Monday, August 31, 2009

Could The President Take Over The Internet?

Climate Camp - just up the road

I am pleased that this Camp has arrived, just up the road...well no more than 2 or 3 miles away. I'll be heading through there tomorrow..and may take look around if I have time.


From the New Shopper:
Lewisham Mayor Sir Steve Bullock said that, though he had sympathy for the protestors’ cause, he did not agree with the camp.
He said: “I don’t think that a camp like this, which was unannounced and uninvited in an area which is a beautiful part of London is the right way to do this.
“My concern is that it actually distracts from the practical job of getting up and doing something about climate change.”


I would now like to hear from Sir Steve Bollock - how exactly does this camp "distract from the practical job of getting up and doing something about climate change" - and what exactly does he think is the "practical job of doing something about climate change?" Encouraging less use of plastic bags, or turning the lights off in his office when he goes home? Pissing in the wind I call it, Mr Bollock! Sorry, I mean Sir Bollock! How about challenging government and private enterprise to do something meaningful to avoid imminent crisis and possibly the end of civilisation. No - we'll piss about making party political points, looking down our noses at the concerned men and women who do care, that actually do get off their arses to try to achieve change, and who do make a protest against the continuing inaction. Would Sir Steve prefer we sat at home and watched the imminent apocolypse on our tvs? Would Sir Steve prefer that we worry about the break-up of Oasis? Sir steve is inent on crawling up the arses of those influential people who caused the problems in the first place, and who most benfit from raping the earth and stealing from future generations, and the developing world.

Would Sir Bollock even be talking about climate change without protesters like this; without camps like this?

As for Blackheath being a beautiful place, what does he think causes most damage to this "beautiful part of London"? Would it be the climate camp, or would it be the thousands of lorries, buses and cars that come thundering across Blackheath in the name of capitalism, every day?

Bank Holiday

A bank holiday means two things to me, at least now that I'm no longer living with my wife it does only mean two things now. One is the chance to read stuff not related to work. To satisfy this I'm reading Cantata-140 by Philip K Dick. It's not his best, but there's some good ideas all mixed up in a rather ludicrous and yet enjoyable plot. No wonder Hollywood loves him these days.

And for breakfast I cooked up potato wedges with chorizo and black pudding....and made some real coffee, and it was deeply satisfying, like very few things are these days.
After a few more coffees I'm hoping to continue the paperwork sort-out I started last weekend, and at some point I'll make a Mojito, and that'll be the end of my productive day :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Cycle Ride in Kent

I set off from Bexey today, on the bike, skirted Dartford, went through Darenth, and then followed the River Darent to Eynsford.



Then I turned left, and headed into the hills.


Stopped at a place called Stansted for a couple of decent Whitstable beers. Saw a duck island:
Caught the main feature near the Pilgrim's Way:

Finally, headed north, back to Gravesend, and the train to Bexleyheath.


video

Saturday, August 29, 2009

This Week's Chosen Albums

I've been to the library and will this week be mainly listening to Marvin Gaye, Joe Strummer and Nick Cave.

Tomorrow's Darent Valley Route

The third in a series of more than three cycle rides starting from Bexleyheath Station, which may or may not involve a train ride.

I've had a call already from a woman wanting to join it. So there's probably going to be at least two of us.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Age-of-Stupid

An email I received yesterday concenring Climate change film and campaign:

Morning All,
The last 100 or so Stupid screenings have been enormously frustrating as I've been forced to answer the inevitable "But what can we do?" question with the most unsatisfying generalities. Oh how it hurts, seeing the disappointment on all those faces, whilst knowing we have the killer - or perhaps opposite of killer - answer up our sleeves.
We were going to launch in July, as I think I may have mentioned, but then Michael Jackson's headline-hogging put a stop to that. Really. That Conrad Murray has a lot to answer for.
But those days are at last over.
Well, will be very very shortly.
As we hereby invite everyone and everyone's friends to come to Tate Modern this Tuesday 1st September between 4 and 7pm.
Where we will be launching 10:10


Alongside Spurs FC, Alistair McGowan, the Coop, the Science Museum, 10 hospitals, 10 schools, 10 universities, 10 local councils, Antony Gormley, Sara Cox, Logica, Ken Livingstone, ActionAid, Shami Chakrabati, the Bishop of London, Honeybuns Bakery, lots more celebs and 60 other organisations.


And explaining what on Earth it is.
And why we bought a plane.

And how you can help.

