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Friday, 31 October 2008

quantum of solace

quantumofsolacexp2Engines revved, tunnels, flashing lights, police sirens, screeching tyres, angry looking people in cars; Yes, I was in London traffic before going to see the Bond movie.

I'll describe it as 'old school Bond with less humour'. Car chase along the Italian Riviera, the Aston Martin that can't out run a jumped up Fiat full of machine gun toting bad guys. We know we are in for a car or two to explode in flames before the title sequence and are not disappointed.

But did it deliver overall? Only partly. I thought it was going through the moves rather adding a new overall sparkle. Bond films should have signature elements but some were really missing. No gimmicks from Q, rather little overt humour from the almost silent Bond. A few playboy moments but rather more chases around quarries and building sites.

The scene where they arrived at a backpacker quality hotel and then Bond decides to move their 'teachers on sabbatical' cover story to the local equivalent of the Ritz was about as funny as it got as well as presenting a self reference to the films generally more gritty side.

Of course there was a reasonable trail of car/boat/plane chases, with the propeller driven transport plane able to out-manouvre a stunt fighter plane and a steel hulled fishing boat able run rings around a couple of purpose built high performance assault dingys. Its all in the jump cuts - and there were plenty.

After climbing over thirty minutes of advertisements for Bond linked merchandise, the movie itself was a couple of hours of predictable escapism - you just knew that the hydrogen fuel cells powering the desert hotel would go properly unstable even before one of the colonels mentioned it.

I'll describe it as watchable, certainly good Christmas season 2009 television but somehow the core of the Bond franchise needs revitalising beyond adding a few 'kerching' product placement moments (although I did like the drink recipe interlude).

I don't mind having a tough guy version of Bond, but previous films could also give us good chuckles and pantomime as well as the thrills. I don't think of it as Bond baggage. More its heritage and a way to delineate it from Bourne and some of the other successors. It seems like the direction is out to emulate others now rather than pay more than fleeting oil-coated homage to the line. This villain didn't even have a limp, let alone a cat or piranha fish in a tank.

However, it can still make for a fun night at the movies, ideally rounded out with a pizza, glass of beer and some amateur film analysis. Its one of those films where everyone has a viewpoint.
qsol

Thursday, 30 October 2008

insiders

A couple of trapped spirits today. The rather feeble looking wasp I nearly trod on, before rescuing and releasing to the big wide world and a lone robin which had somehow found its way into the gigantic Marks and Spencer where I was buying milk. The robin was valiantly flying the boundaries of its newly gained territory between the mens' shirts and the halloween cuddly toys.

voluptua and the Sachs offenders

gbWarning: This account contains transcripts of the calls which include language that some readers may find offensive.

Well, it doesn't actually, but its interesting to observe how the recent Radio 2 segment indiscretions are unfolding.

A frequently rude and somewhat unhinged presenter accompanied by the exorbitantly paid face and voice of mainstream BBC prerecord a show together and leave inappropriate lewd phone calls on an actor's answerphone. Pathetic and unkind.

The offending show extract was recorded two days before broadcast and the show's producer appears to have called the actor to ask if it was acceptable to play it. It doesn't seem clear what happened at this point. Perhaps 'No' would have been a good answer.

Then the show goes out and complaints begin to appear, including from the actor. After pickup by the tabloids, the numbers increase daily so that after five days it has reached 30,000.

The Prime Minister raises the subject from his smoldering economy, so then do the Opposition. And now we are at the 'heads will roll' stage which includes the Controller of BBC Radio 2 resigning today.

Meanwhile publicist Max Clifford assists Georgina Baillie at the centre of the messages, who confirms spending 'time together' with the first presenter in 2006. Ms Baillie is part of a burlesque act called Satanic Sluts who work rowdy venues in their 666 inscribed underwear - yes there is video. Today's shiny new Daily Mail leather photos seem to amply illustrate the style of her work.

But yesterday evening, the prime-time TV awards show featured a variety of excerpts from other 'top' UK television shows frequently selected with lavatory humour, bleeped out 'F' words and ritualized joking and poor singing at other peoples' expense.

My hypocrisy detector has started beeping.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

arctic blizzards engulf London

snow
October snow is enough to grind the entire Capital infrastructure to a standstill. We can't have snow yet. We need leaves on the lines before we move on to snow based excuses.

Luckily I bought some new tyres for the car the other day so now I've got extra good grippyness and I'm sure my Vibram soled boots are nearby.

