Saturday, December 27, 2008

Let me ponder

The meaning of life!

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Children with their new baby Brother

They came for a weekend visit and love their new baby brother





It was a great weekend, shame it was such a short visit, they are coming back though, for new year.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to anyone reading this

Had a rather nice day, spoilt only by a rather sad experience around 5ish which I will talk about further down.

Surprisingly, Alisons two children were up quite late for a Christmas day, in fact I had to go and shout a big Ho Ho Ho through their bedroom doors to wak them up!

We had a rather excellent Christmas dinner at The Hobby Horse followed by a trip up to see her mum, dad, sister and sisters boyfriend.

Then back here for Doctor Who, which I thought was a fine tale, cybermen, a mysterious 2nd Doctor played by David Morrissey, and Dervla Kirwan being a superb evil nemesis.

I'm now finally able to relax with a beer or two having been chaufer for the day.

The sad news is we had to watch what by all accounts was a good pub, the Rock and Fountain, burn down. I've never been in myself, and now it looks like I won't be able to for quite a while.

I spotted the fire from Alisons mum and dads house, some 700 feet down in the gorge below, and was just deciding it was a proper fire rather than a bonfire when we saw the fire engines turn up. By the time we had to leave the roof was completely gone across the top of the restaraunt part of the building, somehow I imagine they won't be open again any time soon.

It looked like the building was empty, so I am hoping no-one was hurt, I'm sure I will find out fairly soon.

Anyway, Merry Christmas again, and a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Traffic Noise

It's probably just me, but there is something different about traffic noise in London compared to anywhere else I have been.

Maybe it's simply the constant traffic, but I am not convinced, it just sounds different to traffic noise anywhere else I have been.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Have you found Jesus?

Well? Did you?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

We're offline

Thanks to the wonderful behemoth called British Telecom we have not as yet had either our telephone line or broadband connected.

Apparently they fluffed the order and forgot, so we wont be reconnected to the world until the 11th

This is ridiculous, the original transfer was supposed to take 4-5 working days but correcting the error will take them 12 days? this does not make sense.

When I moved house back in 1996 NTL (now Virgin Media) took 3-4 HOURS to transfer my account, Telephone, TV and Broadband the lot.

I do wonder at the complete waste of time British Telecom are, what is there to do that takes them so many days that NTL didn't have to do? I suspect bureaucracy, old fashioned equipment and general "we're the monopoly, and we don't give a shit" attitude.

Down here in Wales there is no alternative, everything has to go down BT wires, oh to be in Leeds with proper fibre optic cable based Virgin Media, cheaper, better quality broadband and far far better customer service.

This post is being written from Alisons mums house where thankfully we have a backup broadband line.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Local History

Is just fascinating to me, it turns out the house next to where Alison lives now used to be a pub, the 3 Swallows if we read the old map correctly.

Where we are moving to is next door to the old synagogue, which looks just like a normal house to me. Turns out the house two doors up used to be another pub (The Heathcote) and rumour has it there is a secret room in the attic from the Chartists days which still has writings on the wall.

Next to and behind that is the old abattoir! which is so co-incidental as my old house in Leeds was also next to an abattoir, albeit a working one rather than one where the stockyard has been built on and the buildings converted into housing.

There is a map of Brynmawr which details all (or maybe only most of) the old pubs, I want to see if the landlord would let me borrow it and scan it, as so many houses that look, to be fair, to be to tiny to be pubs, turn out to be taverns of some sort.

I am intrigued.

And some of the stories that came out tonight I am not even sure I should post!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Got my

New little boy lying here beside me, wide awake, quite happy looking round at the world.

I know he needs a nappy change, that's job no. 2 after this, but he doesn't seem to be discomforted.

He's being breastfed but mum needs sleep so I have an emergency bottle of milk ready for action.

I just have to say

god he's cute :D

Friday, November 07, 2008

New Baby Blues

No, not really, more like new baby technology overload!

I remember I washed babies bottles in the hottest water we could stand, in the early days that meant from the kettle bloody carefully. Now we have a gadget the size of Birmingham on our worktop which does the job for us, takes about 3 weeks!

Well it feel like it when you have a screaming baby wanting milk and you weren't prepared!

Then there's the baby milk warmer, saves time and effort to bring a bottle up to the proper temperature, see above for average timings!

The first time I used it it overcooked everything, maybe I should have read the instructions but for some reason baby felt he shouldn't wait.

I used to leave a bottle in warm water for 5 minutes, I knew how warm it would be from how warm the water was when I started, easier? yes I think so.

What else? what other gadgets can they sell us? you know what I really want? I want a baby timer I can set myself, one that makes sure he's awake during the day and asleep at night! surely modern science can manage that?

Maybe I should resort to the remedy of our grandparents? a drop of whiskey in the final nights feed? (joking, I think)

Still, love him, he's sat next to me in his basket, chuntering away quite happy to himself and looking cuter than I imagined possible.

Love? I knows it!

