Posts in "Other"

The Winner

Yesterday I won a competition for a free privileged entry to an international social media seminar that is taking place in Chennai this week with the lead speaker from the famous SEOmoz company (which I’m really excited about!). You know, a lot of people say they never win anything and I am certainly one of them. My girlfriend asked me what the last thing I won was, I racked my brains and the best I could come up with was winning the Most Polite award at the annual Cub Scout (Great Bowden Cub Pack) summer camp when I was 9 years old. Apparently I always remembered to say my “please and thank yous” to Akela and Brown Owl. But I hardly mention that any more and might even take it off my CV under “Achievements”.

Good Job, Dave

Well done, Dave, you have come out victor in another conflict started without consent of the British public and at an estimated cost of £1bn give or take a few hundred million pounds. And I thought Britain was broke and we all (that is, the public at large) had to take it stoically on the chin. £1bn? That’s 5 new schools for you right there.

And now, the evil, but slightly comical goatee-bearded villain is dead. No more long rambling rhetorical speeches for journalists to be smugly condescending about and how comforting it is to know that the unelected Libyan transitional Head of State (who, not forgetting, was this time last year the Justice Minister in the aforesaid villain’s showpiece government) has publicly said that the bastions of humanity will not be forgotten when it comes to handing out those lucrative contracts to rebuild the bombed out country. A score for your party donators British business.

Now, Dave, how about this for an idea? Before we go gallivanting as the knight in shining armour in to yet another conflict with an oil rich state in the name of humanity (while of course neatly side-stepping the inconvenient issues present in non-oil rich failed states), why not ask the public if they want to send our (I’m searching for a better word here) defense forces in to a war zone thousands of miles away by conducting a democratic referendum?

Dave, I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I would rather see the hospitals, schools and council services be better funded rather than spending another £250,000 to send a plane to drop a bomb on Johnny Foreigner, no matter how much oil the country has humanity the people need.

Daylight Robbery On The British Trains

I just purchased a single train ticket to take me from Market Harborough to London St Pancras tomorrow morning at 9am. The whole journey takes about 60 minutes and East Midland Trains, the thieving robbing bastards that they are, see it fit to charge a staggering £50 for the pleasure. It’s not paying for the fuel or staffing costs, it’s more than likely paying for the station refurbishment at St Pancras.

If the Government want more people to take public transport, then they need to sort out the prices of it first because at fifty quid a go it’s only going to be the wealthy people who can afford to not have a car! What’s more, if Network Rail (or whatever the hell it is now) franchise out the lines it means money grabbing companies like East Midland Trains have got the monopoly on that route and have no competition or incentive to keep the prices down.

£50 pounds for a 60 minute train ride. Britain is broken. The country has gone to the dogs. I’m not going to be hanging round here.

Steve Jobs Apple Store Memorial

Took this photo outside the Covent Garden Apple Store in London on Thursday afternoon. Big crowds had gathered outside to pay tribute to the man. I’m not a mac fan myself but you can’t argue with the success Steve brought to Apple when he returned to the company he founded in the mid-90’s. He left the company as one of the biggest in the world when it eclipsed Exxon in August (but then lost some ground) having already succeeded Microsoft and Dell.

Steve Jobs Apple Store London Memorial

Morning Mists

Not to be outdone by the often spectacular sunsets that India has to offer, I snapped this photo at about 7:30am which has the usual English Autumn morning mists with the sun desperately trying to break through. I’ve obviously brought the Indian weather home with me because it’s not supposed to be mid-high 20’s in October! Or as one person on Twitter pointed out: Greece, pay your bills and you can have your weather back!

Are Things Really That Bad In England?

Yesterday the BBC reported a story where there has been a sharp increase in metal theft. Are things really that bad in England that the only way to make a few quid is to steal the metal slide from the children’s playground? I once laughed when a friend in India told me that the reason all the manhole covers are made from concrete is because people used to steal the metal ones and leave big gaping holes in the road. I remember reading in mild amusement that thieves in Cape Town would steal the electrical cable from the street lights.

Now I’m left wondering what England has come to when thieving robbing bastards will steal the lead lettering off of gravestones, pilfer metal doorknobs and letterboxes from highstreet shops and even make off with 100 year old bronze statues. Suddenly Indian politician Mayawati’s statue protection police force doesn’t look quite as absurd. And for what? Probably to make ten quid to get a haircut! Apparently one 22 year old was left with “horrendous” injuries when he tried to cut through a live electrical wire and was jolted with 22,000 volts of kick-ass karma – and probably did a remarkable Luke Skywalker impression when he was attacked by Emperor Palpatine. Who has to pick up the bill to pay for his surgery? Who has to pick up the bill when he claims for compensation for loss of earnings? And did he get charged for the attempted theft? Did he hell, he got 12 months community service.

Apparently train tracks are the favourite of cretinous scumbags who will steal anything from the signaling cable to the clips that hold the tracks to the sleepers which are kind of important if you are worried about little things like wanting the train to actually stay on the line. With such a disregard for safety where is it actually going to end? Are they going to start removing 5m sections of track so they can have a night out on the town followed by a doner kebab afterwards?

My Dad, who was working on an industrial site during the summer, recounted a tale where the complex suddenly lost power which was odd because there were no power cuts in the area. A scout around the perimeter fence located a very strange event; the heavy duty industrial power cable was mysteriously moving of its own accord back through the fence. Further investigation revealed a band of travelers on the other side heaving the cable through. “Oh” they said in their best Brad Pitt in Snatch accent, “We just saw this lying around and didn’t think it belonged to anyone.”

BBC News - Metal theft: Britain's most annoying crime wave

BBC News – Metal theft: Britain’s most annoying crime wavehttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15062064One copper cable theft from a railway line. The result? A total of 108 trains delayed, 17 hours worth of hold-ups for thousands of passengers and damage put at over £80,000.…

£10 Haircuts?!

