Friday, October 28, 2011
I have to be totally honest and say its doing my freakin head in here. All I want is a decent period of time on the up for once.
Right now I'm over weight, owe money, unhealthy, lazy and under motivated. So much needs sorting out, but all I can think about and do is eat, sleep and drag my arse into work. Its pathetic! I know I CAN get out of this, but its a matter of doing it, and finding a way to stay away from the edge for a while.
Today I have made a start, trying to be positive. Bit of tidying up, got up earlier, made a couple of long overdue phonecalls, and taken some photos to report some repairs on the house. Baby steps I call it, others might call it a half hearted attempt. Tomorrow I will try and get back in the morning dog walk routine. With the fireworks season underway they won't get evening walks for a while now. There are so many more steps, so hopefully my strides will increase in size, and I will pick up speed.
The next hurdle which I need some speed to tackle is the weight issue. I would not call myself a yo-yo weight loser, more a bungee... Goes quickly, stays off a long time then springs back on gently but continuously lol. Either way it needs sorting.
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Health, feeling crap, sore throat, no voice, sniffles, cough and still no proper answer from my doctor's about my stomach pain. The receptionist tried to read the results from the scan today but said it was better a GP spoke to me about it as there were words she didnt understand on there. So a call back request has been placed. This will take place in 1-3 days time! Til then, its stomach discomfort as usual for me.
Then there is the Occupy London rubbish. Dedicated to their cause, willing to illegally occupy areas of London they are not permitted or wanted on. Happy to close St Paul's Cathedral for however long it takes... Oh but wait a minute....
"A police helicopter's thermal imaging camera showed the tent encampment was almost entirely empty overnight.
This has led to accusations that the 300-strong group of protesters are part-timers, going home to warm beds in the evenings to sleep.
The protesters are aware of the vacancies and allocate empty tents to newcomers.
Corporation of London councillor Matthew Richardson said: "It is incredible. The overnight monitoring of the site by the police showed that 90% of the tents are unoccupied.
"It just shows most of the demonstrators don't have the courage of their convictions and are just here to make trouble."
So in reality, as quoted above, they are exactly what I said a week ago, pathetic !
Right now I am just on a proper low, feeling like crap, worrying about the wrong things, and just sick and tired of feeling like this. Not depressed or anything, but just no motivation to be doing anything positive. I just want my health back once and for all, and no more of these outbreaks of ulcers, sore throats, etc.
Moan over for now. Was going to write more, but in the general mood of things, I cant be bothered.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
The meet with Joan went well, they were nervous to start with but soon relaxed. By the end of the few hours spent there they were happy and charged with energy, and Joan was so pleased to have met them.
So I will be quiet for now and add the pictures for all to see. I will add more text later
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Friday, October 21, 2011
In the background is a banner saying 'respect us'...... Are you fuckin serious! You are imposing yourself on St Paul's Cathedral, forcing their doors shut to tourists and worshippers, losing them £20,000 a day (thought you cared about people and the financial situation!!), and after this you want respect!!
Respect is earned not deserved. Move on, show you deserve respect, then you might get just a little.
I can't see it happening though, and am sure we will see more disruption over the weekend. You bunch of chimps!
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In the 80's we had 'flying pickets' that appeared on any picket line that showed up in the middle of the unrest surrounding the miners strikes. For Greenham Common we saw loads of people just jumping on an exciting bandwagon of nuclear activism. In more recent times we had the riots in the towns and cities of the UK, where we saw opportunistic little idiots claiming to sympathise and understand the causes which were the cause of the unrest, and display their understanding by looting shops and burning them to the ground.
This is not forgetting of course the Student Protests, in which we saw an extraordinary demonstration of violence and stupidity. With hopeful students going to prison, buildings torched, and a complete waste of police resources, and damage to public property. Mainly by mindless idiots who just joined in, but partially by educated and intelligent people.
Now we come to 'you'... Where exactly do you fit in here? Popping up at Dale Farm, then at Occupy London, and then back to Dale Farm etc... Wtf is your game? I don't get it. Are you hormonal, over sympathetic, pathetic, or just trouble makers?
Dale Farm, yes it has taken eons to make progress on the evictions, and its not nice to be turfed out of your long term home. But then again if you do something illegal, its pretty obvious the law will catch up with you eventually. I feel sympathy for those affected, and pity for the youngster who find themselves on the move. However almost all the trouble caused at the protest and subsequent eviction was caused by YOU! The non travelling travellers were upset and showed their anger and distress, but it seems it was the 'activists' or 'protesters' that were doing the stupid and dangerous things, as well as the acts of violence towards the police and violence.
The law was against you, the police were there to enforce the bailiffs, so violence towards them was nothing to do with democratic rights to protest, it was just ignorance to everything around you, and an excuse to be a trouble maker and get some TV time.
When its all done you will all just piss off to the next protest, lose contact with those that you 'care' about and remember nothing more that the bricks you threw at other human beings. The same human beings you accused of brutality for so much as pushing you!
Moving on we have Occupy London aka Piss Off St Pauls! What exactly is to be gained here. You have a gripe with their financial neighbours, so are sitting on THEIR doorstep, causing an obstruction and distress to visitors. If you have a complaint about an Adsa pie, do you complain to Tesco because its more convenient.... The answer is NO!
Not only do most of you have little involvement in the financial structure of this country, let alone any input to it other than your bottles of cider, but I'm sure most don't even understand the point of the protest at all. When I was there to observe your stupidity on Sunday I was in awe of the mixed messages being read out, and on banners. The lack of structure to it all, and the dumbness of the behaviour of the mindless attention seeking idiots there.
Kettling! Seriously, it was a containment. If you want to experience kettling, go to the Notting Hill Carnival or other such busy place. POor treatment... You had toilets, water and food. Not tear gas, water cannons, and non lethal rounds being fired at you... You didn't only get your democratic rights, you were pampered to a level you did NOT deserve. Only to cry foul play, and brutality.
