Friday, April 30, 2004

Thinking is a dangerous activity

I've done a bit of faffing around with the colour today, hope ya likes it. I had it in mind to do for a while, but it was simply a matter of sitting down and doing it. Keep an eye out for more.

The expansion of Europe, immigration, EU elections, lies hand half truths... it all gets pretty tedious. Most people have no idea what the EU elections are about, as far as they're concerned it is an anti-government statement. Not a good reason to vote in my opinion. Immigration is not simply a black and white thing, it's not merely racial anymore. It has to do with those who have trying to maintain a hold onto what little they have, and the idea that newcomers are a threat to that little bit, that "way of life". I understand the argument from both ends. This week I engaged in a very interesting discussion with someone who said "we should have laws like Denmark and Australia". Well, I had to explain that Australia is a country that only allowed aboriginal people to become citizens in my lifetime, and immigration there was restricted up until the late 70s. Plus, unlike the UK, neither country has a big colonial history, so the drastic measures they spoke of (and not from an informed opinion) were impossible to maintain.

There are loads of jobs around that the average Brit would not do. People could spend years on benefits and expect to go out tomorrow and get a job for £400 without any experience. Like the world owes them something. There are generations of people who've grown up on welfare, would never bother to go out and get a job. But they would be the first people to talk about "them immigrants taking away our jobs". Ask them if they would go and work in the local supermarket and they would spurn it. I don't understand the ignorance nor the thinking. The tabloids at best are the voice of ignorance, yet people believe everything they read in those things. If people bother to read at all.

Came across an interesting article in the OM Magazine on Sunday entitled The truth is out. It's a topic that I have had many a conversation about recently. The summary is what has stuck with me; it's ok for us to lie, we expect people to accept it, but somehow we are unforgiving and go ballistic when we are lied to.
Ironic or hypocrisy?

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

One hundred weighs

Have you ever had one of those days where you've been meaning to deal with that particular thing, but it's never happened? Today was one. Those pile of papers came off of my tray, and at the end of the day went back on. No time, every time I thought I could do it, time simply wasn't there. I give up. Maybe tomorrow night...

Now life gets interesting. Too many things happening at once. First, an email from Ini saying he's coming at the end of May and is looking for a place to stay. Called Shell to see what could be done, looks like he might have to stay with me for a while. But then, it occurs to me that he might still be around if and when CT decides to show up. Hmm.... Then, I still have this application to complete, it has to be in by Friday and at the rate I'm going I'll probably end up spending the rest of tonight trying to sort it out. AND, to top it off, got an email about worship on Sunday, so I've been spending the past hour or so trying to figure out which songs we're doing. All to be completed by Friday. I'm trying to figure out if I could just take my application in by hand.

And I'm really tired. I've been thinking about the tensions that exist in this city - cultural, racial, affluence, education, opportunity (or lack of). All of these things competing for social and political attention. Tabloid hype and jumping on the bandwagon by people who have no idea what they're talking about, people who never pay attention to history or the news. But this hasn't got me tired. I'm just extremely tired and I don't know why. Maybe it's because of the clouds. I don't like clouds at all...

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

On the road again

Woke up early in anticipation of CT's call. Last night I went to bed late because, shock horror, I was tidying up! So many papers, so little time... This morning was more of the same. He eventually called, we talked for a short time, apparently he's been moving house this weekend. It was interesting to hear his voice, it was pretty much as I had anticipated. Don't know what he thought of mine, didn't ask.

Continued to tidy up, called Val, tidied up some more, took out the rubbish, left for the airport. During the ride I had Effie's thesis to read on "knowledge management". I do so love jargon. Managed to get to the 66th page on the journey to and fro. Arrived at the airport, had to find my way to Terminal 1. Whilst I was checking my voicemail, a message was left by Andy. By the time I got to arrivals, found wife and Joy there. We spent some time there chatting, then made our way to Terminal 4 and looked for somewhere to eat. Found an Italian place upstairs (I so prefer the other airport if only for the variety) and spent a good chunk of our time there, chatting and eating, mostly stuff they brought with them but didn't want to carry anymore. Oh the shame... Joy was lovely, a great baby, very amiable. I enjoyed holding her and playing with her and look forward to seeing her again. Oh yeah, and the parents too :)

