This is life as the US knows it

said suspicious objectLED cartoon characters on a board considered suspicious, causes road and bridge closures, traffic chaos. Men responsible for installing the signs face five years in jail.

I take this to mean that any artists hoping to stage controversial street installations are kinda fucked. Guerilla marketing advocates come under 24-hour surveillance. Buskers required to submit to permit application and approval processes. The Naked Cowboy gets daily cavity searches.

I have to say, all this paranoia and false alarms probably give nutjobs more ideas.

Who’s your favourite type designer?

Mine’s Ray Larabie. Without his large foundry of free fonts, I wouldn’t be able to inflict the torture that is ‘Not a Designer but Knows Too Much HTML and CSS and Some Sort of Attention Deficit Problem to Stay Away From Constantly Tinkering With Graphics and Layout’ on the wider Web.

Yahoo!

Hello, Murphy

Running update. The race participant limit has increased from 80 to 140. Many of the entrants (not competitors! Please! I’m not competing!) are from athletics clubs.

I’m going to the gym three times a week, and my right hip joint is really not happy. I think that it’s not just my going pigeon-toed, I observed that my entire right leg points inwards slightly (I’m sure there’s a specific term for this but I don’t know it) as I lift my leg to take another step while jogging. Last night I had to stop the treadmill and get on the stationary bike to relieve the ache in my hip.

So I think I need to retrain myself when it comes to my gait while running. I don’t believe this is a new problem, but maybe my Reeboks have exacerbated the situation (I got them in early 2006)? I’d appreciate a real doctor telling me what they thought.

Google is not evil

Their suggested route back home from work is probably the one that manages to skip most of the congestion on the M8 in the city centre.

Not that I’m going to link to it.

I tried this third route last night, missed my turn and had to double back, but still got home in about the same time. There is no practical way for me to avoid the M8 altogether (unless it involves driving along dark and lonesome country roads, making me a prime target for machete-wielding serial killers), which explains why the bloody motorway is so bloody slow at rush hour. We have no options. The train and bus services are inconvenient (if I miss my train I have to wait TWO HOURS for the next one) and expensive.

Basically, the now-favourited route involves going along what would normally be a less convenient road, but the lesser convenience and slightly longer distance equals fewer cars and skipping the Kingston Bridge, the bane of my driving existence.

Still, I’m not totally used to this 9 – 5 (well, 5.30) palaver any more. I don’t really have much free time to craft and exercise and watch teevee and computer. I can only pick one to do each day. (Yes. Poor me. What an unfair existence, forcing me to choose.)

The good news is I’m not watching The Jeremy Kyle Show or whatever that breakfast programme is on STV because I want to hit Fern whatshername, she’s so judgemental and annoying.

You want to let me go? I’ll strike!

Making a joke again, but striking to protest job cuts seems counter-intuitive. There will always be civil servants, but what if you’re one of those striking whose boss realises that they can get things done without you?

Neil’s sister is one of those ‘on strike’ (she won’t be losing her job though, I don’t think). She is not going to be one of those marching — for the most part, this is a free day off for her to hang with her boyfriend and sleep in. Neil gets to use her car. Solidarity, that is.

(I know it’s about creating disruptions to inconvenience the public and government to get what they want. Just ’cause Singaporeans don’t have unions with teeth doesn’t mean I’m not down with the proletariat. However, I tend to disapprove of things that hinder the flow of things getting done.)

Terrorism, but not as we know it?!

Eight have been arrested in early morning (4am!) raids on properties in Birmingham.

Security sources have told the BBC the alleged plot would not have involved mass casualties but marked “a different approach to terrorism in the UK”.

From what I heard on the radio, this means no bombs, no ‘conventional’ terrorist methods. So how would one sow terror unconventionally?

  • Allowing George Bush to stand for election in the UK
  • Invasion of the White Van Men (read the report if you don’t get this)
  • prolific pirating of Burberry check baseball caps
  • Bingo being only entertainment every night of the week

I’m making light, but it’s because we don’t know very much at all. And given how overblown the ‘airplane bombs’ threat was last year, I wouldn’t be surprised if the threat was distant (though definitely warranting nipping in the bud) and over-dramatised.

Seawater slags

hippocampus, from wikimediaAh… the seahorse. Fabled for their restorative powers, so much so that Chinese people catch and dry them out for sale in medical halls (why am I not surprised that one of its medical uses is to treat impotence). It turns out that seahorses, long believed to be faithful, monogamous creatures, are horny little creatures that’ll shag anything.

The Australian bigbellied seahorse was the most indiscriminate, mating with both females and males several times a day.

Insert joke about Aussies here.

Of course, these seahorses were not observed in a natural environment, so they might be less… social in the wild. I’m a fan of sea dragons myself. They look weird and wonderful, and have a few more strange spiky bits than seahorses.

Important seahorse blogging.

Windows Vista — ready at some point

Vista goes on sale in the UK. Over at serialdeviant.org(y) headquarters, this momentous announcement is greeted with — stunning silence.

I only upgraded to XP last year — in fact, just in July. I’d been using an old Dell Inspiron laptop on Windows ME since 2001, and only changed because it was becoming unbearably slow (I’d upgraded from a Windows 98 desktop in 2001 because it had become unbearably slow, too).

We saw a video of Vista on BBC 1 this morning. It looks like a bastardised version of OSX (or whatever Mac OS my cousin uses), which is just fine, but I think I won’t be enjoying the ‘benefits’ of upgrading for a while (see ‘unbearably slow’ comments above). I certainly don’t want to be paying £100 for just an upgrade!

Slow and steady finishes the race

me as a tortoise - original image from Wikimedia

This is how I feel whenever I go running and there are other people there (i.e., anywhere outdoors). The feeling of sluggishness is compounded during road races or joint training sessions, when I never had a chance and everyone else sets off at speeds beyond 10km/h. It is especially infuriating when most of them are heavy smokers (this was when I was running in China).

I’m not a long-distance runner. I’ve never been a long-distance runner, and I should never lose sight of that (i.e., I frequently feel like crap because no matter how much I train, I never really get faster). I run because it’s something I can do alone (and not depend on anyone else showing up) and for the most part, doesn’t cost anything. I also run to remind myself that non-smoking gives me lung capacity.

(Yes, I did notice the irony. Yes, I do repeat myself. I need to constantly reinforce the core message.)

Most people are surprised when I say I’m not getting any charity sponsors for the run on Saturday. But I don’t want the efforts on the day to go to waste. So if anyone wants to ‘sponsor’ me, make a donation to your favourite charity. But don’t tell me you’ve done it until after the race, because I might end up breaking my ankle or having another life-threatening anaphylactic reaction if you let me know beforehand.

Not like I’m superstitious or anything.

For your donation, you’ll know that I will plod along at about 8km/h for the entire distance (I run at that speed no matter the length of the race, although I am trying to use some speed training for a gradual increase), but I will finish the race. I might be behind everyone else (even my colleague who’s barely done any training, but he’s only 20 years old), but I’ll finish. It’s winter in Glasgow, so I’ll definitely finish as I’ll want to get out of the cold as fast as fucking possible.