Thursday, 30 April 2009

In to the out

It's always funny listening to the arguments been used to keep the 48 hour opt out, and keeping it going come hell or high water.  

At one stroke - whilst blaming it on those lazy arsed european politicians - you could ensure that no one in the country has to work more than 48 hours per week.  

What better way of ensuring wealth, equality and increasingly scarce work is distributed amongst those who have been left out in the current cold clime.  I doubt - but naturally I could be wrong, whether it's the vast majority of employees scrambling to hoist the repel-all-borders-flag up a flag post, or going 'of course I want to work a 100 hours a week, I really really really love my job.' 

Those who enjoy ticking off the hours are usually the ones whose pension pots makes the income of a small city visibly pale in comparison.  Whose main thoughts lay on the side of accruing huge wealth simply for the sake of it. 

But spare a thought for those whose working hours miraculously merge into unpaid overtime hours, who believe they have no choice, and no option.  If they're lucky, they'll have seen that innocuous bit of paper hinting at the concept of loyal paternalism; of course you want to work more than 48 hours to make this the worlds greatest and successful company, don't you?

Indicating that you wish to keep your legal opt-in, immediately marks you out as a glass-ceilinged shirker.

But in the meantime they really should drop the name Working Time Limits and give it its proper title; let's work the buggers till they drop.


Now then, who mentioned flu sniffing?

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Washing hands?

With the not yet pandemic scale of what's turning out to be an interesting outbreak of flu, It's a bit disturbing that people have to be told; don't sneeze on someone, and wash your hands.  Eew, eew, EEW!

Perhaps they should start teaching the basics in schools and religious institutions, before even bothering to wonder where the flu came from, how it evolved, unless of course its been created by some intelligent designer with a great big designer laboratory behind him or her.

Ban it

Ban everything, as we've finally discovered that everything - in one way or another - is bad for us.  We should, on that fact alone, ban everything!

Ban going outside.  As thunderous hailstones or lightning or a falling plane might put an end to a life.

Ban cars, and not only from the obvious the amount of pollution they exude, but for the cars habit of bursting into flames, careering into drivers, pedestrians, bollards and eventually ending up as scrap in a river somewhere poisoning a food source.

Ban watching tv.  As too much tv watching rots the brain and has it oozing out and down the dead persons double chin.

Ban food, due to its toxicity and the fact people only end up stuffing their face, and taking up more than one seat in economy.

Ban flying, just in case a toilet comes hurtling out the sky.

Ban anyone who wants to ban anything.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Parachutes ahoy

So those who are earning more than £150,000 are boo-hoo-ing that they'll have to pay an extra £2,900 per year, in tax.   Are they aware that that £2,900 they are paying is the equivalent of 87% just over two million people have to live on? 

So will the new 50% tax rate produce the threatened mass exodus of talent from the city of london?  Hopefully.  Just feel sorry for the next city the talent decide to land on and improve.

The real beneficiaries from this budget are the under 25's and those isa savers who are, or will be 50 by the time october 2009 comes around, and can take advantage of the higher saving levels. 

Oh yes and those who buy the gilts and bonds to pay for it.




for more

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Prick that nutty bubble

As bubbles come and go, it's surely time for the fundamental bubble to be pricked before it pops and takes half the world with it. 

Did anyone really expect pres. mahmoud ahmadinejad to do or say anything else?  I'm sure he's one of the escaped spitting image puppets that's had some life breathed into it and and is running amok, wrecking revenge.  And then we have the unfolding debacle in pakistan, give us what we want and we'll think about giving up arms... ha, no we won't.  If they (fundis) believe those of their same delusional belief system who have no truck and wish to have no truck with their delusions should be eradicated, as well as those who believe in a different version of the same delusion should be eradicated; how did the authorities ever believe they could agree anything that didn't, at some stage, involve that time honoured tradition of having fingers crossed behind your backs.

Onto happier and more lighter moments.  The horse chestnuts are doing remarkably well.

Let's have a quick recap of the timeline so far...

2nd april 2009
12th april
020409 120409

... and now how they look today.

21st april 2009
DSCF2139 DSCF2140

Friday, 17 April 2009


"At what stage will you wake up to realise you no longer have any freedom?

Perhaps you never will, as you no longer know, what freedom is."

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Ambassadorial duties

I wouldn't know a past participle from a split infinitive if it hit me over the head with a pa... damn, used that one already.

But moving on to other pointless things, its a bit of a slap in the face when your nominees are rebuffed by the representative of the word.  Perhaps pres o. is looking at it in the wrong way.  As the pontiff obviously only wishes to be surrounded by nodding ducks, then perhaps he (obama) should just send a sack-full of them.  Which should be more than sufficient for the amount of sense which would be exchanged anyway.

