23/12/2012

Two Mayan stone masons . . . . . .

Alright Joe?

Yeah, dusty as buggery.  Where the hell have you been?

Left the coffee in the jeep.  I suppose you DO want some?

'course I do.

SHIT!  

What now?

Forgot the damned sugar.

You are a gibbon aren't you?  Never mind, hand it over.

So . . . . (slurp) . .christ this almost cold!

yeah, gotta get a new flask I reakon, pop to Asda.

Hmmm.  So where are we?

13.0.0.0.0 4

yeah?  and?

13.0.0.0.0 4 Ajaw 8 Cumku  

bloody hell

any rock left?

Not unless we fill in 87/B - revised4/2 .00.00 and start a new bit.

Bugger that - we're 3,000 years ahead already - it'll do for now won't it?

Guess so.   Always do bit more next year.

Yeah.

Pub then?

Brilliant.



20/12/2012

Met Office gadget finally sorted

At last - after an awkward year for the Win7 desktop gadget the App finally sorted itself out this morning and displayed the correct date for Christmas Eve!

A long time coming, but well worth the wait.

19/12/2012

Manor Arms, Burton, Christchurch


You know, this area is teeming with OKish Pubs, where families go for Sunday carveries (is that the plural of carvery?) and most pubs have far more eating room than drinking space these days.

Until a year or two ago there was one place, just off the beaten-track, (Burton, Nr Christchurch) that had missed this metamorphosis, missed the decking, the blue LEDs, and most definitely missed the stainless steel and glass apologies for atmosphere we label as refurbishment.

To be truthful it felt a bit run-down, you just knew it couldn't go on - too much land, too few customers, staff a bit, well . . . . elsewhere.

AND - you had to walk through an enormous unlit pot-holed carpark to enter the mansion-like doorways, breathe the staleness - and listen to some of the roughest, dirtiest rock music this side of, em .... a thing with sides on. Smokers barely remained outside, and the music went on until they finished.

SUPERB!

I LOVED the OLD Manor Arms, it suited a mood, because, I know some of us are still Midnight Cowboys under the meetings, the policies, the politics, the sheer bloody correctness of our lives. 
So when we close the door on the retreating leg of a partner, and walk back around the silver-grey identikit thing we use, open the door, to slide in front of the steering-wheel - we're really, in our hearts, swinging a leather and studded leg across some hell-fire hog, to tool-off into the night amid the spitting fury of our stacked chrome tailpipes.

15/12/2012

Jacintha Saldanha

Jacintha Saldanha was buried today at Westminster Cathedral, and I wish eventual peace to her family.

I recall on the day of her death the second thought that occurred to me (after the obvious one: the Media) and it was this -
Just what pressure did the 'management' at King Edward VII's Hospital put her under, subtly or otherwise?





And later today, as I listened to the radio news, I realised it was only last night I'd been channel hopping, and unfortunate enough to land on The British Comedy Awards ("arguably the most entertaining awards show of the TV year" - suggests 'The Mirror' )
and hosted by?





Hosted by Johathon Ross for Christ's sake.  What is it - two years since he and Russell Brand spewed-up their lewd comments on air to Jonathan Sachs?
. . . . . . and here the creap is again, the glittering gold standard of modern-day 'entertainment'.


 
You really can't blame Mel Greig and Michael Christian, it seems UK, American & Australian audiences warm to such rubbish (sorry, 'entertainment'), they expect more and more 'edge' to their intake (just compare a UK soap opera to its counterpart of 15 years ago).
You see this trend mirrored daily in the way people speak and react to each other.  You can experience the effect of this degradation of human interaction hourly on our screens, in our streets, in our classrooms, and on the roads.



Just wait for the next one.

01/12/2012

Can you see this person?

Darker evenings - cycling fatalities, and now the yearly path of letters to local papers about those pesky cyclists starts.
 
I live on the Bournemouth/Poole border, and here cycle PATHS are non-existent, despite having some of the widest roads in the country (try driving in Bristol).  
We have been TOLD that painted cycle-lanes are all we need, we see cars driving around with daylight running lamps, full headlights in the darker hours, and fully lit streets after dark.

So what do we need now? A Law to make cyclists wear cycle helmets and hi-vis?  Europe doesn't insist on this hi-vis rubbish, if you cannot SEE a cyclist in any damned conditions, lit or not - STOP DRIVING.
If you are SO important you must charge about in your metal box, crash amber lights, insist on a right-of-way as your too large vehicle barges through side-roads, and then lane-swaps after passing everything to gain that vital 10 seconds -YOU are the problem.

