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|Tuesday, November 20th, 2012|
So I was watching Supernatural. A nice enough series with a distinctly action based bent. But then I realised something very important. It's opening credits. Blink and their gone! And that's happening a lot these days with series. They don't have opening credits, I mean, not really. And that's crazy! When I was growing up US imports had AMAZING opening credits. Their theme tunes ROCKED MY WORLD!
Think about it.
They are all balls to the wall amazing.
Now what do we get? I mean, do't get me wrong, at least some series bother doing a theme tune (Lost, I'm looking at you!) but really, where is the BLAMMO moment?
So yeah, that's why I'm better than all you younger folks.
Or am I wrong..?
Any really great theme tunes out there? And no, I don't mean something that I could hear in a HMV as I look for the 3rd DVD in my 3 for £15 deal. (Walkingdead)
|Wednesday, November 14th, 2012|
|Sean Bean is Sharpe
I left my job last month.
I was very proud of working at AIUK. It was a good job with good colleagues. I was pretty good at what I did too. The last few days there were very odd. I don't really remember the very last day, mostly a blur. There were quite a lot of people at the 'he's going' cakes, and I do remember wondering if I was about to cry when my line manager and R., who I had volounteered for for 3 years9 were both talking about me. And there we're leaving drinks after too.
The one thing I really remember when people kept saying 'Oh, you're leaving? That's sad' was that I wanted to grab them and screm 'Yes I am! But you hav NO IDEA how hard it was for me to get here! I deserve more! I deserve a marching band, 21 gun salute and a cake with multiple strippers ready to jump out of it!'
I didn't do that. I just smiled, shrugged and mumbled something.
Getting a job at AIUK was hard, really, really hard. Ignoring the fact that anyone getting a job in the current climate is dificult in the first place, I'm steal dealing with some pretty nasty mental issues. And I had to get to the point of being able to even think of applying, which took ages. I once read that, after two years on incapacity benefit, you're more likely to die then get a job. Go me, breaking out of that curve.
I clearly couldn't have got this far on my own. My support has been amazing, and without it I couldn't have gotten to the point where I could get a job. But it makes me think about all those people who don't have help and support, who are just left to rot. It's a truely depressing thought.
I don't have anythign to say today, I just wanted to sit down and type something.
And to say thanks.
|Monday, July 23rd, 2012|
|Friday, July 13th, 2012|
Now I've said many times I don't know that much about 'finance'. It confuses me. Lots. But back in 2009 the Bank of England started quantitive easing. (Printing more money) The theory being it would spark growth in the economy. We would have infrastructure projects with happy workers earning an honest wage. What happened was the banks got the money and used it to rebuild their capital. I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing, does it just prop up a crappy system that has led to huge amounts of suffering for societies most vulnerable or is it the only way to protect society itself? That's not really the point, though it would have been nice for the BoE to just come out and say that was the plan.
The amount of extra money that's been printed is £375 billion. That's quite a lot. And again, let me reiterate that I don't really know how global finance works. I do know that poor people spend it and rich people save it. If you had given that money out to those most in need rather than hoping it would be invested then they would have frittered it away on things like bills, food and travel. That helps the economy, it actually does GROW the economy.
I mean, it would grow the economy more if the special, business friendly tax rates we hand out to companies who keep coughing and pointedly glancing at one way plane tickets to Luxembourg was a little more society friendly, but still, most of that money would get back to UK banks in the end anyway.
So what am I missing? (Seriously, what AM I missing?)
|Friday, May 11th, 2012|
|In The Slammer Like MC Hammer
While enjoying a meal with a few folk the other day I was quite surprised when one of them decided to - and I believe I'm using the word correctly here - harangue me over my decision to attempt the 3 Peaks. This wasn't the usual "Haha, you're mad. How do I sponsor you?" conversation I have come to now recognise, it was a full on assault against my plan. For over ten minutes, in which the only outcome was that I would be left nothing but a broken shell of a man both physically and mentally (the word traumatised was used), I tried to defend my decision but to no avail. Well... I say that. Actually as I pointed out my relative youth and fitness level, training regime and other ways I am preparing I found myself quite reassured.
Of course chatting to someone who's done the three peaks two days ago left me a bit nervous, but you can't have everything.
So thank you to everyone who's been so supportive. You've no idea how much it helps.
|Tuesday, May 1st, 2012|
|Past Failures, Future Hopes
I got sick in 2001. Very sick. And by very sick I mean utterly bug nuts crazy. If you knew me then you’ll know what I’m talking about. I couldn’t leave the house, for a lot of the time I couldn’t even leave my front room. I was unable to answer the front door or the phone. I couldn’t walk places on my own. Taxi drivers literally had to hold my hand and walk me to the car. I was even hospitalised for a time. I can confidently say that that was the worst time in my life.
