Hey America – You guys have to let me vote as well

We approach the American Presidential Election, in case you hadn’t noticed, and we’re down to the last two runners.  America, you have to let us vote as well.

I wonder how many Americans realise their choice of president affects the rest of the world as well as their own country?  It really does make a difference.  When America delicately involves itself in world affairs, the choice of president has a huge effect on how that involvement plays out.  Who’s the government ruler of Belgium?  Anyone?  How about The Netherlands?  Who can name whoever has been elected in Australia or even Canada?

I can’t.  Sure, I could find out, and if you live there I bet you have a good chance of knowing.  And if you follow world affairs more closely than I do, I’m sure you’ll know.

But who’s president of America?  Who’s in the running?  I bet plenty of people all over the world know those names.  I admit, much of that is because American news companies dominate international news production, but it’s also because it is going to affect us.  It does affect us.

The issue that I think some Americans don’t realise is that there are only a few countries who’s leadership choice has a potentially truly global impact.  Have a think about those countries, if you live in America, have a think about the company you’re in.  Russia, Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, America.  You’re not just voting for your own president.

You’re voting to tell the world how America will place itself in the next 4-12 years.  How America will behave in the international arena.  How America will handle conflict.  How America will handle global issues.  You’ve amassed a fortune in people, resources and power.  Now you have to learn how to use it responsibly in a global stage.

Good luck.  I hope you make the right choice for yourselves and for everyone else.


So I’m not feeling so well today.  As I already blogged, up early feeling sick, but I had a 2 hour meeting that I really needed to be at, at work.  I went in late, attended that and then came home again and then slept until around 4:30pm.  I still feel pretty crap but not quite on the same scale.  I get little waves of nausia every now and then and have to be careful not to drink tea too quickly.

I only recently discovered the pure delight of Google Reader (or any RSS reader for that matter) even though I sort of knew I should be doing it.  It wasn’t until I found a few sites I really wanted to follow that only had a few postings a day at most that it really came into its own.  Before, I’d try to use it for Slashdot or the BBC News site, but there’s so much stuff being publised there daily that I just used to click ‘mark all read’ and move on.  So anyway, found some sites I enjoy reading and using Google Reader.  Thought I’d share some random stuff.

Most of these sites I’ve found either through friends, or through cross-linking on a small number of sites initially and I often have no clue who the people writing them are, I read them for the articles anyway.

So anyway, I’m to about 57 subscriptions and I need to go down the links on Hot Chicks Dig Smart Men and check out some of those (since her blog links to some stuff I already read, so they may be my taste too).  I have LifeHacker and Fark RSS feeds, they generate a tonne of links every day and sometimes I read them, and othertimes I just hit mark as read.

And now it’s 7:40pm and I need to find something to eat which doesn’t disagree with me too much.

Mythbusters viral-video special

Mythbusters are doing a viral video special and have posted on youtube asking for people to link to videos they want debunked, the best will be chosen for the show.  I thought it would be useful to track the posted video because the responses should contain some nice links to a load of random mythical stuff on youtube.


Woke up at 4:30am in a cold sweat feeling pretty sick.  You’ll be pleased to know I haven’t been sick (yet), but we’re both still awake and I’m trying to take my mind off the messages my stomach is sending to my brain.

Also, love the pullout quotes, thanks to Mr Artiss for pointing that one out.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

I wonder sometimes why I write reviews for movies which are, all things considered, pretty old ((let’s be honest, I wonder sometimes why I bother writing anything, but there you go )).  However, I guess I do it because I enjoy writing movie reviews.  Before watching Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (LS&TSB) I’d seen maybe one 5 minute section I caught accidentally one day flicking through the channels, and I’d never seen a Guy Ritchie movie.

LS&TSB is good.  It’s clever, witty, well paced and very stylish.  I like that style, I enjoy the little voice over narration and the slow motion / paused motion shots.  I liked the characters and I really enjoyed some of the performances.  The dialog felt reasonably natural although it was obviously styalised to fit with the theme.  The plot was good and interesting and although I saw the little twists coming, they were so well delivered it didn’t really matter.  I really don’t normally enjoy a lot of different characters in a film, but I managed to hold it together during LS&TSB thanks to the actors and the script.

Overall, watching it was a really good experience, and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s not seen it.  If you’re not British, you may struggle with some of the accents and the slang, but hey, it’s your turn to cope for a change (or was in 1998).

Cold Sunday morning

It’s Sunday and it’s getting colder.  I’m busy chomping my way through some Burgen toast, I find if I let it cool down before buttering it ((well, before using Bertolli on it, clearly I’m not allowed butter)) then the overall taste of the bread is much more neutral.  If I eat it hot then the linseed and soya comes through much more strongly and is off-putting.  In sandwiches (un-toasted) it tastes very strongly of its own flavours and it’s hard to taste the content.  Luckily I guess, I don’t really find sandwiches that exciting, so I’ll stick to toasting it for breakfast as a low GI start to the day.