You can probably tell I am NOT a fan of your behaviour. Nor the way the reasonable people of the UK have their tax money spent on managing your unruly protests, poor behaviour, and for that matter, pay for your facilities and the repairs to the property you damage.
There is protesting to make your point, there are sit-in's to cause disruption to the operation of a company or organisation. There are strikes to disrupt the productivity of a company (although you would need a job first) and then there is downright stupid behaviour which serves no purpose other than to seek attention, dilute the seriousness of the true cause. Every cause you touch turns stupid, every voice you try to 'help' to echo, you in fact drown it out.
You are bored, irritating, costly, jobless, mainly unclean, trouble makers with nothing better to do with your lives than jump on any media bandwagon, proclaim your commitment to the cause, and then run away with it.
If you REALLY care about money, and the financial situation of the country, stop causing so much trouble, let innocent businesses trade without fear of disruption or destruction, stop the need for huge police numbers (in overtime) to manage your poor behaviour, and save the country some money. And if you really care, do some volunteer work, soup kitchens, care centres, park projects. There are plenty of places calling out for free help. But then there are no free facilities, and no media attention, so I guess that's you out.
To all the genuine people who know the cause they support, commit themselves to it, and demonstrate in the true democratic way, I applaud you for sticking to your guns, following your beliefs, and having your voice heard by others, and I truly hope these idiots who ruin it for you, grow up and get jobs soon.
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To go hand in hand with that, in the past 16 months I have lost my oldest friend, one of my closest friends, my mother, and a close friends father who I knew very well. On top of that there is another friend who also passed shortly before that. Not a good year for a personal death toll then (pardon the phrase)
I can only hope that the person I am about to talk about doesn't add themselves to that toll any time soon.
So, my Aunty Joan, who is currently receiving treatment for breast and bone cancer, but fighting like a trooper, just like my mum did. Her health for her age is amazing, let alone for someone who has cancer in such awkward places. It would be lovely if she can just keep hanging on in there forever more, but the reality of it is far more gloomy. So why do I speak of her, well that's simple, I'm going to see her tomorrow.
Its been a while since I have seen her, quite a long time in fact. I have not seen her since the weekend of mums funeral which was back in mid August, so I am long overdue a visit. To add to this I am taking advantage of the half term holidays and taking my niece and nephew to meet Joan too. The last time either of them was in Wales was when they were babies, and far too young to have met Joan properly, so no time like the present eh.
The plan is somewhat up in the air at the moment. Where I would love to spend the whole weekend with them there, and take my time showing them the sights, and taking them on a trip down mums memory lane, I'm not sure how far the money will stretch for accommodation etc, so we shall have to see.
I did have a master plan in place, but at the moment it all seems to have gone a little arse up, so its going to be an 'as it happens' weekend. A few sights, some photography and education for Katie, a little fun and games if the weather holds out, and bonding with them of course, which apparently I have not done enough of. Fingers crossed I can make the most of it.
The success of the weekend will of course depend on if I get my voice back in time to shout and scream at the kids, scream at other roads users, and not forgetting actually conversing with my Aunt. Without my voice I am going to feel a little useless. In all seriousness I want to be able to show them the sights, and tell them some stories, not just pull up, point, smile and move on. Talking to my aunt is also very important to me, and I also like to talk to her carer too, to get a clear picture of her health and her well being. Little things like appetite, activity level and interests are all important to know, so I can make my own judgement on her outlook so to speak.
The losing of my voice is the final insult to a week of having a cold, then a chesty cough, and now coughing so much I have manager to lose my voice. Less phonecalls for me at work I guess, that's one advantage lol. However for day to day things its causing me hell, especially for making phone calls to creditors etc. Speaking of which, reminds me of something else. My to do list. Written up a few days ago, with anything and everything I have to do, from reporting repairs, right through to sorting finance. If I say so myself I have managed a large number of the things from the list. Trivial things like cleaning, and huge thing like sorting money matters out have all been taken care of so far. Just a few more things to get out of the way, hopefully I will have this sorted by the end of the weekend.
On another note.... My god I have put weight on! Huge amounts over the past couple of months. Stress and poor health have not helped, but the truth is I have become a lazy fat knacker too. A habit I need to get out of soon, and get my weight and lifestyle back on track. Morning walks with the dogs have suffered, eating habits are stupid at the moment, and clothes sizes are rising, but still within tolerances. So that's next on my to do list.
And another note, my scan. I have heard nothing back from the doctor, not sure if I actually will on something like this. Maybe I am meant to go to see him, I really should call up and see what the score is on that count, and see if they decided it was anything noticeable or just me being a whiner.
Right that's me done for now.
As a foot note I want to say that my thoughts are with Steve Warwick and his family now after the passing of his father last night. Its a tough time for them all I'm sure, and I just want them to know I am here if I can help with anything.
And also to the Pirrie/Somers family. With David having his bone marrow transplant yesterday, the next week or so are very important, so here's to hoping that everything that is needed to be seen happens, and that he is on the mend very soon. Respect to his brother for making the donation.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Firstly there is a sense of happiness that the world no longer hosts one of its cruellest dictators. A man who has ruled with tyranny for decades, and created a country so misunderstood by the world, that until a few months ago most thought they were a nation of terrorists, and a country full of trouble. As the story has developed, it has become clear that Libya stood for so much more, and was determined to cease the movement of the North African nations against their rulers, and finally stand up for what they believed in.
Today they gained their freedom. In what some might describe as an unjust and bloody way, but it has ended the terror he inflicted once and for all. The name Gadaffi will no doubt live of for years, with the likes of Hussain and Bin Laden, and connected to their distant crazy relatives of tyranny like Hitler. All crazy people who used terror and torture to install themselves in power, and who turned people against their own in the promise of a better life in return for inflicting pain and hate upon their own.
The past few years have seen the fall of most of there hateful people, and we can only hope it was assisted by the West for the right reasons, and words like money and oil don't start creeping up in agreements. The British Empire was historically greedy and selfish, so let us not see the birth of the American Empire for this generation.
