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2020-Dec-31st, | 12:00 am

This journal is not completely friends-only, but the reasons for whether or not an entry is marked friends-only are not entirely straightforward.

If you would like me to add you, comment to this entry (comments are screened).

Please bear in mind that this is a personal and not a professional blog.

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But Homes You Did Not Read It Was A Can of Dog Food!

2010-Jan-4th, | 09:18 am
location: HU6 7RX, UK

Working for a training establishment has its benefits, but it also has its drawbacks. I don't remember house training being part of my remit, yet this is what I found after returning from the Xmas break (FTR, I don't drink coffee)


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But I Need Sorrow Baby, Like Sorrow Is The Drug

2009-Nov-12th, | 07:09 pm

The charge of being anti-establishment or at least anti-authority is one that gets levied at me relatively often. It tends to be correct, but there is a very specific reason for that. I'm not opposed to authority or establishment in principle, what I'm opposed to is the abuse of power and position. When we talk of authority or the establishment then this is, of course, inevitable.

Policing is one area that I find difficult, because I support the existence of a police force, I support the notion of law enforcement. I also have to separate the law from the police: the law is itself often corrupt, the result of an abuse of power. The police have to enforce it though, that's their duty and one can't legitimately attack the police for enforcing (with integrity) a law with which one disagrees.

Read more...Collapse )

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Transparent Lies Engulf the Sky

2009-Aug-25th, | 04:40 pm

Two things have collided in my mind.

1) the relative merits of hotlinking, that is including material in one website that's actually hosted elsewhere.
2) the large amount of jet activity overhead at the moment.

The greatest problem with hotlinking, the fact that what it's linked to can be changed (or moved) can also be a benefit. For instance, I find it difficult to keep track of what I'm supposed to be scared of at the moment. One week it's North Korea, then the Taliban, then it's Iran, then it's Al-Qaeda. I can't keep up, and I'm certainly not going to want to edit my web site every time the politicians change their minds about what to try to scare the populace with. It would be much easier if I could just hotlink to some government web site...

-- Doubtless the recent air activity has been the brave boys and girls of our heroic Royal Air Force, protecting Britain against the ravages of <text src="http://direct.gov.uk/this-weeks-fear">. --

Much easier!

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The Devil Grows His Blood Red Roses, Just For Me

2009-May-5th, | 08:45 pm

You know how sometimes life just seems to roll at top speed, you've barely finished one thing before the next is on you, then the next and the next? If you're on top of your game and can just go slamming through everything then it's one hell of a ride. If you're playing catchup then it's the kind of thing that nervous breakdowns are made of.

I don't think I can remember much from the last few months, it's a blur. My boss has been out for about 6 weeks with a serious snowboarding injury which means that into an already packed schedule I've had to cover for him as well. It's been a hoot - I've loved every minute, but it's not over yet. I've got a few days to gather my thoughts before popping over to L.A. for TechEd, then all of three days to recover before we visit family, then what seems like no time 'til we're going to the British Grand Prix.

I think I'm going to be booking a week off to do absolutely nothing at some point. August, probably. I'm still reading LJ, BTW :- if I don't post it's not because I hate you all, merely because I don't think I've really got anything to say.

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It Came as a Heavy Blow, But We Sorted the Matter Out

2009-Jan-21st, | 08:26 am

Bored in the office? Someone who irritates you gone on lunch / vacation / holiday? Want to annoy the bejesus out of them when they get back?

Here are two suggestions.

  1. Using a coin or similar, prize a couple of the keys off their keyboard and put them back the wrong way around. Don't do it with lots, just two should do. This will take them ages to figure out!

  2. Have they got speakers? If so the grilles often pop off the front. Find a couple of lightweight paper clips and place one in each centre of the actual speaker cones. The magnetism from the back of the speaker should hold the paper clip in place. This will make the speakers sound terrible but shouldn't do any permanent damage.

Of course we haven't done this to anyone here and I have not, very quickly, gained a reputation as someone who should never be allowed near anyone's PC with a screwdriver. We didn't install a ceiling cat[1] cut out above his desk, either.

[1] Possibly NSFW if you work in a totally humour free zone. The cut-out is fine, though.

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Switch My Soul to Ajax

2009-Jan-19th, | 08:26 am

Why is it that firms stop making stuff that was actually good? Two cases in point.

