Saturday, 27 December 2008

Government and "yeehaw" training

In this day and age you would think the governments "joined up thinking" would have a included the sensible approach to making sure the increasing millions soon to hit the dole queues, would be eligible to have training.

You know, to keep their skills up. To ensure that when the country pops out of the depression, we'll be in fighting fit form to take on the world and hold our own with a huge array of newly trained and qualified people champing at the bit with a new found vigour, highly toned skills and boundless reams of energy.

You would have thought!

Sadly, this government thinks otherwise and from september 2009 are bringing in a bizarre system, where they will provide funds for people to be trained. They will actually provide 100% of the funding. But with one small proviso. They will give the training providers 20% of the training costs up front. And then (and here's the kicker) they will fund the other 80% once (so making the magic sum of 100%), the unemployed person has found gainful employment within 6 months of them finishing the training course and been unemployed for 6 months.

So? I hear the cry go up, they're getting training, providers are getting paid?

Well imagine this scenario. You're at work and your bosses come up with a scheme, where instead of you getting paid your monthly salary all in one foul swoop, they give you 20%, and say that if you do a really good job and bring in outstanding results at the 1/2 yearly review stage they'll give you the other 80% of your salary in six months time, if you can keep it up.

Happy with it now?

The governments cack-handed approach to this has of course meant that meaningful providers who would have given the unemployed meaningful achievable training routes back into employment or self-employment, are now pulling out in droves. Leaving the really bad, or the ones who can use this now endless supply of even cheaper labour (as they'll get even more money into their coffers), as the only things left for those seriously unemployed; who could well end up to be a new underclass, permanently pinned on the spokes of poverty.

This might have worked when the economy was booming and bust defeated, and jobs were like confetti on ticker tape day. But in the current cooling clime, it is one of the worst ideas they have come up and stuck with.

Once people realise it, the ranks of the disaffected and jump-shippers could finally become a stampede.

Naturally when it is brought in and fails, they will blame the providers for not living up to the schemes expectations. Instead of them standing up, throwing their hands in the air and just going "yep, we cocked up."

This is nothing but a rear-guard action, by a rear-guard rump of a government, for which everyone else is to blame for everything's that happening, and they happily waft about losing the precious few tenuous grips on reality that they once had.

The one happy thought which trickles through peoples mind is, like dust in a storm, they'll be summarily kicked out of power come the prevailing electoral wind. Will things get any better afterwards? Oh where is my sick bag.

We are interconnected as never before. Our prioritise used to be small; the family, the village, the town, the city, the county, then the country states. But we've reached a stage where what happens on one side of the world, will in seconds impact the another. We have to think of ourselves as global citizens, and not the old insular back-biting, back stabbing, parochial entities of old. We have to go beyond the "every person for themselves" motto as that's plainly failed, in all its iterations.

"We are a species that goes beyond our limitations," says Ray Kurzweil. A shame governments religions, and fundamental fruitbats try to place so many restrictions hindering the pace of change, pace of development and pace of fairness for the whole of humankind.

And talking of wheels coming off wagons. Oh dear. Is this already the start of the end, of the obama love-in?

And in keeping with the time of diy, here's my wee little homage to the season of happiness.

Saturday, 20 December 2008



Friday, 19 December 2008

With minutes to spare

Just when it looks as if the second brain cells died, it kicks back into life, and with minutes to spare.  So here it is...

Another look at the special christmas countdown; as doom and gloom is scattered around with more liberal abandonment, than anyone knows what to do with.


Thursday, 18 December 2008

End of year thoughts - part iii

As good as seeing water turned to wine and world peace announced would be, things just won't be the same.

  1. The few remaining doctors discover a new form of hallucinogenic mushroom growing in the dampness of reservoirs used by the ruling elite in zimbabwe for their drinking water; but are shot as traitors, when they try to administer detox programs.
  2. England win a cricket series 5-0.  The hedgehog cricket series.
  3. Sterling plunges to an all time low against a basket of currencies, as a journalist breaks a remarkable story.  Clambering down a beanstalk, the out of breath daring reporter babbled a story about gold reserves and egg shapes!
  4. China, now the worlds cameras have gone, continues its rounding up of dissidents.  But unlike the old days, dissidents now have greater options under the march towards equality; to be used as canon shot, or as the target.
  5. The un officially declares zimbabwe a dead zone and launches a scathing attack on some of its spineless neighbours.
  6. During the christmas address, the queen experiences momentary confusion and recalls the good old days of blair, sorry thatcher, no atlee.
  7. With the lack of after-office appointments, dinner invitations, or even publishing deals coming his way.  Ex-pres george does a 30 second television advert for clark's shoes.
  8. Fat people are people, who simply have a medical problem - they can't keep their mouths shut.
  9. On an unrelated note, a growing number of dentists have been spotted lurking outside the doors of the nations fast food joints, as a new points system for wiring peoples jaw shut, comes into force.
  10. There is huge rejoicing in the union at the outlawing of slavery.  Sadly the british government blows hearty raspberries in the direction of the rest of the continent, and says it's their prerogative to ensure the peasants are flogged before work, flogged during work and flogged twice after work.  Just to make sure they're working.

