Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Birmingham Blog

I haven't been able to blog for a while. In Birmingham on another module for my MSc. It takes a while to adjust to being away from home, but I am now getting into the swing of academia. I will recieive my first assignment back this afternoon and get a feel for how well I am doing. Keep your fingers crossed.

It has also been a revelation to be back amongst students. They held a candlelight memorial for Holocaust Day yesterday, not something I would have expected to see walikng down the high street! Good to see that student idealism hasn't gone away.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Lopez and Affleck split confirmed - no shit!

I wouldn’t normally devote any coverage to vacuous celebrity ‘news’, I leave that to the likes of Heat and their trashy tabloid stable mates. However, I cannot resist rejoicing that Bennifer have announced that they are splitting up. What a load of bobbins! The most ridiculous relationship since Gere and Crawford is now over. Some people may feel sorry for them and question how any relationship could work being under such public scrutiny. Me - I think they courted all the publicity they could to promote their rubbish films and now have to find away of keeping their careers going.




J-Lo will probably be OK, but little Ben won't be so lucky. His last few films haven’t done very well at the box office and he has lost a zillion credit points with me an others.

As this pic shows – it was all about the publicity. They were happy to enjoy the media coverage before, so there is little point now saying “At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy," as Jen’s publicist said.


the friday five

the friday five: At this moment, what is your favorite...

1. ...song?

Changes all the time, but probably 'Your Song', the version with Nicole and Ewan in Moulin Rouge.

2. ...food?

Mexican - preferably Chimichangas.

3. ...tv show?

Probably 'Hercules' (Hercules is where Boot Camp meets the World's Strongest Man) on BBC3. Started out as a bit of a laugh and now I am seriously addicted. I would like to see Mike Dixon be crowned as the Herculean Hero.

4. ...scent?


Always favour L'Occitane - favourite is green tea

5. ...quote?

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will always find a way around the law. " - Plato

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Florida Court Rules Entrapment in 'Party' Bust

Story on Officer (a website for law enforcement) about a gay man who was approached by an undercover cop, apparently looking for a good time, but actually on an undercover drugs operation.

“An appeals court says a gay man was a victim of entrapment because he didn't know an undercover detective was looking for drugs when the officer asked him if he wanted to "party.'' Julio Blanco, 37, who described himself as a lonely gay man, said that he understood ``party'' to mean having a good time or being sexually involved.”

Blanco said the cop was attractive and the defence attorney intervened and asked the judge to make an official finding that Nahum was attractive, which she did. "For the record, I would submit he was about 6 feet, 2 inches. He was in good shape, you know, a fit individual, young detective, looked to be maybe 30,''

The appeals court agreed that Blanco had been entrapped by "non-verbal communication'' used by the undercover officer. More on this story.

Also the Officer site redirects you to some police shops were you can buy a whole host of police related items including "UNDER ARMOUR® BOXER BRIEF", which offers "The freedom of a boxer, the support of a brief" and the "UNDER ARMOUR® TACTICAL FULL T-SHIRT".





Who knew that police officers across the county are wearing armoured boxers and t-shirts?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

CD settlement forces prices up

The bloody British Phonographic Industry (BPI) have forced Cd-Wow to increase the prices of all CDs sold in the UK and Ireland by £2. I have bought a lot of CDs form this site and they usually cost £8-9 depending on the title. A lot cheaper than the £14 in most high street stores. CD-Wow was due to have gone to court in two weeks' time in action taken by the BPI, but have obviously felt they cannot afford to try and take the case to the Court of Appeal or the European Court.

So once again we suffer because of the greed of record companies. Rather than view the use of this site as an indicator that prices are too high and address the issue, they simply make the company charge more. It really pisses me off. I wouldn't mind if there was an alternative, such as iTunes, available in the UK.

The ruling is due to take effect from Sunday, so there are a couple more days to buy at the old prices.

THE SKINNY ON SKIVVIES

A report in the Southern Illinoisan reports that there is a revolution going on downstairs. Guys (even straight men!!) are taking time to carefully choose their underwear. The paper puts this down to the effect of Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." Apparently, 2(x)ixt and Baskit are the favourites - especially the contour pouch briefs that "are missing the slot where he can enter and exit without pulling down.....It snuggles him, and if you were to turn the item sideways, it's like a nose, it has a profile."

I am a bit of a mixed boy - the 2(x)ist contour range are great and do a good enhancement job, but at the weekend I tend to favour boxers with my baggie jeans. I am too old to carry off the jeans-down-to-the knees look anyway, so don't need to worry that the right 2 inches of waistband is showing.

If nothing else, this story gives me a great opportunity to post gratuitous underwear shots!





Tuesday, January 20, 2004

MikeRoweSoft

Microsoft are taking legal action against 17 year old Canadian Mike Rowe. Mike has set up a website design business with the internet address MikeRoweSoft.com Mike has been told by the company that his site infringes on Microsoft's copyright and could confuse their customers. He received a letter from Microsoft's lawyers in November, requesting that he transfer his domain name over to them immediately. He has so far refused and now has been overwhelmed with about 250,000 hits (probably re-directed from someone's blog!). A generous benefactor has offered to host the bandwidth he needs and, hopefully, he is getting some work form it.