And why Leo has had nightmares every night for six weeks.
And how we hope to influence Copenhagen.
And which very well known climate thinker said it's "the idea we've been waiting twenty years for".

In case that's just not quite interesting enough to drag you down to the South Bank, there's also going to be music from a cracking band, speeches from not the usual suspects, a megawega photo for you to star in (forgot its name - the one from Obama's inauguration where you can see everyone's zits from a mile off), Sara Cox MCing, and the stars from a West End show doing their stuff.

Top PR dudes Freud Communications have very kindly volunteered themselves to run the press campaign and have been busy making the schedule from hell for our spokespeople. So you're going to have to hide under your duvet on Tuesday morning if you want to avoid puns on the word "ten". Don't think we'll get on Newsnight, though, as they did a massive chunk on Stupid last night. Speaking of which, Ms Organised Media Assistant Lauren has put all the Stupid news appearances up on our vimeo channel here. Some of the local-gal-done-good ones about Lizzie in New Zealand are well worth a look, if only to see her presenting her local news whilst still in nappies.

10:10 Volunteers Needed

- Physical human beings needed Sat 29th, Sun 30th, Mon 31st and Tues 1st for flyering, setting up, organising crowds for the photo and all sorts of fun stuff. Email alex@1010uk.org

- Virtual human beings needed for a social networking frenzy starting today. Basic understanding of usual sites needed. Again, please contact alex@1010uk.org and she'll pass you on to the team.



Everyone else: please, please help spread the word:



Facebook: launching today




See y'all on Tuesday at Tate Modern, we hope,

Monday, August 24, 2009

Evil Cows!




http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/8216869.stm

A bigger problem than hitherto realised. Some of those commenting even suggest a conspiracy theory by farmers - or that it is foreign cows that are to blame. funny nothing about dole claiming scrounging cows taking our fields!! Wonder if any of them have fidled their bovine expenses.

I've had a bad cow experience though in the early 90s, I walked my aunt's dog. They live near the east coast of Scotland, 50 miles north of Aberdeen. The farmers there own all the land apparently and there are no rights of way other than the road. So i managed to find a field to walk the dog, and being a bloody idiot sheepdog it ran straight for cows. Well, better than chasing after cars I thought. then the cows went berzerk and all started trying to trample the dog. I thought the dog was dead for sure. After franic shouting I got the dog to come back to me and back on its lead. From the article it's clear that it's dogs they hate, not people. If you are attacked by cows walkin g your dog, let the dog off its lead and run.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

cookery club

I used a kit from Asda to cook this Thai green curry - just added some meat and vege. Here's some pictures:





Now it's ready!


Saturday, August 22, 2009

pavement cycling and RLJiing in perspective

James Daley: The Cycling Column
Laws are made to be brokenTuesday, 13 November 2007

An interesting debate about the rights and wrongs of riding on the pavement has been raging away on The Independent's new cycling blog, Cyclotherapy, over the past couple of weeks. Although most people seem to agree that it's not the end of the world if it's done with due respect and consideration for pedestrians, others have been quick to point to the letter of the law.


But while cycling on the pavement is indeed illegal, fewer people will be aware that the Government never intended to create rigid legislation with a view to stamping it out entirely.

In fact, when the Home Office introduced fixed, on-the-spot penalties for riding on the pavement towards the end of the last decade, it followed up by issuing an additional piece of guidance. In a letter to an MP, who had questioned the new fines, then Home Office minister Paul Boateng wrote the following: "The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of the traffic, and who show consideration to other pavement users.

"Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required." (Thanks very much to fellow blogger Dicky for bringing this to my attention.)

This is exactly the right approach to take – not just when it comes to riding on pavements, but when it comes to jumping red lights, too. I only tend to ride on the pavement when I get squeezed off the road by motorists – or when I don't feel safe enough staying on the road. But I'm always considerate to pedestrians and give priority to them (a respect that not all pedestrians return to cyclists when they're trying to cross the road).

Cyclists should be fined for riding on the pavement if they are dangerous or in any way disrespectful to those on foot. Similarly, police should penalise red-light jumpers if they are irresponsible and put other road users at risk.

Nipping through a red light when there's no traffic coming in either direction is hardly the end of the world. It's safer for the cyclist, as it keeps them ahead of, and out of the way of, any motorists behind them, and causes no harm to anyone.