But onto a more festive theme...


Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Ah where's my precious

After spending two days zombified mortified and petrified, with time zipping off into the sunset, the count continues.

Some currencies are up, some are down.  More murders, killings, rapes, pillaging, plots, stabbing's, charity, love and hope.  More nano, less nano, better medicines, more lawsuits.  There are now more people in the world with more time on their hands.  More time to relax and look back on those hectic years of madness they've wasted.  Some to enjoy the freedom of their gardens, some to spend the time idling behind firm barred doors pretending to be lucy, and yet others soldering on hoping for the time of change.

Think that about sums it up for the past couple of days.



Monday, 15 December 2008

Trips through twilight thrice

The journey through twilight land takes on an ever stranger twist.  As the minority, who take drugs, are vilified by the majority (according to figures plucked randomly from news headlines), but taking drugs (which have unspecified/mixed results) for the new application of boosting intelligence, instead of been branded as frankensteinian, for unnatural tampering with the natural processes, are welcomed for the potential helpful boosts that they engender, in uni-tasking capability.

Will these pills be made available for the destitute poor in any country?  You can almost hear thought processes whirring away, they don't even have proper nutrition or access to decent water facilities what do they need the pills for, they'll just be even more acutely aware of their dire circumstances?

Basically good is bad, and bad is good.  Cognitive enhancer's good.  Euphoric enhancer's bad.  Although i'm sure if governments started taxing all drugs, the illicit variety would lose its rebel allure.   More people might start talking more openly; apart, perhaps, from those interested in over familiarity with sheep.  Those who still insist upon there use, would at least be able to pop down to their local pharmacy (for a fee) for the obligatory one minute purity & dna compatibility test, on provision of a properly stamped and vated receipt from the ministry of homeland happiness.  Not only that, but with the tax from smoking and oil diminishing, the money we'll all need in the following years of hardship will have to come from somewhere - instead of our children's futures.

But at the end of the day, even if there's only a 5% chance of boosting brain power, I would more than happily pop such pills.  Why?  It might give the remaining two brain cells a bit more company in this tumbleweed infested carapace, and i'd finally be able to remember the end of...



Saturday, 13 December 2008


Why are people so shocked about the barclay brothers closing down and shipping out of sark?

Multi-billionaires, corporate giants, money machines have always attempted to subvert/bend/change governments to suit their ends.

The people of sark voted to keep their system of feudalism in place, for whatever reason they are happy with it or simply - after 400 years - just that little bit worried the prospect of potential change.

The brothers don't like it and have voted using the influence they have.  You could say they have elected to use their rights of expression. 

The co-operative don't invest in countries, companies  or regimes that goes against their ethical charter, should they be told they can't do that even though those millions might help people in poverty?  Aren't they expressing the rights of their members and beliefs?

Plenty of people complain about the lack of democracy in so many parts across the globe, yet right on the uks doorstep is an island which is only now taking faint faltering steps.  They made their choice to keep change at a minimum, and the brothers expressed their disappointment, perhaps it is just a case of nothing to see here.

But it's approaching that time of year, for feasting, dancing and song...


Friday, 12 December 2008

Pie at 6 o'clock... no, 2 o'clock... is it a pie? ...

... and there you have it, as good as a stodgy politician lumping around in sheep's clothing.

After three bites and meeting nothing but pastry - in this alleged meat pie.  I decided to keep the rest.  Take it home, and place it under closer scrutiny in a soup bowl.  Just to give it some depth.

But, as can be seen from the opposite of an already munched side, a reasonable amount had been gobbled without meeting any form of resistance, whether in juices, tantalising flavour let alone anything resembling tenderised meat.  Nothing but the same flabby bits of over sogged pastry. 

So here are pictures (quick sequence) of the pie, and the heaped teaspoon of filling that obviously went into it, followed by acres and acres of more lamentable pastry.  Meat pie?  More like "nasty pie surprise!"

DSCF1957 DSCF1959 DSCF1961 DSCF1962

Sadly it turned out to be a proverbial oh why did i bother.  And will teach me to pack a small horse of apples to munch on, and not to munch on anything whilst travelling through a strange part of town.  However tempting it might first appear - unless it happens to be first recommended by a local!