Then I have to turn my attention the the conflict in my own mind. Another passing has occurred today, which has provoked a completely different reaction in my mind and heart. The father of a dear friend of mine. In fact it is fair to say the entire family have been dear to my heart for many years now. He has been suffering what most would consider unbearable pain for as long as I can remember. The kind of discomfort you would beg to be freed from, and the sort of decline in health that makes a grown man weep to even consider, let alone experience.
Throughout the twenty years I have had the pleasure of knowing him, he has fought tooth and nail to maintain his quality of life, not giving up driving until it was impossible, refusing to roll over and let illnesses get the better of him, and never really feeling sorry for himself. I know many people who have suffered illness and pain, but few who have been so nobel in their journey, and who have maintained such dignity.
Having lost my mother only a couple of months ago, I can truly empathise with how Steven is feeling right now. However as mums decline was so one directional it was always clear to see where things were going. For Steven and Andrew (brothers) they have had to watch their fathers health behave like an ECG, up and down, bottomless lows only to bounce back to the top of the scale again. Strokes and mini strokes which rewrite the medical rules of how many one person can endure.
The world has lost a true fighter in every sense of the word tonight, and I say proudly that it has been a true pleasure being part of the life of such a true gentleman, father and husband to the Warwick family.
My thoughts are with you guys, and if you need a single thing, you know where I am.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Firstly.... 99% of the people there at this time, up on the scaffolding, tied off to gates and in other ridiculous situations to try and hinder the operation, are NOTHING to do with this situation. They are just travelling 'professional protesters' who seem to find a topic, sympathise with it, and then just attach themselves to it, causing disruption, costing the tax payer more and just being a pain in the arse really.
That's not to say that supporting a cause you believe in is not noble, of course it is. But there is supporting a cause because you fully understand it and consider it worthy, and then there is hearing about a high profile case and just showing up there to get involved, antagonise the police and make the situation as awkward as possible. The latter can be said of this bunch of clowns. The ambition of a slug, the hygiene of something feral, the brain power of a jellyfish, and the respect of a charging bull. Add to that the acting of a premiership football player and suddenly we begin to see what these people are like.
As I watch live one woman was escorted out, and as she reached the camera's she suddenly started clutching and protecting her face, writhing like she was sporting some sort of injury... They are there for publicity and fun, nothing else, and like most other high profile cases, rather than adding to the support for the people who truly believe they have a case, these people take the spotlight off the true cause and make a mockery of it. Student protests, London riots, Occupy London and so on, the true trouble makers are unwashed idiots who travel from one hotspot to another just wasting everyones time.
So the true cause, well I guess its hard to gauge really. Illegal use of a piece of land, illegal occupation of another piece of land, once you know you have started to do wrong I guess you know it isn't gonna last forever. However in this case I think the period of time this has happened over is the big problem. Many years have passed, and the camp,has got bigger and more established, making people feel like this is an illegal land clearance, almost as if the council are retaking the land illegally. However in the eyes of the law, this is not the case. And for that matter I agree that the clearance is legal also.
It must indeed be heartbreaking to have your home taken away, especially for the young ones who don't understand what's going on there. You can't knock the older residents for putting up such a fight either, credit where its due. But the mixture of the arrogance of the settlers, and the stupidity of the travelling protesters just makes a recipe for disaster. Barricades, high platforms, people chained to structures, added to this people setting fire to caravans etc, and this could get really bad, and do the actual case no good whatesoever.
At the end of the day, the fight is over, the legal bodies have granted permission, the police are well equipped and determined, and for however long it takes, the site will be cleared.
Somewhat ironic that for the smelly people joining in occupy London pretending to support the cause of opposing the spending cuts and waste of money by the government, this is the second event in five days that has cost a HUGE sum of money to police it! Into the millions, to police things that could be done in other ways, especially without the involvement of these irritating little people.
At the end of the day, they are there illegally, they built illegally, and if were allowed to remain it would make a mockery of the legal system, the planning system, and all other rules that civilised people live by.
Dale Farm has so far cost roughly £18m... I wonder how that breaks down per head of genuine resident of the site. However you look at it, its a disgusting sum of money to have to throw at something like this.
One final warning, hundreds of people will soon be on the move.... Will they be YOUR new neighbour? I hope not!
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For as long as I can remember I have had lots and lots of 'girl friend', notice the space between the words. For years now some of my best friends have been girls. Clicking with them, and having far more open and intimate conversations than I would ever have with age old guy friends. And at the same time, I always seemed to be the one they would turn to, trust and confide in. No blurry lines, no confusion about the relationship, just trust, friendship, and honesty.
What's brought this on you ask? Anna, that's who (yes you titch). Meeting her way back in about 2001-2002, she was the girlfriend of one of many people I used to hang out with back in my 'facinated by cars' phase of my life. A delicate pretty little thing, she caught many guys eyes. Funny, cocky and a great sense of humour, she only seemed to lack one thing... Security! She was a great showman though, putting on the brave face, the determined and loving mother, who just happened to get treated like shit from time to time by her boyfriend.
Things were strange but pleasant between us, not really knowing her that well, but whenever we spoke there was an air of comfort there in which you could discuss anything. After some time it became obvious, to me at least that she wasn't as happy as it first seemed, all was not well in paradise.
The bizarre part about this is, while being there more and more for Anna, with her being a great friend and lending me her car, spending time popping to see her at work and chat about our woes, I found myself in the middle of a second almost identical situation.
This was let's say Natalie (not the real name), and while the situation was identical in one way, it was totally different in another. She was in a very similar relationship to Anna, but things between us would get a little more complex. With a sexual relationship going on with Nat, I suddenly became aware of how deeply the way the guys treated these girls affected them, and how much hurt was being caused. This was not only skin deep, a few tears and all was well again. This was long term emotional damage being caused here, changing how the girls would be forever more.