Oh yes, forgot to show my support in the previous poke at religious nuttery.


Well better 3 ¾ years late to show some free speech solidarity than not at all.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Colour views

Extremist views on racism strangely coalesce when you reach the edges of the debate. 

Regardless of the the colour of a persons skin, the more extreme their particular view on race (whichever race), the more in common they have with their counterparts.  Sort of a racist code of diametric agreement.  The extremes of the brotherhood feel they are, or have been, or will be the victims.  Both feel to have been oppressed or held back or overlooked by those in power.  Invaded, discriminated against and the interlopers should be kicked out. 

And luckily, the web allows us all to be on our guard.  To say no.  Things can be different. 

Monday, 13 April 2009

Three cheers?

The problem with waking up and starting to early...

“I have to kill the children and my wife and send them to heaven. I don’t care about killing myself and going to hell.”

and in another part of the globe...

"Shop warned for selling offensive shoes

The customer protection section (cps) recently seized shoes with the name of god printed on them.

The department announced that the shop was selling shoes in direct violation of rules and regulations and could not be tolerated. The acting head of the cps, said that the department's inspectors acted swiftly following a report from one of the customers [read busy body, curtain twitcher, righteous angry, or another shop owner getting rid of the competition].

The department investigated the report on the spot and concluded the complaint was genuine, and inspectors acted immediately.

Inspectors raided and seized huge quantities of shoes and summoned the shop owner to the the Department. He was ordered to sign a pledge never to import that type of shoes in future and the shop was issued an official warning, a copy of which was kept in the shop's file.

The shop was penalised as per article no. 10 of the penalty scheme, which stipulates that those who circulate products that directly harm islamic laws and the decency code, are penalised.

This was not the first time, the department's inspectors had seized shoes with the name of god printed on them, in a way which badly harms muslim feelings.

She called on the public to be extremely careful when they make purchases in the emirate and to contact the department in case of any possible doubts."

and elsewhere, but a different time...

"They tell me to burn in hell and good riddance,"


Reviewers noose

A reviewer (freelance mind) of Origins:Wolverine gets the chop by pasting a review, in which he also mentions, he'd seen it via the web. 

The actions of his erstwhile employer, fox, is to sack him.  The same fox which is now related to the old big daddy of usa news journalism, the new york times; yes incest's on the menu.  They and the film co's seem to have lathered an amount of free pre-fervour advertising for the film that, if otherwise conducted via usual channels, have added a good few extra zeros on top of an already large budget.  Maybe it's all part of the overall plan and he'll be back working for them in no time at all, or maybe he thought it would slip by unnoticed, especially with most of the industry snarling away in sweden barring - if only half - charges at the pirate bay.

But it jogged a memory. And I recalled the last time this occurred, admittedly only stargate sg1's final days - with way less budgetary requirements to claw back than origins will require.  But it was strange how and with it not happening before, the final two episodes (minus vfx or full sound fx) managed to escape carefully vetted security clutches and ping themselves online.  Surprisingly, the extra publicity pulled in more people than the studios expected, and - probably - helped to assist with the planned films.  Yes, all very strange.  And strangely to, that particular episode hasn't satisfactorily been solved to this day, well not that i've heard anything about.

So yes, x-men origins:wolverine is available for download via any p2p service - without the vfx.  Which, if it's any good, will wet peoples curious appetite ensuring the seed's successfully planted and ready for the films release.  And people will subconsciously prime themselves to experience the films huge sensation-numbing thx greatness.  After all, as tobacco companies have more or less been indicating publicly for years, "just because it's out there, and plastered on everything, of course people won't be influenced to buy."  If it's any good. 

Content producers will have to climb out of their bunkers and start engaging in a more meaningful way the very people they are supposedly producing the films, the books, music for.  Yes the consumers.  As opposed to just thinking "how much money can we make from the suckers." To engage them when they produce something that's really good, as well as admitting when they've produced a total dogs breakfast and not worth the popcorn squashed onto the cinema floor let alone cinema ticket, and give something back to those who have wasted good money.  But no doubt that would lead to another can of worms with people saying everything they've seen is crap and where's my next freebie!

The days when consumers were nose-led by old media dinosaurs is, hopefully, diminishing. But deep within darkened tunnels (golf courses) a rear guard action continues by those who want nothing more than to get back to the good old days of totally dictating how consumers can use a particular piece of media, then gouge them for as much as possible, all the while bringing out the most mediocre rubbish, minus the odd sparkling gem, as possible.