For those wishing not to indulge at this particular eatery or for those masochistic enough for an experience, it can be found here:

On a totally different and unrelated matter, is there a law against idiots driving through built up areas with exhausts rivaling blasting off shuttles?  I thought that sort of nonsense went out with the eighties?  If not shouldn't residents be given the right to buy rpg's or bazookas - for some peace and quiet?

What was that...?  There's a world outside?



Tuesday, 9 December 2008


People are under the false impression that 100% fundamentals will take note of any life outside of their belief system has any importance.  As far as they are concerned, people who don't believe have as much legality to existence, as a petri dish of slime.

Not that any of this matters...


Monday, 8 December 2008

End of year thoughts - part II (the continuation - somewhat)

End of year thoughts should really encompass more than the worst or the best of what's happened, even if they're all the majority can remember - or those out there with a similar piss-poor memory.

The following few musings have drifted up through bubbling randomness, which needs to be given a waft of some type of freshening air; either that or it simply had me outraged, hawking up, and legless in stitches.


Advertisement: in my opinion is toshiba's upscaling (when over to their site click on the tv on the box, then the view ad tab on the top banner, and after a second of them showing off the flash effects it will start) advert, that's tickled all my bones and kept me going back for more feasting eye-fulls. 60 seconds of well-spent viewing. But i suppose after losing out in the hd wars, they had to come up with something redemptive, the advert mind, not sure about the upscaling nonsense.

Brief piece of music used in an advert: again toshiba's upscaling one does it for me, but honourable mention to the spot samsung f480 (yes that was the phones model number) at the time of the beijing olympics.

Movie trailer: the day the earth stood still, the trailer; did i mention anything about acting?

News: that bastion of capitalism (that's kept us all fed and safe for decades) has gone belly up, and had to have its carcass dragged out of the flood waters by the nasty liberal/socialist scum who hold such values as human rights, equality, fraternity in high regard. Brrrrrr!

Game: eve-online - naturally i'm biased.

Amateur spin off video of a game (or machinima to give it its correct title): must surely go to clear skies, from john rourke and gang. The full 450mb download is available from here, or a 26mb trailer here. Or go to the eve-online site and see what the hard-core nutters - sorry - fellow gamers, have been saying about it.

Anti-hate speech: to keith olbermann.

A brief glimpse in seven categories that have caught my vibrating eyes & ears this year. And the worst is yet to come!

Forgot about what? The uk government losing half its citizens data? Luckily that was last year. But this year, isn't quite yet finished. After the feasting there'll be plenty of time...


Sunday, 7 December 2008

Potty brain

When younger, I used to enjoy pottering (yes even during those tender formative years, I enjoyed a good potter), growing plants, drawing plans which involved building small dams and irrigation systems.  All in a patch no bigger than 4ft by 1.5ft.  But it kept me enthralled for months.

Now, many years later, with less space than that assigned a dinner-ready rabbits hutch, i've found the delights of having plants nearby makes for calmer, healthier and more relaxed living quarters. 

I almost feel that i'm returning to harmonious beginnings, a long trek back to the welcoming heaving bosoms of nature, even whilst living in the depths of capital disposability and pollution.

So what plants are currently co-habiting my cramped space, swapping my obnoxious gasses for healthier ones?

First off, that old proverbial favourite the spider plant.  Next, albizia julibrissin (mimosa) which initially  required a lot of care and attention, but now appear to have settled in and zoomed off, followed by bucket loads of umbrellas.  These plants seem capable of growing in anything, anytime, anywhere; as long as they're swimming in it - water.  Which is always handy if you call  a canal your home.  A small but happy three pronged dracaena marginata.  Last but not least, two new additions; a lovely little four year old ficus retusa microcarpa (bonsai tree) and a somewhat spindly but vibrating guzmania - which is having re-orienteering settling in issues.

So how infectious is this growing affliction?  Extremely severe, would be a nice all encompassing phrase.

I've rediscovered the fine pleasure to be gained from pottering around tending plants, so it does seem that i have finally joined the potty-brained brigade!

Now, for matters more pressing...


Thursday, 4 December 2008

Fruit and veg luxury

In the uk a bastion of opportunity, fairness and democracy, it's telling how truly bad things are; when people start thinking of ordinary fruit and vegetables as an expensive luxury.

Tesco and the sausage factory

With venice sinking, cholera & anthrax rates practically doubling by the hour in sinkbabwe, parents running over each other to disregard the disregard mmr messages and have their children finally vaccinated against mmr, uproar over the police invading parliamentary privilege; i have a serious complaint about the fresh(?) cooked counter at tesco's!

