Slave to the 11C

4 Every 40 minutes at peak times...

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Garvan's Thoughts... Thanks to Bob for this link. One man stands up for creationism over evolution..
Sometimes Holoscan Comments aren't a blessing......
I will be trying the coca cola experiment.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

The Star Wars Photoshopping Project

How many gags can you get out of one Star Wars pic?
Courtesy of Bloggerheads


Future Iraqi prime minister named


Bush : FBI Friendly PM installed?
Rumsfeld : Check

OK, time for me to go all Nostradamus for a sec. I predict an increase
in media stories regarding Iraqi unrest up until the handover.
The Coalition and the PM will release a statement saying something along the lines of the country is not safe to hold national elections
(or our rebel cleric will be rigging the vote). The election will be put on the backburner.

Who wants a wager?

Friday, May 28, 2004

Chav of the Month Stereotypical to stay the least, but very funny.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

The Labour Party - Investing in strong communities

I dont think Tony's been checking the Inventory in the shop recently.

Bin Laden puts Bounty on Kofi Anan's head
Nuff said.


The South Wales Echo
Its the paper to buy.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Latest News and Financial Information | Reuters.com

Dick Cheney's previous employer keeps popping up again and again in relation to Iraq. As far as the Iraq news coverage is concerned, I've basically come to the point where I'm watching the bidding wars with cynical bemusement, and turning the television over whenever Tony or George start trying to whip up patriotic hormones.

I've been looking at some of the forums discussing Iraq and Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and I've come to the conclusion that two definite sides exist.

1) The Liberal side who believe George went to war to improve oil and gas supplies. George (or rather Enron/Exxon/Halliburton) decided that Saddam wasn't playing ball. George invades to restore Democracy/pliable dictator. George uses 9:11 to remove some civil liberties and privacy laws.

2) The conservatives who believe that the government are patriotric and are fighting for Democracy round the world, and the rights of America in the war on terror. Saddam Hussain was an evil dictator, and the US had the right and the might to free the Iraqi people. Criticism of this is unpatriotric, unAmerican and disrespectful to the young men and women giving their lives on the front line.

I hope at least every one can agree with argument 1 or argument 2. The problem I have difficulty is that one of the arguments doesn't seem to have any basis in reality. If you take some basis facts of the events that have occurred in the past three years, then yes, its possible to argue for this. The other argument is based on reported events which have been occurring for decades.

I have no problem with people who support the patriotic argument, but I can't see how they can say they are "right" to choose this argument. That God supports their argument. The inherent problem is the benchmark every person uses for right and wrong and the point of view people adopt as their own.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

"Archipelago"
More of the same, but trapped on a desert island.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Crimson Room

This was the first "Escape the Room" game, that had most of the office hassling each other for clues.

FASCO-CS > VIRIDIAN ROOM

A Simple(!) point and click game where the idea is to escape the room by finding, using and combining objects.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

PlusNet - Broadband ADSL and Unmetered Internet Service Provider for Home and Business

Plus Net are a highly under-rated supplier, offering broadband from 14-99 a month. This provider is highly recommended by ADSL.org, a site dedicated to the issues surrounding Broadband in the UK.

A BT landline with ADSL is required (you can check availability on the site) and for a one off payment of 85 pounds, they will send you a cable modem and all the plugs.

Most ISPs will ask for the modem back whenever your contract expires, so with this deal you get to keep the modem. Alternatively, you can choose to buy your own modem from a retailer like PC World.

The cable modem shouldnt be confused with the modem that comes with your pc, which is designed for telephone dialup access.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Anti-Bush film wins Cannes prize

Congratulations to Michael Moore for winning the Palme D'or at the Cannes film festival.

Thankfully, after some friction with the parent company Disney, Miramax will distribute the film.


Disney Strikes Moore Movie Deal

Michael Moore


Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Google Toolbar

I'm not a fan of toolbars. They clutter up Internet Explorer, offer useless features and provide a gateway for nasty advertising.
No I don't want a loan (well yes I do, providing its at 0% and I pay it back 20 years from now).

The Google Toolbar is different from most that I've seen. It has three great plus points.

1) You can do Google Searches from it without having to visit the
Google homepage first.

2) The Toolbar actively stops unwanted pop-up advertising

3) There's a Blogger button included. When you go to the page you want to Blog, just click the orange B, and a new post is created with the URL inserted. How cool is that?

The only major drawback I've seen is that since Blogger changed it's site, the Blog Button has been complaining and making me log back into Blogger before setting up the post.

Top marks otherwise.

The Shield

The Shield is a cop series shown on Channel 5 and FX. It bears some similaries with NYPD Blue. What makes this show stand out is the exploits of Vic Mackey and the Strike Team. Vic often plays both sides, helping the other police officers while chasing his own agendas. The series focusses on many issues, and on many occasions asks the question "Does the way justify the means?"