When I've suggested this kind of more tolerant approach in the past, I'm always referred back to the law, and reminded that cyclists have to obey it just like anyone else. But as Mr Boateng illustrated, with his comments about riding on the pavement, the law does not have to be black and white. It's important that the police have powers to fine cyclists for being on the pavement – but they should use their discretion in how they apply such penalties.

It occurred to me that there are bound to be very few policemen who are aware of the Home Office's guidance on these fines, and who choose to apply them as liberally as the Government intended.

Last time I went out on the Critical Mass ride in London (where the police accompany on their pedal bikes), I saw a guy on a recumbent get given a ticket for riding on the pavement. The incident was ridiculous – and, in my opinion, certainly not in the spirit of the guidance. The cyclist involved hopped up on to the pavement for five seconds, peeling off from the front of the pack at some traffic lights, to rejoin further back. There were no pedestrians anywhere nearby – we were in the middle of an empty Gray's Inn Road at about 7.30pm on a Friday night – and the fine seemed to serve no purpose other than to give the police an opportunity to show that they were in control of the crowd.

My guess is that if you were to challenge such a penalty in court, the judge would side with the cyclist. But who's going to bother for the sake of £30?

Visit The Independent's cycling blog at www.independent.co.uk/blogs

Friday, August 21, 2009

What Do You Know About Bats?

The four day environmental audit is over. I am burnt out, but I expect I'll be ok after a few days off.

I had to deal with bats today - or at least our vegetation control guys have found a hole in a tree that looks like a probable bat colony. Trouble is it's in tree where the branches are dying, and it's likely that it'll come down in the next load of windy weather we get.

So - rather than letting the tree come down and lose the bat colony - which might upset local bat groups - we're going to bring in an ecologist to, first of all asess whether it actually is a bat colony, and secondly, to give us ideas for how to deal with the situation. I'm all for getting in touch with local bat groups to see what they think - but I'll have to wait to see what the ecologist has to say first.

this does seem to be an early benefit of the dissolution of the central environment team. Now I get to be involved in the frontline stuff. I've told the vege guys i want to attend any visit to the location with the ecologist.

SchNEWS 688, Friday 21st August 2009 - PDF

Wake Up!! It's Yer Even Skinter Than HLS...

SchNEWS Issue 688, Friday 21st August 2009

Read this issue online (from noon Saturday):
www.schnews.org.uk/archive/news688.htm

We encourage you to print, copy and distribute the SchNEWS
wherever you can...

Londoners Scrap Over London Bridge Crash

I have posted about this and then taken it down when a motorcyclist cut and paste content onto Bikeradar, a bike forum, to be used against me.


I reported speculation that the crash may have been caused by the combination of a speeding motorcyclist and a dopey bus driver pulling out without looking. Neither event is a rarity in this part of London - I cycle across London Bridge twice daily and no-where is the threat from motor-bikes and buses greater.

Now the thread I had contributed to descended into threats of violence between cyclists and motorcyclists and has been deleted. I dread to think what it would have been like if bus drivers had managed to get involved too. The expletives I wrote at having my own blog material used against me completely OUT of CONTEXT were quite strong - however I still received an apology from the person involved - now deleted with the rest of the thread.

The strongest 'finger pointing' from me on that thread was that whoever was responsible for the accident - it defintely wasn't the cyclist. This seems to have upset at least one motorcyclist...who then went fishing for something to use against me - and found it on my own blog.

It seems that speculating is taboo - unless it is to speculate that the cyclist might be at fault. Motorcyclists always come across as intolerant zealots on intenret bulletin boards - refusing to accept any sort of criticism. On Urban75 my observations were merely thrown back at me - cyclists do all the things motorcyclists do apparently. But no-one seemed to realise that the speeds a motorbike can reach and their weight (therefore momentum) are so much higher - taking them closer to a car than a bike.

Motorcyclists now demand the right to use bus lanes, cycle lanes and ASLs. I have started challenging them on the roads, and get to hear a lot of bad language for my efforts.

I even challenged a police motorbike in an ASL which ended up becoming a pedantic lecture back at me...the officer claimed the police had an excemption by law - not true - and that he only entered ASLs to catch red light jumping cyclists - which I cannot believe is true.

However law abiding I am as a cyclist I still regularly get the RLJing thing thrown back at me. Imagine any other walk of life where that happened. All men rape suspects...all motorists speeding and without insurance, all doctors fake, all young people pissed on cider and carrying knives. It smacks of intolerence, and is probably why as a cyclist I am at the receiving end of random attacks on a pretty reguular basis, and maybe why motorcyclists whistle past me at high speed with millimetres to spare, and pull in front of me in ASLs, and swear at me in bus lanes and when I try to take a dominant position in the lane in the run up to a major junction.