Every time I come back to England it seems to coincide with the urgent requirement to get a haircut and so once a year I head down to a local barbershop where I have been going for the last 10 years. Since I go during the day the conversation is always the same…

Hairdresser: You on holiday today then?
Me: Oh, no, I’m just back visiting my parents for a couple of weeks
HD: That’s nice, which part of the country have you come from?
Me: Err, India
HD: India?!
Me: Yeah, I live and work out there
HD: Really?! What are you doing out there?
Me: I work for one of those outsourcing companies
HD: You mean the ones that are taking all our jobs like the call centres and we can’t understand a word they are saying?
ME: Not quite, we build websites and don’t have a call centre
HD: Hmm, it won’t be long before they bloody well take all our jobs and no one has anything left to do here!
Me: Ah, but they can’t outsource hairdressers now can they!
HD: 😀

What’s more is that as sure as night follows the day, the price has steadily gone up and I don’t know if I’m going to reveal my true age here or something, but I remember when a good, honest haircut cost £4.50. Every year the price has increased and now we’ve reached the ludicrous price of £10. I almost choked when she told me the price, ten quid for 15-20 minutes of work, if this carries on I’ll work out a way to outsource hairdressers myself!

This Is The Worst Flu Ever!

I’m currently down and out with man-flu, which is a little bit like a cold that women and children get – what with all the aching joints, mucus oozing out of various orifices, a single functioning nasal passage, sneezes so hard it gets picked up by seismometers around the world, sinuses that have inflated to twice their normal size and general Sunday morning tiredness – only man-flu is scientifically proven to be 10x worse. Yes, it might mean we are a weaker sex, but damnit if that’s what it takes for you to believe that this flu has me at deaths door and it’s using all my bodily strength to fight it off and it’s not ‘just a cold’ then so be it.

So far, I’ve kept myself occupied by finding out why mucus is yellow when you have a cold (and that your nose contains the same, err, expandable flesh, as male sexual organs), what the hell the sinuses even are or do (I was surprised), read an entire Star Wars novel and then researched who Sifo Dyas was and why General Grevious was a cyborg with lightsabers. So despite being completely knocked for six as my body battles this virulent man-flu, I feel as if I’ve achieved something with my new found knowledge that Grevious was trained by Count Dooku and will be sure to pass on this information when I meet new people.

Oh yes, and my girlfriend has sent a care package to help me get better which consists of honey, pepper, ginger and cloves which I’m to mix in to a cup of tea and then take a Combiflam afterwards. If you haven’t heard of Combiflam it’s an awesome 1+1=3 painkiller where the creators thought “Hmm, Ibruprofen and Paracetamol are great but they both lack that little something. I know let’s mix the two together and call it Combiflam!”

Forget The Shire, Hobbit Homes Come To Wales!

A tree hugger An environmentalist from Wales has created his own version of the hobbit home replete with rounded windows and doors, grass covered roof and will undoubtedly become a super-charged magnet for all kinds of creepy crawlies that lurk in the undergrowth. The gentleman who created it, Simon Dale, had no previous building experience, no previous carpentry knowledge and yet for just £3,000 he got the place done in about four months. I know people here in India that have hired a whole army of builders and decorators and their all-ready-built home still isn’t finished after 9 months!

Apparently Simon is going to live in this eco-friendly home with his wife and two young kids but as far as I can see there is just one open plan bedroom which I’m sure the children will be thrilled about when they hit their teens! It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Euw, mum, dad, get a room!”.

I’m wondering if the wife will think it’s still such a brilliant idea when Wales has one of its famously wet winters (which is like the Wales summer really it’s just the day light hours are shorter) and the eco-friendly compost toilet needs emptying, the turf roof has sprung a leak and half the rodents of the nearby forest decide that this little hobbit hole is an awesome place to keep warm. Given the opportunity, I think I’d rather live in one of the £60 houses I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

Man builds stunning ‘hobbit house’ for just £3,000 - Yahoo! UK & Ireland Finance

Man builds stunning ‘hobbit house’ for just £3,000 – Yahoo! UK & Ireland Financehttp://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/Man-builds-stunning-hobbit-yahoofinanceuk-1514084024.htmlA man has built a hillside home reminiscent of a hobbit house from JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings — on a budget of just £3,000. Simon Dale constructed the woodland home for his family in Wales, taking only four months to fully complete the project

The Rise of The Man Cave

I’ve recently moved in to a new 2 bedroom apartment except I tell everyone that it’s a one bedroom apartment. Why? Because the second bedroom is, or will be, my man cave. Decked out with everything the modern man needs to survive, the only reason I’ll ever have to leave my new cave is to go to work. I have my new 6 core computer (if you even know what that means then you can come visit my man cave) hooked up to the 32″ HD TV, 7.1 surround sound, a couch (built for comfort and not for style), games console, cable TV with all the sports and movie channels, a mini-fridge stocked with beer and most importantly, Dominos pizza on speed dial.

And it turns out I’m not alone, in America, men are desperate to reclaim a small part of their ‘castle’ and rescue it from good taste, cushions and femininity. Oh, and before anyone thinks it’s all about being a social recluse where a man can retreat to when life gets him down, a man cave is built for fun and enjoyment where mates can come over, watch the game, knock back a few beers and unwind while the missus watches Antiques Roadshow in the neat, clean and beautifully decorated living room downstairs.

BBC News - 'Man cave' boom in America explained

BBC News – ‘Man cave’ boom in America explainedhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14923750Jeff Wilser, co-author of “The Man Cave Book”, talks to the BBC about the forces behind these hideaways, why men are so protective of them, and why the variety of such…