1) The Nokia 6310 and 6310i GSM Cell / Mobile phones. OK, so they were fairly large by modern standards but they had a 3 week standby time, excellent reception and they worked practically anywhere in the world. The business world ran by this phone, when Nokia suddenly stopped making it (about 2003?), the prices for second hand ones on eBay went over what the new price had been.
I have one that I still use for holidays where I know I will or may be away from good coverage or reliable electricity or, quite usefully, when going to security conscious events because it doesn't have a camera.
Nobody has made a better actual phone since.

2) Mavic Oxygen M6 (mountain) bicycle rims. These babies were just about the toughest pieces of extruded aluminium to be welded into a circle and have holes drilled in them, ever. I was lucky enough to have a pair and indeed would still have if one of them hadn't been stolen (along with the very nice Rignle Super-Bubba Hub it was laced to - arse). Those rims survived so many bumps and crashes and they've outlasted a few hubs, too. Sadly, there just aren't rims of the same quality on the market any more.

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I Guess There is No-one to Blame

2008-Nov-26th, | 10:42 am

One of the trivial little things that I am not going to miss when I leave this firm on Friday is dump-O'clock. That magical time of the day when the first cups of tea have worked their way through and a visit to the smallest room is in order. Only it seems that everyone else is ahead of you - every bog in the entire building is for some reason occupied!

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No-One Told You When To Run, You Missed the Starting Gun

2008-Nov-12th, | 08:56 am
mood: sadintrospective

One of my school friends was killed in an accident on Monday - I found out last night. I'd known him since primary (elementary) school, he was a really nice guy and a good friend at school.
It seems so odd, I remember catching up with him again via facebook recently, now there's a profile, an email address, a phone number, and address, but there's nobody there.

Life is too short and too tenuous to dither and procrastinate. Seize the day, this day!

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Beneath the Wings of October the Raven Rides Again

2008-Nov-3rd, | 08:41 am

Now that was a weekend!

Congratulations to Hammy Lewiston for winning at cars. If Bernie Ecclestone could write the script for a F1 race, that would be it. Seriously high drama.

Did six hours of trapeze training on Saturday, learnt a whole load of new moves and I now hurt a very great deal. Two important things to mention.
1) Getting things wrong coming out of crucifix tends to leave you with a nice horizontal line of bruising across your upper back. Doing this consistently tends to make you look like you're into heavy S&M :)
2) Ankle drops are bastard scary.

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Hours Filled With Conversation, No Attention Paid.

2008-Oct-29th, | 06:56 pm

I think I missed my vocation - I should have been a freelance scientist.

Earlier someone used the expression "cat amongst the pigeons".
Immediately I was consumed by an almost insatiable desire to find out exactly what does happen when you put a cat amongst pigeons.

I've even been thinking out how one might deliver said cat to the centre of a group of pigeons without otherwise disturbing said foul, and designing stuff for the job!

...and what about different types of cat? Does a tiger have more or less effect than a domestic moggie? This really needs investigating and I think I should have a big fat government grant to go do it.

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The Ones That Mother Gives You Don't Do Anything At All

2008-Jul-22nd, | 06:39 pm

A meme that's been doing the roundsCollapse )

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It's What Your Votes Condone

2008-Jul-16th, | 01:03 pm

Here are a couple of points for you to ponder on a Wednesday lunchtime.

Are the general populous getting more stupid, or has something in our society changed to mean that the educated come into contact with the uneducated more?

A brief discussionCollapse )

Why are motor racing magazines covered in scantily clad ladies? rantCollapse )

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They Stack the Odds 'Til We Take To the Street

2008-May-24th, | 07:52 pm

Not many people know this, but I can see into the future. In particular, I predict that this city is going to have one seriously big hangover tomorrow.

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Nurse! Nurse! Stop Bangin' Nails in My Lid!

2008-May-5th, | 08:16 pm

Bah! Tried my facebook lot with this a few days ago and it would appear only one person saw it, or rather one person that knew anything about music, so I thought I'd try it here, too... it's the old first line music meme.


