Sunday, 31 July 2011

A free lunch

No such thing of course. But tonight's tea came quite close.

We had new potatoes. They grew themselves in the compost heap. We didn't even have to plant them. Just raked them out and took them home. (expended a bit of energy raking them out, drove 2 miles there and back, which used about 25p's worth of fuel.)

Also green beans. (grown from seed that we bought - same car journey sufficed for both beans and potatoes)

I had quorn burgers. Bren had quorn sausages. These both came from a shop. They went under the same grill together for a while. The beans and spuds were also cooked, which used energy. I could have done them in the same pan I supppose, but it never occurred to me to do so.

The spuds were treated to a knob of butter (also from the shops, we don't have a cow) and some chopped mint from the back garden. (had to walk into back garden and back, also had to chop mint but the mint was as close to free as you can get)

The result? A really really tasty meal, using locally sourced organic veg, for a tiny price.


Friday, 29 July 2011


Part one:

Part two:

Part three:

Part four:

Part five:

Part six:

Part seven:

Part eight:

Thursday, 28 July 2011


Can anyone tell me what's unusual about this? It's junction 6 of the M53 motorway, by the way.

Here's the link to a google earth pushpin...

Hairway to Stephen

I get attached to inanimate objects.

My first existential crisis occurred when I was about  7 years old. I was in the bathroom with a die cast toy vehicle. A yellow truck if I remember correctly. I'd managed to pry the spare tyre from it's rim, and with no conscious intention beyond wondering if it would fit, I pushed it into the overflow slit/hole of the bathroom sink. I was unable to get it back out, and the realisation that the tyre was lost for ever, and that the truck would never be quite as whole again was deeply upsetting.

I also still have a teddy bear. He sits in the wardrobe. Tattered and bald and never ever cuddled or even thought of, but I can't throw him away. I refer to it as him. I anthropomorhised ted from the age of one, and he will be with me until something happens to stop him being with me. A totem or talisman of childhood that I find myself unable to relinquish.

So also my lovely red comfy chair, that sits awaiting the time and funds and effort to be fixed. I feel sadness somehow for it rather than just about it. It feels no pain, but I feel its pain anyway. If only a little bit. I've grown up a bit since I lost the truck tyre down the overflow.

Dice Living

Once I tried dice-living!

Sort of anyway, in a half arsed kind of way that didn't really challenge anything fundamental. Still, I got up to some interesting stuff from time to time. One of these interesting things was to place an ad in the NME asking if there were any real dice people out there.

Appropriately, I got 6 replies. One was a girl from Sunderland called Lesley. One was a girl from Broadstairs in Kent, who would always send me a picture of her self that made her face impossible to see clearly. One was a guy who sent me a hugely long letter detailing his life and asking me for help and advice. One was an arty musician/performer called Stewart, who lived in Bristol. One was a guy called Neil, from Elgin in Scotland, who was young, precocious and into all sorts of new age weirdness. And there was one other of whom I remember nothing.

Neil from Elgin sent me something called BREAK YOUR FUCKING CHAINS amongst other things. I intend to do one of the things from the list but I'm not going to tell you which one, at least not yet.

I actually read The Dice Man in one go. A flatmate lent it to me, and I got half way through it at about 2 in the morning. I flipped a coin to decide whether to go to bed, or whether to finish it. Chance dictated that I read it that night, and I gave it back to my flatmate the next day. He didn't believe I had read it but I was able to answer questions like "What happened to Frank Osterflood" and "What was Jake and Arlene Ecstein's baby girl to be called?"

The book arrived in my life at a point where I thought I was desperate for change. Really it turned out that I wanted to stay the same for as long as I could. While I did some interesting things, I'd never put anything really challenging down as an option, and if I did, and the option came up, I'd disobay it without a qualm.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

To infinity and beyond!

Big -

Small -

A chair in deconstructionism

There's an old Victor Lewis-Smith radio sketch in which he's supposedly in some hallowed academic hall, being awarded a chair in deconstructionism. He sit's on it and falls flat on his ass as the chair falls to bits beneath him. I used to find him funny.

There's also something called fornophilia. Furniture fetish. The fornophiliac gets his jollies not from shagging a standard lamp, but from imagining himself or others being turned into or used as a piece of furniture. It's part of the bondage/BDSM schtick.