So now when I spoke to Anna from this point in, I had a greater understanding of what she was going through, and somehow felt compelled to do more, be there more, and do anything I could just to make sure the little munchkin smiled whenever possible. Often talking for long periods, then spending the rest of the evening texting to make sure all was well, it started to seem like although the hurt was still there, the pressure was somehow being released. So that felt good to know I was serving a purpose for someone. Meanwhile it was also nice to have someone so close, that I both trusted and didn't have a complicated relationship with, to talk to when I needed to let off steam too.
So thank you Anna for being there when no one else quite understood what I was going through. Male ego just wants to discuss sex, positions and other bullshit, but having someone to talk to about the emotional and more delicate things really made the difference. I hope in some way I repaid you for this.
So looking back over a longer span of time there have been other cases when the same has occurred, when I have been a shoulder, taken the time out to listen, advise, and watch the girl fail to make the break for a long period of time. Strange how the name John comes round again and again... Its my middle name too, how about that for coincidence. What I will say though is that as draining as it has been on me at times, and taking great chunks of my time and life, every second has been worth it. To know I can make a difference to someone's day, to know that the smile I see by the end is the real one, the true inner beauty finally shining though again, that feeling is priceless. Try it!
Now however, another challenge lays ahead. Well many in fact, most being personal to me, ambitions, finances, lifestyle choices etc. But there is one that stands out like a sore thumb. The plight of an old friend who finds herself in a very unfortunate, unfair and unsatisfactory position, and one I am not willing to stand by and watch unfold.....
Watch this space.
But for now, thank you Anna the little nutter for making me realise everything I have just written.
Love ya hun, and here for you always (even after you blanked me for so long lol)
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Monday, October 17, 2011
First up, the most popular topic searched on my blog last week was..... The great RIM outage of 2011. Affecting millions, infuriating most of them, and getting LOTS of media publicity over the course of the 3 day outage, and a hell of a lot of bad press. It sure was a testing time, and showed a lot of users how dependent they are on their Blackberry devices. With the loss of BBM some felt like a limb had been removed, others felt relieved and thankful for the peace and quiet. I was somewhere in the middle there I think. I wont deny im glad to have it back, but I was shocked at how annoying the notifications of BBM, email, Facebook etc can get when you are doing something else. In reply to the outrage of the outage, RIM have today announced a $100 gift to each subscriber to purchase apps from Blackberry App World, including a lot of their premium apps. Not only this, they are including apps that are for the Blackberry Playbook too, which means my games collection is about to increase somewhat.
So at the end of the day, thank you RIM, thats good compensation, and great customer relations.
Then of course we cant forget the launch of the iPhone 4S. Not the long awaited iPhone 5, but a step towards it. Following the passing of Steve Jobs recently, I think there were great expectations on the company, but most were unlikely to admit disappointment, but rather keep their opinions guarded out of respect. iOS5 was also launched at almost the same time, and that too had its fair share of disappointments. Firstly with users struggling to get it to download, due to the huge demand on the servers, followed by a few having issues with the install itself. Either failing or losing their data during the restore process. Everything is bound to have a glitch along the line, and like Blackberry their time was now. So a bad week for technology no doubt.
At the tail end of the week some of the major cities saw mass protests, like the one I blogged on Sunday, with Occupy London taking over the steps of St Pauls Cathederal, quite clearly inplicated in the financial crisis of course!? From being there it was interesting to monitor Twitter at the same time, and observe the number of bullshit posts from the unwashed claiming they were being kettled, crushed, denied access to food and water or toilet facilities. All of which was un-true. Certainly for the 5 hours I observed it for. Always nice to see both sides of the fence. From my perspective the police were very tolorant of the protesters, treated them fairly and spoke to them with respect. Any advances into the containment were clearly communicated, and done fairly... But then you are never going to get the truth from the 'victims' now are you! it was a great photographic opportunity though.
So what else was there.....
Oh, the F1. Seeing Lewis Hamilton finally coming back to form after so much time below par during the past few races. Coming good during quali, and snatching pole position from the Redbulls sure put a smile on peoples faces. The race... well it didnt go as well as it could have I guess, but second is still respectable against the destructive force that has dominated F1 this season. Meanwhile Lewis remains on an all time low, not being able to put his finger on the cause. All we can do is wish him well, and hope that he returns to form for 2012. Wishing you all the best Lewis. And not forgetting of course the surprising Jenson Button. Underdog for so long, but springing to his full potential with Brawn, Jenson continues to go from strength to strength. With a win last race, and some consistancy, he is also going to be exciting to watch in the McLaren in 2012.
Speaking of motor racing, last night saw a horrific crash at the Indycar in Vegas, with a 15 car collision, resulting in the death of Dan Wheldon, a well respected racer from the lower series in here in the UK, and very popular Indycar racer. Winning the Indy500 twice, he was by all accounts a stunning driver. Leaving behind and wife and children, and a lot of fan. Like the death of others, this was televised life, so a nation watched on as the events unfolded until it was determined he was deceased. Having done this when Senna died, I can say its a gutwrenching experience to know you have just watched a fatal accident.
That said, the the amount of flames and smashed cars, and the speeds of the collisions, it is amazing that so few were injured. The safety standards of Indy are nothing compared to F1, with concrete and mesh as guard rails, and different construction in the cars, the scope for serious injury is high. R.I.P Dan Wheldon
Oh, I guess I had better put something about me here as well, its meant to be about me isnt it!
So last week and this week. Well money matters are pissing me off a little, I really need to get on top of things before they spiral out of control again. Due to coming off benefits, all the 'you owe us' letters are arriving thick and fast now, so they need addressing. Then I also need to ensure I am on top of the other bills hitting the mat. on the other hand my 'mental state' seems pretty stable, and the reduction in Citlopram is working nicely, down from 40mg to 20mg and all is well. Cant wait for the next drop then the ending of the meds.
On the other side of things, I had my ultrasound today, finally after a month of waiting. It was quite a long winded process, far more in depth than I thought it would be. Nothing was said, but lots of screen captures were made and prepared to be sent to my GP, so I await hearing from him to see what the outcome is. I am still getting stabbing and cramping pains there after all this time, but not during yawning now, so I dont know what to think.