Step 1: Put your MP3 player or whatever on random.
Step 2: Post the first line from the first 20 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song. If you get a song with no words, then skip to the next one.
Step 3: Post and let everyone you know guess what song and artist the lines come from (post a comment).
Step 4: Strike through when someone gets them right
Step 5: Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING

1) I'm not in love with television Generation X - Ready Steady Go the_axel
2) Fall into my arms my love and dream sweet sinful dreams see below.
3) Filling me up is this lust to lay down my cross All About Eve - Don't Follow Me / March Hare lady_ophelia4
4) I was just (track title) about an old friend I used to have see below
5) She was a ballerina on a subway train Skid Row - Big Guns lady_ophelia4
6) (track title) feeling flowing, don't give in you gotta keep goingThe Shamen - Hyperreal the_axel
7) And here's to you (track title) Simon and Garfunkel - Mrs Robinson 50_ft_queenie
8) Welcome to the world of dreams see below
9) I've been a (track title) for many a year The Dubliners - Wild Rover 50_ft_queenie
10) (track title, track title) you are my main man T-Rex - Telegram Sam50_ft_queenie
11) Well I saw the thing coming out of the sky Sheb Wooley - Purple People Eater vixmonsta
12) Nothin' for us in Belfast, The Pound so old it's a pity. Stiff Little FIngers - Alternative Ulster lady_ophelia4
13) Pity the poet who suffers to give see below
14) In the beginning there was sinning and in the end, well, let's pretend Christian Death - Church of No Return greylock
15) They're gathered in circles, the lamps light their faces see below
16) I think I cracked my skull on the way down see below
17) I ran from the tide, won't let you hide, won't let you hide
18) Befell so is the comessing of May The Mediæval Bæbes - Undrentide lady_ophelia4
19) You take me here from far The Jesus and Mary Chain - Almost Gold50_ft_queenie
20) It's 8:55 and there's no-one left alive see below

*I* had to google 14 as, despite it being a goth classic, I had no idea what the first line was and it's mumbled terribly.

ANSWERS (The ones that weren't got by 2008-05-08)
2) Fall into my arms my love and dream sweet sinful dreams
Incubus Succubus - Vampyre Kiss - quite an early track of theirs, hence the original spelling of the band name

4) I was just (track title) about an old friend I used to have
Lightnin' Hopkins - Sittin' Down Thinkin' - not Hopkins' best track, but a nice piece of blue nonetheless

8) Welcome to the world of dreams
:Wumpscut: - Soylent Green - how did nobody get this? I must admit to a mistake here, it's actually "worlds".

13) Pity the poet who suffers to give
Mellow Candle - The Poet and the Witch - A Late 60s / Early 70s folk rock outfit that produced some really beautiful tunes (maaan).

15) They're gathered in circles, the lamps light their faces
Loreena McKennitt – Marrakesh Night Market - On the subject of beautiful tunes (maaan) this is another, although distinctly more New Age than #13

16) I think I cracked my skull on the way down
The Beta Band - Assessment - Not a great favourite of mine, but quite passable modern indie.

17) I ran from the tide, won't let you hide, won't let you hide
Kasabian - Processed Beats - How in the name of all that is unholy did nobody get this? It was all over alternative radio for months! I really like it too, which is distinctly unusual for popular music.

20) It's 8:55 and there's no-one left alive
Curve - The Birds They Do Fly - one of the late offerings from Curve which weren't always reliable, but this track is fabulous, I thoroughly recommend it.

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India Diaries: Kerala 02 Feb 2008

2008-Apr-9th, | 07:42 pm
location: 9.790264 76.330605 (Kerala Backwaters somewhere)

This is the eleventh post in the serialisation of my SO's diaries from India. See the first post for details. You can view the entire series by using the India tag.

Blimey, I am getting through these. Perhaps I should go and sand something instead :) Only a handful to go now.

Kerala Backwaters 02 Feb
It's all under hereCollapse )

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India Diaries: Kerela Backwaters 01 Feb 2008

2008-Apr-8th, | 10:54 pm
location: Alappuzha Railway Station, Kerala, India

This is the tenth post in the serialisation of my SO's diaries from India. See the first post for details. You can view the entire series by using the India tag.

Hmm. 9:38pm. Better start typing faster.

Kerala Backwaters 01 Feb 2008
It's all under hereCollapse )

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India Diaries: Mumbai 30 Jan 2008

2008-Apr-8th, | 09:33 pm
location: Hotel Arya Niwas, Pink City, Jaipur, Jaipur, Rajasthan, Indi

This is the ninth post in the serialisation of my SO's diaries from India. See the first post for details. You can view the entire series by using the India tag.