The show shovel is still in the garage though so if there's a snowdrift I could be trapped indoors.

I'll twitter Santa if I need rescuing.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

fugit without the tempus

DSC_2805
One of those weeks where I'm partly inhabiting the City whilst trying to get some fairly large work items completed.

As usual its all a bit of a stretch.

I'm doing those negotiations about which things to attend and others where I need to drop out. Its strange because I'm both looking forward to some future events but also not wanting time to pass too quickly so that I can get everything completed.

Monday, 27 October 2008

exhibit

P1010516 - Version 2
Private Viewing at the weekend. Photos and paintings intermingled as I dropped by friend Nino's new exhibition. Images and Imagination creating a range of photographs then rendered into a variety of artworks.

I enjoyed the show and liked particularly the cutaways of smaller detail against a larger backdrop. The two accomplished artists THW Ashby and Joy Ashby created the accompanying artwork alongside the photographs with a variety of interpretations sometimes as paintings and other times with the addition of more three-dimensional aspects.

The blend created opportunities for a wide palette to be used, vibrancy in some areas and more sombre and muted in others, with vivacity from seascapes and tranquility from the solitude of cornfields. The visitors clearly enjoying the display in a rather animated opening night.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

guidance

GPS Satellite
I was a sat nav yesterday. Google maps. Phone. Concierge level service. The real deal. Green Ka was out having an adventure in the lake district when the area became a flood hazard with severe weather warnings.

So wet that the roads ahead and behind were flooded and to get to higher ground required negotiating muddy water that came into the car footwell. The fell runners race was called off stranding 1,700 runners.

Plaintive call for assistance such that I had to press the special button that turns rashbre central into a command centre with phone link to the Ka. Flashing lights, screens flickering on the wall, communications equipment. A real Thunderbirds moment. If only we had those boingy palm trees.

A few e-minutes later, plan B was in action. A6 - closed. A684 - suspect. A685 - open. Distance back to M6 (J38) a twisty 12 miles. Nearest motorway adjacent stopover on the way to Glasgow - J42 Carlisle. Room available at 23:23? - yes. 200 metres from motorway exit.

Booked by plastic.

Then SatNav emulation using google maps to track route from Beezon Road, Station Road, Longpool and Appleby Road back to the A685 and the route to Tebay and back on to the M6. It all worked and I gather this morning breakfast is being served in Carlisle before heading for Sterling.
wet

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Saturday, 25 October 2008

caribou barbie


Like many Brits I've watched the Tina Fey spoof of Palin and chuckled, although I'm mindful that US satire can be a trifle clunky compared to the way we do it here in the UK.

When I saw the next Late Show with the real Palin as a guest being rapped to with Inuit and moose waving their arms in the background, it became rather confusing to understand how the satire was supposed to work.

Real life was becoming stranger than the spoof. Presumably Palin had thought this was a countermeasure or a way to connect rather than another example of simple bad judgement. Cringeworthy springs to mind.

Anyway, its continued with a laboured version of Will Farrell as Bush endorsing McCain and the fake Palin in the middle of the screen between the two of them.

I'm wondering how the American voters pick through what is happening now, with America's economy sinking, Bush and potentially McCain positioning more war zones, Palin on a campaing to reduce civil liberties and reasonable quantities of innuendo-based political advertising sprinkled through the US television schedules.

A sense of desperation creeping into these politicians' posturing at this stage?

Tina for President.

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Friday, 24 October 2008

coordinate

serpentine
Intersecting arcs today through Peterborough. A voicemail arranged snip of coincident timing brought Rajesh and me together in the sunshine near to a park. Distant assignments and a moment of convergence. I didn't really see Peterborough apart from the park and a windswept Tescos. But I enjoyed the co-ordinate precision of a random place to meet.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

shred

A few days ago, I noticed that my local Sainsbury's is selling shredders near to the organic vegetables and Christmas mince pies. I guess this is a sign of the times, with all the missing secrets that have been revealed in the press. I even noticed that some of them (and they had a variety) were able to shred CDs. So today when I was passed a CD with a big label saying it contained encrypted data, my first thought was how quickly I could read its content and then shred it. Of course, I then discovered that rashbre central's puny shredder can feebly manage but one sheet of paper at a time.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

poladroid westminster abbey

Westminster Abbey Poladroid
It had to be done. Take a perfectly good picture with a DSLR and poladroid it. It makes the sounds of a polaroid, comes out looking brown, you can shake it (not sure what happens) and then after a couple of mins 'voila'. Vignetting, strange colours, unexpected framing, distortion - its all there. The software appears to be in Franglais too. Oooh - and you can only do a maximum of ten at a time (like a packet of film). Shake it, you SXy Polaroid Swingers.