If you park facing the wrong way at night, park on double yellows because it's 50m nearer 'Next' or as close to Tesco door-way as you can, to minimize walking, or just 'nip into' a disabled parking bay - YOU are the problem.

It's always talk, talk - talk-up a good argument in this country, yet we are so anti-cycling as a Nation, so wedded to our motorised status, sex, or fashion symbols that no-one ever really LOOKS to see what life on tarmac for a cyclist is really like.  It's bloody murder.


21/11/2012

Blinded!

Only one month away from the shortest daylight day of the year - magic!

So only about another THREE BLOODY MONTHS of having to sit behind COMPLETE GIBBONS who wait in their cars at the lights with their feet permenantly glued to their BLOODY BRAKE-LIGHTS.
You can add even more fun to this scenario -  the same PLEBS will have an indicator light flashing as well - amazing!
You have to wonder - who do they think they are TELLING that they might turn left - or right? Me? The bloke in the next road? In fact, does this lane GO ANYWHERE ELSE BUT BLOODY LEFT?

Your entire windscreen is lit-up like a blasted Christmas tree from within, and when the traffic lights do change - you can't see a damned thing!

11/11/2012

Speakers, Headphones?

Well this is nice.
A piece of free software that solves an issue, is FREE, and just WORKS.

Some of you, even on Windows 7, (seriously disinterested in Win8, I can tell you) must find that switching sound output devices is a real headache.

System Tray Audio Device Switcher ('STADS') makes it easy.
A simple idea that simply works, though you'll need to suffer the world's worst ever tray icon.

Download  <<  here  >>

10/10/2012

Wickes - Red Herrings

This week's TV saw Wickes back with their red pencils out again, honestly, you expect this sort of filth on BBC3 don't you?

Anyroadup, (as my Mum never says), I was a bit shocked at the latest price cut Wickes are peddling, and being a boring sort of bloke - took to my calculator.

Assuming the new price - £2.15 includes 20% VAT, Wickes are selling their Sealant at net. £1.80, and again assuming they 'only' look for 20% for themselves, they will  make 30p profit at this new price (highly unlikely), making the cost to them - per tube, £1.50.

Ok, so this means the original £5.19 price tag included VAT of 86p, so net £4.33.  Cost is £1.50, so profit was £2.83 per tube.  Or 65% ?

Is it me?  Just what sort of margins are being sought up and down rip-off Britain?

30/08/2012

Recession. Spend our way out or keep our heads down? Cycle Paths

I can usefully combine two of my current rants into one gloriously simple idea - so here it goes.

There has been a lot of talk about infrastructure building as a way of helping ourselves into job creation, materials production etc etc.  But how about if that same project lessened road misery?  Promoted health, made people happier?

Cycle Paths
Yep . . . . Cycle paths, that's what we need to build, in every single town in Britain, and once they're built, we need to connect them all up. 

For some inexplicable reason our masters seem to believe we're satisfied with this ↓



And . . . lets just get real for a minute . . . . mostly, the reality faced by UK cyclists looks like this

The rest of the world (especially the europeans) must be laughing their sandals off,  "is there NO democracy in the UK?" they ask each other, spluttering between gasps of air from the effort of trying to talk and laugh.  Before adding -  "We won't have to worry about them much longer, they'll have killed each other off in a few years time".

Seriously though, if you can glance away from the Mobile phone screen for a moment - take a look as you drive around.  There's an astonishing amount of vergeway, scrubland, wasted space by the side of a surprising number of roads - doing absolutely nothing.   Further, there is mile and miles and miles of pavement, sat there waiting for two people to use, every 24 hours or so.

If a cycle-path absolutely will not fit, then share the (widened if necessary) pavement space.

Have a look at this scheme:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EuroVelo

and if you've no time - just imagine this . . . . .

20/08/2012

Windbreaks and the great british psyche?

Clop, clop, clop.
Blazing sun, not an ounce of wind, tons of space on these gorgeous Dorset beaches.

What's this noise?  It's dozens of men, clopping down the poles on their family windbreaks.

An Englishman's castle eh?  Fence divide your borders, or . . . if not at home, build one out of striped canvas and bash its poles into the sand.  haha.

Olympics

Excellent wasn't it? Brilliant opening ceremony, fantastic performances by team GB and superb BBC coverage.

But you know me, always a bit pissed-off about something - so I'm so pleased I don't need to keep hearing about "Our HAUL of medals"  and I don't like having such a pop music themed Closing Ceremony, neither of which remained anywhere near what was once the true spirit of the games.

31/07/2012

Growth, growth, growth

I wanted to get this one off quickly.
It's an idea I've been toying with for some months, only to hear Radio4 are doing a similar piece at 9am this morning - so it seemed 8.45am (my Computer says) is a good time to fire this out.