Anway -enough of this childishness - I'm pleased to say that the cyclist suffered only minor injuries, and the motorcyclist looks like he's going to poll through too. Sometime soon I'm sure we'll find out what the cause was. Probably not from Bikeradar though as they seem to be closing down any threads that attempt to discuss this accident.

This accident seems to have brought all the bile and hatred to the surface for some reason and I'm staying of Bikeradar for a while, except for trivia and the silly commuting stats.

My comments posted yesterday have been put up on the this is london site:

"For God sake - has no one got any perspective any more. I'm a cyclist and perfectly happy to share the roads and accept the risk. This was a freak accident, and more are bound to occur..cycling is not dangerous, nor are we a danger to anyone.

Since Londoners all seem to hate each other why don;t we get together in Trafalgar Square after work on Friday and have a great big fight.
"

- Porgy the Cat, London, England

Greyhound Buses



There's a fair bit of reminiscing going on here about people's travels on Greyhound Buses in the US.

In 1990 I bought a book of tickets allowing unlimited travel across the US on Greyhound Buses. What an experience!

The stations were an experience on their own - never mind the actual travelling. I used to enjoy looking at the buses boarding - I still remember the smell of a newly cleaned Greyhound. The buses were destined to go to places I knew from movies and songs - Albequerque, Tuscon, Arizona, Dallas, and the one that sent a little flurry of shivers through me: New York City. I nearly boarded it there and then. However, I resisted and left it for the next trip in 1991. In addition to the bus tickets we had a book of 3 or 4 open flight tickets to use for when the bus travel got to be too much.

I remember being on the bus between Memphis and New Orleans - following the Mississippi - and seeing the terrible conditions that the black poor were living in - miles and miles of delapidated shacks. It looked somehting out of Mississippi's burning. Those same communities are the ones decimated after the recent floods in New Orleans.

I'm pretty sure we flew into New Orleans and greyhounded out towards Memphis. At Memphis I loved the local accent - noticed how much more friendly people were - and we had bacon and syrup in a cafe attached to the Greyhound Station before wandering out to find somewhere to stay.

Another trip was from Dallas to San Antonio, and then from SA out towards the Mexican Border - we were boarded by Border Police and searched - they though it was really funny that two British guys were on board, for some unknown reason. One Mexican tried to leg it and was dragged off.

I'm a bit hazy about the details of the trip at this point. I remember spending most of the night in Albequerque Greyhound Station - playing pacman - it was incredibly cold and we were out on the main drag somewhere a long way out of downtown. There was an Indian guy in the station waiting too.

We saw quite a few Hamish on buses and I'd say quite a few dodgy looking characters, and also a lot of young people - teenagers, students, etc, but I don;t remember having any trouble with anyone. People left each other alone. Sometimes you'd get talking to someone in the station though.

When we boarded the bus to the Grand Canyon at Flagstaff it was deep snow and blizzard conditions. I thought it's be cancelled, but it wasn't, and we made it on schedule. Two days later another bus picked us up and took us to California, through the desert and over the mountains into San Diego. SD was a slightly scary place - I didn't like carrying my wallet around there - ironic really as I actually had it nicked from me in San Francisco a few days later.

My second trip to theUSA was in September 1991. I took a long Greyhound trip from NYC, to Chicago, then headed south to Nashville, and finally East through the cumberland Gap to Washington DC, and back up to NYC.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Unidentified Flying Motorbike

Passed what looked like quite a serious accident today - then a rumour on Bikeradar started that the cyclist involved had died - which left me a little shaken. Then around 1 pm the cyclist involved - not dead - came on and posted - said he was ok apart from minor cuts and that.

Cause - speculation that a motorbike going too fast on London Bridge (claims made that bikers unleash up to 100mph along that stretch of road at times - I can confirm mucho speeding goes on along there by motorbikers) and unable to stop when a bus pulled out - went flying across from southbound to northbound side of carriageway and cyclist got a flying motorbike straight in his face.