I have managed to get myself a cold too this weekend, so an coughing and spluttering everywhere at the moment, trying to focus on my work, and taking all the medication I can to try and keep it from going to my chest. If it gets there then I am pooped for the next month as it lingers for so long if it does. I just need a nice sunny holiday right now I think, that would hit the spot. However if any holiday is on the horizon it is a snow holiday. Speaking of snow I am buying winter clothes and jackets like their is no tomorrow. Maybe my spidey senses can feel an arctic winter coming!
Whilst on the subject of cold weather.... Wales. I am off there at the weekend hopefully to introduce my neice and nephew to my Aunty Joan. Its been way too long since I was last up there, and Joan has never really met either of them, not at speaking age anyway. I just think it is important for them to meet eachother. So there is some knowledge there. Joan can be proud of then next generation of her family, and the kids will get to meet their nanny's sister, and learn more about her up bringing. I want to spend at least a whole day up there so I can show them around a bit, and share some of my favourite places around the area, as well as showing them where mum grew up. At the same time I have borrowed a DSLR from Noel, so I can help Katie explore her interest in photography, and see if she is really interested in following up with it.
Personally I love photography, and it feels great to have a DSLR back in my hands, so its exciting on two levels for me. So we shall see if Katie can be bothered with the set up and experimentation of a DSLR, or prefers the ease of a point and shoot. It should be an exciting weekend for all, I hope at least. Chances are I will stop off in Derby on the way home, saving money on a hotel, seeing Cadell and Archie, and then possibly bringing them to London the next day. We shall see how it turns out. I have to speak to my Aunt's carer to see if Joan will be up for the visit, and everyone will actually be there. At this late stage I hope this is the case.
Right thats enough now I think, I will do another entry when the rest of the things come back to me. Thanks for reading, and feel free to follow me on Twitter @michaelsnasdell
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Police numbers increased as night fell, with the aim to clearing the steps of St Pauls Cathedral for morning service.
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Friday, October 14, 2011
I just thought this picture captured the connection between man and his mobile perfectly. In such close proximity to other people, but with headphones in, and little screens in front of us, we become blind, ignorant, or unaware of the world around us.
From the children going to and from school, to the elderly guy sitting next to me now texting on his basic Nokia, we all immerse ourselves in our own little world while we travel. Buses, trains, cabs, or a passenger in a car. Hell even walking down the street, somehow our phone becomes our companion.
Years ago, sitting on a train, head down looking at my phone, tapping away furiously, I would get weird looks, and thought of as strange. Now days it seems to be those who do NOT have a Kindle, iPad, or other mobile device who stand out to the rest. There is no particular demographic, in fact it has almost become a new category in itself.
So there you go, a common sight on our streets and transport systems today, captured in a single image.
How dependent, connected or reliant are you on YOUR mobile? Right this is my stop, so time to get off this train.
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Thursday, October 13, 2011
I was at a strange house, mum was there on a day bed in a small lounge with someone else milling around in the house.
I was sitting next to mum on the bed, and had my laptop open for some reason while we spoke. Guess I might have been showing her something. She became irate and asked the other person to get me to leave. I spoke directly back to mum asking why she was being aggressive and angry with me.
It was like one of the times when she would get upset and just start shouting telling everyone to leave her alone. When it happened in reality I used to take it in my stride, but for some reason in my dream I was taking it very much to heart, and getting upset with her. As she got angry, I threw my laptop on the floor... She shouted again and with that I stood up and screamed.... That is when I woke.
My guess at making sense of this, is that over the time of caring for her, and putting up with mood swings, outbursts, and other equally upsetting situations, I just bottled it up. And finally as it all leaves my system, and things return to normal I am just letting it all out. Finally displaying how I felt during these exchanges, and trying to deal with the things that cut a lot deeper than I first thought they had.
For the next few hours after waking up I was a little down and quiet about things, but as the day has progressed I have cheered up somewhat. I have a few debts etc that I need to take care of at the moment, but nothing along the stress levels of before, so I don't think they are contributing towards the situation. Just have to see how the next few nights go.
Its the first time I have had such an episode, so here's to hoping I have no more of them.
Naturally companies like Apple have rejoiced at this outage, with the launch of iOS5 rolling out last night, and the iPhone4S going on general release from tomorrow, what better time to be convinced to jump ship than smack bang in the middle of that. I'm sure there are a good few percent of people who have been considering the switch for a while now, so well done to RIM / Blackberry for giving that group of customers the push they needed. That's not to mention the number of large corporations who are currently trialling iPhone as an alternative to their long term favourite the Blackberry. Again, an outage for this period of time to a business is totally unacceptable, and will have caused chaos I am sure.
However, its OK now because the world is returning to normal, becoming a sane place once again, and the trains and buses ring out with the steady flow of BBM messages being received by commuters. For me this morning it was a wake up call, literally. As the service resumed I realised how annoying people BBM'ing you can be, and how often it bing, bing, bings.... Silent is the chosen profile today! Amazing how a few days away from something can change your perspective of things, and make you rethink your approach. I'm not going to BBM any less I'm sure, nor become less dependent on it for my email, and information flow, but i am aware of how much control it has over me at times.
The biggest thing I missed i think was email, and the ability to make entries to this blog. Sitting at the train station with things to say, but no platform to use (so to speak from, no pun intended). Maybe that is it, Blackberry has become my new voice. My chosen way to communicate with the world in all respects. if so, is that such a bad thing I wonder. A wider audience, I can speak at any time and people will 'hear' in their own time. I can be concise, direct, and open about my feelings without having to experience the reaction first hand. So looking at that aspect of things, i am quite happy with this new found voice. Needless to say, i am still very capable at the real spoken word, and am happy and able to vocalise my thoughts and feelings too.
