Friday, 27 July 2012

Tfl's five-ringed circus

I stupidly decided to venture onto tfls’ website, just to see what environmental nonsense they were cawing, wholeheartedly, to the press this week.  Simply to show just how environmentally gorgeous they are.  Flapping energetic fluorescing green-striped credentials, to an ever eager lapping media flock!  Such are tfl’s efforts to appear convincingly kosher, seeds are beginning to sprout from atop their compost-able collective heads.

The following is from tfl’s website,
“Energy and climate change
Red Hybrid Bus. We are helping to deliver the Mayor's commitment to a 60 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions by 2025 (from 1990 levels) by promoting sustainable travel, running vehicles more efficiently and using greener vehicles and fuels.
We are adapting our services to the impacts of a changing climate with flood management plans, the tunnel cooling programme and changing bus specifications.”

My first thought was: no, it won’t sustainably promote anything.  As any benefit you think these wonderful aimed reductions are going to have, will be countered by the a*#@*#?! (bus drivers) who’ll not only keep their bloody engines running come: summer, autumn, winter or spring; but, who'll increasingly rev them within an inch of them exploding; as you, old london transport ignominiously re-branded to transport for london (buses division), are a **?#’** managerial shower of *****, that if you fell into a brewery wouldn’t know how to have a piss-up, let alone which part of your anatomy to start from!  The remainder of my thoughts peeled off into incoherence, as they gathered up speed and zoomed off over a helpful metaphorical edge.

With less than 24 hours to go before the five-ringed circus of mayhem - or if you’d prefer to think of it in nicer cutesier terms - there’s less than 24 hours to go before all hell breaks lose and the carefully planned sponsored games, the ancient greeks wouldn’t be proud to call theirs (all the while refusing to have coke and heart-ack fries stuffed down their maws) and the opening ceremony officially dazzles the world.  I briefly wondered how the wonderful olympic spirit and medal wishing zeal, were making people - who aren’t being forced to work for nothing - feel?  

South london press conducted a poll a couple of weeks ago.  Of the respondents 59.8% were all enthusiastic for the olympics, clapping their hands in unalloyed glee; a preference probably abetted by the weight of direct and indirect marketing, stubbornly bombarding them the moment they popped their tv-sets out of standby, switched on their radios, or every time they glance at their 2012 weedel and maddening coke pouring watch.

Although there is no actual tally of the number of people who participated in the poll, nor any checks on where they lived, nor were there any measures preventing respondents from voting more than once (suffice to say it couldn’t exactly be classified as a rigorous scientific poll) it did indicate (whatever the voting pool and intentions) that just over 40% are a bunch of ungrateful miserable no-fun tossers, who would rather gnaw their own leg off (just below the knee) than have anything whatsoever to do with it.  If it takes you longer than half a second to realise which category i fall into, then this is obviously your first pitch into this portion of tripe.  So go back to the very beginning, until you’re begging to have your eyes gouged out with a bit of candy floss and a twig.  Or failing that, begging to have your ears filled with hot dripping wax lit-end first, simply to retire your need to hear or see anything ever again.

So what does this have to do with buses? 

Well, with road closures and the a’hats following the other greedy b’tards following the lead of the brown envelope stuffers, wanting to strike for more money because it’s such a special time, there will obviously be more of the big red things running around the less expensive parts of this ‘ere gold (is saying gold still allowed) coated part of town.  With changed schedules, routes, blocked lanes - where even public transport’s not allowed - the scale of toxic pollution (albeit not as bad as beijing) will increase  by a good old fashioned notch or two.  Oh for an egg to record the levels and have it displayed for perpetuity.

This part of the capital regularly breaches eu limits with pollution levels three times higher than accepted levels.  Although the past three months precipitation (whilst attempting to sink the city and allow some architect to conjure up contemporary hills or mounds as a secondary form of data backup) managed to effectively reduce the stink and particulates over 500 bus terminations per day happily emit.  At any particular juncture, nine plus of these dratted vehicles are sitting there up to 20 minutes at a time; either with drivers keeping engines ticking over or revving them “fit to burst” as one disgruntled neighbour put it.  Pointing an increasingly shaky, pollution-aided alzheimeric hand, in the direction of the biggest polluter this particular road is unnecessarily encumbered with, pumping out their toxic swill.