I'm very attached to my chair. I got it from ikea about 5 years ago, and it was pretty expensive, at least by our standards. I think it cost us about £125, which is a lot of money for a single chair.

But it was made of soft red leather. It swivelled freely. And it reclined quite a long way. It was comfortable when used for long periods. It allowed me to fall into a drunken sleep without waking up on the floor. I spend a lot of time in here, sat on this chair. I've more than got my money's worth from it.

Lately though, it was starting to show signs of wear. The leather had split at the front of the seat, revealing fabric and plastic innards. It was getting increasingly noisy. Every movement was accompanied by a squeak, to the point where Bren walked in with a can of WD40, and sprayed the moving parts liberally.

This morning, things weren't at all right. The chair wanted to swivel, and things were obviously sloping in ways that they shouldn't have been. So I had a closer look.

the chair is basically two parts - the main chair bit is a complete unit that terminates in a round pole. The other bit is a metal tubing base, similar in size and form to a steering wheel. The three spokes of that wheel go to a central hollow column, which the chair's pole sits inside. That's what allows it to swivel freely.

Two of the three spokes have ripped free of the central column, leaving the remaining spoke, and the column itself free to bend. The chair is not usable. If I try to use it, it will completely snap the base.

I suppose someone will basic welding skills will be able to turn the base back into something functional. Until then, I'm making do with a cheap plastic swivel chair. It's a pale imatation.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

200 miles

It's 200 miles from Geneva to Genoa.

Just in case anyone is interested.

Sunday, 24 July 2011


Almost a jargon. The press/the public tend to shorten the names of sports personalities to two syllables, but the way they do it varies according to class.

So working class sports, such as Football and Darts tend to use the first syllable of the surname, and post a single vowel on to it. Hence the following imaginary commentary...

Gazza (Paul Gascoigne)... Takes it down the left. Beats one man, then another. Passes it to Aldo (John Aldridge) who lays it off quickly to Tezza (John Terry) who shoots at goal. But it's a fine save by Nico (Eric Nixon)

Middle class sports also use two syllables, and also tend to use the first syllable of the surname, but instead of using a single vowel, they tend to use "ers"

So: Thank you Aggers (Jonathan Agnew) Now we welcome to the Test Match Special commentary box, Michael Atherton. What do you make of it so far, Athers? "Well, Tuffers/Blowers, I think that...


Free Will

There's a British Sitcom  called Outnumbered. It tells the adventures of a middle class couple and their precocious children. It's actually a lot better than that sounds. The children are fine actors and the script is geniunely funny.

One of the children told his parents that it was their fault that he'd done something or other. His logic ran thus:

Our behaviour is determined by the effects of nurture upon nature. Since his nature was genetically determined by his parents, and since his parents were by far the most important nurturers in his life, then anything he did must be their fault.

And so to Amy Winehouse. Predictably, reaction to news of her death has involved people taking a moral stance on the use of drugs. "Sorry to hear, but stupid bugger." The argument being that she chose to do what she did, and that because she made the choices she did, she was less of a person than if she had made a different choice.

Along with a moral judgement, there is an assumption that we, as rational creatures, should choose what's in our own best interests.

I think I disagree, at least to some extent. I will try to add more tomorrow, but right now I'm exercising my free will, and going to bed, rather than continue to delve into what is becoming an increasingly complicated idea.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

9 days to the collapse of capitalism?

I guess if Norwegian nutters hadn't claimed all the column inches for today, this would have made a bigger splash.

Presumably, this is all brinkmanship. The republicans want the poor to take the hit. The democrats want to share the burden a little more progressively, and at some point, an agreement will be reached. The article goes on to say,

The negotiations are aimed at avoiding what analysts say would be an economically catastrophic US debt default on 2 August.
Forget about minnows like Greece or Eire. The mighty US of A could default on it's debts in just over a week. Of course, it's bound to happen at some point. The unsustainable has only been sustained for so long by the use of financial smoke and mirrors.

I'm not a financial expert by any means, but as I understand things, the whole damn world now depends upon pretending not to notice that there is no longer any ground beneath our feet (cue Wyle E Coyote stylee antigravity moment)

It's been interesting to watch the political process over the last year or so. In a sense, the political right are correct. Cuts do have to be made, and those on the left demanding that business should continue as usual are deluding themselves.