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solving the credit crunch

Stock Exchange
If I accepted the money from all the well formatted and perfectly spelled mailshots I get from Coca-Cola lotteries, unknown distant relatives leaving me millions, soldiers with unexpected cash caches and various foreign diplomats prepared to cut me in on 30-50% of their offshore wealth, then I could really help put some money back in circulation. And there's so many like me. We could fix this fiscal turmoil.

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Tuesday, 21 October 2008

taverna agni and the naughty nautical tales

pirate2
Once upon a time, there was a naughty girl named Mandy. Mandy had been naughty so many times in that she was banished to another country where they could not understand her very well. This meant it was much harder to make mischief.

Mandy was a friend of a very rich man named Ivan, who was also a friend of the very pink pig who ate everything.

Ivan was from another country and he had a big boat to go with his richness. It was a boat big enough to have lovely parties. Some people said that Ivan was a wizard and could turn ordinary metal into gold. When Ivan had a party on his boat he invited all kinds of people.

Some of the people who came to the party would not usually be seen together, but because the parties were so good they would go anyway.

Mandy also knew about metal and had a big job in a special place where metal was priced. Mandy knew the price of metals but not always their value.

Another person at Ivan's party was named George and he also had his own big party that sometimes needed extra money to keep it going. George brought his friend Andy to Ivan's party on the boat. Andy happened to be a party fundraiser for George's own party.
pirate1
Of course, the drink and food was excellent at the party. There was lots of wild talk as the rather good wines began to take effect. Everyone wanted to show that they were important and influential people but because some of the people were not really friends, they sometimes made fun of each other too.

Mandy said some things about a man called Gordon to George and then George told some other people what Mandy had said. This upset Mandy, who thought she had said it in confidence. Mandy was furious.

As the party continued, Mandy's friend Natty heard George and Ivan talking about parties and then George's fundraiser Andy suggested ways that Ivan could help George without it being too obvious. That way Ivan could join George's party games whenever he wanted and wouldn't even need an invitation. Maybe one day in the future George could even help Ivan in return.

So when Mandy heard about the conversation she decided to get even with George. Mandy was full of mischief and decided to get one of her friends to tell the story. Mandy had always liked to spin her mischief through others rather than doing it herself.

Natty had lots of girlfriends and told a few of them first and then also put it in a letter to another friend who had a printing press. The next thing, it was all over the Kingdom and everyone was talking about it.

Poor Mandy, though, she had not seen how everyone could get in trouble by telling so many people. Mandy could get in trouble with Gordon, George could get into trouble with the people who organised parties and Ivan could get into trouble for talking to George's fundraiser.

This was enough of a leak to sink the biggest boat and that's just what happened. Ivan's ship sank, along with Mandy, George and even Gordon had to swim hard to get back to the shore. And as the party food from the ship washed up on the shore, the pink piggy gobbled it all up.

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Monday, 20 October 2008

sandwiched

Pret a Manger
A week of sandwich bars as I travel around various parts of London and beyond. My meetings this week mean I should probably take a packed lunch, but will probably end up in Pret, Eat and similar venues.

NaNoWriMo Storyline Collapse

aluminium There I was, innocently collecting a few words for a possible story in November's NaNoWriMo, when all of a sudden the press seems to have grabbed most of them for its own story.

Sometimes you just can't make it up.

darkness
amoral
elitism
bullingdon
oligarch
allegation
political toys
retribution
spin
fundraiser
party
prince
insouciance
club rules
poison
boat
tavern

Oh well

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Sunday, 19 October 2008

spend

DSC_2772
I was around Downing Street today, where civil servants are creating new spending programmes to keep the economy turning in the aftermath of the banksters.

To paraphrase: "Short of cash? let's borrow more. Money is printable."

And we have John Maynard Keynes being quoted by mediaconomists as the next worthy idea.

Keynes of the General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, which (if my lessons with Mrs Fairclough serve me well) suggested a number of macroeconomic disconnects. Savings and investments would be independent of one another. Spending would be affected by marginal changes in wages. Nowadays we'd call it a tipping point.

The idea everyone has latched on to is that Keynes talked about counter cyclical spending (governments spending more in a downturn). Er, what if the same government has already been spending heavily in a positive market? And what if big business has been busily moving all its production and services to Chindia?