It was over all too soon. After watching them go through into "Departures", I realized I was going to miss them, I was so looking forward to paying them a visit in NI this year. And I would write to them, I know how the mail thing works out. Hopefully I will go to see them next year, as I had promised I would do years ago. From the airport, back on the underground with the thesis. Got to my meeting about half an hour late, it was very much as I had expected - I got there just when they were looking at the audited accounts! If only I had timed it better... It rained quite heavily whilst I was on the underground but thankfully, by the time I arrived in the city, it had stopped. And so it was when I left the meeting and strolled down Holborn to get the bus home. Good thing too cos I didn't have an umbrella!

Fruit & Fibre cereal for dinner, along with Rhubarb pie - says "Apple pie" on the container. Imagine my disappointment when I cut it. Some slacker got it dreadfully wrong in Sainsbury's.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Need for speed

Somewhere in the wee hours on Saturday morning, I noticed my modem wasn't blinking. I ignored it and continued for another half an hour. Then I realized that, perhaps, the problem has finally been sorted out! So I connected and everything to date seems to be ok. No more drops in connection, no more "Initializing ADSL line"... My ISP still hasn't explained what exactly the problem was. I finally checked my email with them and there was a proviso that if the error wasn't with BT or the line I would have to pay and it would be tagged on to my phone bill.

Surprisingly, the whole episode didn't faze me much, though it did drag on without proper communication. No doubt my phone bill has increased somewhat between Wednesday and Friday.

My Junior church class went well today. We talked about television, what we like and don't like, what it teaches us morally (or not). Afterwards they didn't want to return to church, so we did a few "games" until the end. I'm very conscious of the quiet ones, and the noisy ones. One person is so quiet, despite asking him about three times I didn't get his name! Eventually I guessed it. He did speak a bit louder later on, but not much. One of the chatty ones encouraged him speak out a bit more, but I said he'd only do that if he felt comfortable enough to do so. Painfully shy is an understatement.

A nice leisurely afternoon was had, the first in ages. And now, to crown it all, the task of washing my hair... ooh fun fun! The weather this weekend has been brilliant. The remainder of my day was spent debating whether to buy an ice cream or not.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Technical woahs

For the past three days my broadband connection has been down. It all started last week when my connection was cutting out. On Wednesday it cut out altogether. I checked my options and then called up support. Because I had to go out, the person I spoke to said they'd test the line and hopefully it should be up and running.

Came in after 10pm, it was doing the same thing, dropping the connection and not connecting at all; "Initializing ADSL Line". The next day, the customer support advisor said I should move my pc nearer the phoneline, reinstall the software for the modem and see what happens. Did all of that and surprise surprise, it didn't make any difference. Bearing in mind I had already reinstalled the modem software before and it worked for a brief while. Then he suggested the problem might be with the filter to which I stated that unless the filter had an expiry date, I can't see how that could have happened.

Today (Friday) I had the same conversation again. Now the BT engineer should be testing the line, they call me when I'm out, I return the call, they call again when I'm out, then I call them to find out that no, they don't call mobile phones. Which is really ridiculous because, when I go out again, they will call and we'll be getting nowhere fast. They are aware that the line is at fault, and that it says I'm online when I'm not. So changing what I have I don't think will make a difference. I'm waiting for this other modem to come, will connect that and if the problems continue then it has to be the line. If not, then I will accept the error is with either my modem or filter.

Tomorrow I will try to get another filter and we'll see how far we get. And I'll be out again, and they'll call again...

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Desert Island Discs

In no particular order:

Hail the Man - Ernie Smith
Always reminds me of my mother. When I was younger I remember her singing this and laughing, there was something about this song that made her smile.

All I Ever Have To Be - Amy Grant
At a time when I felt pretty much a failure, this song reminded me otherwise.

Theme tune to "The Magnificent Seven"
When our peers were listening to calypso and Bob Marley and disco and rock, we pumped up the volume to this. We played it repeatedly day in and day out for the whole of the summer vacation, and never seemed to tire of it!