I passed as he was getting cleaned up by a woman who happened to be nearby - he needed stitches to his lip apparently.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Danger Room

interesting Blog here

Celebrate a decade of Messenger with free winks, emoticons, display pics, and more. Get Them Now

Blood On The Tracks

While still shaking after a speeding van at a junction rushed through the gap between me and a vehicle to my right just as I was moving off after the lights went green - must remember to always stop in the centre of the lane in future - I passed several police vehicles, and an ambulance parked outside Southwark station. Police were interviewing people, and then I saw what I didn't want to see: a smashed up motorbike and splashes of fresh blood over the road.
 
I kept going - didn;t let my Haemophobia kick in.
 
This is almost the spot that last week I saw a motorbike tumbling towards me from across the junction, hit the central reservation, and continue on for another 5 feet or so.
 
That time the guy was OK - he got up and walked - but the bike looked completely f**ked.


Celebrate a decade of Messenger with free winks, emoticons, display pics, and more. Get Them Now

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dylan Questioned By Police

"homeowners in Long Branch, 30 miles south of New York, phoned the authorities when they noticed a scruffy figure ambling along a residential street and entering the yard of an up-for-sale house.

"Soaking wet, Dylan, 68, gave his name to Kristie Buble, a 24-year-old police officer, and informed her that he was in town to headline a concert with country star Willie Nelson and rocker John Mellencamp. She was sceptical.

""I've seen pictures of Bob Dylan from a long time ago and he didn't look like Bob Dylan to me at all," Buble told ABC News. "He was wearing black sweatpants tucked into black rain boots, and two raincoats with the hood pulled down over his head."


"Probing musicians' backgrounds who influenced the world of rock in the 1960s and 1970s is a hobby for Dylan. Last November he turned up unannounced at a Winnipeg house where the Canadian rock star Neil Young grew up. Kiernan and Patti Regan came home from shopping to find him waiting on their doorstep and invited him in.

"...in May, Dylan paid a £16 entrance fee and mingled anonymously with tourists at the childhood home of John Lennon in Woolton, Liverpool.

"The location where he was stopped was close to the house where Springsteen wrote his hits Born to Run and Thunder Road three decades ago. Could he have been on the way to a visit?
"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Oil lobby to fund campaign against Obama's climate change strategy

The US oil and gas lobby are planning to stage public events to give the appearance of a groundswell of public opinion against legislation that is key to Barack Obama's climate change strategy, according to campaigners.

No surprise there - the difference now is that we all know what they're up to and should be ready for them. I hope.

Cycle Killer

David Byrne's cycling project.

andrew collins on antichrist


As I seem to have become a fan of Lars von Triers work over the last year or so - starting with his early films - and last night I fell asleep watching Five Obstructions which is no fault of the film, it was engaging, amusing and an insight into the whole business of film-making, more that I've been working my b*ll*cks off the past fortnight trying to get my company ready for an environmental audit.

Anyway - as usual Andrew Collins, as well as Mark Kermode, appears to be the voice of reason regarding the hysteria over Antichrist. I suspect that I'll wait till the DVD comes out though. I haven't even seen that new Star Trek film yet - I'm well behind.

Science Frontiers Online

Just found this through Robin Ramsey's Lobster Journal.


http://www.science-frontiers.com/

Ingrams - good points well made.

Richard Ingrams in the Independent:

Two good little articles from Ingrams this week. The first about the little stitch-up going on surrounding convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdul al-Megrabi. The man certainly was not responsible blowing up Pan Am 103. Jack Straw has seen fit to release this man ahead of his iminent death from cancer on the basis that he will drop the forthcoming apeal.

Ingrams puts the injustice and incompetence involved in this case in the same league as the imprisoning of the Guildford Four or the Birmingham six.


The second article involves two of the extreme Zionists surrounding Blair, Sir Martin Gilbert and Sir Lawrence Freedman have been appointed to sit on the Iraqi war inquiry.

Gilbert has publicly compared Bush and Blair to Roosevelt and churchill, while Freedman has associated with neo-con Daniel Pipes and referred on C4 to the "rather noble criteria" of the illegal invasion of Iraq, which was in reality aimed at shoring up oil supplies and improving Isreal's security.

Don't expect much from this inquiry.

Wikipedia on Lockerbie

Open House

Welcome to Open House is about opening eyes, minds and doors to good design...

Interested in Open House London on 19 and 20 September 2009? Order your copy of the full programme now!