So, why mention all this ancient history? Well, when I was ill I made plans about what I would do when I got well. Unfortunately I think the part of Bard the Bowman in the Hobbit movie isn’t going to happen now. But I did want to get a job at Amnesty International (big tick – thank you), be able to go to a restaurant and buy my parents a meal, that kind of thing. Something I read about at this time was the National Three Peaks Challenge. It looked like a great idea, but something I’d probably never do, mostly because no one would ever want to do it with me. Because of this I stopped day dreaming and went back to learning the part of Hamlet for when the RSC called…
It turns out the 3 Peaks is something I’m going to do! Between the 21st and 22nd of July I and a few chums are going to climb the highest peak in England, Scotland and Wales within 24 hours. That includes travel time. Considering where I’ve come from, this challenge has got me amazingly excited.
We are going to be doing it for charity. Our chosen charity is AIUK. If you would like to donate some money that would be fantastic. If you don’t want to, that’s also fine. I’m just thrilled, excited and I wanted to tell you! I’ve included a link to our joint Just Giving page (It’s in Robs name, don’t worry, he just needs the attention).
Just Giving Page: https://www.justgiving.com/Rob-Shuster
So yeah, please do message me and stuff with questions, taunts, encouragements. I'm just very, very excited about this!
|Saturday, April 7th, 2012|
I've never been s big fan of the theory of mutually assured destruction. It's always just seemed to me like playing chicken with *everyone*.
I find the idea even worse when the person who can give an order that will possibly lead to the end of the world actually believes that that might improve things.
Unlike many of my friends I have no issue with religion. I don't really care to much about separation of church and state - compare general religious tolerances in Europe and the US - and I believe that doing something because God will punish you if you don't is actually a better reason than 'because it just makes me feel good.'
But I do get a bit shuddery when someone who thinks that death in the service of Gods will or that the end of the world is an improvement has the power to make it happen.
|Friday, March 30th, 2012|
Opinion. When did it become so important? I don't want people to email their stories or text their comments. Why on earth should I respect someone's opinion? People are idiots. We go around forming opinions willy nilly. We glance over someone's shoulder on the train, read a few lines in their god awful free hack sheet and pop, an opinion just forms, without even thinking about it.
I respect a persons right to hold an opinion. You feel free to go ahead and hold what ever you want in your head. But respecting a persons right to have an opinion and respecting that opinion are two very, very different things.
Opinions are not sacred. There isn't anything special about them. Opinions are a method we each use to understand the world around us. We each base those opinions on different things. Personal experience, learned knowledge, anecdotal evidence, what ever. However we develop them, they are what they are. Opinions.
Don't get me wrong, I like opinions. Listening to them and reading them is kind of like enjoying a tour around an art gallery. You get to see the wonderful creations the human mind has created. And, as in the art world, there is a lot out there that's bollocks and even more I don't understand. Wrapping your head around them can be enjoyable.
But if I'm trying to learn about a subject other than the nature of the human soul I'll take fact over opinion any time.
In my opinion.
|Wednesday, March 7th, 2012|
Really, very tired.
Coming off the back of ten years unemployment I'm in a job that means I'm hitting very long days and where I have a large number of physical and, for me at least, complicated mental tasks. It's a lot of work and a lot of stress. Please don't misunderstand me, I enjoy the job. It's just taxing. However I feel much more of a sense of purpose and drive. Even the self-doubt - and there is a lot, and for good reason, beleive me - is stimulating in a left side of your body tingling kind of way.
So I often find myself in an odd situation. On one hand I'm tired out because of work, on the other, I feel much better in myself, also because of work.
Life is a very strange thing.
|Monday, February 20th, 2012|
Body image. I find it confusing. If you're comfortable with how you look, and it's not going to make you unwell, then great. If you're not comfortable with how you look, and changing the way you look isn't going to make you unwell, also great.
Personally I feel very overweight at the moment. I'm no where near as defined as I feel comfortable with, my waist is to big and my arms are to small. This isn't just a vanity thing. It's a simple fact that when I'm in shape I find doing 'stuff' much easier. From walking upstairs or carrying a box to making the bed; EVERYTHING is easier when I'm in better shape. It's a sad fact that I work out mostly because I'm lazy.