If I was oblivious to the change in weather around me, I would soon become suspicious that something was changing because the cats are behaving differently.  Well, Fizz isn’t behaving that much differently, but Bubbles certainly is.  She’s a real heat-slut, she hunts for the hottest sunbeams, flattest baking roofs, warmest part of the floor (where hot water pipes flow underneath), cosiest chairs with abandoned hot-water bottles ((Grete often uses one to sooth her back pain)).  During the Spring, Summer and warm Autumn days this means that Bubbles insists on being outside.  Either following the sun around our slowly rotting deck or lying on the roof on either our shed or the sheds of neighbours.  She’ll come in, eat half a mouthful of biscuit and head straight back out to bake.  If it’s a bit windy she’ll lie in the house, in a sunbeam near the door.  However, as soon as the weather turns cool she changes mode.  She runs out to ‘do her business’ ((she will use the tray indoors if necessary but she much prefers to go outside)), runs back in and then curls up on the nearest soft surface.  This morning, that’s Grete’s computer chair, complete with residually warm hot-water bottle.

Her change in behaviour is the clearest sign yet that we’re heading into Autumn.  She’ll essentially sleep now until Spring.  Tough life.

Not that I can complain, snuggling down inside a warm protective house during the Winter is one of my favourite feelings in the whole world.  The whole family ((which means me, Grete and two cats)) staying warm in the lounge with the fire on and the world locked out is such an excellent feeling for me.  I’d probably opt to move somewhere cold, just so I can have the excuse of a huge roaring fire to keep us warm.

And who doesn’t love the feeling of a hot cup of tea ((insert hot beverage of your choice)) between your cold hands, warming them up even as you drink and feel it heating you up from the inside as well.

We said we’d take some bags of grass / weeds / dirt to the tip today, from Grete’s exploits turning over the other border in the garden, but I’m not sure how successful we’ll be considering the day is getting on already and we’ve not moved.  The only issue is that it’s forecast rain tomorrow and moving bags of wet grass / weeds / dirt is much more complex.

Warning: there follows pictures of spiders.

I’m jealous of some of Simes’ photo’s.  I love pictures of natural objects, but I really have no talent for seeing those shots or taking them.  My hands shake too much these days really (annoyingly) but I was inspired by some photo’s he’d taken to nip out into the garden and take some of my own.  Also, I wanted to get a couple of shots of stuff that I’d spoken about above.  So, here be photo’s.

This is a view of the back of our house, and the garden, which is only this tidy because of all the hard work Grete puts in keeping it tidy.  On the right of the photo you can see the new border she’s digging, so that we have matching borders.  When we first moved in the borders had various things growing in them, although on the left side of the photo we had a hedge and not the fence.  The tree next to the table and chairs is our little apple tree which we pruned recently.  Yesterday this garden was bathed in bright hot sunshine.  Today it looks like Autumn.
Here’s a closer shot of the border.
This is a quick close-up of the little apple tree.  I just liked the mossy appearance.
Probably the last remaining apple in the garden, on the big apple tree which towers over the decking.  Amazingly pristine considering the amount of wildlife in the garden trying to eat them.
A spider, seemingly hanging in mid-air (web is too fine to show up from this distance).
The spider in context, it’s hanging on a web between the tree and the fence, over the decking.
And finally, the full reveal, you can still see the spider in the bottom right of the photo.
Another spider, on the big apple tree (it’s covered in them).  I really like these spiders as long as they’re stationary and I don’t walk face first into their webs in the morning.
And last, but in no way least, this is Bubbles in her traditional Winter pose.

Christmas outrage

It’s still September, it’s only really just turned Autumn, and today we discovered that our local Tesco superstore has dedicated one entire isle to it’s Christmas festive produce.  Puddings, chocolates, nuts, a small selection of festive gifts.  Christmas gifts.  In SEPTEMBER.  We were in Primark and they have Christmas wrapping paper for sale.


I know we seem to be saying this every year, that shops start earlier and earlier, but surely this is getting rediculous?

Did they really always do this 15 years ago? 20 years ago?  Was I always just oblivious?  Or are shops truly starting earlier and earlier with the whole festive shopping experience.

We haven’t even had Halloween / All Hallow’s Eve / Samhain yet, how can we be thinking about Christmas.

And don’t get me started on the commercialisation of Halloween either, quoting,

Halloween celebrations in England were popularised in the late twentieth century under the pressure of American cultural influence, including a stream of films and television programmes aimed at children and adolescents, and the discovery by retail experts of a marketing opportunity to fill the empty space before Christmas. Between 2001 and 2006, consumer spending in the UK for Halloween rose tenfold from £12 m to £120 m, according to Bryan Roberts from industry analysts Planet Retail, making Halloween the third most profitable holiday for supermarkets.

Bah humbug (I can’t believe I have to say that in September).