The online search for buildings including the mechanism for bookings where applicable is now live. Click here to visit the search pages

New SchNews

Wake Up!! It's Yer Far Write... SchNEWS Issue 687, Friday 14th August 2009 Read this

issue online: www.schnews.org.uk/archive/news687.htm

We encourage you to print, copy and

distribute the SchNEWSwherever you can... 'UNCERTIFIED: The SchMOVIES DVD Collection 2008' is OUT NOW...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Dream of Zombies

A strange new wrinkle in my dream armoury: last night I dreamt I was travelling to a desert country exactly where Egypt is, but not Egypt. I was staying at the YHA Hostel which was on an exactly circular piece of land and revolved.

Kylie Minogue was also staying at the Hostel - she was attending the same event I was there for and I knew I'd be sitting at a table with her present at some point - like a pre-event meeting. However she was being a spoilt shit and abusing the staff - a lot of staff for a YHA. I wondered that with her money why she was staying at a YH - but it sort of made more sense in the dream.

Next I was in a room - there was a bed, and there were three of us in there. One of the other guys was picking up some insects and explaining that although they looked quite dangerous they were actually extremely dangerous.Apparently the spider I could see would crawl onto your face while asleep and piss on your lips, which caused a little bit of flesh to liquify and it would suck it up. I imagined waking up with little holes in my lips, and I wasn't happy. Imagined going to sleep with blanket over face, but feared suffocation.

I was in a crowded market place. I was with a person who suddenly became a zombie though he wasn't violent, just zobified - dead but still standing. I realised then that the insects were burrowing into people's heads and taking control of their brains. I knew I was at risk and suddenly realised everyone around me was in some way affected - like a scene from bodysnatcher i had to pretend to be one of them. I last remember trying to refuse that a society could function like this.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Shaking my Bits To the Hits, ohh...

The pressure's on at work. This'll be my third external audit now, so I'm an old veteran. I've got managers out looking for documentation which we'll need to have as evidence. I know it exists, but where, who knows?
I'm attempting to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat here.


I've just bought a new MP3 player - as one of my old ones has expired - quietly in its sleep. The new player is doing me proud - 4Gb - 560 songs so far - reckon I could get 700 on there without compromising on the sound quality.

I'm still trying to navigate my way round the menus which are quite complex - but they're not too nuch of a problem. It's certainly easier to use than my old Zen Nano, and with a nice big screen so I can se clearly what is playing. It's easy to find individual songs, you can search by song, artist, album or genre.

Another great feature is being able to select random play from amongst little played songs - this ensures that you get to hear everything on there. Or you could select to play from amongst the most played - if you want to hear your favourites....or even make up your own playlists - very handy this.

Musical highlights so far loaded include Emotional Rescue, The Stones; Never Mind The Bollocks; Jerusalem by Steve Earle; Journey To The East - Monkey; Fairport Convention's Greatest Hits; Blood Money, Tom Waits; Funhouse, The Stooges; Lust for Life, Iggy Pop; Nebraska, Springsteen; Portishead by Portishead; Rage against The Machine by Rage against The Machine; Speaking In Tongues, Talking Heads; The Stone Roses by the Stone Roses; and many more...

Second counselling session today. Quite positive.

Listened to In Our Time today - the one about the history time - might post an overview here if I get enough of that temporal stuff - although I really have to question what I mean by that... I keep meaning to spend more time reading about science, you know. Melvin Bragg is a great presenter though - I love it when he has to step in to tell the dusty old acadmeics off for arguing....though Bragg is clearly on thin ice when discussing science...and these shows are definitely weaker as a result.

Looking back over my blog - you know there's some good stuff there - stuff I'm pleased to have written. now that I have internet access I'm going to try to get more of my photos up - many of which i took for this blog but then had no way of uploading them.

it's been 8 days since my last drink, think i'm over the depression now, the rest should be easy. i'm going to see if i can keep going till december...but i'll have a drink on my birthday...and probably fall down pissed after just half a pint.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We're Not All Rainman


This BBC article has come out with the stunning revelation that not all autistic people have Special Powers like Rainman.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8192895.stm

I watched Rainman while a student and found it very uncomfortable even though I had not bee diagnosed - it had occured to me quite early on that my "oddness" was a bit like autistic behaviour. Perhaps I recognised some of myself in Hoffman's performance.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

No Ads

It's taken me a while - but I've finally been able to take those Googles ads - adsense - off of my blog. when I put them on it was just for an experiment - didn't realise I'd be stuck with them for so long!