When I was feeling like this back in the days of yore, when I was sick and crazy and couldn't go for runs to trim down, I joined a weight group for people who were - like me - not as mentally fit as they might hope. I lost weight while I was there and I enjoyed the eating tips I was getting. I lasted a whole three weeks. Why? Because the others in the group didn't consider me fat enough. And that's tough. I clearly was unhappy with my physical appearance and wanted to do something about it but, because I wasn't as overweight as the others in the group, I was seen as someone moaning about nothing.
This is something I contune to feel. I have low self asteem and an even lower body image. I don't really like how I look. If I voice concern about my appearance it's not because I want you to buck up my confidence with a complement - I'd probably not believe you anyway - it's because I'm just speaking out loud. I don't mind so much, as I know I can lose weight by running and get bigger arms by doing pushups. But if I'm talking to you about it, it's because I feel pretty crappy and I'm just reaffering to myself that I'm taking positive steps to improving things.
By the way, I think that this is a *good* thing. If I were happy to be overweight then I wouldn't exercise, which I'm pretty sure I've read some place is bad for you. I quite like having a good quality of life, and health and fitness is essential to that.
|Saturday, February 18th, 2012|
|Let's Get It On...
Some people seem to get confused by sexuality. And, well, it's a very complex thing. So, to help people out, I've put together the following handy table of what sexuality affects and what it dosen't affect.
|What your sexuality affects
||What your sexuality dosn't affect
|Who you want to fuck
||The tone of your voice
||The music you like
||The clubs you go to
||Your style of dress
|Erm... That's it...
||Your personal hygine
||Understanding of interior design
||If you can dance
||Your taste in film and television
||Your prefeared colour pallet
||How 'theatricial' you are
||You're levels of promiscuity
||Your enjoyment of sport
Feel free to print this out and keep it in your wallet or purse for easy reference.
|Saturday, December 3rd, 2011|
Today is a day of tidying in preparation for the upping of Christmas decorations and the receiving of guests. I love this house and think it looks at its best during the begging of summer when the garden looks like something from a fairy story and during the winter with snow and decorations. I actually enjoy the cleaning that comes with these preparations.
Except I have the onset of a protracted cold. Not enough that I feel I can justify staying in bed and letting things happen around me, but enough to make anything I do feel like a chore.
Which means its time for more carols! They are the seasonal verity of a can of Toughen Up.
|Friday, December 2nd, 2011|
In my time working and volunteering for Amnesty International I've been fortunate enough to meet and see speak some truly inspiring people. From people like Patric Stewart and Mark Thomas - two men who make my inner fan boy blush - to members of the Burmese 88 generation, people so brave I'm really unsure what to say when I talk to them. I've heard Bedoin people arguing for their land rights, been lucky enough to enjoy a concert by the UOGB, clapped along to traditional Romany music and have had the opportunity to view some staggering photographic and art displays. And this is very much the tip of the ice berg.
So why am I mentioning this? Because, believe it or not, your average AIUK audience are a cynical bunch. They do care anout the world around them but many go to a lot of events. They have heard it all. So when I say that when Martina Davis-Correia spoke about her brother Troy, and moved an audience of strangers to a tearful standing ovation, I want you to know how big a deal this is. She was - hands down - the most impressive speaker I have ever seen at Amnesty. When she spoke she was able to give you a small glimpse into what it meant to have a brother on death row. You were somehow able to feel your own heart breaking as she told you of her daily fight to bring Troys case to public attention and save his life.
As I write about her now I know I am not doing her justice. This was a woman who was diagnosed with cancer in around 2001, who kept traveling the world speaking out against the atrocity that is the death penalty, who had to leave her job in the military so that she could say that her government was wrong and yet carried on thankful that she was able to do something. This year alone she lost her mother and brother and never let it brake her spirit. She even managed to raise a son who I think is one of the most fantastic young adults I've ever been fortunate enough to meet, and who survives her as a living testament to her courageous and caring nature.
When she spoke to you - either one to one or as part of a hall full of people - she made you feel like family. And that was her gift I think. The fact that despite all her troubles and dedication to the fight to her brother you felt that if you had a problem and, despite her never having met you in the past, if you spoke to her about it she would care. She would try and help you. Because that's what good people do.
I wanted to write this in memory of a very good person.
Martina Davis-Correia rest in peace.
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.
|Wednesday, November 30th, 2011|
|One Out, All Out. Public School Boys Should Surely Agree?
Strike action today. I do sympathise with those on the picket lines. As far as I can tell their objecting to the following scene:
George sits at his computer, frowning and mumbling over a large and complex spreadsheet. Every now and then he try's stabbing at a few keys but try as he might the last number is always highlighted in red. His next door neighbour, Dave, pops his head round the corner.
Dave: Hello George, just thought I'd stop by to... Oh dear, you look really upset. What's wrong?