It's been a while. Life has got stupidly busy again, but it's 8:15, I have a beer and nothing else to do for two hours so we'll see how far I get.

Mumbai 30th Jan
It's all under hereCollapse )

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India Diaries: Jaipur 28 Jan 2008

2008-Mar-18th, | 07:50 pm
location: Ranthambore, India

This is the eighth post in the serialisation of my SO's diaries from India. See the first post for details. You can view the entire series by using the India tag.

Tuesday! We're gaining ground again.

Jaipur 28th Jan 2008

It's all under hereCollapse )

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India Diaries: Agra 25 Jan 2008

2008-Mar-12th, | 07:21 pm
location: Fatehpur Sikri, India

This is the sixth post in the serialisation of my SO's diaries from India. See the first post for details. You can view the entire series by using the India tag.

Back to Wednesday. I have a good excuse. I've been penning other things.

Agra 25th Jan 2008

It's all under hereCollapse )

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India Diaries: Varanasi 23 /24 Jan 2008

2008-Mar-6th, | 07:35 pm
location: Sindhia Ghat, varanasi, india

This is the fifth post in the serialisation of my SO's diaries from India. See the first post for details. You can view the entire series by using the India tag.

Two in two days? It's a cheat, I wrote this one up last night!

(Varanasi 23rd Jan 2008)
It's a long one...Collapse )

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India Diaries: Agra 22 Jan 2008

2008-Mar-5th, | 07:59 pm
location: Taj Mahal, Agra, India

This is the fourth post in the serialisation of my SO's diaries from India. See the first post for details. You can view the entire series by using the India tag.

It's Wednesday again this week. This day is short so I've got the next written up too, which I'll try to post tomorrow. Things are starting to thin out slightly. I still seem to be chasing my tail, though.

Agra 22nd Jan 2008

The thing that many people don't appreciate about a large land mass is that no matter how hot it is during the day, it can get very cold at night. India is far from the worst, but at 6am it was close to freezing. This was unfortunate as 6am was the time we had decided to rise, so that we could see the most spectacular mausoleum in the world at sunrise. One of the best things about the Hotel Sheela is that it's only a stone's throw from the monument. So we put on every piece of clothing we had brought and headed to the gate in the cold and dark.

Security was (unsurprisingly) the tightest we've seen so far. We'd already been warned to empty pockets of all non-essentials and take only camera, ID and cash. Given this, metal detectors, frisk searches and military style guards were not unanticipated. What was unanticipated was that Bill would clonk one of said guards about the head with his camera. A few heartstopping moments followed as Bill apologised profusely and, realising it was an accident, the guard merely shook his head and said "no problem".

Once in the compound it was time to hunt the Taj Mahal. Although still dark the sun was beginning to make an impression and the vaguest of outlines was visible when we went through to the main courtyard. There then followed the surreal experience of watching the Taj Mahal reveal itself as the light steadily grew. The moment itself is so large and so well formed that it looks like it's been painted onto the horizon. We then gained a not-a-guide who'd spotted George's rather impressive Nikon and wanted to help us take better photos. He did know what he was talking about, so we gave him a few rupees and then made our own way around.

As the light improved so did the view of the Taj and the fact that it is an incredibly beautiful building. We spent two hours wandering around it, the surrounding buildings and gardens staring in wonderment.

The only disappointing thing was the weather. It was a cold grey morning, so we didn't get to see it in its best light. Just as we were about to leave the sun briefly appeared from behind the clouds, so we rushed back into the main courtyard and tried to get a good look while the sun lasted.

We spent the remainder of the morning drinking tea having breakfast (great egg curry again) and packing up our things. It was a lazy but cold morning so we took it easy before lunch and heading out for the afternoon. Our rickshaws from yesterday were waiting for us (they're quite happy to agree to wait for long periods because the tourist trade is so lucrative for them, and so (comparatively) cheap for us). They also get commission from certain shops, so if you want to drop the fare, allow them to take you to a shop, but don't buy anything there as they will simply add the driver's commission to the price.