To me, the real issue is one of social justice. If cuts (really the first stages of powerdown?) are inevitable, the burden should be shouldered by those best able to shoulder it. There are pragmatic as well as moral arguments for this. People with a sense of injustice fly aeroplanes into tall buildings, and shoot children on summer camps.

So the Right may be right, but in moral and practical terms, they are also utterly wrong.

Still, there is little of the mainstream political spectrum that makes much sense when you look at politics and economics from the point of view of sustainability. I don't think the politicians really know what to do, or if they do, they lack the courage to do it, or if they have the courage, no bugger will vote for them.

9 days. I predict that the democrats will cave in and fuck over their pensioners and unemployed in order to keep the wheels of the meatgrinder turning just a bit longer. The fucked over will have less money to spend, and so the wheels will come off anyway.

That's great, it starts with an earthquake...

Thursday, 21 July 2011


Once, in the first few years, I felt like my job was more than just a job.

I was always struggling to make a living, but it made a real change from having some other fucker telling me what colour shirt to wear, and how long I could spend on the toilet. When I was working in factories and call centres, I had no real say, and no stake beyond my hourly rate, in what went on. I'd work hard at my job, because I take pride in what I do. It wasn't always so. When I was younger, I was happy to skive, but as time went by I found that people notice, even when you think they haven't, and that anyway, if you're going to do something, you might as well try to make a good job of it. I suppose it ties in with self image and depression and stuff too. There have been times in my life where I haven't had much pride.

Anyway, Karl Marx described the distance that capitalism puts between workers and the work they do as alienation, and for a while, I felt like what I was doing meant something. It was more than just a job. It was a vocation, and I'd try my very best to get the most from each lesson I did.

Over the years, that feeling has been slipping away. 50% of my clients aren't interested in the quality of service I offer. They just want it done on the cheap. They expect to learn instantly, but they don't want to have to work to achieve an understanding. I have to admit too, that I'm not always getting things right. Some of it is just chemistry and compatibility. My personality and teaching methods are brilliant for some people, but they don't work for others. Inevitable I suppose, and if I'm beating myself up over losing the odd pupil, then I too have unrealistic expectations. And sometimes, I just plain old get it wrong.

Still, I find it hard to maintain the enthusiasm I used to feel. It's all a bit stale. First time I went on my own, I kind of enjoyed working out how to build and publish a website. This time, it was something of a chore. The first thousand times someone found themselves able to do something they could not do before, it was hugely rewarding. Now it's just repetitive. No more mysteries. Just the well worn pathways of a familiar routine.

And as for being my own boss, having a real stake and say in what I do, well there's always some fucker out there demanding a big cut, whether it's google or yellow pages or Chris Kelly or whatever.


In the past, I could have just fucked it all off. Jacked it in. These days, I have responsibilities. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Throwing in the towel when things weren't going the way I wanted is exactly the sort of immature lack of pride I referred to earlier. For all the "freedom", they were not happy times. What I wanted to do instead of whatever chore I sought to avoid was generally nothing at all. Get stoned. Get drunk. Drop out. A part of me still feels like that, and I sometimes choose to do just that.

On the buses

Well, I've just been for an assessment/interview this morning. I got to wear a hi-viz jacket, but I didn't get a hat.

I got there early, but the guy who was supposed to assess me was with someone else, but I went into the bowels of the building with the manager, who asked me some questions, and gave me the low down on life with First Group.

If I get the job I will be working split shifts, monday to friday, 4 hours a day. Nominally the pay is something like £8.45 an hour, but they actually pay a bit over £7 per hour, and pay 52 weeks of the year, so you get a wage coming in, even when the schools are on holiday.

I can teach during those times of course. £140 a week over christmas would be very nice thank you very much!

I had to blow into a breathalyser (reading, zero) and the trainer got me to drive a couple of miles in a small van. I got a minor fault because I rolled back a little bit at a junction. Should have used my handbrake.

The shame of it!

A minor fault is OK though. The guy assessing me reckoned he'd had a few instructors coming into bus driving, all saying that it was very hard to find enough work.

Over 100 people applied for 6 vacancies. Some were prepared to travel from as far afield as Litherland and Mold. From those 100, a shortlist of 16 was selected. not all of whom have shown up for interview.

I should know in the next week or so anyway.

Watch this space...

Update: I passed the interview, but the vacancy had been filled.