George: it's these numbers. I just can't get them to add up. Dave, we need more money to run the country.
Dave sits opposite him, his face ashen.
Dave: but George, without money nothing will happen. We can't pay people their rightful and necessary benefits. Those who have given a life time of service to this great country won't receive their pensions. Those millions of unfortunate, hard working people struggling to get a job won't even have enough to pay for the bus to get to the job centre...
George: Don't you think I know all that Dave? Christ, we won't even be able to pay the people who educate our children, fight for the safety of our citizens, care for us when we're sick... Oh god, Dave... I... I just thought
Dave: What is it George?
George: The orphans! What about the orphans!?
The two look at each other. With an unspoken word the pair nod. With hands that are barely trembling George straightens his tie while Dave sets his jaw, his eyes now hard, not because he doesn't care, but because he cares to much.
Dave: The way I see it George, it's better that all suffer a little rather than a few suffer a lot.
George: That's right Dave. It's going to be tough out there for a while but what with Browns crazy spending policies...
Dave: (Shaking his head sadly whispers) Oh Gordon, why didn't you just come to me for some advice.
George:... And the global recession we have to save money where we can.
Both men go quiet. Suddenly a look oh mad hope comes into Daves eyes.
Dave: George, George, I've got the solution! Well just get the rich to pay a bit more! It's so obvious! We'll just explain the situation to them and ask them to contribute more. I mean, it'll be much easier for them to cope with a bit less money than someone already struggling to support their family on...
George: (Barely able to contain his anger) It... It's no good Dave. I already asked them.
Dave: You did? What did they say?
George: They said no.
Dave: No? How could they have...
George: They just said that if we expected them to pay a reasonable amount of tax then they would leave the country.
Both men look at each other, a shocked expression on Daves face. There is a long pause.
Dave: Did you tell them about the orphans?
George: (Unable to fight back the tears) That's just it Dave, they didn't even care about that!
Dave: So they expect the people in this country who can't afford expensive accounts or to leave to shoulder this burden.
Dave: Those BASTARDS!
It might not be word for word but it is genuinely the nub of many, many arguments I've heard.
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.
|Monday, November 28th, 2011|
So, airline food. What's THAT all about?
Am I right?
|Thursday, September 22nd, 2011|
|I Am Troy Davis
*Note* I started typing this before Troys Exercution. I finished it with hope still in ky heart, thinking about what I would do tomorrow. And then I heard the news. But I still wanted to post this, to give some kind of form to my thoughts...
Less than three hours ago I stood, waiting for a man I consider to be my friend to be executed. I stood outside the US Embassy with around 500 others, each of us alone with our thoughts and the silence. I looked up, possibly hoping for some kind of inspiration and my eyes rested upon the US flag. It was there, proud and defiant. Stirred by a breeze, proud above a huge golden eagle. I looked up at that flag and I was filled with hatred.
I felt this anger, pressing from the back of my head, pressing out of my face, seeping through my pours. All I could think was how much I despised that flag and the hypocrisy it represented. The land of the free where the parole board block email servers so they don't have to read the please of people begging them to spare a life. Where the distinction between vengeance and justice seems to be none-existent. A place where they are happy to kill a man on evidence that is hugely questionable. At that moment I hated America and all it stood for.
I closed my eyes. I don't know why. And then, from out of nowhere, came an image of my friend Troy. Its a picture of him, standing in his white prison uniform, smiling. And I didn't suddenly think 'This isn't what he would want'. I just felt the anger go. It vanished. Instead of thinking of America and Americans, I was able to think about the people I know and have met, all of my friends from the US. I looked up at that flag and thought of a country that believes, fundamentally, that all people are equal. I looked up at that flag, flapping over that gaudy golden eagle, and felt the boyish rush I would get when I smelled imported bubble gum and comics, I had the flash that in America everything was just better.
And then I stood there for longer, realising that Troy was dead. Hearing in the silance the anguished screams of my own grief echoed back at me. We stood there, and he was dead. And America was not to blame.
I had hated America, with it's stupidity, it's childlike naivety. America, a land where everyone is fat and books are something that happen to other people. Greedy and unfeeling, overly zealous and happy to intervene in world affairs, but never taking the time to put them on the news. But of course, that isn't what America is.
America is made up of people. Some people are amazing, and some are not. Some people do things I agree with, and some do not. Obviously these two distinctions are the same thing. So it was stupid to be angry at the country. It would be like being angry at a concept and, try as I might, I just can't get angry at absent-mindedness.
I don't know why, but I wasn't angry then. I just knew Troy had been killed and that it wasn't fair. But I also knew that the next day I would fight for someone else, because otherwise the day after that I wouldn't be able to live with myself.