Perhaps i’m been somewhat harsh on the hard working drivers, who are after all providing a public service.  They’d be providing a far better public service if they also stopped unnecessarily polluting the air, but that would be the same as asking them to stop for passengers when they’re 2 minutes over their shift at 23:30 hrs.  Some might conclude i’m being even harder on tfl.  No, sorry, not in the slightest.  Considering the organisation has been at this transport game (in one guise or another) for a good few years, with a plethora of statistics that would make a burgeoning statistician weep - if they had tear-ducts - you’d have thought they’d have garnered a few basics about peoples travel.  Take for instance the travel planner, a wonderful implementation of getting around from "a" to "b",  unfortunately if you want to go from b to a instead of pressing a button swapping the details and it automatically working for you, have to copy and paste or retype the entries and go through the rigmarole all over again.  Tfl, take a look at how google implements it, simple and basic and it doesn’t time out after 2 seconds.  Of course, if there’s an option somewhere i’ve overlooked i’ll happily eat my other uneaten shoe.

I really shouldn't look at tfl's website whilst consuming anything liquid.  One of these days I really will choke to death.  But in the spirit of fair competition, for one month we should all eat the sponsoring companies (ideally only food and drink) competitors fare, just to show them and the five-ringed circus that monopolistic behaviour isn't really sportsmanlike at all.

In the meantime, i just need to find my olympic: mug, bags of popcorn, coasters, umbrella, and comfortable space-throw, to enjoy all that hard-earned sweat!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Potty guido bombers?

As the date of the 2012 olympics and paralympics draws ever near (27 july – 12 august and 29 august – 9 september respectively, for those who still don't know), the dates also draw near to the 5th of november,  when guy fawkes (that evil arch-maniacal terrorist bent on utter world domination and rule of the entire universe – by today's standards) planted, along with his fellow co-conspirators, barrels of gunpowder with the intent of blowing the mother of all parliaments to the wind, and not the sort of wind created by said members having way too much to eat at an all-expenses paid pre-brunch; although in 1605 that probably equated to a scullery maid or boy being shouted at whilst scurrying from the kitchen with a pig (on all fours) still squealing from the fees office or, under its previous incarnation the high office of the lord chamberlain; oh how things have changed, at least now they'd be be on minimum wage or, if an intern, a third of the minimum wage and a hearty clip around the ear.

The gunpowder plot was a dry story we were regaled with during the more boring but required elements of history the lecturer felt he had to pedal over; but, at the time all those many years ago, events were fresh, remembered, and seemingly remembered with gratitude over the following few decades by: the serfs and lords grateful that the horrid fawkes, and his catholic co-conspirator heathens, had so majestically and so publicly failed (obviously by the will of he who shan't be named), which is a bit different to the air of celebration the vast majority of us (here in the uk) now enjoy every bonfire night.  A time which wouldn't be quite the same without gut-retching hotdogs, eye gouging sparklers and the odd rocket or two mistakenly fired into a supermarket which is then relieved of its goods on the premise: "we were only trying to stop them catching fire guv, really!"

If over the past 10 years old guido had being around and tried the very same thing the headlines in the red-tops would have screamed "We beat you fawksey, you bonkers sex starved roman loving maniac!"; which would, no doubt, be the fastest selling editions of the papers since the last time something tragic occurred to grip the collective myopic eye of we morally outraged middle se- citizens.

Perhaps in a few hundred years there'll be parts of the moon devoted to a stellar day of celebration, with antique nuclear bombs been set off and the whole shebang broadcast to an eager colonised solar system – in memory of that day when they finally managed to get one off, or for the two which were dropped on japan, by the states!