Magnificat in D - J S Bach
I fell in love with a Bach song when I used to play in a band in the 80s. For some reason I could never find the song anywhere. Eventually I came across a compilation with the song on it; I was looking for this song for well over a decade ("Bist Du Bei Mir"), but this one has replaced that in my affections. I love the whole arrangement.

Mac The Knife - Ella Fitzgerald
I first heard "Ella - Live In Berlin" in the summer of 1990 and thought her improvisation on this was fantastic, even more amazing for someone who forgot the lyrics. That was one of the best summers I could remember (barring the dog bite), and I've been an Ella Fitzgerald fan ever since listening to that album. And no, it wasn't a psychological response to the dog bite.

In The Name Of Love - Grover Washington Jr
Reminds me of old friends and good times. Hanging out in Sheraton Gardens. And scraping up Roslyn's lifeware pots in our attempt to bake (as she reminded me years later!)

The final song...
I couldn't quite pin down which song it would be but it might be one from the first family of gospel, a Winans of some sort. Too many songs to choose from, maybe one by the brothers ("Restoration", "Give Me You"), one by CeCe ("For Love Alone"), or a CeCe and BeBe one ("Love Said Not So").

Or I could pick one by OOE or Smitty...or chuck the whole thing and go for "Kik-Start" by Cameron Dante and what used to be WWMT (now just "The Tribe") or "Kill The Spirit" by what used to be SFC (now Sup the Chemist who's solo)...

Decisions decisions...

Monday, April 19, 2004


The past few days have been hectic, to say the least.

Saturday found me dashing across the city, first to get to Erica's, then to Su's. It took me three buses from home but the travelling wasn't bad. I calculated it took about an hour to get from Loughton to home. My sense of direction isn't bad either - I managed to find Erica's place without getting lost! Plus the sun was shining, so it was a bonus. What got me were the group of under 18s on the bus going to a party with loads of alcohol, and then the group of under 21s doing the same. Surely there must be more to life than a bottle party. I remember going out with my friends and having a great time, but alcohol didn't play any part in the proceedings. Or am I showing my age???

Sunday was work most of the day, and afterwards I was so tired (have no idea why because I didn't go to bed that late) I slept. Got up with just about enough energy to eat and that was it. Really wished I went to church because I really wanted to see Mal and Col, they really make my day. I managed to watch "Finish This..." and went out today with the intention of finding said book. None at the underground station, nor the bus station, nor the supermarket... where are these books hanging around? Thought today was Val's interview but it's tomorrow, which is also Effie's birthday - Happy Birthday in advance Effie!!

I love it when things turn up at work and no one seems to know what it's for. Ended up starting work earlier than planned to sort out the arrival of the new carpet cleaner, which coincided with my return from visiting the doctor's surgery. Fitted it together (big commerical sized thing!) and then finally found a place big enough to accommodate it. Such fun!

Saturday, April 17, 2004

You have just received a message from...

When you join/sign up to a website and write your profile, you never know what kind of people will contact you. I've had a profile on one site for about 3 years. During that time I've had all sorts of people write to me for different reasons, some of them and their motives blatantly suspect. I've modified my information so many times so as to filter out "undesirables", but they insist on trying their luck - what a pain.

This week a man writes wanting to know everything about me based on a few photos he's seen. He says nothing about himself, and then asks me questions about things which are already in my profile. I dislike that - people never say a thing about themselves, but they want a relationship with you straight off the bat. He's wife-hunting, I make it plain I'm not looking. He asks questions about things already in my profile, I said go read my profile before asking questions. He gave me two mobile numbers to contact him on - like I'm going to make an overseas phone call to a man I don't know via his mobile! And said as much. Finally he's gotten the message and stopped writing. I don't reply to everyone who writes, but every now and then, like a red flag to a bull...