Silly mistake by roger friedman? Potentially, time will tell. 

Brilliant free advertising for the film?  Way beyond anything the companies probably hoped for. 

Will I see it when it's out?  Damn, should have booked front seat tickets.  x-men

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Spring colours

Something natural, lighter and strangely hopeful.

Yes i'm growing horse chestnuts, but out of 12 planted only seven have poked heads above soil.

The first pic was taken on the 2nd of April, and the 2nd take a few moments before posting.  At this rate, barring a very bad frost, in a months time the horse chestnut seedlings will have to be given new homes.

Pic 1 2nd April 2009


Pic 2: 12th April 2009


And although the angle of capture's slightly different, in the 1st picture you can just see the second shoot popping up out of the soil on the right hand side, which in the second picture is the one just about to open its leaves, in the lower right hand side.

Ah yes before I forget and get totally carried away, here's the lovely spring climbing rose and yellow something which escapes me.

Pic 3: 2nd April 2009


So let it be

For the moments that have gone, and the moments that are.


Saturday, 11 April 2009

Flapping through the breeze

Brings a different twist to it.

"It's hard to fathom and digest,

but I digress.

A world-wind flapping through the breeze,

stopping, making us think.

An alien's invaded,

1600 pennsylvania avenue.

Four more years?  An unbearable crutch.

Navigating craters, leaping superbowls of dust,

avoiding the on-rushing surge,

of apocalypses surrounded by armageddons.

But thankfully it's finally happened,

an alien's invaded 1600 pennsylvania avenue.

When that last drop of oil dribbled to a stop,

so, so long ago, and the world descended

into old fashioned mowing,

and killing and dicing, of lands anew.

Peace finally happened, when an alien landed,

and invaded 1600 pennsylvania avenue."

Nothing's ever perfect

So much to do, so little time and a quarter of the year's already slipped into the clutches of history, whoever records that history. 

But at least in the future, if bright sparks ensure the technical information regarding the plethora of codecs are kept, our descendents will be able to enjoy streaming hours of chortling fun wondering how we managed to survive and even more amazed at why we would watch knowing, directly into their cortex.




Kettling and the herding of dissenters, as all protesters are potential terrorists/anarchists and "deserve what they get."

The cafetiere's on and they're huddling around after the bust up (well except in metropolitan suburbs after inter-racial riots).

Bosses send out emails or sms's informing employees they're fired. Employees grumble, shout a few words then shuffle off to the dole queue.

Workers receive emails. Proceed to lock bosses in broom cupboards, dust off and put on scratched editions of la terreur blanche.

Police and strikers stand around, barracking, goading each other, exuding nothing but loathing and pure contempt.

Police and strikers barrack and goad each other, then afterwards get down to a good chin-wag, some decent lunch and talk about the shocking state of the world.

Renaissance in the home cooking of cabbage.

Wondering who in their right mind would eat bubble & squeak.

Starting to realise the thatcher & blair years might not have been quite so enjoyable, for the vast majority after all.

Trying to catch up to the thatcher & blair years.

And as the start of another good friday comes to an end, it's good to know that at least the weather is keeping to the wonderful tradition of providing a cold, rain-sodden, miserable bank holiday experience.

Friday, 10 April 2009


Wishing everyone a contented easter.

AOL contracts

My aol contract is up in two days time and I decided to give them a call to discover what they could offer someone who has been with them for (it transpires after been told) nearly nine years.

Yes, after nearly nine years of faithful dedication as all my peers shot by on the speed stakes and laughed at my paltry 2mb then 6.7mb instead of 8mb, I stuck and remained with them. Even after missing out on the laptop or ps3 offer the last time my contract was up, I remained a faithful and loyal customer.

The past week has been spent champing at the bit, waiting until a couple of days before the end to look around and seeing what else was available before making that call.

Nine long years.

When does loyalty pay off?

Apparently never if you're an aol customer. Even surgery's give you excellent treatment for been loyal nowadays. But not, it seems, aol.


We talked and I was congratulated at been one of the lucky ones to receive nearly 7mb speeds as many get less than that.


And we can throw in a free wireless router? I already have two.


I notice you don't have a bundle, let me do a quick calculation... we can offer you a full package for £25 per month.

That's nice, but that's £5 more expensive than i'm paying now and I have my services with separate providers!

After nearly nine years as a loyal customer, the best they can offer (for me to receive the same service) is a price increase of 25%.


Thursday, 9 April 2009

Hacking the light fantastic

After all the to-ing and fro-ing, by the us over the gary mckinnon case, it now comes out that most if not all the energy & utility networks are moled through by pesky spies of the commie persuasion!