Friday, August 07, 2009

exhausted

Running round my company this week trying to make sure we're as compliant as possible in the upcoming environmental audit.

it seems everyone has taken their eye off the ball in the recent changes - coming back into the public sector and cost-cutting as a result of TfL's reduced budget.

it may be partly my fault too - i was encouraged to have a more hands off approach, but alos my job was in doubt for a short time and i too let things go.

encouragingly -there's not too much wrong with our environmental management system. It's basically robust, but maybe relying too much on certain individuals. since some have been moved sideways, and others have left, it's become difficult to fill the gaps left behind - and hard to demonstrate exactly what we have done with the relevant managers absent.

So it'll be up to me to pull all this back together in just over a week. I've had some very positive meetings - at last everyone is interested in what i have to say - but that's fear for you - a wonderful motivator.

Conway Hall august Events - not coming soon

http://www.conwayhall.org.uk/eventsaugust2009.htm

Wake Up!! We're halfway through August already!!

Sunday 9 August 3pm: The Greenwich Mysteries

Jacqueline Woodward-Smith takes a walk around Greenwich Park, and maybe beyond, in search of goddesses and mysteries in the land. Meet at the King William Walk gates in Greenwich.

Map for Greenwich Park:
http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=538508&Y=177517&A=Y&Z=110

Visions of Saturn: Images from the Cassini-Huygens Mission

Until 31 Aug 2009

This unique exhibition of NASA images reveals the beauty of Saturn, its rings and moons. Visions of Saturn ( http://nmm.pmailuk.com/bnmailweb/ct?d=AlzseQGhAAEAAAElAAAzDQ ) features pictures of hurricane-force storms in Saturn's turbulent atmosphere, the delicate tracery of the ring system and a wonderful array of satellites, including a planet-sized moon where liquid methane rains from orange clouds.

Admission free. No booking required. For further information visit nmm.ac.uk/iya2009 ( http://nmm.pmailuk.com/bnmailweb/ct?d=AlzseQGhAAEAAAOgAAAzDQ ) .

New SchNews

Wake Up!! It's Yer Always Black and Wight...

SchNEWS Issue 686, Friday 7th August 2009

Read this issue online (from noon Saturday):
www.schnews.org.uk/archive/news662.htm
(including extended edition of Chechnya human
rights story.)

We encourage you to print, copy and distribute the SchNEWS
wherever you can...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Oil running out and another recession

I blogged about this a while ago - and finally there's something in the media about it. We're in much more serious shit than we realise. This current crisis, though generally considered to be caused by banks and unsafe mortgages, is actually rooted in high oil prices, both attracting investment and therby reducing investment in other sectors, at the same time, higher oil prices reduces profit for almost everyone. The clever businesses hare already reducing their oil-dependence.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/warning-oil-supplies-are-running-out-fast-1766585.html

"Higher oil prices brought on by a rapid increase in demand and a stagnation, or even decline, in supply could blow any recovery off course, said Dr Fatih Birol, the chief economist at the respected International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris, which is charged with the task of assessing future energy supplies by OECD countries."

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Carnaval 2009

I've never turned up for the Carnival bit this year, therefore I don't know if I'm correct in my impression that this year's was a little subdued due to the recession.

Even so - it was very colourful, lots of national costumes, dancing, music....


girls in swirling skirts.....
men in silly costumes....
and giant puppets....
Unfortunately I picked a bad spot to see all this...never mind, there's always next year.
video
video

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Hitler Moustache

In case you're interested - here's a rebuttal from Richard Herring, in the Grauniad.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/brian-logan

It is a rebuttal of an article which appeared in the Grauniad on Monday
"The new offenders of standup comedy: Political correctness used to rule comedy, but now comics routinely offend their audiences. How did things get so nasty?"
http://www.guardian.co.uk/new-offenders

Brian Logon, a complete tit who should be writing for the tabloids, started his article: "It's a Saturday night in north London, and a group of people are listening to one white man speak. First he suggests that all Muslim men are secretly gay. Next, he's using the n-word. Then he draws his eyes into slits to mock the Chinese. One woman in the crowd has had enough. "You're awful," she says, leaving the room. "You're a disgrace." Soon, others join her; the man abuses them as they leave. The atmosphere is sour."

I wasn't at that gig but I saw the same material being performed in New Cross a couple of weeks before. My own take was that it was - although very funny - quite an obvious polically correct anti-racist show, and not the least bit controversial. I don't know how stupid Logon has to be to misunderstand the point - or maybe he's just a tit out to get a story, create a bit of controversy, make a name for himself. Or maybe he doesn't like Richard Herirng. Who can say.