So, how does the Blackberry crowd feel about all this. An outage for 3 days, that's coming on for 1% downtime, which by any hosting or server company is just completely unacceptable, especially for such a large global company with resources all around the world. 70 million+ customers to serve, BIS and BES, high profile customers like Lord Sugar, President Obama, David Cameron, and countless celebrities. This is the age of the Internet, lightening communication (if your device connects!) and word travels fast... But not as fast as rumours, they travel at warp speed, and carry far more clout than a short empty statement from the company itself. And what exactly did we get over those 3 days.... Day 1, a couple of 'oops' Tweets from Blackberry saying there were some issues they were working on. By the end of the day it was tweeted that it was OK now. Day 2, it was all broken again, and again a few words on Twitter saying they thought they had found the problem and service would soon resume. All this time it was only affecting EMEA..
Day 3, this is when it got serious.. North America was now affected, and the shit had hit the fan. High profile business and entertainment names became involved on Twitter. Suddenly The RIM and Blackberry Twitter accounts exploded into activity. The first BIG statement on Twitter from RIM was ironically about a hoax BBM circulating. ironic considering 90% of users had no BBM, yet their priority was suddenly quashing a rumour. Bad show. From that point on the information begun to flow properly, high ranking RIM exec's making statements apologising for the issues, the Blackberry website also sprouted a Service Status page. Today as the service starts to return to normal we are told on Twitter hourly that there is a video statement to be watched on the Blackberry website from the Co-CEO himself. Where was that when the service was down?
So like I say, BBM is now binging away again, and service seems to be going nicely, however I have one problem remaining that has been there for the past 3 days.... My email is not bloody working! Why I hear you ask. Well as the server outage begun I was switching from my 9700 to my new shiny 9900. It appears that for some reason the RIM servers are caught convinced that my 9700 is still in use on my account, so i cannot register my phone on the network. Everything else BIS works, BBM, PUSH apps etc, but it wont let me transfer my email accounts over. All i get is a message saying it is not registered on the wireless network, and if I try via the Blackberry I get a message saying it cannot communicate with the server. *sigh
Not really much more I can say on the matter really, other than its VERY frustrating not having my email right now, and while the outage was unwanted, it has been an eye opener, for many! So many people not realising how much they used the BBM side of things until they didn't have it. While Apple and other device users sneer, it is worth pointing out that NO other provider offers a service similar to BBM, so all the ner ner nerner ner comments about "my phone is working, look at your useless Blackberry" were a little inaccurate, but RIM deserved it all the same.
Right that's me done. Only thing left to say is I hope those having update problems getting to iOS5 get sorted soon, and those who have lost all their data due to corrupt back-ups get sorted soon.
PS, I was shocked when I suggested to Apple fans that I was going to get an iPhone 3GS for a bit of fun, and as a back up, only to be told it was not worth it, was too slow, and no good..... A few weeks ago this was the next best thing to an iPhone4 and still a very worthy handset, now its rubbish.... Go figure.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Fixed, sorted, back log to clear, broken, no fixed, oops spread across the Atlantic. Suddenly it hits the USA and RIM release status updates. However for some of us there is still a VERY poor, if not non existent service.
Three days of no one saying what is up, just saying its a hardware issue, then it fails again, then its just a huge backlog of data the servers have to clear....
Quite frankly its become an international joke now, seeing it on Sky News for me says how bad its become. If its spreading the the USA its not fixed, is it!
So for those of you NOT on Twitter, here is the illusive link to their info page
RIM SERVICE STATUS
Suddenly the penny drops, and with the issue spreading and not shrinking, it becomes apparent that this is something really quite serious. Is it more than a core switch, is there something Blackberry are not telling us here. Could this reach Playstation preportions? Who knows eh, and we are unlikely to either, but with no info all we can do is speculate. With speculation comes panic, and with panic comes abandon ship.... How many customers will have jumped ship by the end of this outage I wonder.
Fingers crossed the next 24 hours will see a return to normal status..... I can hope anyway.
Late last night RIM / Blackberry issued a statement saying the issue had been found, and was a core switch which had failed, and that they were working on the matter. The failsafe had also failed.
Users should expect slow service until the data backlog was cleared.... However, most woke this morning to very little more than one or two BBM messages that had slipped through, but very little more.
People in the UK are having a range of issues now, from almost full service, to nothing at all. Even big names like Sir Alan Sugar are getting on the action, questioning the information flow from RIM, and the resolution time. It was pointed out by a friend last night that he was pretty sure RIM were not taking their time on purpose, and that they would no doubt have their best people on it. Not forgetting that when the Playstation network went down, it was down for over a month.
It is fair to say that times like this make us all look at our mobile phone usage and dependency, and question has it all gone too far. For me, I am more annoyed at the failure to let me know what was going on, but now I know, I am happier about the matter. Now I am left thinking what impact not having BIS really has on me. Sure I have no BBM, and no email, and browsing is crippled, but my life still works fine, im breathing, and I can still walk. So all is NOT lost. I am however paying for a service I cannot use. So I am left with a simple question.... Do I NEED this service, or while I have the opportunity, do I contact my carrier and arrange an alternative device, contract or even cancel.
I did consider last night ordering an iPhone 3GS, but was subsequently told by Apple fans that it was basically a piece of junk and that I should go for the newer shinier iPhone4 or even the 4S.... So last week it was still a great phone, and this week its crap.... That view alone has quashed the idea of entering the Apple folds, I just cant follow something that is binned so quickly after a new product comes out. To me the Blackberry 9700 is still a very good phone, and I would own another if I needed to, same with the 8520 too. But apparently this does not apply in Apple circles.
So another afternoon of WTF is going on begins, and Blackberry owners will wonder how long until 100% service is restored. Hopefully however we can all look back and remember the great RIM outage of 2011 and respect the technology we all take for granted just a little more.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
"BlackBerryHelp Research In Motion
Just a short while after declaring the issues from the previous day were resolved.
By all accounts, its not 'some' areas affected, its more likely a 'few' areas working, and they are mainly on BES from what I can tell.
The outrage continues as RIM try to resolve the problems. Meanwhile the networks are sending out apologies to their customers for the poor service, but are unable to give any other info as RIM have not been forthcoming with the required information. Virus, fire, hardware failure, human error..... Throw us a frickin bone here RIM !