*Edit (5 mins later)

And the bottles! what an amazing combination of biological reproduction and fluid mechanics! I know I sound like an old fogey but it was only 6 years ago I was bottle feeding my little girl, back then they were easy, bottle, teat and cap, no bloomin polarity reverser and Heisenberg compensators (OK maybe a little exaggeration! poetic license I call it) this bottle has a whole extra bit to stop pressure build up and air coming through on the teat! clever but quite simple, just glad I didn't have to think of a "better bottle"

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Matthew George

7lbs 3 oz or 3.25 kilos was born at 11:59pm on the 1st Noveember 2008

My 2nd baby boy, my third child and between me and Alison, our 5th baby

apparently (poor child) he looks like me

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Welsh road sign mix up

As reported on the BBC yesterday, and the Gruniad today, council workers need a Welsh translation of an English sign, so emailed the English version to their interpreter for translation. What they got back was an email in Welsh, which they promptly used for the Welsh part of the sign.

The problem being, what they got back was "I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated."

This displays such an odd attitude from all concerned, why was it blindly assumed this email ONLY in Welsh said what it was supposed to? certainly when we received work translated into another language we got the relevant English with the other language alongside (or below) for comparison, along with an English note from the interpreter, usually a thank you or general "compliments slip" type acknowledgment.

So do English speaking council staff expect such incivility from Welsh translators as routine? And also why was the "out of office" notice not in both Welsh and English?

Sounds like bloody mindedness on both sides to me.

Welsh sign mix up, full story.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Why Teach Music?

Music is a science.
It is exact, specific; and it demands exact acoustics.
A conductor's full score is a chart, a graph which indicates frequencies, intensities,
volume changes, melody and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time.

Music is mathematical.
It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions
which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper.

Music is a foreign language.
Most of the terms are in Italian, German or French;
and the notation is certainly not English but a highly developed
kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas.
The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language.

Music is history.
Music usually reflects the environment and times of its creation,
often even the country and/ or racial feeling.

Music is physical education.
It requires fantastic coordination of fingers, hands, arms, lip, cheek and facial muscles,
in addition to extraordinary control of diaphragmatic, back, stomach, and chest muscles,
which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets.

Music is all these things, but most of all, music is art.
It allows a human being to take all of these dry, technically boring
(but difficult) techniques and use them to create emotion.
That is one thing science cannot duplicate;
humanism, feeling, emotion, call it what you will.

That is why we teach music.
Not because we expect our students to major in music
Not because we expect them to play or sing all their life
Not so they can relax
Not so they can have fun.
But so they will be human
So they will recognize beauty
So they will be sensitive
So they will be closer to an infinite beyond this world
So they will have something to cling to
So they will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good
- - in short, more life.
Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living unless you know how to live?
That is why we teach music.

-author unknown

Found this the other day, and I love it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Watch based Navigation system

For the man who has everything!

Absolutely brilliant in it's simplicity, I want one!

Sarah Palin is at least safe from witches

As spotted in the Gruniad it seems Sarah Palin has had special blessing from her preacher to protect her from witches and other nasty stuff!

Here's the story from The Gruniad

Odd how Americans really cannot see why we find them so strange isn't it? this woman is going to potentially be vice president of the most powerful nation in the world and she feels it necessary to be protected from WITCHES!

As Joe pointed out she also has a wondeful grasp of geopolitics as well!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Being a daddy again

It's not long now, Halloween is the hospitals date, we think bonfire night.

Amazing to think that at the ripe old age of 43 (I will be that old by then) I am starting again with the nappies and the night feeds.

Sort of scary, but certainly wonderful, and right now I can't wait until the little fella is born!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

ripoff? or tribute

Sherly Crows "Run baby Run" vs The Beatles "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"

Is it just me or did ms. Crow borrow rather heavily from The Beatles?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Absolutely fantastic

Old news for some I'm sure, and I wished I'd posted this here when the news broke.

The Office of Government and Commerce had a new logo designed, this one

Which for some reason they seemed to have stopped using rather sharpish

Maybe because when it was rotated 90 degrees it seemed more fitting for the usual process of .gov business.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Drop down lists for village names in Travian

OK this works with Opera and any web site, but I only use it with Travian

Opera has a feature "copy to note".

Select the text of the name of each village you have, then right click and select "copy to note", do this for all your villages.

Now when you are in the marketplace, or anywhere where you need to type in a village name, click into the village name field, and press the down arrow on your keyboard. Hey presto, all your notes appear as a drop down list, click the village name you require and it is automagically copied into the field.

Of course, if like me over the years of using Opera you have collected other notes by accident or design you may want to delete those to reduce the list.

Open the side panel (press F4), click on notes and you can manage them from there.

I hope some people find this useful, do please come back and comment if you do.

I don't know if Firefox or IE have similar features, if they do, again, please comment and let me know.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

drip, drip, drip

I was stood on the back doorstep and noticed a drip that caiught the sun as it formed and fell, "good chance to try my pressie out" I thought.