Huh? In retrospect, I'm quite glad I didn't get it.

driving lessons in wallasey anyone?

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Recipé spot!

Tonight I shall be making pizza. But with a twist!

You see, your typical pizza is a bloody great lump of carbohydrate with a bit of stuff on top.

All fine and dandy, and in my opinion, a truly simple and tasty way to fill your belly.

But what if I could get all that tasty goodness onto something thinner, instead of a 2 inch thick slab of dough?

Something like a tortilla?

The shape is right. The material is similar. It should crisp up nicely. The tortillas I've bought are a bit smaller than the pizza bases you can buy, but that's OK.

So here we are. The raw materials. Tortillas as a base. Cheese. Tomatoey pizza topping stuff. A pepper. Mushrooms. And a small onion from the allottment.

Smear a goodly splodge of the pizza topping on the tortilla. Grate a load of cheese onto that, then chop the veggies and shove them on top.

Shove them in the oven on about gas mark 7 for 15 minutes.


Well it was OK. But next time I will do things differently. the base didn't really crisp. The pizza topping made it soggy instead. The cheese didn't melt well and the veg dried out. They need to go on the other way around. Also the onions and peppers would have benefitted from being precooked. Actually, just using less topping would have been better.

But apart from that, it worked. The thin base made a much lighter and less stodgier meal than a proper pizza base.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


Two doity boids
Sitting on a koib
eating doity woims
singing doity woids

Adding the suffix, "gate" to any kind of scandal has been the vogue now for a while. I was too young to pay any attention to Watergate, but I can certainly remember Col. Oliver North, and ContraGate. See also Irangate, Climategate, Hackgate, and Margate.

Lately, the word that gets attached to anything bad is "Toxic".

Obviously the word has been around for hundreds of years but ever since the world economy started to implode in 2008, everyone was suddenly talking about "Toxic Debt".

So I propose, as the ultimate buzzword, to be used only in relation to the most fucked up situation,


Monday, 18 July 2011

Dramatic Sky!

this years numbers

rough figures anyway.

I have to do my tax because my working tax credits are based upon my taxable income. And because the Tax people think I'll have earned enough to pay them about £1,000.

Well I did about 1100 lessons between April 6th 2010 and April 5th 2011. That brought in about £21,000.

But my overheads came to somewhere around £15,000 for the same period.

So my actual income was somewhere between 6 and 7 thousand quid. So I will be paying tax on a couple of hundred pounds, tops.

Also, 1100 lessons, for about £6.5k? That works out at about £6 per hour. Just a smidgen over the national minimum wage.

If I get this job as a bus driver, we will live like kings!

Upsand Downs

Upsand downs are a series of undulations between Upper Mania and Lower Depression.

You won't find them on google earth, but they are on google myhead.

I'm exaggerating slightly. I'm not bipolar. But I have suffered from depression for most of my life.

Depression is a lens through which you see the world. It takes your energy and the joy of living, and it makes them invisible, unobtainable. They're still in there within you somewhere, but you can't get at them.

If you've never had it, then it's difficult to understand. Why can't you just pull yourself together? Get a grip?

That's a bit like saying to a guy with a dead leg, "just kick the damn ball!"

Got more to say about this, but not right now. I have to work.

Today is a good day I think. I got a phone call inviting me to an assessment for the bus driver job on thursday.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Roundabouts are a fine way of  connecting several roads to each other. By allowing everything to flow, they increase the capacity of junctions. They result in less stopping and starting, and therefore help to reduce fuel consumption and pollution. Having a big round space in the middle, they can be landscaped. Roundabouts are prettier than Crossroads.

Many of my local roundabouts have informal names associated with their appearance or proximity to other features. Ask anyone from Wallasey where the B and Q roundabout is, and they will send you pretty unerringly to Junction 1 of the M53, which has a big box retail park right next to it. The Clown roundabout is so called because it has a metal sculpture of a clown like figure.

I also have names for some of them that probably nobody else does.

Here, for example, is the Hairdryer Roundabout.
I call it that because the roadsign looks like a 1950's style hairdryer.

This is the Sad Rock Roundabout.

There is another sad rock on the other side of the roundabout.

This roundabout has now been resurfaced in a lovely red coloured apshalt.

It didn't stay red for long though. I call it the Birdshit roundabout.

So roundabouts are many things. They are a way of streamlining junctions. They are a source of humour. They are a blank canvas for gardeners and graffitti artists.