I suspect the politicos and journos are mainly looking for a simple label (Keynes? Galbraith?) and that finer points (eg of countervailing powers) will be glossed over. At the moment it seems to boil down to using public spending to generate employment, wages and grand investment projects during the upcoming tough times. Hmm - big projects using freshly printed money? ...sounds a bit like devaluation of a currency to me. Perhaps €uro 2012 is "game on" again for Britain after all?

Keynes had another thought in his theories, which related to something Lenin had said. It was about debauching a currency, using inflation to destroy wealth. I'm wondering if the City used a different form of debauchery driven from the bonus culture, with very similar consequences?

Saturday, 18 October 2008

evening

sunset
Pleasant chilled evening. Hints of a Halloween sky. Chianti. Television. Reconnect.

el guincho alegranza loro muerto

parrotDub corrosion click loops and steel drums through a 303 are not making this wreckaged calypso work for me.

Pablo Diaz Reixa's Canary Island scratchy sample fest may be cutting edge programmed world dance to some, but its crass and badly equalized loops evoke more sunstroke and bad times in Barbados to me.

Press Release over substance. To distort a track title: "de modo que no celebren todos". No celebrations here.

Nah. Loro muerto.

Friday, 17 October 2008

not all etfs are created equal

Photo26_22
There's an old story about Joe Kennedy hearing a shoe-shine boy giving stock tips and deciding it was time to get out of the market, shortly before the crash at the end of the 20s.

I snapped this bus advert a few weeks ago, and had a wry smile for similar reasons, when I noticed it wasn't for the latest blockbuster or a new hair shampoo.

No, it was for exchange traded funds, similar to index-tracking pooled funds reflecting performance of an index by holding a diversified basket of assets. Traded on-line, of course, with a small 'i'.

Admittedly not as simple a stock tip from a shoe-shine boy, but maybe a 2008 manifestation of a similar market mind-set.

I originally snapped it onto film and only just uploaded it. Maybe this time its already too late to sell.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

crackberry

Photo14_10Yeah, my rather ancient blackberry finally cracked.

I caught it in a car door a few days ago and at the time it kept working, although the screen had a rather severe crack across it.

Then I used it in the rain.

Big mistake, because presumably some water leaked inside. It still worked but then one day the screen had a little mist over it and the colours started to fade. It still knew it was a blackberry, bleeped, rang and the little light flashed, but no pictures or text.

I took it in to be erased by the scientists and they gave me a replacement which is about half the size and weight. They said they needed to move my email back from the USA and then I could converge my main cellphone number and the one on the blackberry.

One less device to remember to charge.

So far so good and I'm keeping it away from car doors.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Michelle Shocked visiting UK

Michelle Shocked
My last.fm has sometimes questionable musical selections bubble to the top of my playlist, like when I travelled to Canada for three weeks and accidentally left Amy Winehouse on shuffle for about 1500 plays until Melanie visited and changed it to Manic Street Preachers.

Hmm.

Anyway, a proper high listing is Michelle Shocked, who gets classed as a superstar here at rashbre central. I even had tickets for the gig in February at UEA, but it, and that visit, was cancelled.

So it is pleasing to see Michelle's visit in early November and even more pleasing to have some tix for Union Chapel.

Monday, 13 October 2008

the moon is low

Photo17_13
Limited time for blog posts this week because of travel. Mainly operating in darkness and powered by expresso.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

plan b

if you go down to the woods today
Our seaside plans today didn't quite work, despite the fabulous weather.

Too many home tasks to get done, especially as I'm on the road again next week.

However, a walk in the remarkably deserted woods was still good and didn't involve lots of traffic jams.
DSC_0110

Saturday, 11 October 2008

falling leaves make horizon clearer

DSC_0074
Crunching through leaves yesterday afternoon, after finishing one big task and before completing training modules for something next week.

Unfortunately, in addition to slamming my Blackberry in the car door by accident a couple of days ago, my recently replaced Thinkpad has developed the same fault as the previous one, in that the screen keeps cutting out. I guess the replacement one was a similar age to the one I had previously so it must be a general fault with this particular model.

My attempts to do the training modules were interspersed with calls from the helpdesk about my Blackberry "we need to move your email from the USA back to London as part of the replacement" and then blank computer screens every so often.

So the stroll to somewhere leafy was a useful mid-afternoon break from being intermittently online all day and also gave a chance to observe the changing season. Some trees have really gone for that Autumn look, whilst others are still shrugging with a kind of end of summer sunshine appearance.

