On the road

Finally managed to snatch a few minutes to myself after a weeks long trip, with just under a week more travel to go. Lots of family stuff, but pretty chilly for mid July, which has rather taken the edge off things. They may be having a heatwave in the US Midwest, but it’s lower than usual elsewhere.

Currently enjoying the hospitality of relatives here in Northern France, where the glory of two hour lunches is still the norm, and even in the humblest of village eateries the food and wine is superb. The French attitude to EU directives is as always, refreshing. Cheeses made with unpasteurised milk are still freely avaliable. Local food is still in abundance. The smoking ban is in place for all indoors locations, but the French have a very flexible approach to ‘indoors’. While the slavish English hire legions of enforcers to exile smokers out into the middle of the furthest meadow to practice their vice, the sensible French cater for tobacco addicts with decent shelters and a Gallic shrug. Well if the anti-smokers and their theories of second hand smoke have any credibility I’m doomed anyway. For example, outside, but underneath the awning of, a crowded cafe yesterday I sat next to two guys dissing rap music and puffing away on Gitanes for at least an hour, so that’s me doomed. Cough, cough (Not). The cafe in question even laid out ashtrays. Whereas elsewhere in the West, even the sight of a smokers accoutrements would have the Health Nazi’s shutting the premises down.

Still marvelling at how poor UK customer service is across the board. The ‘rules’ and tick box model of top down management seem to make heavy weather of even the simplest of tasks until you get into a four star hotel.

I see the dominoes are still falling over the phone hacking by News International operatives, and that the whistleblower who might incriminate certain politicians has been found dead. Suicide? Really? A bit convenient that, wouldn’t you think?

There’s also the snippet that the BBC are going to ‘limit’ their coverage of ‘climate sceptics’? So no change there then. The BBC are so one sided on this topic everyone I meet seems to have noticed. Guys. No one is fooled any more. Well, no one with any critical thinking faculties, anyway. Perhaps when all the birds have come home to roost over the lamestreams intrusiveness into people’s lives News International, the Grauniad, the Beeb, and the whole damn corrupt shooting match will be found guilty, and we reach a little more honest perspective before the next lot of newsbreakers get sucked into the faecal vortex of power and privilege.

Hi ho. Everyone has returned from their afternoons perambulations (I take my walks early in the morning) streaming with rainwater, so must sign off to listen to their tales off ongoing deluge. TTFN.


Compare and contrast

Living in BC as I do, and currently passing through Europe. I’m minded to compare and contrast my own experiences at the various customs points and checkins.

Local airport, Canada; Small, clean, friendly, and apologetic for all the security checks. Got all our boarding passes issued and luggage checked in for the whole three flight hop. Flew to Vancouver with barely a murmur, apart from a minor delay down to air traffic. Passed through Vancouver airport without a secondary check as we were in transit. Almost stepped straight through onto our transatlantic flight without breaking step. Couldn’t sleep much on the overnight, but that’s nothing unusual for me. Too much background noise. However, we’d spent the extra money on the extra legroom seats, so there was no repeat of last year’s air cattle truck experience.

Arrive in Europe; although we haven’t left the airport system, we have to pass through one of those whole body scanners and I still got frisked, as no one had bothered to look at the zip leg trousers I was wearing and wondered where those funny lines were on the whole body scanner. At least we passed through immigration fairly quickly as the desks were fully staffed (for a change). Quite frankly I don’t make a fuss about the security and just treat it as one more minor indignity, even if the operators appear as baffled by the technology as most travellers.

Ah yes, I have a few carefully chosen words for Google. Having had four gmail email addresses since it was in beta, I am quite frankly highly pissed off that I can’t access my email from my wife’s laptop in europe. I am now in the process of migrating to a more flexible webmail system that I can access from wherever I fucking well please without some cuntish crap to ‘verify’ who I am because I’m on a business trip. Isn’t that the whole idea of a webmail based system? To enable travel and mobile access to communication? Well chuckleheads, if Google can’t build a modestly secure webmail login system, their ‘product’, useful though it has been, is now far too unwieldy and user unfriendly for my purposes. Time to migrate.

As an additional note; if Google has lost me money because I can’t remotely access my email. I am currently considering legal action. Their new ‘security’ means I am now effectively out of touch. No email means no business, no business means no money. Needless to say, they are not my favourite people right now. However, you get what you pay for, and since their service is free, it appears to have gone one quantum leap further and become completely worthless. This means I will have to wait until returning home to access my webmail. Which rather defeats the object of the exercise.


Off on me travels today. May get interweb connection. May not. I’m sure the denizens can get on quite nicely without my meagre contribution, thank you.

In about 16 hours time I will be in the UK. First stop Manchester followed by a quick zip southwards to visit fiends and family (Perhaps both). Hoping that all goes smoothly and I can swiftly return home to BC.

Will miss Dick Puddlecote and friends little ramble through Stony Stratford by a mere three hours, as I will be passing by that neck of the woods. However, I wish them well.

Super buru

Just watching the familiar landmarks skip past sends a chill down my spine. Quarter Bridge, Bray, Hawthorns, St Johns and up to Ramsay, down to Creg and into Douglas again. Being reminded about TT week and Mad Sunday always get me where I live. The memories are so intense, even decades on, they’re burned into the back of my skull. Must do it again some day.

This explains a lot

Don’t normally read the Fail, but look at who Ms Brooks is cosying up to. Every screengrab tells a story. No doubt substituting Camerloons face would tell the same story. Tip of the virtual Panama to EU Referendum for the headline. Certain parts of the UK media have been far too cosy with Government. By their complicity, I would contend said sections of the media have indulged in the same treasons against the British people that Blair and Brown have.

