The countryside seems to be quite dirty - mud everywhere.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I was caught a little short tonight for two reasons. The first - it was flipping freezing. The second - I completely ran dry of energy going through Greenwich and woolwich. Had to make an unscheduled stop at the Lidl in woolwich for a cheap sandwhich, reduced pork pie, and some apple juice. While in the shop the security put the gratings at the front of the shop down onto my bike which was chained by the trolleys. I nealry went ballistic, hammering on the shop doors as they'd locked up. The guy responded pretty quickly and eventually, a push of the button and my bike was released. I was told to take my bike inside the shop next time I'm there near closing time.
Anyway - going to have to sort out an extra layer for legs and up top before it's safe to venture out tomorrow.
I pass this makeshift memorial every day, on the way to work and back. A woman was killed by a lorry back in early December. Soon after, some flowers appeared, then a ghost bike, and finally the reefs, which are truly moving.
Deptford Marmoset <---highly recommended websiteGreenwich Mercury
Sunday, January 24, 2010
It gave me a chance to use the panorama camera function on my mobile phone. click on the picture to see it in all its glory.
Looking east, you can just see the Dartford AKA Queen Elizabeth bridge on the horizon, left....and a few horses dotted about.
Erith across a muddy bay.
I think an important point to realise is that even though earthquakes are a natural disaster - the fact that less than 70 people died in a similarly powerful earthquake in San Francisco and we're talking hundreds of thousands in Haiti speaks absolute volumes.
The political will to solve Haiti's problems has never been there because the US are paranoid about losing control, and since 1959, worried it would become another Cuba.
It will be interesting to see if Obama can change America's frankly appalling attitude that it has towards it's less powerful neighbours.
Patrick Cockburn in the Independent
Noam Chomsky: US - Haiti
So I was stuck...with lots of thoughts and ideas, and nowehere to put them. Here I am, it's the end of the week, and I'm looking at a screen, with not one single idea in my head.
Watched the Dave Spaced marathon last night. My wife banned me from watching it when it was originally shown although she never told me - she just tended to distract me when it was on, or insist on watching something on the other side, want me to take out the bins or go to the shop, or early to bed. I soon twigged that she wasn't keen on me watching it; I managed to watch one episode from start to finish, asked her why she wouldn't let me watch it, and she explained that it was far too much like watching ourselves on tv for comfort and it upset her - made her angry, disappointed, and depressed...and now i can see what she means. The lead characters aren't a couple, but pretend to be so they can have the flat. I think my wife thought we were more like flatmates than a couple. I still think that could be a good thing. We were after all very good friends. And I think I avoided intimacy in much the same way that the Simon Pegg character does, instead, spending my time obsessed with trivia. But I thought we were having fun. Well we were, but fun probably isn't enough. I thought of my wife quite a bit while watching, I miss her terribly even now, nearly two years since we split.
Similarly she wouldn't watch 'Nathan Barley' - I think because she was surrounded by Nathan Barley types (living near Brixton and being involved with Urban 75) - and she got the point in the first show. I'll see them on DVD at some point.
Spaced though - I can now understand why it is so revered. Now it looks a little cliched - but at the time, it wouldn't have done; in fact it invented the cliches - good use of references throughout - not just film references but cleverer stuff such as super8 style film and theme from 'rhubarb and custard' to show a childhood memory.
I was kept laughing pretty much throughout the 7 or so programmes, and looking forward to series 2.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I started by sorting out the front gear mechanism, which governs which chain ring is used. It seized up enitrely at the start of the week, caked in grit and muck. It's a bad time of year for bicycle maintenance.
I attacked it with WD40 which soon shifted the crud; and slowly I managed to coax the machanism back to life. After that I fitted the new brake blocks for the rear wheel; and readjusted the front brakes to put right a cack handed job I'd done on on Xmas day.