In the past tesco was a favourite haunt.  A regular fix that ended once i parted with hundreds of pounds per month.  Even had home delivery's (admittedly they only managed 85% accuracy), until it became laborious, a pain and then a chore i could live without.

That aside, now and then I enjoy popping into the local store, as they're still the only place within an easy stroll which does a wonderful cooked sausage - and yes i know the rubbish and conditions that goes in to the making of them, but when breakfast has comprised of porridge made with water and honey (to cut cholesterol levels), the only thing my stomach and brain agreed on come shopping time, is that great big, curving, succulently juicy, calling my name - with a hint of spices about it - cumberland sausage!

One crafty sleight of hand carried out and which springs to mind in regard to tesco (which is why we should always keep receipts for moments like this), is the cooked foot and half long curvy cumberland sausages used to be 89p.  Now tescos have done away with those and plumped instead for a straight spicy sausage which is half the size of the previous monster, for - you've guessed it - 89p.

But on this particular occasion I popped in and made a bee-line for the counter (as that was the only thing I was going to buy) only to see a fellow customer there, not quite in an overjoyed frame.  After nearly a minute of  nothing happening or seeing any movement behind the counter, I asked him if he'd been served.  He said he'd been waiting there for ten minutes and hadn't been served yet. Okay, thought I, 10 minutes waiting...  Seeing a customer assistant to the right of me packing the shelves, i called him over and asked if there was anyone serving.  He said quite jocularly that as much as he would like to serve, he hadn't been trained in "not burning himself", with a wry smile, but he'd go to find someone.  And off he went.

By this time a fair little queue had built up, with people comparing the popping into tesco's experience as more akin to having teeth pulled and preferences been made for asda, as been far cheaper; lidl, for being a good bargain, and the odd trip to marks and spencers just to ensure there's still life kicking in those bargain basement corpses.

The upshot, the first customer had been standing there for nigh on 15 minutes, as the customer servicing agent that should have been there, was no-where to be seen.  The person who had 'temporarily' taken over didn't know where she was, and looked as if she really didn't want to be there anyway as no doubt an important mobile call was been missed.

The beginning of the end of tesco?  Lax, management?  Doubtful and they have enough clout to lop off the top heavy prices to become cheap enough so no-one'll care.  But there were five unhappy people at the counter, I wonder how many people they've spoken to, communicating miffed disgust?

That aside, how many days...?  Oh yes, 21.


Wednesday, 3 December 2008

End of year thoughts, part II

Ah, with each passing month that old saying fact is stranger than fiction, just can't help intruding its big nose into the virtual world of effluent froth.


Only three  weeks to go before the elbow gouging, back stabbing, bunion crunching, present wailing time of year comes to its ultimate conclusion.  This year will be interesting, now that everyone - even those in numbers 10 & 11 - are aware that conurbations of people will avoid the annual round of spend and blubber

We may spend a bit more time thinking about what we (non-all-inclusive) can afford and what the presentee will be happy to receive, given the state of current financial straight-jackets.

If someone does decide to pop over offering buckets of mulled wine mixed with solace and kind words, you could just imagine them been greeted with a trebuchet full of warming pitch followed by sackful's of cards and a hearty clear off!

Sadly i digress.

End of year thoughts, will just have to wait until the end of the week and some poignant finishing touches.

In the meantime...


Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Monday, 1 December 2008


For those who thought ofgem was bad; ofcom makes that entity look like a staunch bastion of consumer hope and action, but enough about dinosaurs.

Ofcons charter has obviously been thrown out of the window, for been to problematic.  And why ofcon?  Because we have been so conned into believing this was an organisation set up for the benefit of the millions of people who use telephones, broadband, mobile services.  Those whose only sanction is to walk away and try to find a different provider.  But even that's beset with it's own problems. Want to port your number or port your broadband?  Tough!  Just come with us so we can make sure your options are encased in concrete before been weighed down by iron weights - like the good old days.  But, enough of smoke and mirrors.  Who needs good facts, when bad facts are twice as good for half the price.

So in honour of ofcom's inability to realise - or care, that consumers are been cheated, misled, taken round the houses on a mystery tour they're dearly paying for. In honour of ofcom (and the asa) like rabbits caught and blinded by the industry - it's supposed to regulate; it's time this useless guano was renamed something more appropriate, and my has there been many helpful (however questionable) names put forward already.

Sadly my t'penny ha'penny worth only came to, office of codswolloping odorous mange.

But onto more pleasing concerns...