirely ludicrous Content ID and Copyright Claims Systems. The former flags any and all similar sounding musical content - regardless of fair use terms, licence agreements or permitted alternative version use. While the latter allows anyone and everyone to claim ownership of any music - regardless of whether they ...

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GDPR impact already starting to wane

Affino GDPRCyber CrimeEmail SpamGDPRInternet FraudPhishing+-

Inconsistent oversight and enforcement of the new GDPR Privacy Regulations means that spam and fraud are on the rise again. I noted that the median value of spam held in my email quarantine folder dropped from around 120-130 at its peak down to around 80 at its lowest level - which is still far from exemplary but was a significant improvement. Checking on the Spam folder more recently shows that levels have largely crept back up to near as bad as they were before GDPR was introduced - which is ...

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No New Products at HMV and Fopp Marks Further Demise of the Guy-Street

Convent GardenFoppHMVMusic IndustryMusic MegastoreMusic RetailOxford StreetVideo Retail+-

For the uninitiated, the ’Guy-Street’ is the part of the High Street that generally appeals to male shoppers - stereotypical for sure but it mostly holds up. Around 10-20 years ago there were a myriad of shops for the average bloke to browse through while the more retail-oriented part of the family properly hit the shops. I like to use Oxford Street as a benchmark as it is relevant to this particular article. Over the years it has been home to at least 4 record stores at the same ...

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