Fairly soon I'm going to have to replace the chain and block. It feels a bit rough right now, but nothing I can't deal with. There's two reasons for waiting. the first is financial. I'm due a fair amount of back pay from work. A union dispute over pay has given TfL every excuse they need to hold back our 2009 pay rise, but we should be getting it all in March. Then I'll get the bike sorted. The other reason is that if I get the work done now it's likely to have to endure the current harsh conditions for another month or two, so I think I'll get better value for money if the bike is made as new just as we head into spring.
Hopefully, after that, my monthly mileage will leap from the current 4-500 up to 7-800.
Then today I happen to have come across the true story - that the quotes attributed to Chavez were from an opinion post on the state television website, and nothing to do with Chavez.
click on the title (above) for full story.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
She died on Xmas eve. This memorial appeared shortly after; candles have been left burning every evening this week. I can only imagine how devastating the sudden death of a child can be. Visit the website (title link).
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Ackroyd does like taking liberties with the truth. He's decided that London pre-dates the Roman era, even though I'm pretty sure, there's no real evidence for this; and I'm interested to note that he decides Londoners are a Romano-London mix, which is compeltely unture. DNA evidence shows that Londoners and Britons generally were left completely untouched by the roman population, genetically speaking. Obviously there was so little cross-fertilization, if any, that it left no trace at all in our DNA.
Mind you, despite that, or because of it, Ackroyd can weave a good tale, so I forgive him. but his "facts" need to be taken with a pinch of salt. I wonder what his views on climate change are?
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
"Oddly, we are now being targeted as an extremist or terrorist organisation and even banned for merely expressing that. I feel this is a failure of the concept of democracy and freedom. Ultimately, what the people will see is if you don't agree with the Government and you want to expose their foreign policy, then freedom quickly dissipates and turns into dictatorship."
And this is after over 12 years of Labour Party government?
This simpleton called buono puts a familiar argument:
Q:George, if you were faced with absolute, unequivocal evidence that global warming is a myth, what would you do for a living?
Would you agree that you are dependent on global warming as an income stream?
Because I would absolutely say that you are. You simply cannot afford to be wrong and so attack those who disagree with your point of view.
A:I write about lots of subjects: you can see the list here. Of my seven books, only one is about climate change. I would like nothing better than to stop writing about it, in fact I wish the issue would just go away, not least because having to deal every day with people like you is doing my head in.
But let me turn the question round. What would it take to persuade you that manmade global warming is taking place? What proportion of the world's climate scientists would have to agree that it was happening before you accepted the science? 90%? 95%? Or is your rejection of it the equivalent of a religious belief, which cannot be shaken by any level of evidence?
Monday, January 11, 2010
What are we supposed to call them? I've heard many claim that they are sceptics, but frankly without any counter-evidence, or any rational argument at all, they do not deserve to be called sceptics. I consider myself a sceptic. Sceptics use rational arguments to counter irrational belief. Climate change deniers are the opposite of sceptics. So I ask again what are we supposed to call them if not deniers?
by Eva Golinger , Venezuela
Eva Golinger, winner of the International Award for Journalism in Mexico (2009), named “La Novia de Venezuela” by President Hugo Chávez, is a Venezuelan-American attorney from New York, living in Caracas, Venezuela since 2005 and author of the best-selling books, including “The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela” (2006 Olive Branch Press), “Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela” (2007, Monthly Review Press), & “The Empire’s Web: Encyclopedia of Interventionism and Subversion”. Eva...has been investigating, analyzing and writing about US intervention in Venezuela using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain information about the US Government’s efforts to destabilize progressive movements in Latin America.
This story appeared on her Blog over the weekend. Obama's administration are stepping up operations in Latin America, much as liberal darling Kennedy did nearly 50 years ago.