I can't make my mind up if it was just clever marketing or a plan for Microsoft to offer shed loads of cash to buy the domain. Either way he has got publicity for his site. I don't believe that huge numbers of Microsoft customers would really end up at Mike's site.

**Dear Mr Gates, please don't sue me for using your company's name on my blog - your products are fantastic and promote variety in the market place. Also you are very handsome and I bet you are a really, really nice person.**

Monday, January 19, 2004

Monday Moan

We had a very busy weekend catching up with friends that we haven’t seen since Christmas. It was good to se everyone and helps meet my intention to see friends more in 2004.

The flipside is that there isn’t then that much time to start some of the jobs on the house that we want to get done, or any time to just sit around and relax. My partner has started the rounds of builders to try and get the bedroom ceiling fixed

as it would be great to move back into our room soon rather than being decamped in the spare room. I suppose once we get the ceiling done we might as well start stripping the walls and preparing the floor, rip out the old cupboards etc. In other words, do the full makeover.

I am in Birmingham next week for the next module on my MSc, so no idea when we will fit all of this work in. Another example of work stopping me getting on with my life. My partner’s father is planning his retirement (5 months away), which is great for him, but pretty depressing for us with another 30 years of work ahead. If we didn’t have to work there would be a million other things to fill the time with – photography, travel, writing, blogging etc. I know life-coaches would suggest choosing one of these interests and developing a career around it so that work becomes a fun part of everyday life. Great idea but just finding the time to investigate all of this properly seems impossible.

Sounds a bit miserable for the start of the week I suppose. Generally, I am happy with my work and enjoy my job, it just has an annoying habit of interfering with my life!

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Japanese toy maker comes up with dream machine

Reports have been coming in about a dream machine developed in Japan. You look at a picture of what you want to dream about, record a scenario and the machine engineers lights, sounds and aromas to create your dream. Sounds incredibly far-fetched to me! Also slightly bugged that my boyfirend alerted me to this. I have always been the techno-geek in the relationship and feel my role is being undermined!


Wednesday, January 14, 2004

razorhead's ulterior - LifeGem

Fascinating link on razorhead's site about Lifegem, a company who will take the remains of your loved one and press them into a diamond, laser-etched with your family's 16 digit identifier.

Not sure if this is incredibly macabre or really cool?!

Facing a biometric future

The BBC have a report today about the plans for UK passports to start including biometric data. it is likely that iris scanning will be the preferred option as the iris has 249 possible areas of difference compared to 35 for fingerprints and only 20 for facial recognition. I suppose it is inevitable and the old argument stands that if you are not doing anything wrong then you should have nothing to fear. There is, however, something a little unsettling with the potential that the government could use the technology to track you wherever you are. It all sounds a little like 'Minority Report' and one should ask why the government would want to know the locations of every individual.

A more real consequence is the apparent requirement by the US for UK visitors to have biometric data on passports issued after this October. It has been reported that if you don’t you will need to travel to London in person for a visa application. I don’t know if this is 100% accurate, but it would be a real disincentive for many to travel to the states if you first need to arrange a trip to London for ‘permission’ to travel. The US administration must believe that the security risks outweigh the potential loss in tourism. If I had any spare cash I would be investing in Eurodisney as I predict a big upturn in their visitors as many Europeans head their instead of Florida.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Comments

I use Blogspeak to host my comments and it is down at the moment due to the host suspending the account. No doubt down to bandwith pressures.

I see that a lot of bloggers use Haloscan and I may consider this as an option as it seems to offer good customisation options. For the next few days though I'll hold on to see what happens to Blogspeak. It has offered a good service and we need to support the smaller sites.

14/01/03 UPDATE: Blogspeak will be back online over the weekend. If anyone feels a burning need to communicate with me before this time then please email me.

15/01/03 UPDATE: Blogspeak has now been acquired by Haloscan , so comments will all transfer there in the next few days.

Enforced house maintenance

This week certainly started off with a bang. On Sunday evening a big chunk of plaster fell from the ceiling onto our bed. We knew the ceiling needed some maintenance, but didn’t think it was quite that bad!

I came home from work yesterday to find my ever-enthusiastic boyfriend had pulled the rest of the ceiling down. The floor (and bed) was covered in lumps of plaster and a layer of thick black dust. I whizzed over to B&Q for a full protection suit, face mask etc to start the clear up process. Not too bad, another dozen bags and it should all be gone. We wanted to decorate the bedroom next so at least this will give us the impetus to get started!



Sunday, January 11, 2004

Britain's Best Sitcom

Watched the edited highlights of the BBC's Best Sit Com earlier (The beauty of Tivo!) You can vote for you favourite form the top ten. I urge you to vote for 'The Good LIfe' (I think it was called 'Good Neighbours' in the US) over the likes of 'Dad's Army', 'One Foot in the Grave', and 'Porridge'




The Good Life is defintely my favourite. Really couldn't coose a favourite character - although I think if push came to shove I would plump for Margo.