There's something else, others and myself (separately you understand) find odd, namely that in the current clime with increasing scrutiny been placed on security, where hardly a day goes by without some plot or the other somewhere been discovered, and trumpeted as the reasons why the trillions being spent for our safety are a necessary evil, you would have thought the arch criminal explosive plotting over-minds would have given a little bit more thought to the 'ins' and 'outs' of communicating with each other and their mindless minions, and abandoned the tried but slightly riskier approach of two plastic cups and a sturdy length of string. At the very least you'd expect quadruple state homomorphic encryption (i really have no idea either) with a minimum of 2048 bits per level, as the basic bargain basement entry point for any aspiring (or is that potential), all-fired up hormonally imbalanced chemically insane brainwashed fundamentalist nitwit (of whichever denomination), happy to meet whomever on the other side, after their whoopee for reproductive matter has been effectively removed from the gene-pool.

But as the bbc piece states, "the arrests relate to a possible plot involving islamist extremists, with potential uk targets." So not an actual plot but a hypothetical we're writing an imaginary possible plot which might come in handy at some stage in the future. Could this perhaps be a plot similar to paul chambers at doncaster's robin hood airport one winters day? Where, hoping to eventually meet his better-twittered half he tweeted:
"Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!"
Because as most of us know when it comes to anything either side of 16.2 degrees and a teaspoon of rain, our transport systems are utterly flummoxed, whilst we proles hang around our anger and annoyance exploding with all the vehemence of an aggravated tut.

Excellent, they've caught them.  So what was it then, what was the bit of proof that did for yet another bunch of hapless terrorists? Did they send an email, or a text or a tweet, were they shadowed by undercover operatives here and overseas, or did they have blueprints stuffed down their pants for the shard or the angel of the north in gateshead?  Blueprints, i suppose, could be one reason for the tasering of a 24 year old man whom the police helpfully pointed out afterwards, "did not require hospital treatment."  Wait a minute.  You've just tasered someone in the belief they might be about to level something prized or riddle holes into soft cushiony flesh, and you wipe your brow in abject relief that they didn't require hospital treatment? Very odd sentiments, are you sure he wasn't one of your's you realised you'd tasered by mistake?  As surely you'd be far more interested in informing a glued to their security blanket public which shopping mall or tourist hell hole you stopped ending up looking like a slice of emmentaler proudly fountaining the red stuff as a may day parade in the old soviet union!

I look forward to hearing or reading exactly what transpired, and hope the best details won't be shuffled off centre-right in a flurry of furious recriminations under the carpet of national security for an interminable number of decades.  For all we know, one of the alleged might have inadvertently let his slightly blind bull-mastiff out one windswept cold and grey spring morning, where it promptly  proceeded to take a bite out of the head of mi5's paymaster-general's short-haired apple-sized chihuahua, mistakenly thinking it was a meals-on-perambulating mouth sized snack.

Hold on though, the piece (again from the beeb) goes on to say: "arrests are not linked to the olympics or paralympics, police said."  Whoa, hold your horses there speedy!  The whole world's attention (or a lot of it) will be swivelled on to the uk for over a month, and as people around the globe are getting ready to enjoy the events their sporting representatives will be competing for, possible potential hypothetical terrorists here are aiming for a major target like, what, the bull and duck pub down a flooded grassy lane in the middle of the back of somewhere beyond?

Well if they are, that will at least provide those of us with our heads underneath a rock wishing the whole thing would go away, something other to ponder over.  As all the rest will be cheering from the rafters oblivious but happy they'll have something else to complain about when the medal tally totals 2; instead of their crap wages, overpaid footballers, another banking scandal, mp's fiddling again, or the love-life of some other celebrity's partners spouse pet goldfish doing it with the castle.

Bonkers, barmy and laughably ridiculous... and it apparently doesn't have anything whatsoever to do with boris!

Saturday, 7 July 2012


I was shocked, as i found myself within a hairs-breadth whisker of succumbing to the siren call of a netflix letter drop.

The list was momentarily compelling:
  • a month’s free trial,
  • option to cancel at the end,
  • for an all i could stomach sci-fi buffet!
Thanks to the increasing dearth of decent sci-fi shows on cable, terrestial or online, how could I resist!  But before filling out the online form and sitting down to watch nothing but the best that sci-fi tv/film land had to offer, i decided the best course (or the most sensible) would be to take a peek, to have a taste of the piping hot morsels waiting for the starting pistol before launching themselves through the intercontinental interwebs at 7 megabits per second on a 24 hour basis, before being gobbled up by my unlimited (within reason) quota, so confirming the exact tide of bounteous fare netflix were poised to unleash.