I guess the serenity of the scene belies the general economic ruin occurring in the background as another squillion or two was wiped from the markets during the day. My guess is that, like the trees, there are some already affected by the coming economic season but those like the pension funds that are still shrugging at the moment, unless truly evergreens, will soon be caught in the same climate.

Friday, 10 October 2008

borrow sell wait buyback for less

VDGI see shorting is allowed again in Wall Street and guess what? everyone has been doing it.

Today's also the day when the Lehman Brothers swaps get called in. Could be interesting because that's another little time-bomb waiting to go off.

I'm now wondering about the speed of money. How long does it take for the impact of what is happening in the skyscrapers to really impact we folk on the street? For some, with housing debt, it has already happened, but for many, the shadow of the missing money is still to loom.

I looked back and it was December last year when I first mused about the missing money and its taken some nine months until September for it to accumulate into proper big debt lakes.

Now we see the dealers continuing the shorting that catalysed the recent problems whilst they consume the billions being supplied by governments before it has a chance to bolster anything.

Hold onto your pockets.

strokkur

Strokkur
Perhaps Led Zeppelin were right about the icy Northern countries:

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
The hammer of the gods
Will drive our ships to new lands,
Our only goal will be the western shore.

So now you'd better stop
and rebuild all your ruins,
For peace and trust can win the day
Despite of all your losing.

I'm not sure whether they would be accused of building coded messages into their music, but could this be a signal from the 1970s predicting the downfall of financial services as we know them? I counted Iceland's population yesterday afternoon. Its 320,000 for the whole place and everyone is quite literally on first name terms. So for the $61bn debt created amongst the Icelandic banks, that would amount to around $190,000 per head.

One a heck of a party.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

work, rest and play

recessionary times
The London recessionary shirt shop advert reminded of the old FT model using a Mars bars as a measure of inflation. Indexation by Mars bar instead of currency. Wednesday's base rate change may have ironed out the effect on shirt sales, but I'm not sure it will sweeten confectionery sales. Something to chew on, anyway.
mars bar

How much IS a Mars nowadays? Roast beef at Simpsons is £19.95 with all the trimmings.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

oops - an aside

bloglines says I have 938,016 unread posts. How careless of me.

Billie Piper was here

purtonA quick spin out to the edge of the Cotswolds yesterday (well nearly), when a few of us met at the Pear Tree in Purton for a spot of supper. Its one of those places reached via lots of twisty lanes although reassuringly my Sat-Nav actually had the restaurant listed.

Apparently Purton is Anglo Saxon for pear-homestead and certainly there was evidence of pear trees around the venue, which was once the local vicarage. The adjacent local church appeared slightly odd with both a square tower and a steeple.

I mentioned the Cotswolds and certainly there's evidence of Cotswold stone in the buildings around the area, but I gather the village goes right back to the Iron age. And in time travelling tradition, rather more recently it can claim to have had Billie Piper attending school in the village.

Enjoyable company and evening with a rather long duration trip back home at the end of it.
billy piper and dalek

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Warhol at Hayward

Warhol at Hayward
Some will remember that rashbre central is a friend of all things Warhol.

The new exhibition starts today.

I took the picture above of the Hayward on Monday whilst hurrying to a meeting. Not exactly silkscreen
AW1aw2AW3AW4
It had to be done.


& thanks for the linkies, Christina (featuring the singularity podcast)

Monday, 6 October 2008

re: boots

boots
I should have known better.

Out on Sunday afternoon, ostensibly on my way to the dry cleaners, when I stumbled upon the scene you see in the picture. Now maybe it's just me, but I've watched some ITV dramas recently like 'Wire in the blood' and 'Place of execution' and there are some quite disturbing scenes, so when I saw the assemblage in this picture I was momentarily a little concerned.

Actually it was raining heavily as well, so I moved on fairly quickly from what appeared to be a small bonfire accompanied by some all weather boots.

This evening, I'm just putting together this blog post, but couldn't remember the name of the Juliet Stevenson series, so flipped over to the ITV1 drama website to cut and paste.

"Hello", said ITV1, in a mid evening voice. "You'll be needing Silverlight, then."

I protested that I'm a mac and that all of that Microsoft wonderment isn't really part of the deal.

"Oh, this is different, we've made a special version for Apple machines."

I hesitated and then clicked "proceed".

Terms and conditions including something about automatic updates by default.

I nearly didn't click.

But I did. And so its installed something into Safari. And now, whenever I go to the ITV site, it says that the Silverlight plug in doesn't work.