Here's the results for your delectation and delight :-

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday Snow

Well I woke up this morning to scenes of snow, it was a bit of a surprise as we rarely get even semi decent snow here, Leeds seems to be exempt. (click each pic for a bigger version)

Not to be deterred however we still had an Easter egg hunt, first one I've done in snow!

If you're wondering why my DS has his arms like that, he seems to have decided coats should be worn Clint Eastwood poncho style.

Medical Abbreviations

This is quite an old story that popped up on the BBC website while I was browsing.

All about how medical abbreviations are not "standardised" and can cause confusion.

Now some doctors can try to ignore this, but I worked for a company once who where responsible for transferring doctors notes from which ever doctors computer systems they had into a central database, not being a doctor I ignored most of the abbreviations but sometimes I spotted stuff that was so bizarre I had to comment.

There was one case where the doctor used abbreviations that included / and \ and then select characters to encode details of a patients condition that meant fuck all to even his fellow doctors at the same practise. Because this guy assumed he'd live forever and no other doc would need his notes he justified it simply by saying "I know what it means"

My son was overdosed on antibiotics when he was a baby for similar reasons and I'm sure other people may well have experienced the same sort of thing. (he was supposedly unaffected by it, but now he has dyspraxia)

Why do doctors do this? sometimes I know they abbreviated as they had old crappy computer systems that only allowed a certain amount of characters, sometimes it was laziness, and these days I do suspect they don't have the time as some arsehole beancounter is watching and costing their every working minute.

I just hope me and mine never suffer because some doctor thinks his or her clever abbreviation is "so obvious" and another doc makes a serious, possibly fatal decision based on a wrong interpretation of those "quick ntotes"

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Counting on Swaledale

Or rather counting in the Swaledale dialect. as used by Jake Thackray in his song Molly Metcalf

yan tan tether mether pip
azer sezer akker conter dick
yanadick tanadick tetheradick metheradick bumfit
yanabum tanabum tetherabum metherabum jiggit

Different dales had different variations, shows just how little people used to travel if even counting could be so different from dale to dale.

I love it, but I keep forgetting more than the first five, it only went up to 20 then they would transfer a pebble from one pocket to another and start again. I don't know what they did once they'd got up to 20 20's.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Plane being blown about in hamburg

Now this was ALL over then news, but I know a few people haven't seen this rather scary footage

watch closley at 43 seconds (ish) where the left wingtip hits the runway, just before the pilot hits the throttles and pulls away.

scary stuff

if the embedded vid doesn't work click here

Apparently he took 15 minutes to circle round and try again, I reckon he was having a swift whiskey for courage.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Stae of healthcare for the dying

I HAVE to rant

As some of you know my dads friend/partner was diagnosed with cancer on the brain in early January, the 4th to be precise

She was given 6 weeks to live if not treated

She was taken into Shefield Hospital for treatment, but they stopped it after two weeks and said she should be sent home to live out her last days in her own home. This was 5 weeks ago.

Two weeks later the hospital they wanted to transfer her to, which had been saying they had no beds, changed their minds and said they wouldn't take her as she could walk!!!! The Doctors in Sheffield hit the roof.

She was moved somewhere else and social services arsed about and finally arranged a meeting last week.

Now they have an assement meeting in 10 days time to decide if they can move her home and look after her.

She'll probably be dead by then, dying in some crappy hospital bed, maybe even dying alone.

The system doesn't work, the whole fucking system, no one cares and she suffers because of it.

Not a happy bunny, not happy at all

My dads here in tears and I can do FUCK all to help.

Where's the care? tied up in stupid red tape and profit lead healthcare, not a damn about the patients as decisions are made by measly beancounting accountants not the doctors and nurses who have done their utmost to make her time comfortable.

It was that BITCH Thatcher that introduced the idea of the NHS having to be profitable, bollocks, you can't make health care profit lead.

And this current Government has done jot all to change it, bloody Blair, more conservative than the tories

Well fucked off

Thanks for listening, and if ANYONE reads this who works for Barnsley Social Services, please contact me immediately.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

update on "Contract"

Well I fnished it today, is it worth a read? yes I'd say so.

Very "scatty" writing, intentionally so, and it does make you feel quite involved with the protagonist.

I enjoyed it, but it can be quite graphically violent and touches on aspects of life some may find a little disturbing.

Try it, you may well enjoy it

Contract - Simon Spurrier

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Viral Marketing

Well it worked on me

I got someone called Michael Point wanting to be my "friend" on myspace, his avatar showed a gun and the phrase "I kill people for money"

I assumed it was some pub band gimmick and accepted the friend request, then went to look at his myspace page only to find it was actually promoting a book.

My wonderful girlfriend bought it for me for Christmas and I started reading it last night, eventually forced myself to put it down at about 2:30am

It's the self told story of a killer, strictly for the money, with a plan. and I can't wait to get back to reading it once the children are in bed tonight.

If you fancy trying it it's available from amazon here

be warned, it's quite graphically violent.