As Series 1 continues, it becomes obvious that Vic's exploits are catching up with him, and Chief Aceveda is keen to capitalise on these to boost his chances of becoming Mayor.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The West Wing

To the unaware, the West Wing is an American show dedicated to dealings inside the Oval Office with Martin Sheen as the President. You're probably thinking fast talking American politics wouldn't be your keetle of fish. A lot of the issues discussed affect our own politic landscape, and there are a lot of witty putdowns between the staff members. The series has been consistently been picking up Emmys since its inception and rightly so. Aaron Sorkin (the series creator) shows a wit, intelligence and moral integrity that would have most politicians cringing, and isnt afraid to make light of it.

There are very few scenes wasted in the series, and Im still getting new stuff on each view (Charlie's previous careers, What OEOB stands for). Basically its top notch TV.

P.S. I had a problem with the third season DVD set I bought from Amazon. Discs three and four were skipping, and Amazon have acknowledged that this is a known problem an have issued a refund.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

This is my first blog since leaving hospital. The treatment for psoriasis isn't painful (though this is not to say that in some cases psoriasis is painful), its just incredibly messy. Increasing percentages of coal tar, Dithro cream which burns unaffected skin and coconut oil for the hair. Saying this, two weeks of this therapy is pretty effective in causing remission.

The dithro cream is the most effective treatment, particularly when used in short doses (30 minutes - 2 hours), but it has two major drawbacks. Like I said before, this stuff is like 2 hours in the Sahara to unaffected skin. The second is that it stains. Big style. The staining isnt immediate. You can quite happily apply it, wash it off and toodle off. Come back in the morning and your towels have skid marks in them. Embarrassing to explain to the uninitiated. I befriended a woman in the ward who said she uses T-Cut to get it off her bath.

I think one of the most positive aspects of my stay in the hospital was the diverse cross section of people I met (the names have been changed to protect the unaware).

Mark was 59 and had Down Syndrome (http://www.down-syndrome.info). I was quite surprised to meet someone of his advanced age with the condition, as I was led to believe the life expectancy age was quite low. I also feel a little ashamed to say that I was initially reluctant to befriend him, as I wasnt sure of his mode of behaviour.

Mark spent most of his time colouring in. Because of his disability, he had free television. So there he was, colouring in, watching tv with the volume of his hearing aid up full whack so you could hear the feedback down the hall. He would only colour in small parts of the pictures on each page. I never worked out whether this was a preference thing or if the big spaces scared him.

His sister visited him every day, and whenever she wasnt there he would sometimes mouth her name and look quizzically. One of us would assure him that she was coming and he'd happily go back to colouring in. There was one day when she couldnt make it (partially due to the fact that she was holding down two jobs). Towards the middle of the evening he broke down. We offered him cups of tea and helped him with his colouring in (somewhat reluctantly as we weren't sure if there was a territory issue).

This may sound a little cold, but when someone can't explain how they're feeling (he could only say basic words and was almost deaf - but could lip read) you instinctively try to drop to a more basic level to establish a two-way communication.

Michael was in the bed opposite to me. He was in his mid 30s, a Villa supporter living in the Black Country. He had a crazy family who really kept the nurses on their toes (the end of visiting bell had to be dusted off a few times). He had a larger than life brother who took everyone as they came. Sometimes these extroverted personalities can make people feel uncomfortable, but Terry was different because he treated everyone as adults (even though his jokes were usually xrated and/or terrible). It was hard to believe that this was a man who had been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and hadnt very long to live. Michael had come in with a psoriatic flare up. During a short period of time, his legs and arms were covered. The nurses spent most of the time trying to calm the redness down with little success. When I was leaving there was talk of him moving to ultraviolet light treatment, but it looked like he had a long hill to climb.

Pearl was my closest friend in the ward. She was in her sixties. I sat down in the television lounge with her on the first day, and made the usual small talk, expecting to be rewarded with talk of post offices and allotments. Then she absolutely thrashed me and the contestants at Countdown (one of the great luxuries of skiving off work, though I was more of a Columbo/Quincy man myself). I realised there was a lot more to this woman than met the eye. She had Psoriasis most of her life, and like most of us, had the shared experience of the social awkwardness that psoriasis bestows on you. We became great friends, and nightly Scrabble sessions (which I lost most of - though she did cheat once with the word "Zo" - anything to get rid of the 10 point tile) kept us sane.

What else can I mention about the ward? Oh yeah, the fag breaks. Because City Hospital (like many other hospitals) was non-smoking I had to pop down to the lobby for my fixes. This meant donning the Arthur Dent bathrobe, and making my way down in the lift. I got an awful lot of funny looks from the outpatient attenders as I walked past smelling of an oil refinery. After 10 pm the automatic doors had to be released by the ward clerk, and there were a few times where I nearly died of pneumonia waiting for them to hit the open button.

The staff were wonderful though, and they were a credit to their profession. They dealt with a variety of awkward situations with ease, and treated all the patients with respect and dignity.