And they are trouble. I've lost more pupils because of roundabouts than for any other reason.

Here's why:

Experienced drivers do things at the right time. They work to the gaps. Learners can't necessarily do this. They look to the right and they see cars coming. Then they keep looking at the cars and they panic.

At T junctions, if you haven't had time to get yourself sorted, you can always stop, do what you need to do, make sure it's clear, and go. But this is potentially dangerous at roundabouts, because the person behind you is also likely to be looking right, and may well smack straight into the back of you if you sto pwhen you shouldn't. Two of the three accidents I've been involved in as an instructor have happened exactly this way. Someone looking right has assumed we would go, and for some reason we've stopped instead, and have been hit from behind a second or so later.

If I get a new pupil, and they tell me that they're struggling with say, reversing around corners, I'd generally get them reversing round corners. If I got them to do hill starts instead, I would not really be addressing their needs. (If, while driving to the corner I wanted them to reverse around, they buggered up a hill start, then dealing with hill starts might be a legitimate lesson plan) but if I meet a new pupil, and they tell me they are frightened of roundabouts, I'm left in a quandary.

Do I try to meet their fears head on? Or do I try to find some oblique way of doing it? It's a tough call, and whatever I try, I risk either destroying my pupil's confidence, or not dealing with what needs to be dealt with.

Update: I had a lesson last Monday that resulted in an incident where my pupil attempted to pull out in front of someone. I wrote this post kind of in anticipation. In due course, I got a text message cancelling tomorrow's remedial lesson, and citing a sudden interview (you found out about an interview on a Sunday??? Really?) This lady insists that she hasn't given up, but is unable to rearrange her lesson because she doesn't know her shifts yet.

Well of course not. She might even be telling the truth. But I doubt it. I wish people would just be straight with me.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Try Try Try

My mis-spent youth is catching up with me. All those times where I filled my lungs to the max with whatever shit I could lay my hands on may have left their mark.

Certainly, there are times these days when I'm breathless, even if I'm not doing anything more strenuous than breathing.

Particularly when I'm tired, it sometimes feels like I just can't get enough air into my lungs, no matter how deeply I try to breathe.

This is both unpleasant and frightening. Time, I reckon, to attempt to give up again. I only smoked about 5 rollies today, before running out. I've not had one for quite a few hours, and there is none to be had without visiting a 24 hour garage. It's 2.35 in the morning, and I'm up at 10.00. So the sensible thing to do is go to bed.

That means I have a headstart.When I wake up I shall endeavour not to buy tobacco.

Update: 11.30pm

Well so far so good. Stuffed full of junk food, but didn't succumb to the desire.

Update: 6.30pm

Really really fucking angsty. Just everything. Money. Cowardly pupils. Boredom. Ennui. Fucking Life in  Fucking General. I really want to get drunk, but then I'll smoke.

Fucking fuck the fucking fuckers sideways.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Late midlife crisis?

This is my dad.

He tie dyed the trousers himself, off his own bat, without warning. When I saw him ths afternoon, he'd teamed them up with a lime green polo shirt.

Mr Snappy Dresser himself!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Marxist Magic!

Back in the day, I was a "supporter" (they didn't have members for technical reasons) of the Militant Tendancy. Unfortunately, Trotskyist entryist groups never stood a chance against the headlong rush to capture the "centre" ground, but for a while, they became a real pole of attraction for anyone wanting to fight the good fight.

Apart from the campaigns and the MPs and what have you, we also had some fun along the way.

One memorable bit was at a rally in London (I can't remember if it was at Alexandra Palace or the Royal Albert Hall). Amidst the stirring speeches and calls for donations was a magic act. A guy called Ian Saville.

The funniest bits of his act were a socialist rope trick, and Karl Marx ventriloquism act. You can sort of see them in the videos below, although it's all broken up into bits.

Class system rope trick!

Karl Marx sings!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Camper Van Beethoven

If you've heard CVB at all, you've probably heard "Take the Skinheads bowling" from their first album, released back in the mid 80's.

That set them out as a quirky college band, and that's an impression that has stuck with them ever since. Yet behind the novelty lies some fine musicianship, and an eclectic set of influences, from ska to punk to psychedelia to jazz to folk. I like them a lot.

You can listen to a bit of virtually every song they've ever released free of charge on their downloads page.