Eva Golinger writes: "Caracas, January 9, 2009 [she means 2010, I'm sure] - Yesterday’s violation of Venezuelan airspace by a P-3 US military combat plane is another example of the escalation in provocations against Venezuela and evidence of the danger US military presence in the region represents. During a live television broadcast on the evening of January 8, President Hugo Chávez revealed that at approximately 12:55pm earlier that day, a US P3 combat plane took off from the air base in neighboring Curaçao and entered Venezuelan airspace during a 15-minute period. Two Venezuelan F-16 planes intercepted the foreign military aircraft, prepared to escort it outside Venezuelan territory. “When the F-16 planes attempted communication with the US aircraft, it immediately took off towards the north, but later it returned”, announced President Chávez. He said that at 1:37pm Venezuelan time, the combat plane returned and flew for about 19 minutes inside Venezuelan territory. "
And a mention for "Our Time Is Now" a Blog written by Amy (phnx0221) based in Arizona who describes her blog as being about "libertarian socialism, anarchism, social justice, direct democracy, keeping a watchful eye on governments", and also Twitters at this address.
Deeply Flawed But Trying is a funny, personal and often political Blog written by prolific Twitterer "generally quite nice. Mostly. A bit gobby" Slummymummy based in picturesque Hebden Bridge.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I've revived my photobucket account as trying to organise and make use of my photographs has become a slight nightmare if that's possible. sometimes when you wake up only slightly perturbed - well that's how organising my photos has become.
My photos are spread all over the place - some on disc, some on an old hard drive, some on Smugmug and Flickr and Photobucket, and there's a load on my laptop, and my new hard drive. What I really need to do is put all the private ones on my hard drive and ones I want to share onto Photobucket. since I only have access to PB from home, and the connection is often slow or non-existent, it'll take a while to see through, but half the battle is having a plan and sticking to it.
Instead of posting all my pics on my blog or using Twitpic which is crap, I will post albums on Photobucket and link to them. I did consider moving to Flickr but tbh I have so many pics on Photobucket already I can't be arsed moving. Just need to remove slightly embarrassing personal ones first or sort out the security arrnagements.
Click on the Sausage avatar:
Saturday, January 09, 2010
According to Wikipedia:
"Joseph M. "Joe" Arpaio (born June 14, 1932) is an American law enforcement officer, and the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Arpaio, who promotes himself as "America's Toughest Sheriff," has become controversial for his approach to operating the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. He has a large number of vocal supporters as well as opponents. Arpaio continues to earn the support of Maricopa County voters who reelected him sheriff by double-digit margins in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. In 2007 a petition to recall Arpaio from office failed to gain enough voter signatures to get on the ballot.
"His practices have been criticized by organizations such as Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Arizona Ecumenical Council, the American Jewish Committee, and the Arizona chapter of the Anti-Defamation League. The editorial board of The New York Times called Arpaio "America's Worst Sheriff"."
"Jon is Shaun Attwood, a British stockbroker and rave organiser formerly imprisoned in Arizona, blogging the prison stories of his friends inside, documenting his return to society, and campaigning against Sheriff Joe Arpaio."
Friday, January 08, 2010
As the week progressed it became clear that the arctic weather wasn't going away. I managed to cycle in to work every day this week, even putting in a few extra miles. Competition is stiff in the SC Stats - and I was determined to reach the Top 5. I'd been in the Top 10 briefly last year, but my cycling suffered badly in the early part of the year through lack of fitness, and ill health. but I've put all that behind me now and am determined to cycle over 7,000 miles this year (less than 5,000 in 2009) and to be in Top 5 all year.
Cycling in icy conditions can be exhausting and stressful. It's cycling home in the dark that's worst. Poor visibility means that ice on the road is hard to see - I've slipped a few times, though managed to maintain my balance. And motorists have gone completely mad. How many times have vehicles pulled in front of me at almost zero stopping distance across give way lines? I've lost count. It's happened several times, every time I go out. This evening I really lost it with a van driver who had stopped halfway across the road, seemingly waiting for me to pass, and then suddenly pulling out in front of me when i was inches away. I lost it with him - I screamed obscenities at him, and he stopped in front of me waiting - for what? I wasn;t sure, so I stopped behind him and waited until he finally moved. then i lost it again with a motorist who did exactly the same in Welling - I stopped in front of him and screamed that I had done nothing wrong and what the FUCK did he think he was doing having a go at me? then I really lost it, and vocabulary went out of the window. I said "Fuck you! Fuck you!" Then I paused and thought I can't say fuck you again, but couldn't think f anything else so shouted "fuck you!" after that I thought it had a strange kind of poetry of its own. everyone in the street was looking at me by then. I took off and went into Morrisson's for some Belgian beer.