Meanwhile, Twitter remains alive with frustrated, angry customers who just want info.
On the flip side, think of it this way, a friend just told me her friend cannot contact her husband in Afghanistan because of this outage, that is just heartbreaking.
Why was it down, how long will it take to restore, what is affected, what action can users take, when it does come back on will there be lag... And so on. A multitude of questions people had, and bombarded their network carriers with, who were sadly as in the dark as the rest of the RIM users. Its somewhat ironic that a company who prides themselves in revolutionising the world of wireless communication failed so badly to in any way communicate what the hell was, and still is going on.
An outage apparently starting at 11am Monday, but my carrier Orange UK was already having issues communicating with the RIM servers on Sunday afternoon, hence why my device swap has been in limbo now for over 36 hours. At this point there were already lag issues, maybe this would have been the right time to contact users to notify them of service issues. I'm sure RIM can do this somehow.
OK so I guess I should show my hand at this point, and say, as pissed off as I am, I still remain 'loyal' to Blackberry at this point, as the device and services are what I am used to using, and as a whole until yesterday was more than happy with. But it raises questions in my head. How the HELL did something like this happen, and why in god's name has it taken so long to get anywhere near to resolving the issue.
Dear RIM, Its a bloody joke! I don't get it. Twitter was working fine yesterday, so fine in fact that 'blackberry', 'rim' and 'BB' have become trend topics. The outage is all over the news, forums are full of anger and upset at this poorly managed outage, yet the official websites say NOTHING about it, not so much as a link to some info if you don't want to splatter your front pages with it. Poor show I say.
The worst part for RIM at this point, is how much of a laughing stock they have become. And speaking of stocks, I wonder if they have been affected by this total failure of service and customer service. Apple will be laughing their socks off at this gift thrown towards them. While the two are not comparable, it has certainly spiced up Apple's argument for which is the superior device. BBM failure just in time for iMessenger to be launched. Free advertising if I ever saw it.
So what now? When will the service be up to 100% again, when will I finally be able to finish my device switch, when will I be able to reply to people who BBM me, that RIM has decided I currently cant contact.
I really hope serious lessons are learned here, and that a repeat of this is impossible, but lets wait and see eh. Will we ever know the real reason for the outage, and reason it could not be restored using back-up servers quickly? All I want is a rough explanation of what happened, how and why..... But I'm not gonna hold my breath for that.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Since I started driving I have done lots of stupid things, had a few bumps, and I am ashamed to say a couple of speeding tickets. But at the same time there are also a lot of occasions that I have not be stopped for speeding, but driven like an idiot all the same. For someone aspiring to get a job in the motoring industry and be governed by the DSA this is probably a stupid thing to say, but in my eyes it retrospective and educational.
I would think that its fair to say that at least 90% of drivers have, and quite regularly exceed the speed limit. With about 15-20% of them doing it knowingly, intentionally and in excess of 20% over the limit. This has been recognised in a very open way, and the intended raising of the motorway speed limit to 80mph reflects the recognition of the new "average" speed on the UK's motorways. However it is also fair to say that it is far from uncommon these days to be passed by vehicles WAY in excess of 100mph. A speed I too have driven at, and been caught and punished for.
I dont honestly know where this entry is going, but I guess the point of it is to say this. I have been driving for over 20 years now. In this time I have received 6 points for speeding, driven all kinds of cars in all kinds of fashions, but over time have matured somewhat. My cruise control now sits at 70mph on the motorways these days, and I rarely find the need to drive in any form of aggressive manner (im talking hard driving, not road rage). So being an onlooker now, I am constantly surprised at what people do behind the wheel of their cars.
The roads have become an increasingly dangerous place. With cars getting safer, lighting being better, road surfaces improved (in some cases anyway) you would think the opposite, but just like anything there is always room for human error. And sadly we humans have a habit of scrweing things up, thats why manufacturers use robots. We get tired, disinterested, distracted, and mentally wander off somewhere else. Which at the wheel of a car is a worry.
If im honest, I dont think the speed is the issue, its the drivers and their distractions that are the biggest worry. Doing 100mph on a quiet piece of motorway is illegal, period, but... and its a BIG but... If the road conditions permit it, and traffic is light, its does not have to result in a crash. The police travel on the motorways at 120-150mph regularly, granted with blue lights and sirens going, but these dont make it safer, just more visible. A blow out will still cause a scare or a big accident, a driver not paying attention and pulling into their path will still cause an accident, but travelling at that speed will NOT cause the car to self destruct, or immediatly crash. its the human element, and the unknown, unpredicability of the people you are sharing the road with that is most likely to cause problems.
Throwing your car from lane to lane at 90+ is going to end in tears at some point, driving unroadworthy cars at speed, or even regularly is irresponsible, and will not only cause issues for you, but probably at some point for other people too, in the aftermath of your catastrophic accident or breakdown. Common sense evades people these days. Only last night I watched a man in all dark clothing running up a single lane in a contraflow back to his broken down car, at night. He was greeted by a Highways Agency officer who was less than impressed, and told him how he felt about it.
So in short what I think I am saying is... There is a time and a place for everything, and I have sometimes got that decision wrong, and for that and anyone I inconvinienced, I am sorry and recognise I acted like a dick. I have enjoyed high speeds in cars at the right times and places, and understand the thrill, the buzz, and why people would want to do it. But after so long driving now, and being in a position where I am happy to get there alive, not buzzing with adrenaline, finally I can see how dangerous it all really is. So many innocent people are affected by the stupidity of others, from long delays to hospitalisation or even death, just because someone wants to drive too fast for the condition, or cant be bothered to maintain their car.
So for me, I am hanging up my stupid cap, and becoming a fully fledged member of the sensible drivers association. But not without a final plea. Please drive according to the road conditions, be thoughtful of others, drive a safe car, and as Hampshire Police told me... 'Arrive Alive'
Friday, October 7, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
I am glad to say that over the past couple of weeks, determination, hard work, and not giving in has paid off. I am rising above it, with very little effects of it left now. Very little discomfort except for the pain in my lower left abdomen which still loiters. Tiredness during the morning and daytime has improved no end, it is only the end part of the day now that leaves me lacking energy and enthusiasm.