You know, little things like selling their great grandchildren into debt, dooming the next generation to energy poverty, and taking away what little sovereignty they had. I know it wasn’t much, but as far as the various politicians are concerned, it wasn’t theirs to give away.

Blood and sand. It’s enough to make a man want to start reading the Grauniad. Although my advice would be not to hold one’s breath waiting for that to happen.

Katla update

There are rumblings and grumblings still going on after last nights tremor spike and small jokulhaup (Glacial flood) under Katla in Iceland but nothing definitive. Erik Klemetti reports that there’s a series of glacial cracks in Myrdasjokull, the glacier covering Katla. A bridge and the Icelandic ring road are washed out, but for the moment, according to our man on the spot Jon Frimann, tremor and quake activity has dropped off.

Could this be it? The whimper and not the bang like in 1999? As one who has tickets booked for Europe, I’d like Katla to either quiet down or hold off for another three weeks before giving us a serious fireworks display. I have the feelings my travel insurance has a volcanoes exemption clause.

Just for reference; the last time Katla did go up ‘properly’ was in 1918 with a VEI4+ Class eruption. By comparison, Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 was a VEI2+.

How to solve the ‘obesity crisis’

In my daily round I do see a great many people, who, not to put too fine a point on it, need to shed a few pounds. Although I’ve always been painfully aware of my own tendency to hang on to excess weight, and not being twenty one any more, have to work much harder to get rid of the unwanted extra me. So I’m a little more cautious than many to go flinging the terms ‘blubberino’ or making pointed remarks about great white whales, or going into a frothing diatribe about heart disease and arteries so furred up they cost the health service ‘billions’. Glass houses and stones having their own small compatibility issues. Although nowhere near so much as the cases in point.

Nonetheless, on my daily round a couple of days ago, I was walking up the street behind two such sidewalk blockers and found myself wondering why they had laterally grown to the size they had. Casual observation gave no clues, and in the case of the two in question, this being the town it is, everybody knows somebody. You don’t have to be a detective to find out most things about others who cross your path. I’d seen the people concerned before and a friend had made comment that the two in question were well known as serial dieters who hawkishly watched each and every calorie that passed their lips in case it did something vaguely reckless.

After hearing a number of similar stories, I found myself thinking that maybe the calories themselves were innocent, but the people’s restricted physical mobility might be the key issue. Canadians living as they do, they travel a lot, and some walk a lot (And I do mean a lot), and others don’t. Many people spend so much effort at work, that at the end of the day all they want to do is slump down on a sofa and veg out half watching television.

One of the things I’ve noticed about those who are, let’s say, more than a little over the limit weight wise, are big watchers of TV. It’s how they ‘relax’. Soaps, dramas, talent shows, what passes for news, sports etc. On the whole, and I know this is one of those awful broad brushstroke statements, they are passive absorbers of the world. This being the case, it might be said that Television, that great thief of time, might be the root of the current ‘obesity crisis’ various well meaning control freaks and politicians are always berating everybody about.

Having ditched the old one eyed monster over five years ago, I find that anything over half an hours exposure soporific, so how some people can sit there for hours in front of the idiot box is beyond me. I’m increasingly of the opinion that such long periods of inactivity, vacuously drinking in the dreams of others, actually contributes to packing on the poundage, and some serious people think the same. To quote this article;

According to William H. Deitz, pediatrician and prominent obesity expert at Tufts University School of Medicine, “The easiest way to reduce inactivity is to turn off the TV set. Almost anything else uses more energy than watching TV.”

Of course there are many other sources that say the same things in a similar way. So there you have it. The answer to the great conundrum of increasing obesity in the Western world; Television. Cut the channels down to broadcasting between four o’clock in the afternoon to say eleven o’clock at night and we may find the ‘obesity crisis’ simply disappears as people begin to get lives. No need for ‘five a day’ or ‘eat healthy’ TV campaigns or for healthy eating activists to chain themselves to the doors of fast food eateries. Simply cull the viewing time available and the ‘problem’ will simply go away. TV’s mostly crap anyway. To repeat this axiom;

“Don’t watch TV. It’s a cultural wasteland filled with inappropriate metaphors and an unrealistic portrayal of life created by the liberal media elite.”

Obesity crisis solved! Huzzah! World a much better place, sun shines, birds sing, half hols all round. Well done young William. You’ve saved the day!

Not. Hey, what’s on the other channel? Pass the remote will ya hon? Zzzzzzzzzz….

Well, well, well.

Nice pussyI’ve never been a fan of the Murdoch owned press, least of all the tabloid section, but my goodness isn’t the current state of affairs interesting? Ofcom going after the big guys for a change, and the notorious News of the World disappearing. If you’ll forgive the schadenfreude, the Times and associated tabloid media have done a lot of harm over the years. Reputations unjustly trashed, bloggers ‘outed’, people unjustly fingered for crimes they didn’t commit. The unthinking mob set on innocents. Whatever is coming to them couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people.

Right at this moment I’m enjoying a delightfully warm smug feeling of self righteous satisfaction. (Evil chuckle, strokes metaphorical white cat) There’s the added bonus that if Camerloon and his über green cohorts go down with the Murdoch ship you may hear raucous laughter echoing all the way from British Columbia.

Expatriate expostulations from Canada; a.k.a. A Sarcastic man abroad trying to stay in the middle of the road without getting run over.

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