I've been snowballed by local yoofs quite a bit too. It seems that cyclists are sitting targets...almost. The first lot missed me completely - hitting a moving target is more difficult than it looks. I was also missed by a load of yoofs in Woolich who were targeting me from a high vantage point, and all missed too. I did get hit though on another occasion - on the arm and on my back - and it's a bit annoying if you've cycled 12 miles and managed to stay dry and warm and then a bunch of kids fuck it up for you so near the end of your journey.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
I'm having a busy week at work - having a new push to get people to fulfill their duties wrt the environment. It's really not difficult, mostly involves following written procedures and not breaking the law. Surely it's just as easy to put your waste in the correct bin as putting it in the wrong bin? Surely arranging for admin staff to file documents correctly is a basic in any organisation. Can environmental training for new staff not be identified the same time as vocational and safety training. Apparently not - it must involve and entirely different and seperate process which requires intervention by an advisor before anyone does anything!!
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Well now they've record an album in tribute to Factory boss Tony Wilson, and are on tour performing it. I've decided, finally, that it's time to see them, before it's too late, after all none of us are getting any younger.
I had the extreme misfortune to see what is probably the worst and most annoying advert ever, by the people that brought us a series of annoying ads; and who could believe that they could plumb even lower depths than the Howard ads. And even more annoying than the Josh supergroup ads. Yes!! It's the Halifax. A crap bank who makes crap ads.
Watch at own risk:
The snow arrived today. the snow I really din;t want. I'm trying to get fit on the bike by cycling a minimum of 30 miles a day. If the weather deteriorates again, that is not going to happen.
Got snowballed by yoofs, and nearly run over by a bus.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Monday, January 04, 2010
Ice had mostly cleared by Monday and my cold had mostly retreated - leaving just a cough, which still lingers over a week later. So I had no hesitation in jumping on the bike for a bracing 15 mile ride into central London. The first 15 miles of the year, immediately added to the Bike Radar Commuters Forum stats table / come league. I rocketed into about 20th place.
The meeting went well. I made a couple of demands form the managers which were met the very same day. Invites in my in-tray to this year's IEMA social events, quite a few environmental inspections some of which read "nothing to report". That sort of report pisses me off - it says nothing, it's lazy, and requires quite a bit of effort on my part to confront. Ran it by my boss, who has so far been completely supportive, and set up meetings, trying to be diplomatic. No point in alienating my clients.
Sunday, January 03, 2010
I'm back to work tomorrow though. And I have to be on time; it's the top management meeting, and unusually, I have things to say. I'll need a bit of preparation, two coffees, some breakfast, and a bit of panic and subsequent calming down time.
I intend to cycle in tomorrow too. The ice has gone and I have 7,000 miles to cover before the end of December. That's 30 miles a day for each working day of the year plus an extra 40 miles a month. It should be fairly easy as long as I remain disciplined.
It means I need to go to the Local Bike Shop (LBS) this afternoon for some rear brake blocks otherwise I'm buggered before I start.
Saturday, January 02, 2010
What's getting me through this Xmas and New Year period is season two of the Rockford Files on DVD.
I watched this programme obsessively when it ran first time round on British TV, and I wasn't even sure what it was that gripped me so. Now I think I have an idea, and it's the characters, the car, the stories, the humour and the location, and not least, Jim Rockford himself.
If anything was going to drive me to become homosexual it was Jim Rockford. I can't help finding him attractive, and not as a drinking buddy like Starsky and Hutch, but in an entirely latently homo-erotic way. But apart from that - I love the locations, the female guest stars, even the repetitive formula doesn't irritate me in the least.
So, Rockford - what a man; what a programme. there's nothing else like it.
the car's pretty good too, phwoar, sexy car!!
Friday, January 01, 2010
I'm supposed to be out there notching up the miles on my bike, but I'm too ill. Go away and leave me alone!