We need to stop chasing Growth as a signal that everything is fine again.  Growth might show a country or economic area is financially stable, but as an indicator of the health of our species, or the planet - it is possibly the worst thing we could possibly wish for.  A highly simplistic argument (and hardly an argument, yet) - but I truly believe the Western World continuously barks up the wrong tree, if they can find any.

What about quality of life? What about personal TIME? What about having LESS?

Weird huh?

11/07/2012

Another Chip on my shoulder.

Thanks to Alex who suggested this, it's something I have noticed, but didn't notice it enough to get my blogging juices flowing.
OK, the question is - have you ever been in any chip shop that hasn't got some award or other?


No?
Neither have I.

24/06/2012

Jimmy Carr, and all that.

I think the biggest surprise for me this week was learning that this prat is worth millions.  There's never anything that actually makes you laugh properly is there? 
It's always a sort of inward cringe at the distasteful sneering garbage he 'delivers'.

Funny old world.

10/06/2012

Big Me Up

A couple of weeks ago New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his plans to ban 'super-sized' fizzy drinks being sold.

It struck me some years ago (as I watched the young 'professionals' most mornings feeling thoroughly incomplete if their Next tailoring wasn't accessorized by a bucket of coffee in one hand) that I don't ever actually WANT a bucket of coffee when I'm out and fancy, well, just a coffee.
I'll stand next to one of these and invariably hear "Can I get . . . . "  
What?  What does that mean? (Apart from the fact the idiot next to me wants to believe he or she is living a "Friends" episode?)

But back to the Coffee . .  let's be really boring - I mean, doesn't the last bit get sort of luke warm?  Isn't it really difficult drinking all that liquid at one sitting, or standing, or walking back to office?  Fashions are damned weird aren't they? 

We're implored to 'Big me Up' or 'Supersize Me' for soft drinks, coffees, alcohol . . . . when pure, honest reality would tell you this is nothing more than silly, and damaging marketing.  Of course Coca-Cola and McDonalds complained, and so did the New Yorkers - choice, they said, choice.

Choice, ah yes, here we go again.  The UK's default choice this past generation has been to go American.
En-masse we've chosen to load-up credit cards, build shopping Malls - (and populate them on Sundays), we choose that popular music gets nowhere unless the singer(s) sound American, our TV and Radio adverts are peppered with American accents, we choose to drive around in enormous jeepy things that don't fit British road lanes, or side roads.

The latest item I suppose we've slavishly followed is to be obese.  Go anywhere, look around - I mean LOOK properly . . . . . bigger and bigger and bigger, men,women, children, young girls.
Maybe just a 'little tubby' right now, but well on the way to becoming wonderfully American.

Big me Up, and Supersize Me was never so true.

10/05/2012

EDF get lucky

EDF got lucky didn't they?  Of course their Birdy-Bobble thing appeared years ago on the original Hawaii 5 - 0 series (hence the backing track to EDF's advert) - fantastic

07/05/2012

Busy, busy

I should be grateful for such a dark and wet May Bank Holiday weekend, I guess.
I've been steadily developing Adverthell.net . venturing out during the brief sunny bits we got.

If you've a chance - check the site out, it's moved a thousand miles from its shakey beginnings!

www.adverthell.net

24/04/2012

Gordon Bennett Lives!

Saturday in downtown Bournemouth (ha ... laugh?).

Pixie and I are using the Dalkeith arcade to get from the carpark to Specsavers (to get our sheepdog re-trimmed).

On the way back, there's a sign on the Dalkeith manager's door.

(It was straight on the door . . . . )

25/03/2012

Firefox - the new IE?

Firefox has been my Browser of choice since the Zulu wars.  The latest incarnation of this steadily more bloated beastie got me in a tizzie - TABS on TOP, no status bar - and a speedy PC with gigazillions of RAM reporting to me daily that my Browser was hogging memory.
Shame.  In the early days you flew Firefox with goggles, a coat-hanger stuffed into your scarf (to make it look like the wind was blowing it backward) and enormous leather gauntlets - you were on the edge, buddy - the cutting edge . . . . wind in your hair, spinach in your teeth . . . . . . fantastic.
Fast forward to 2012 and our browser-blade is less sharp, a little 'corporate, perhaps.

Enter Pale Moon.
I've been testing this (Mozilla based) browsing babe for couple of weeks and it is lean, fast, VERY stable and well worth the time to test it out for yourself.
Sporting ALL of Firefox's goodies, and NONE of its recently silliness (you can import EVERYTHING into this browser, including your settings, personnas, themes, add-ons) this one looks set to really go.  Read some of the supporting documents and you're back in the land of 'reasonable' rather than 'so damned modern I'm actually not enjoying this anymore ......'  Or, worse still, 'change - just for the sake of it'.