Logon went on to say "This year, veteran comic
Richard Herring is sporting a Hitler moustache for his show, Hitler Moustache, in which he argues "that racists have a point"." Well, no Logon. How stupid do you have to be not to realise that with use of IRONY, Herring is actually arguing the opposite. And I thought you had to be clever to be a journalist!.

Richard Herring: "It is true that the phrase "maybe racists have a point" is in the show. It's an interesting moment: the awkwardness in the room is palpable; a core belief has been challenged (by a man with a Hitler moustache) and people are uncomfortable about where this might be leading. But the statement is followed by what is possibly the standup routine I am most proud of, one which examines our attitudes to ethnicity and questions whether the way humans choose to divide themselves is obfuscating their essential similarity. It challenges racism, but also liberal assumptions about cultural identity. It's funny, too. Comedy, it seems, can cover some complex issues much more effectively than someone blankly stating these truths.

"This isn't a "new offensiveness". It is an age-old comedic device to say the opposite of what you believe in order to demonstrate the ultimate stupidity of the stated position, following it through to its illogical conclusion. Is it heresy to explore the arguments of the racist? Some liberals might think so. But if we stop people even discussing it, then aren't they bound to question why they aren't allowed to question it? Generally, when people are silenced by authority it is because they have a point – look at Galileo or Iran's democracy movement. There is no harm in exploring the truth about racism when all moral, scientific, social, historical and genetic evidence demonstrates it to be groundless and ridiculous. And funny."

And a big FUCK YOU to the tiresome po-faced Guardian proving yet again that the narrow-minded uptight greedy British middle classes wouldn't know humour if it came and bit them on the fucking arse, tweaked their nipples and shouted into their ugly faces, "This is humour you fuckhead, what you gonna do about it!"

Straycation

 
Tomorrow - the Carnaval del Pueblo and the pre-festival procession from the Elephant & Castle down the Walworth Road is a true secret spectacle of south London. The official website is here: http://www.carnavaldelpueblo.co.uk

Some photos of last years procession and fortune-telling budgies which are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/skitster/sets/72157606532573082/ care of Scott Wood, from SELFs.

SELFs have organised a set of 'weird' walks in London over August, called Straycation, details are below.
Camberwell tonight:

Saturday 1 August 7pm: Camberwell Myth and Magic
Join Scott Wood on a walk around the mythological sites of Camberwell. There'll be ghosts, folklore, saints and Aleister Crowley's father-in-law. Meet on Camberwell Green, junction of Camberwell Road & Camberwell Church Street.

Map for Camberwell Green:
http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=532566&Y=176794&A=Y&Z=106

Wednesday 5 August 7pm: Brockwell Park is waiting in the dark!

Wild West heroes, a cure for impotence, the devil's fruit and deadly mermaids are just part of the cast in this stroll around Brixton's magnificent Brockwell Park. Brockwell Park Gates Herne Hill entrance. Junction Dulwich Road and Norwood Road.

Map for Brockwell Park:
http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=532004&Y=174298&A=Y&Z=110

Sunday 9 August 3pm: The Greenwich Mysteries

Jacqueline Woodward-Smith takes a walk around Greenwich Park, and maybe beyond, in search of goddesses and mysteries in the land. Meet at the King William Walk gates in Greenwich.

Map for Greenwich Park:
http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=538508&Y=177517&A=Y&Z=110

Thursday 13 August 7pm: The Peckham Ghost Trail

Follow the trail of the infamous Peckham Ghost with SELFS host Scott Wood, meeting other phantoms of Peckham & Nunhead on the way. Meet Honor Oak Park Station, walk ends Nunhead Green approx 9pm.

Map for Honor Oak Park:
http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=535915&Y=174220&A=Y&Z=110&ax=535915&ay=1742\
20


Sunday 16th August 3pm: A short radical ramble in SE1:
subversive amblings up Blackfriars Road.

A walk from Past Tense: Anarchist plotters, King Mob tumult, ranters, writers, early feminists, physical force chartists and more...
Meet at the Obelisk, St George's Circus, SE1

St George's Circus map:
http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=531689&Y=179490&A=Y&Z=110
______________________
All walks between 1-2 hours.

Contact scott@selfs.org.uk for more details.

"We'll try and be brave but walks won't happen if it's pouring with rain please
ring 0795 201 2487 on the day to ensure the walk is happening."



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