They also have an interesting blog.

I hope they come to play the UK again. I'd love to see them live.

Friday, 8 July 2011

A bit of family history

My dad comes from a big family. He had 7 brothers and 5 sisters. Most of them are still alive. My uncle Ronnie died a couple of years back. He was a magistrate in Colchester. Chairman of the bench. My uncle Brian was killed in a car crash on a fishing trip in Wales.

He was killed instantly (and my uncle Derek, who was a passenger in the car was seriously injured) by a policeman driving home from work in his sierra cosworth. The policeman, who was himself seriously injured) was driving at stupid speeds, and taking a racing line through the bends, when he hit my uncle. He'd left work at around 6 oclock in the morning, and the accident occurred some 13 minutes later, almost 15 miles from the police station.

The police closed ranks, attempted to obfusticate, and to force a mis-trial. And they would have done it too, if it hadn't been for my uncle Ronnie, who informed the clark of the court in no uncertain terms who and what he was, and that he was not going to allow the trial to be derailed by corrupt police.

The officer was found guilty, and banned from driving. He also lost his job.

So when I hear stuff like how the met attempted to cover up the Ian Tomlinson death, or that they took bribes from journalists, I'm not really too surprised.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


If you've read The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, you'll know that one of the themes concerns the purpose of work.

`If you go down town, you will see half a dozen drapers' shops within
a stone's-throw of each other - often even next door to each other -
all selling the same things.  You can't possibly think that all those
shops are really necessary?  You know that one of them would serve the
purpose for which they are all intended - to store and serve as a
centre for the distribution of the things that are made by work.  If
you will admit that five out of the six shops are not really
necessary, you must also admit that the men who built them, and the
salesmen and women or other assistants engaged in them, and the men
who design and write and print their advertisements are all doing
unnecessary work; all really wasting their time and labour, time and
labour that might be employed in helping to produce these things that
we are at present short of.  You must admit that none of these people
are engaged in producing either the necessaries of life or the
benefits of civilization.  They buy them, and sell them, and handle
them, and haggle over, them, and display them, in the plate glass
windows of "Stores" and "Emporiums" and make profit out of them, and
use them, but these people themselves produce nothing that is
necessary to life or happiness, and the things that some of them do
produce are only necessary to the present imbecile system.'

`What the 'ell sort of a bloody system do you think we ought to 'ave,
then?' interrupted the man on the pail.

`Yes: you're very good at finding fault,' sneered Slyme, `but why
don't you tell us 'ow it's all going to be put right?'

`Well, that's not what we're talking about now, is it?' replied Owen.
`At present we're only trying to find out how it is that there is not
sufficient produced for everyone to have enough of the things that are
made by work.  Although most of the people in number three work very
hard, they produce Nothing.'

`This is a lot of bloody rot!' exclaimed Crass, impatiently.

`Even if there is more shops than what's actually necessary,' cried
Harlow, `it all helps people to get a livin'!  If half of 'em was shut
up, it would just mean that all them what works there would be out of
a job.  Live and let live, I say: all these things makes work.'

`'Ear, 'ear,' shouted the man behind the moat.

`Yes, I know it makes "work",' replied Owen, `but we can't live on
mere "work", you know.  To live in comfort we need a sufficiency of
the things that can be made by work.  A man might work very hard and
yet be wasting his time if he were not producing something necessary
or useful.

`Why are there so many shops and stores and emporiums?  Do you imagine
they exist for the purpose of giving those who build them, or work in
them, a chance to earn a living? Nothing of the sort.  They are
carried on, and exorbitant prices are charged for the articles they
sell, to enable the proprietors to amass fortunes, and to pay
extortionate rents to the landlords.  That is why the wages and
salaries of nearly all those who do the work created by these
businesses are cut down to the lowest possible point.'

`We knows all about that,' said Crass, `but you can't get away from it
that all these things makes Work; and that's what we wants - Plenty of

Cries of `'Ear, 'ear,' and expressions of dissent from the views
expressed by the lecturer resounded through the room, nearly everyone
speaking at the same time.  After a while, when the row had in some
measure subsided, Owen resumed:

`Nature has not provided ready-made all the things necessary for the
life and happiness of mankind.  In order to obtain these things we
have to Work.  The only rational labour is that which is directed to
the creation of those things.  Any kind of work which does not help us
to attain this object is a ridiculous, idiotic, criminal, imbecile,
waste of time.