With the scale of devastation any potential governmental hackers (unofficial or otherwise) might cause, shouldn't the government be bringing the same amount of disproportionate force down to bear on those infiltrating the life blood of the country, as it has and is currently undertaking against gary.   Who, let us not forget, was only looking for proof of ufo's.

Could this be the first salvos in the real life serialisation of Jericho?  Must dig out some popcorn.

The great unlimited debate

Well not really great, and not really a debate.  Perhaps the asa requires an up to date dictionary whilst returning the one they were forced to borrow from ofcom.

Today, well it was a while back - before i had a break, (and lo and behold they've popped along 'n snuck something in for a rescue), the british advertising standards authority (asa) allowed mobile companies to use the word unlimited in their advertising, regardless of the fact that an advert (which sparked the initial complaint) from carphone warehouse's spin-off - e2save; had in microscopic handy small print a clause stating unlimited meant, "data transfer that is limited to 250mb per month".

Now before i popped the word (unlimited) into a couple of online dictionaries, i wandered through the dusty reaches of the vast echoing emptiness that passes for my mind, searching for the accumulating morass of meanings i'd come to understand and associate with the term unlimited.

From everything i dredged up, i could only deduce one over arching meaning.  It meant without cap.  Endless.  Goes on and on and on and ... the antonym of limited.  You know, the full 180-about-faced-slap-reversing-two-sided turn.

The sort of scenario where if fund manager were to say "'i'm going to ensure your income returns are unlimited," you know to keep them talking whilst pressing the fed button.  But back to the definitions...

A quick brief clip from the free dictionary

un·lim·it·ed (n-lm-td) adj.

1. Having no restrictions or controls: an unlimited travel ticket. 2. Having or seeming to have no boundaries; infinite: an unlimited horizon. 3. Without qualification or exception; absolute: unlimited self-confidence.

Even if they'd utilised version number 2, who in their right mind then went on to suggest that 250mb was just peachy?

And just in case i've copypasted the wrong bits, here's another from merriam-webster

1 : lacking any controls : unrestricted <unlimited access> 2 : boundless , infinite <unlimited possibilities> 3 : not bounded by exceptions.

So a term and its meaning, which has more or less been agreed upon since the 15th century, the asa and ofcom have decided (seemingly) to hijack, for the benefit of... the industry.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009


Heartfelt condolences, thoughts and best wishes with the people of L'Aquila.

Sometimes governments are quick and speedy enough to get things done; other times lumbering bureaucracy and face saving get in the way of helping to rebuild.

There are many ways of keeping up to date with the current level of disasters occurring around the globe, and for more than a five minute hand wringing and further information:

Make a difference, get involved.

Pension stakes bilious bile

Would the backlash and floggings so many fervently wish to heap up against the ex-masters of the universe have been so great, had the banks (retail) and bankers not been so adamant about the righteousness and moral certitude of the overdraft fees and interest charges, they said everyone who had the audacity should expect as a penalty for been lax with their money.

On that level, with the way they forecast this historic record breaking run, they should be put in stocks for at least two years and pelted on a regular basis with: turnips, offal, fed the weakest of gruel, and then have all their assets foreclosed on.

Good to see the shareholders of rbs, voting by a whopping 90% to register disapproval, a shame more didn't vote in previous years.  True the talent might have flown to other institutions, but then there still might have been an independent non-merged bank.  And with this sort of talent spotting, i'd rather try my luck winning the national-lottery jackpot prize four times in a row.

So, in the great unemployment banking stakes

poor average-pay sods: 29,999  vs.  really rich trouter: 1
(or put another way,
newly unemployed rbs employee: £3,343.60p pa.  vs.  ex-head-trout:  £702,000 pa.)

But, could the whole financial meltdown have a silver lining?

The very first paragraph of the first page of the executive summary of the ipcc climate change and water says:

"observational  records  and  climate  projections  provide  abundant  evidence  that  freshwater  resources are  vulnerable  and  have  the  potential  to  be  strongly  impacted  by  climate  change,  with  wide-ranging consequences for human societies and ecosystems."

executive summary, ipcc, climate change & water 2008.

With so much freshwater used for industrial/farming use, maybe this will allow us some breathing space to speed up alternative energy creation, improve energy use efficiency, and drastically reduce the waste we lax consumers in so many countries create.

... now where's that picture again ...

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Quitting smoking?

I've given up smoking. 

Well I say given up.  I am on the cusp of the fifth week without lighting up or having the remotest inclination of inhaling one. 