I should have known better.

I suppose I'd better re-boot.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

tuneranger

TuneRanger
A yukky day of grey rain, although I've a few household tasks involving tidying and shifting boxes around whilst hoping the weather will improve.

Whilst organising things I'm listening to the freebie CD that came in today's newspaper, before adding it to the iTunes library. I've also noticed that the rashbre central iTunes library also needs some tidying. The main library is on an iMac and there is a copy of it on another mac mini which is connected to the A/V in the lounge.

Inevitably, they get out of sync and every so often I run this little TuneRanger utility to bring them back in line. Its a kind of virtual box shifting, I suppose, to go alongside the real boxes that I'm also moving.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

predator

Predator RQ1
I spent some time around different parts of the middle east prior to the Iraq war, and one of the things I remember from the period was the local television reports describing escalation of American planes flying along borders and demolishing radar installations and similar. Whilst it was regularly reported in the region, it didn't seem to have the same coverage in the UK. Also, at the time it was difficult to triangulate the stories because of the possibilities of spin and propaganda, so I mainly have it as a mental marker.

I'm similarly noticing what is happening at present along the borders of Pakistan, with increases in American activity, after George Bush gave the order to allow special forces to operate inside Pakistan. Nowadays the planes are unmanned Predator MQ-1 drones flown by a remote pilot, with another different remote person responsible for controlling their Hellfire missile payload.
Predator
Some of the accounts ring similar to what I heard about pre-Iraq, where there's now reports of these American planes being used in hunting missions across the Pakistan borders, apparently without the agreement of nuclear-equipped Pakistan.

These cross border activities started early in September and seem to be progressively escalating. The US line is that the North Waziristan area is the 'wild west' of Pakistan and a Taliban and al-Qaeda stronghold. The US have sent planes and commandos into the area where they believe bin Laden is based and as part of actions to prevent a terrorist strike in the period leading up to the US Presidential elections.

The recent terrible Marriott hotel bombing, the subsequent cancellation of BA flights to Islamabad, the evacuation of UK diplomats' children and the allegedly US driven Mohammad Khel missile strike at the end of Ramadan, are all signs of the escalating situation in this area.

The combination of the current global economic tailspin and the vying for attention of the new Presidential candidates has distracted attention from this tightening situation. The George Bush sanctioned moves now effectively extend the zone of US military operations from Iraq and Afghanistan into Pakistan but are receiving far less commentary than they would at other times.

Friday, 3 October 2008

woodland

autumn bokeh
Apart from the first hour or so, my day's plans were completely re-arranged, as is all of next week's schedule. Its one of the occasions where events have actually given me back some time because a couple of things have been delayed.

Usually it works the other way around and everything gets compressed, so I'm predicting that the current gap will have to be reclaimed in later weeks.

My modest celebration of this mythically rare gain included a brief cellphone-free stroll in the afternoon crispness. Aroma of woodsmoke and something glimpsed through a clearing which could almost have been a unicorn.
wild

Thursday, 2 October 2008

circulars?

not spirals
Like most people, I bulk delete most of the viral emails of fun with water, bikinis, cream, cats, skateboards, animations of politicians and similar that slither into my email inbox (mainly, it has to be said, via my free hotmail account).

Occasionally something good pops up and the trick is to find it without opening yet another graphic with a free java scam included in it. Luckily the Mac is pretty good at spotting this kind of thing and the junk folder can even display the embedded programming so its easy to tell that someone is up to mischief.

Anyway, the one I quite liked recently was the little graphic of an optical illusion with a spirally effect which is really made up of circles. Trace around one of the spirals and you'll see they go around and around, rather than disappearing into the middle.

That's from illusion sciences where the clever folk also explain how it all works, as well as a whole raft of other effects.

I wonder if they have any idea how the intriguing beans work at Lady Banana's?
nuts

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

every leaf speaks bliss?

Quiet Zone
After my tranquil weekend cycling around sun dappled lanes, early in the week the signs of Autumn are creeping into presence.

The grass has suddenly filled with damp leaves and, significantly, the train announcer is now saying that the leaf timetable is coming into force.

Trains will now start earlier and arrive later during this difficult time whilst the trees shed their leaves. I just hope they are not the wrong kind of leaves.
Quiet Zone
As a rashbre central public service, the comprehensive leaf timetable changes for South West Trains are published here. To summarise, get to the train station 2-3 minutes earlier or you could miss the train. Expect to arrive later than advertised.