Let's hope not TOO many people find out, I was enjoying those leather gauntlets.

PALE MOON (link)

29/02/2012

Exercise, five-a-day, and all that . . .

The BBC's Horizon (28 Feb 2012) seemed to confirm for me what I'd always suspected - at least for me  (minimal times, hi-value exercise seems to do as much 'good' as any amount of puffing and preening at the 48 million Gyms this country appears to have).

We're lucky here in Dorset, it seems unthinkable to use a walking-machine, indoors, in a Gym - having driven there, and paid monthly to walk.  With over 7 miles of beach it all seems a bit silly.

S'Funny, we have more Gyms than ever in the UK, and more Obesity than ever.  I suppose it is more likely that we do have more toned, muscled inhabitants than we ever used to, but to be fair - how much of this is a product of a Body Concious mentality - rather then fitness for Health?

In the same way, I know in my heart we're probably not too far away from the results of some 'Study' - and we'll be informed (or more possibly, we won't) that - well, actually, five-a-day is a bit wierd . . . hardly necessary, and . . . well, the proof was never really there.

Now, where did I leave those Barbells?

17/02/2012

Razzle Dazzle

Ahh . . . the days are lengthening, and in a month we'll be looking forward to changing the clocks (I fancy a nice blue one). It means, also, that to-and-from work won't include countless blindings from the new(ish) dazzling HID headlamps or distracted by those lovely patterns of LEDs adorning a few older cars ("Hey! Look at me - just like an Audi eh?") 

 Lessened also, with luck, the occasions you've needed to put your hand up to shield the glare from being sat behind a vehicle at traffic-lights with all tail lights, stop lights, indicator - blazing away to no-one in particular.

I've often mused about this, you really need to drive around in the evening with a dipped mirror half the time, but more interestingly - why does anyone use headlights at all in a well-lit town?  To 'see and be seen' is self-defeating isn't it?  If you cannot see a car, with sidelights, or a cyclist (without hi-vis) in a well-lit town, then just stop driving, please.  And 'to see' is just plain ridiculous, the mixture of numerous over-bright light sources, weird traffic and road markings and clutter of signage, 'street furniture' etc all make for far less safety, never more.

14/02/2012

Ooops . . .

OK, I got a few comments that my MP3 didn't always work (Hardy on Redknapp)
So.  Do this if it doesn't work.
FIREFOX -  right-click words, chose 'Save Link As' navigate to desktop, SAVE or OK - from there you can double-click and Bob's yer thingumy.
INTERNET EXPLORER - right-click words, chose 'Save Target As' navigate to desktop, SAVE or OK - from there you can double-click and Bob is still yer thingumy.

12/02/2012

Jeremy Hardy on Harry Redknapp

Picture:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/sportheadlines/9076607/Harry-Redknapp-the-wisest-fool-in-Tottenham.html

I know very, very little about football - and I suppose in a way I'm proud of this fact.
Saturday lunchtime (11th Feb), however, cruising through the sub-zero stuff back home from shopping in Winton (you really need to know all this don't you?) I caught Radio 4's 'News Quiz' in the car.

Now if you read me, then you know I cannot stomach Sandy Toksvig.  Her voice is the ONLY time I'll switch-off radio4, which has to tell you something - if only that I've discovered where the on/off button is.

But Jeremy Hardy had me laughing out loud in the car, alone.  Always a good sign, you feel better don't you?

I downloaded the podcast, twiddled with it in Audacity (extremely brilliant FREE audio editor  <<HERE>> (just to get rid of . . . . oh, all right, I edited-out Sandy's infuriating interruption) ) squeezed here, trimmed there, and saved the new shortened version as an MP3 - JUST FOR YOU!    Have a Listen - just click these words!

16/01/2012

Who's Kidding Who?

This week's TV Ad's seem to point toward a new idea amongst some businesses.

The idea is 'kick 'em while they're down' (by 'down' I mean - in a recession).  What you do is: you keep telling everyone something is a bargain, regardless of the truth, and magically - it becomes a bargain!  Latest gems on the small screen - DOMINO'S - any Pizza for £9.99, and SUBWAY - a big filled roll and drink for £3.00.

Astonishing isn't it?  How can ANY Pizza actually be WORTH ten pounds?   Or a filled roll worth three pounds?  (forget the drink bit, it's in a cup from a giant barrel - about 3 pence worth).

Watch out for this sort of marketing - it's on the increase.