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 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.

This birthday weekend I…

clem snide
  • saw Ben Folds in concert at Carling Academy (mini review: the opening act Clem Snide was quite good, alt-country style — Ben Folds was EXCELLENT, so consistent and as weird as I’d hoped — he didn’t play my favourite songs, though — the folks over 30 appeared to know the old stuff and the terminally hip Uni students only knew the last two albums — I noticed the security was trying, in vain, to stop people taking photos; looking at the quality of my cameraphone pics, you’ll know they had nothing to fear from me)
  • went on the Real Mary King’s Close tour with Neil and Shauna (now I want to read more about the history of Edinburgh in the 16th and 17th century), then had lunch at a pub because the place we wanted to go to was full (and I ate a bratwurst sandwich — isn’t this something you really needed to know?)
  • met Neil’s pals at the Station (and ended up going back to Brian and Carene’s place and staying far too late, I was practially asleep on my feet by the time we left)
  • had a bowl of chicken soup for lunch
  • went out to buy The Times for my free Michael Palin DVD (and watched it)
  • ate chicken stuffed with haggis for dinner
  • did a more leisurely four miles (about seven km) on the treadmill (leisurely in that I didn’t do any speed training)
  • watched Star Trek: Insurrection (Patrick Stewart is so manly… mmm)
clem snide

Meeeeooowwww *sploosh*

My cousin wouldn’t find this funny at all (traumatic childhood experience), but the kitty spa video on YouTube is hilarious. Even without sound.

Shiiiiiinnnnneeeee… let it shine

Gary Barlow - squee!

I stayed up a few extra minutes last night and saw the new Take That video, Shine (I did NOT know it was on, we had Channel 4 on and were told to stay tuned for the video premiere, and I always do as I’m told if it’s got something to do with watching Take That). I reckon only Howard Donald suits that trendy androgynous messy haircut. Mark Owen and Jason Orange look a bit weird like that.

(BTW, is Jason Orange gay? He sure acts it.)

Birthdays and jail

The turkey dinner last night (in my honour — haha) was fantastic. Turkey breast, roast potatoes, sweetcorn, and green beans made me giddy, they were so good. There were also a few more presents, and I’m not used to all this fuss. It certainly is a change from what I’m used to, and I like the old way too (Mum asks me what I want, usually electronics, and we go out and get it, then we have a nice dinner somewhere).

But on to more about Scotland this morning. I was horrified, nay, STAGGERED WITH DISBELIEF, to hear that prisoners in Scotland were suing because they are banned from voting in elections (BBC story: Court rules on prison voting ban). I’ve written about ‘prisoner rights’ before. What is it with the system of crime and punishment?

I accept that the ban on voting may contravene the European Convention on Human Rights, but SO FUCKING WHAT? If you’re in prison, it’s most likely down to the fact that you were a bad person and harmed someone or something. You are in prison to be DEPRIVED OF YOUR RIGHTS. It’s known as PUNISHMENT. If we had no intention of punishing (and deterring) law-breaking behaviour, we wouldn’t have prisons anywhere!

Fucking hippies.

(Also, did you notice the news about a convicted paedophile lawyer not having to go to jail? Or the guy who got a suspended sentence for downloading kiddie porn? Is this a nation of such degenerates that prisons are overcrowded so paedophilia is considered a less serious crime?)