`That is what the great army of people represented by division number
three are doing at present: they are all very busy - working very
hard - but to all useful intents and purposes they are doing Nothing.'
So shed not a tear for the hacks who's job it was to turn trees into opinionated right wing shit.Especially since it seems likely that they will be re-employed in a few weeks, on a completely new sunday tabloid that has nothing whatsoever to do with the naughty NOTW.

bouncing off yourself - the sound of one hand clapping...

There's probably a way of embedding youtube-starting-at-point-X- vids but I'll sort this out later. The bit that I'm on about begins at exactly 4 minutes.

This is sort of the way I do things. Make loops and build structured things from them. I just can't help but love this thing. It's what I aspire to.

There is a bit of editing going on in there, but that structure allows you to do that kind of stuff. It's a clever mix of building one phrase. then cutting to the addition of the next block. I cant stop playing this at the moment.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

An eerie silence!

You'd think the left wing blogs in my blogroll would be fizzing with indignation right now.

Not a peep!

The News of The World's actions over the last decade are so blindingly crass and downright ghoulish, that any comment, no matter how vitriolic, is just stating the bleeding obvious.

Sad thing is, nothing will change because of it. News International intend to do an in-house investigation. No changes will be made to the IPCC. Murdoch will be allowed to take over BSkyB.

And in a few months, people will have generally forgotten about it. I'm told that a couple of years after the Hillsborough tragedy, The Sun and The NOTW's percentage share in the North West had pretty much recovered.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

287 miles


is what my house/street/town would look like to the inhabitants of the International Space Station, if they happened to look down upon it on a cloudless day. Without the google logo of course.

I've more or less done what I need to do with my website. I've added a tasteful random testimonial generator. Now I need some testimonials for it to generate from. So I have to collate my old pupils details, and do a sort of mailshot, containing business cards (on order. cheapest and slowest option), a feedback form, with a section for them to say nice, quotable things about me, and a stamped self addressed envelope.

on the buses

I've applied for a job as a bus driver. It's part time, 20 hours a week, so I will still be able to do the driving instructor side of things too.

Closing date for applications is 8th July, so I should hear further in the next week.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Bloody Learners!

As people learn to drive, they get to a stage where they can do certain things, but while they are driving, they encounter things that they are not yet equipped to deal with.

So they are driving down the road, and everything is fine. But then they encounter a parked car, and there's something coming the other way. Generally, the way they try to deal with it is by steering to the left, when what they should be doing is slowing the car down. I often have to take control of the car in situations like this, to save my door mirrors.

And so it is with me and putting websites up.

There are certain things I can do comfortably. Other things are cropping up that are stretching me. If it's all going as it should be, I can just plod on and do what needs to be done. But when something isn't happening the way it should, I have to work out ways of sorting it out, rather than having those ways in place.

Tonight is a case in point. I've spent hours trying to get my FTP program to talk to the hosting site. Each time I tried to connect, it would try for a minute or two, then chuck out an error message. I tried all sorts of variations on passwords and hostnames and usernames to no avail. A closer examination of the error message seemed to show that the FTP program was connecting to the server, but that the server wasn't responding.

That couldn't be right, surely? I must have done something wrong somewhere. I downloaded filezilla and tried to use that, but I'm at the stalling when you drive off from the side of the road stage with it. Can't make head nor tail of it at the moment, frankly. I kept reading the email from the hosting site, and putting in the details it appeared to want, and continued to fail. I tried using the FTP thing in dreamweaver, and that reckoned the server was the problem too.

And so it was at this point that I went to the host site and checked the service status, and lo and behold! One of their servers is down.

Of course, it could be that the server that I'm trying to use (they have more than one) is fine, and I've bollocked things up in some way I haven't figured yet. Or it could be that the server is down, but that I've also done something wrong.

Update: I contacted customer services, and they got a solution to my inbox very quickly. My DNS settings were wrong, because of the arse about tit way I've gone about this. Normally people buy domain names and hosting at the same time. I bought a DNS management app because I wanted to host elsewhere, and that was pointing me to the wrong place.

So, now leads to an actual website, although it's just a CSS template right now. I have a few more lessons today so I don't have time to do a lot of work on this at the moment, but later I will be able to really crack on with it hopefully :)