Do I feel any better?

I've been smoking for the last 24 years.   Ranging anywhere from 10 cigs per day to over a 100 fags when socially stress-pressed.   And then one day, four weeks ago, I stopped.  Stopped without needing the usual cold, flu or other bodily ailment as an excuse to refrain from the mad morning scramble of opening a packet, lighting up and inhaling along with my first coffee of the day. 

Ate far less though, as breakfast all the way through till lunch simply comprised of cigarettes and large barrels of coffee.

I thought I'd look and see what health benefits would occur under this newly discovered additional bout of abstinence that's joined the ones of sex, recreational helpers, and the way its going - alcohol, all careering off into the distance, without a religious conversion anywhere in sight!


The theory

The actual

20 minutes

Blood pressure and pulse returns to normal.

From all the blood pressure and pulse tests I have had done in the past, better than most non-smokers let alone smokers.


8 hours

Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by ½, oxygen levels return to normal and circulation improves.

Oxygen and carbo levels were always very good.


24 hours

Carbon monoxide and nicotine levels are eliminated from the body.

Never noticed anything different here.


48 hours

Ability to taste and smell improves.

Well i can certainly begin to smell london. Didn't realise people bathed in cologne or perfume. Or seemingly nothing at all. Ewwww!

not sure

3 days

Breathing becomes easier as your bronchial tubes begin to relax.

Stopped sounding like a slightly old steam train first thing in the morning, so that's been a plus.


Few days

Fingers lose their yellow stains and skin looks better.

Never ever had those yellow stained fingers. But could have been mistaken for one of the greys from roswell on a muggy dawn.


1 month

Appearance improves, skin loses greyish pallor and becomes less wrinkled.

A few days to go for this one, but the way the body's deciding to break out and looking more like a relief map of a rice pudding bowl, i'm starting to have my doubts.

starting to

3 – 9 months

Coughing and wheezing declines.

Shall wait and see.


1 year

Risk of heart attack reduces by half compared to that of a smoker.

As above.


10 years

Risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker.

As before.


15 years

Risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a non-smoker.

Aren't I dead or uploaded yet!


I do seem to need more sleep - if that were possible. But that would cut into the 16 hours I spend in front of the computer screen, anyway. 

Eating more, but have cut down on alcohol, down from 1818+units (and had to check a couple of times to make sure) a month to less than 15 units a month.   The upshot is that i will have to take up some form of exercise; there's only so much leeway hereditary genetics will allow the body, before it irrecoverably passes beyond pear shape. 

On this the turn of a cusp week i'm starting to feel something hinting of a beneficial turn, the skin is starting to feel as if its mine again. 

Along with that, the past few months have seen an increase in the flats population of greenery. Help combat the diesel/petrol fumes pouring in from the street as well as gaseous exhausts from my ever increasing bean-laden diet, by adding wonderful surplus amounts of oxygen into the air.  But just in case it does, I'll need to take more antioxidants (fruit/veg and vitamin/mineral supplementation) to combat the potential increase in free radical.


Amused by the increasing appearance on tv of people who have joined the lengthening unemployment queues. My advise?  Don't worry or panic. It will only become unmanageable if you really let it get to you.  Cut down what you can, cut out what you can sensibly cut out, ensure you eat properly.  As if you let that go, you could end up as a dreaded er statistic.


Sigh. The laudable cry of sovereignty once more rings out as new eu elections are set to take place, in less than three months time.

It's always worrying listening to people who are more intent of talking over and interrupting people to ensure their point is heard when cameras are rolling.  But who's interest does the multi-mill/billionaire business leaders serve, since very rarely does it appear to truly benefit the general populace?  Oh right theirs. No doubt someone somewhere will believe its a microsoft or chinese or russian plot to derail and destabilise the eu powerhouse from the inside.

There must be many people in constituent countries who are able to name ten members of their parliamentary betters and at least five of their eu reps. Why, here in the uk there's jacqs, gord, vince, dave (at least six of them), and for the eu, there's... er.... where's me list...

But when the time arrives i'll have read the blurbs, gone with me guts and scratched my green name; so later down the line I can say "I was robbed" and "that was a bloody wasted vote" with a modicum of self-righteous contentedness.

Yippee!  By 2018 every new built building in the eu will be required to produce as much energy as they consume.  2018?  Nine years time?  The rise in sea-level will probably have put paid to that, as the mad scramble to build-build-build to relocate coastline refugees picks up a soggy pace, and the last thing people will be thinking about is "does it have a pump!"  Just give everyone a windmill-hat and solar powered kinetic boots.