Gostats and searches

I have used Gostats for the last few months for a free counter. There has been the odd glitch but it has worked well and provides interesting stats on the countries where people are clicking from and the type of searches that have referred people to the blog.

My favourite search referrals for 2003 where:

1. Lapdance wallpaper pc
2. Gay urinal etiquette
3. Sophie Ellis Bextor minge
4. Smaralind is big
5. Camel man erection

Needless to say none of them actually refer to the search in question - well apart from Sophie Ellis Bextor's minge!

Other searches have often related to House Gymnnastics - of which I am a member and keen advocate, refernces to Bush and Blair, Buffy and gay issues.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Tintin and Snowy 75 today

Tintin and Snowy celebrate their 75th annivesary with the issue of a Belgian Euro coin.

Belgium is often derided as duller than ditchwater. howver, Brussells has quite a lot going for it - not least the Comic Strip Museum featuring loads of Tintin info. More on this at Tintin and Snowy.

Also got me to thinking who the UK could feature on our (eventual) Euro coins. Wouldn't mind seeing some one a bit more fun than the usual royal, political and historical representations. Maybe we could go for Sam Fox, Basil Brush and Will Young. Who would you have?

Honeytom

Should be getting through all the work that will stop me leaving on time - but have been following links in blog world. This is more a reminder for me to add Honeytom to my link list than a proper post.

Honeytom is a great blog. Mainly gay content with a great take on life. I love the story on 3 Jan about a surgeon who had to cut through a guys tattoo to reach a vein, meaning his 'I love women' tattoo now reads 'I love men'. The man is now suing as he says he can never wear shorts again!

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Welcoming in 2004

I have been away from the blog for a couple of weeks. Happy New Year! Hope you had a good one. More of mine later.

’03 Revisited

Taking a leaf out of Dan’s blog I thought I would start the 2004 with a look back over the last year. I started this blog in July 2003 and have been pretty faithful in updating my thoughts and fancies (apart from the brief hiatus since Christmas). It provides me with a log of what was on my mind in a much more interactive way than a paper diary and with references to news, friends and other bloggers that really demonstrates, to me, the overlap between the real and digital worlds. The advent of mobile and audio blogging offers another way to blur the boundaries – although I am not there yet!

I debated whether to do a month-by-month account but instead have highlighted key events and themes. Bear with me if this seems introverted and self deferential- it is!

Home Life

Year of big changes without a doubt. Me and my man (does that sound too American?) bought out house in April and moved in 7 weeks later. We haven’t done a great deal of work other than ripping out hideous old seventies cupboards and a dodgy ceiling. Most of our possessions (including almost all our CDs and books) are still boxed up in the attic. The big intention was to map out each room and plan the changes we wanted, but we haven’t got much further than a few rough sketches and some random paint samples on a few walls. 2004 will be the year of proper planning and execution. (Hope I am not repeating this statement in 2005)!

It is great for us to be finally living together. Without giving everyone a history lesson about my past relationships I can just say that it has taken us a long while to get were we are now. Definitely worth the wait – shame we didn’t get it sorted sooner.

Friends

Friends have always been important to me, but this year has provided a real insight into who is worth the effort and who are more fair-weather. I won’t be naming any names but some people have disappointed me (and maybe I have disappointed them?). Other friends have come more to the fore and for them I am truly thankful. Our lives this year don’t seem to have left as much time for seeing people as in the past, which I think is just a sign of getting older, owing a house and having more responsibility at work. I want to try and remedy that a bit more in 2004.

One good friend event was a friend’s recent wedding where we saw people that we hadn’t seen for ages and had a really good opportunity to catch up. Thrown together for a brief time, we got on really well. I think the pressures of time and distance make it harder to nurture friendships. It is an old lesson – but a good friendship takes work on both sides.

Also the Blog has been a great introduction to more mates. Albeit electronic, transient and ephemeral; I have enjoyed following others lives and sharing mine with them. I was particularly touched by the messages after my 2 (yeah count them - two!) car crashes in November. Similarly, I have found myself concerned at the trials faced by other bloggers and pleased at their achievements.

A particular shout to Maloney, Trash Addict, Rob Log and my main man Dan.

Work


Work has probably been the busiest it has ever been. The hospital were I work merged with another one, my boss left, new boss arrived, job doubled, morale halved…then promotion, pay rise and MSC in health Economics. Things are more positive now that I know my work is appreciated and that new staff are starting soon. If you are someone’s boss then take a tip from me – tell him or her when they do a good job, it really makes a difference.

The long hours culture in my organisation has been the hardest thing to deal with. I am determined that 2004 will see some shorter weeks, more organisation and saying ‘No’ to pieces of work that don’t really fall within my remit. Well that is the intention anyway!


More to follow……