Why haven't I removed my profile? I've made many good friends there and I won't let the few bug me too much. In any case, I don't see why I should, it's one of the better sites I've been signed up to. At the moment I'm trying to figure out if and where CT figures into the big scheme of things. We get on well inasmuch as you can via email. He comes across as being "interested", but I've been there and seen it all before. I'm just listening and watching. He's asked about visiting him, I suggested he come visit me. So on Friday I learn that he's open to the this space.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

It's all about discipline

Why is it that the things you should do you procrastinate about, and the things you don't want to do you spend ages doing? This Solitaire game thing has taken up many working hours... I was really good today, I didn't pick up my Palm ONCE. So it is possible not to let it become an obsession. But since I've returned home this evening I've spent about an hour playing it. The thing is annoying. And I'm not even winning. Someone else was telling me they had the same problem with Spider Solitaire. They'd be up into the wee hours just playing one more game...

Then there's the gadget thing. Su of all people is considering getting an iPod! She's not the most technically minded person I know, but she likes the idea of having her entire CD collection made portable. Kay is debating it (her friends have all got one so...) In fact, we got talking about gadgets and concluded that girls and guys are into gadgets, thing is most girls use "simple" language rather than techie waffle. Me, I'm thinking about the iRiver alternative, even though Charles and I have spoken about the iPod. The reviews I've read for the iRiver have been good, I don't mind straying from the norm. I could spend ages talking about this, but then this could easily turn into a mental deliberation about what gadget I'm going to acquire next. Without maxing out my credit card :)

"The things I don't want to do, I do. The things I want to do, I don't do". You can continue to put it off, or you can (attempt to) make a conscious effort to snap out of it and get going. I HAVE to finish reading that book. I HAVE to write those letters. In order to finish reading that book, I perhaps need to watch less TV or go to bed earlier. To write those letters, I need to walk away from the pc or clear a desk, sit down, and write. We always assume we have "tomorrow" or "later" - neither are guaranteed.

"Teach us to use wisely all the time we have" - Psalms 90:12

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

"Poodle Must Die"

Whenever I get the bus into town, I always pass this sign, spray painted, on some hoarding. I smile whenever I pass it. Now there's more daylight time, I should be able to take a photo of it, hopefully before it fades. I wonder what they meant by that?

Went into CLC to look for some resources for my Junior church class. Most of the stuff I saw was for under 10s, I was really trying to find something that dealt with social issues from a Christian perspective. After a time, finally came across a couple of excellent books, then I was on a roll...but had to stop myself and limit my shopping to one big book and a couple of smaller ones.

When I left home, as soon as I got to the bus stop, the bus appeared about five minutes later. I timed it beautifully. On the way back, same thing, even though I didn't know what time the bus would turn up. On this bus there was a damp, sticky looking streak going along the floor of the bus by the window. I often wonder what on earth goes through someone's head that they would think to pee on a bus. This could be urine, or some drink that got spilled, or some other...substance. Exactly what it was, I couldn't tell you.

On the trip back home, the bus broke down. I got an alternative bus halfway home, and walked the rest of the way. That was my exercise for the day. The great part was some sporty looking car drove off at speed, there were a bunch of Turkish men milling around and a traffic warden smiling and chatting to a couple of them. I love it when the traffic wardens turn up; men suddenly appear from the "clubs" to move their cars, a bit like seals trying to flee the sea at the sight of a whale.

I don't get much done when I work late. Even worse when I have to get up early the next day. I've installed Solitaire on my Palm, and in the process deleted a couple of other games I didn't play much. Despite charging the battery when I got in this afternoon, it was less than half full this evening. And guess what? In my haste to leave the office, I've forgotten my Palm! Can't be bothered to deactivate the alarm to retrieve it. On the other hand...

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

What's in a phrase?

"Bible thumping". What comes to mind when you hear that? What is your reaction? "Fundamentalist", "hypocrite", "backward"? "Oh no, another one of THEM"...

I've never thumped anyone with a Bible in my life, though hitting your open palm with a bible makes an interesting sound (depending on the Bible size). I like using words that will elicit a response. My lil brother suggests "smiting" be brought back. I'm sure we could all think of many people we'd like "smited". Oh for the good ol' days...

So the Windies declared on 751 for 5, big deal. Brian Lara can never be the best Windies batsman because he lacks the consistency of men like Worrell, Sobers and Viv Richards. Too little to late, they should have thought of making an effort when they were jumping up in the stands in Sabina Park after scoring a paltry 47 runs. And this is from a person who barely follows the sport - those men have me vex!!