And then there was a cheer... He wasn't dead. I hugged strangers and friends, some crying, some stuttering, some looking even more confused than me. And it was ok, it was fine. It was better than fine.
And now it is the next day. And I don't have to fight for someone else. I have to keep fighting for Troy, because the next day he might not be alowed to live with himself.
And so I am sorry. Sorry for that moment when I wanted to destroy with no thought of rebuilding. Sorry that in my anger I was able to dismiss a nation. I am sorry because in doing so I lessoned myself. And I am glad, because I say that uglyness and disliked it. I realised, profundly in fact, that I have no issue at all with anger. I realised that I have no problem with negativity. But, most importanly, I realised that you need to ensure the targets are set.
So no, I don't have a problem with America. No, I don't have a problem with Americans. But I really, truely have a problem Albert Murray, Robert E. Keller, L. Gale Buckner, James E. Donald and Terry Barnard.
Stop lying to yourselves and do the right thing. Because you're going to have to wake up every morning for the rest of yoru lives with the knowledge that you might have killed an innocent man. And that knowledge is going to grow, and as it does so, as it expands, each time it gets that bit bigger, you will lose a little bit of your soul until one morning you'll wake up and there will be nothing of you left. Because I don't beleive that you are stupid people. I beleive you are sane and rational. And so I also belive that you do
These people dont' need to think about saving Troy now, they need to think about saving themselves.
|Tuesday, August 9th, 2011|
|The're Burnign My Old Libary...
Just for a change of pace, before anyone else has the idea, I thought I’d write about the riots. Or should that be right
about the riots, going from some of the feeds I’ve been reading. Pause for laughter.
I’m as shocked as all of you that, in a society where social mobility has become an oxymoron, the people living in the poorest areas* seem to think that crime is a good way of getting what you want and asperitation and trying to raise yourself out of the gutter is a joke.
And who would have thought that, way back in Saturday, during a legitimate, peaceful protest, that leaving a group of upset, angry and disenfranchised people standing around for hours on end might lead to resentment, and the spark that started all of this insanity?
Oh, and apparently dirty little scrotes who are just kicking off and not simply trying to exercise free speech are a lot less easy to deal with then a bunch of hippies in an eco-village or lefties staging a sit in at F&M.
So, in my opinion, the police messed up in three accounts:
1. They didn’t show the proper respect to grieving, angry people.
2. They weren’t prepared to deal with the sudden violence in Tottenham.
3. They didn’t put the violence down quick enough once it sparked, due to lack of training with actual
I don’t buy into the whole right wing anger at ‘being soft’ on rioters, I think that the police just didn’t do their jobs very well. **
And so we see mass rioting throughout the country. And that’s because, in the end, society is really only held together because we all kind of go along with the lie that if we don’t do what we should we’ll get in trouble. The simple fact is that if everyone did what they wanted, there isn’t much anyone can do about it. And when people feel like society owe them something for nothing (for what ever reason) well…
Additionally I’ve been shocked at some of the things I’ve read from my friends on various social networking sites. No I don’t think looters should be shot on sight. No I don’t think hanging is to good for them and no I don’t think the army being called in is a good idea. And please, please, please
let’s not let people use this as an excuse to take away even more of our civil liberties. What we need is better trained police, not more laws!
However, at the moment I’m amazed at how many people out there are being effected by this. Our friends and loved ones need our support. The police and other emergency services need our support. Our communities need our support. People we’ve never even met need our support. We have to give it, whole heartedly. Because that’s what living in a civilised society means. Putting your wants to one side so that other people can exist in a dignified, safe and respectful way. So, after my ranting let me reiterate:
1. I totally support the police.
2. I want to see rioters prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
3. My heart goes out to everyone being effected by this nightmare.
4. I can’t really feel sorry for J D Sports.***
*Much has been made that these ‘so called poor’ are walking around in expensive trainers with gold chains. If you think that is a sign of relative wealth, you’re a dick. Shut the fuck up and try and get a basic handle on ideas of status and street culture.
** Not for lack of trying. The reports of some officers doing 30 hour shifts shows how hard they are working. It’s more down to lack of training and Intelligence, none of which is the fault of your basic bobby.
*** They are a chain who practically target poor areas with overpriced tat they don’t need. It’s like junk food you wear. (See *)
|Thursday, August 4th, 2011|
Some of you may well already know that I managed to lose my mobile. That means I've also probably lost your phone number. OH NO!
So please, leave it in a comment below. Don't worry, their screened, so you can leave your number and no one else will see it. NONE SHALL KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SAYING!