My first look at the what purported to be sci-fi under the 'browse selection' tab left me somewhat open-mouthed.  Here’s a quick screenshot (showing the precise example - so a valid use of!)

as at friday 6 june 2012 at 08:15 hrs
The very first cover image was an eye opener, conan the barbarian?  When was conan part of the sci-fi (unless definitions have being put to a vote in some dim & dark distant corner of the galaxy and my invitation's been delayed by gravitational lensing, and sci-fi is still short for science fiction) genre? But then it continued, with ella enchanted, stuart little 2, to be slightly relieved by transformers (the first one); but, hocus pocus? Come on now!  But no, it carried on plummeting the pseudo depths with pirates of the caribbean: the curse of the black pearl, narnia (for f'ing sake, narnia - take a peek at the imdb site to see which categories most of the aforementioned are in!) and then finally the mist - which i haven't seen but i'm taking the imdb genre classifications as being somewhat more reliable than netflix's.  

If you’re a sci-fi aficionado then this is nothing less than the bargain basement everything else has being taken by the hordes bin, and you’ve arrived just too damned late, jerk!

There wan't a stargate nor star wars, nor anything else remotely starry offered up, except for the background on the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy cover. If this is the best that netflix can entice in their sci-fi category, then my humble moth-filled clutch purse, will remain forever closed.

I know, in the week the higgs was possibly sighted, i'm wittering on about constituent offerings of the uk netflix site, but come on people, if the little things are so radically wrong, what hope is there for anything else slightly more important like: accurate billing, or decent delivery without it freezing or stuttering a tenth of the way through? Hocus pocus in sci-fi indeed, a pox on them!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Bus strike and the god particle

How indeed can the two be remotely related, not much but hey ho...  on the same day the probability of the god particles existence is definitively annouced, tfl send out an email announcing 3 days of potential strikes by bus drivers, starting on the 5th.

3 days!

The same 3 days the father of the genocidal benign had his son in a tomb (if memory from my indoctrination days serves me correct), or 3 crooks hung on crosses, or 3 heads of the apocalypse (or is that...), the 3 stooges, musketeers, rivers of babylon and so on.

The serendipitous nature of this is staggering, it might mean, if there's no noticeable increase in car traffic, that at various times during the day (well actually the night-time when the benighted individuals are unable to find the off switch) the air in this locale will be devoid of the ever-present tell-tale smell of foul bus emissions, which like some miasmic offshoot descending from the depths of the above to the under-bits of hades himself (a boson or two if you will), seemingly forever clings to the nasal passages polluting each breadth you take.

But why leave it at 3 days!  Why don't they strike for 365 days, then perhaps we can have a load of new drivers who know how to switch off their engines, instead of thumbing their continual disregard towards residents in areas where stands have being deposited against residents wishes, and hopefully then london, and every other city suffering the same problem, might be able to breath that little bit easier.

Oh yes, what the b*!!*cks does head of consultation delivery actually mean?

19:02hrs found out tomorrows (today's) strike's being suspended!  Bah!

Details of the (now off) bus strike, and for those who haven't yet heard, details of cerns almost more likely than how-long's-a-piece-of-string, higgs discovery.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Where indeed is the revolution!

Sometimes, browsing through the treacherous waters of the interwebs, you come across comments that you're fully in agreement with....

"There's nothing the British like better than pissing on their peers. The media play up to it, and politicians give them a whole load of ammunition. Forget corrupt politicians filling their pockets (and still doing so); forget corrupt police; forget corrupt media - the ones spreading the government message and urging them to go further; forget corrupt bankers fucking up the country; forget corrupt businessmen screwing the poor at home and abroad and screwing the taxpayer by shoving their tax into Monaco, the Caymans, and Jersey; what people like to do is grumble that someone next door is on "HUGE" benefits of a few quid a week, having the nerve to have their rent paid by the state, and "would you believe it?" they still have money for two pints of beer a week!
Fucking wake up Britain!"
TheGreatRonRafferty, 3 July 2012,