With regards to work, I think it is fair to say that since my return, my attendance has been faultless, however there are other aspects of that which I will come back to in a bit. Not missed a day, and I truly think that it has (as expected) played a significant role in my recovery from both the illness, and moving on from mums passing. So I am glad that the issues I faced at work were overcome on my return, and things have been put back to normal. Again I will come back to this part soon. Main thing to me is, I'm back to being Michael Snasdell again, and not some messed up empty shell of a man who is struggling by day to day.
That might sound a little harsh, but the further I move away from the event horizon of mum passing, and me returning to work after so long, the more I realise how messed up things were getting for me. I lost my identity, direction and drive in life, and just hung in there for the sake of others, which is not healthy for anyone I have to say. And if you are in this situation, I would strongly recommend asking how others are perceiving you and your state of health and mind. Many commented on me, and I listened to...... none!
However.... moving on. We are in a different place these days, so lets be positive here and look forwards and not back. I'm making a comeback here, and am determined to make things different this time around. Almost like an alcoholic getting sober. This is me getting sober so to speak.
So, lets backtrack a little shall we, and cover off a few areas that I have previously touched on in this entry. Firstly, the fiery return to work. It wasn't so much about slipping back into my role, but more about being dragged through a bush backwards and baring my heart and soul to prove I deserved to keep my role in the company. I should add, so there is no hard feeling, that none of this was brought on by management so to speak, obviously they play a role in the matter, but the rest was instigated by 'others' who felt differently about what I deserved. Going to extraordinary lengths to make life hard for me. Screen prints of Facebook, photos of Blackberry Messenger status's all used in an attempt to prove me dishonest, and unworthy. Well...... it didn't work, so quite frankly bollox to you, and f**k you for trying that.
However, there is a little twist. It would appear that the infighting didn't end there, and there is now another issue within the machine. Timekeeping!
Now having finally received the summaries and official closure of my own disciplinary, it is truly refreshing to know that I am in NO WAY involved in the current issues here. I know from my own opinion, and from speaking with my manager that there is NO issue with my timekeeping or recording of my activities at work. I swipe in, swipe out, complete timecards honestly, and record what I do daily.
Sadly the same cannot be said for all. With some taking breaks without recording them, slipping in late and claiming they were on time, or failing to work their scheduled hours, but claiming a later finish time than actual. The dumb part about all this is that there is comprehensive CCTV here, remotely monitored and reported on, a swipe system which records people in and out of the building, although it is obvious that some have decided to bypass this by using unauthorised access points to avoid being seen leaving and entering, as well as trying not to leave a record.
Once again, sadly due to 'persons' constantly discussing other staff members with their management, a storm is coming.
I guess I'm saying too much really, so should be careful, but at the end of the day, a line has been drawn in the sand, and a warning shot has been fired over EVERYONES head. So anyone one not seeing their part in this, and not realising their wrong doing deserves everything coming to them. Its either ignorance or arrogance, more likely arrogance if I'm honest, but we shall see. 3 days after the warning shot was fired, nothing seems to have changed for some... And that's REALLY all I'm saying on it now, other than 'watch this space'.
Phew I am really going on today, but it feels like a massive release I have to say. Things building up inside of me, annoying me, winding me up, and in the latter case, amusing me somewhat.
OK, I will leave it there for now or I might wear this keyboard out. So I will end with, with everything happening around me, the motivation within me to achieve, and the new lease of life... I'm finally enjoying looking forwards to what lays ahead. A smoother road for me for now, and possibly a pretty rough one for others.
Watch your back people.... instead of mine for once ;)
Set in his ways, but determined for things to change, he had a vision for the future and followed it by any means necessary to achieve his goals and dreams. Often controversial, and always in the media for both good and bad, Steve Jobs is on the short list of the few people in the world who have set themselves a goal early on, and never deviated from their path. Occasionally adding more to his ideas, and raising the bar, Steve Jobs proved determination, and a whole bunch of money earned by previous success could make things happen.
Sadly as all families of cancer victims know, money cannot solve everything, and whilst being one of the wealthiest self made men around, none of his rich gains could cure the cancer which would finally take his life.
He has truly created a legacy that will live on for a long long time, and that's just his reputation. Then there is Apple, the company that has taken the world by storm, and motivated others to up their game, and move in the direction of the demands of the consumer market. Causing frenzy each time they launch a new product (ok maybe not the last one so much), and having the true definition of a loyal fan base. Almost a fanatical fan base in fact, but I guess in business that's not such a bad thing. Moving product is the name of the game here after all.
There is a huge gap in opinion between Apple users and users of other products, a void filled with arguments, and point proving, ego battles and some weird people who are FAR too involved in the companies and products for a mere consumer. But the sane ones in those groups will all agree that Steve Jobs was a key part in Apple, and Apple has at some point been a key part in moving the mobile phone market forwards in directions no one saw coming for a while yet.
That's not to say that others have not taken the ball and moved on with it, but there was definitely a line in the sand drawn by Apple at some point, there is no denying that.
So without taking sides, and without casting a shadow over an already dark day, I will end with R.I.P Steve Jobs.... Millions will miss you for a long time to come.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
So yesterday Noel convinced me to get up at an unearthly hour to go to the BPM show with him at the NEC in Birmingham.
The idea is to showcase all the latest DJ equipment, lighting, software, headphones etc.... You get the idea.
So here is a selection of pictures and videos I took while there.
The highlights of the day were without seeing Judge Jules do an interview (funny guy) and DJ Grandmaster Flash do a one hour set. Entertaining, ear battering, crowd pleasing tunes and performance.
Note to self, Aerial7 headphones WILL be bought.
More pictures can be found at http://www.bampson.com/
And now for the videos......
The VERY surpising and talented Alan Nicol
Sent using BlackBerry®