Agra Fort was where we were ultimately heading and it's an impressive place. It is a massive sandstone structure situated on the banks of the Yamma river and is so big that we only managed to see about a quarter of it. THe buildings are a combination of fortified structure and palace dwellings. Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor who built the Taj Mahal for his wife Mumtaz, lived there, adapted it and was later imprisoned there by his grandson. It is possible to see the Taj Mahal down the river from the fort and whether it was comforting or tortuous for him to him is unknown.

Amongst the beautiful buildings of the fort is a private mosque, built for the harem. It is one of the smallest Mosques we've seen, but one of the most impressive. It is built from marble very similar to that of the Taj Mahal.
Our train was in the evening, so we headed out to the Only restaurant for an early meal - that's a restaurant called "Only", there are plenty of restaurants, just very few that are safe to eat at. The food was a tenth of the price of the Oberoi that we had eaten at the night before and better to boot! Bill tried to explain this to the waiter, we think eventually he got the message when he broke out into a broad smile and said "I tell the chef!".

After dinner we took the 21:20 sleeper train from Agra Fort Station to Varanasi...

People always say that you have to visit the Taj Mahal to appreciate it's true majesty. I wouldn't necessarily agree. It is an amazingly beautiful building and the grounds in which it is set are spectacular too, but you know that. You can imagine that. Seeing it merely confirms the image in your head. Althought the Taj Mahal merely met my expectations rather than exceeding them, the mere fact that it did so when it is so hyped says all that needs to be said about it, I think.

A few photos can be found in the gallery.

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India Diaries: Agra 21 Jan 2008

2008-Feb-27th, | 07:05 pm
location: Taj Mahal, Agra, India

This is the third post in the serialisation of my SO's diaries from India. See the first post for details. You can view the entire series by using the India tag.

It's Wednesday this week - we've gained a day! It seems like time is just slipping through my hand at the moment. It will all calm down. Eventually.

Agra 21st Jan 2008

I'm sat in bed after a very long day and a world away apart from Delhi yesterday. We left the comfort of the Oberoi Maidens early and arrived at the train station with plenty of time to spare. Luckily the train station wasn't Delhi busiest, so we were given a more gentle introduction to India's railways than we otherwise might. Our seats were in AC2, that's air conditioned 2 and, to be fair, were not as basic as we had expected. Bill took some photos (which unfortunately turned out crap). The carriages had an off-centre corridor through them, to one side were pairs of seats, to the other booths containing 4 numbers, but enough bench seating for 6 if not 8. The benches themselves were well padded and covered in vinyl, which wasn't too bad in winter with the air-con. I can't imagine what it would be like in monsoon season without.

After 3 hours on the train we arrived at Argra station and the chaos started. There were taxi drivers and touts hassling us right from the word go, trying to get in amongst the group of us to talk to individual people. Fortunately the hotel had given us very clear instructions to the auto-rickshaw stand. This duly found the throng of taxi people suddenly vanished and were replaced with a throng of rickshaw people. Somehow we managed to get fares for 3 rickshaws negotiated at 50rps each, which was what the hotel had said. We loaded up and set off.

Now, we had been under the impression that Delhi traffic was particularly chaotic. Agra is far worse. Maybe, because we were in rickshaws, we just felt more exposed, but it really did feel like we were on a fairground ride. After darting through some not-so-nice areas we arrived at the edge of the motor vehicle exclusion zone around the Taj Mahal, as the hotel was inside the rest of the journey would have to be completed on foot, through the throng of tat-hawkers. Fortunately it wasn't far and we were quickly out of the street in the grounds of the Hotel Sheela at the East Gate of the Taj Mahal. Compared to the Oberoi, the Sheela is distinctly a budget affair, but it has its charms. The place is arranged a bit like a stable, with rooms opening directly onto a courtyard. It's all pretty basic stuff, but it's clean and the bed is comfortable. It's a proper back-packer's hotel, with a wide range of people from many different nationalities all sporting back-packs and a comfortably relaxed manner.

There is a beautiful garden just away from the main accommodation block and next to it is the (open air) restaurant - apparently the only safe place to eat. This area was the scene of one of India's most cynical scams. Some time after eating at a restaurant, you'd be taken ill. You'd then call a taxi to take you to the hospital, it would take you to a private doctor's surgery. Of course, the restaurant had drugged / poisoned you and the doctor was going to be of no help. He'd either continue to drug / poison you or keep you heavily sedated for a few days whilst making fictitious and highly lucrative claims on your health insurance. The scam was busted years ago but it still doesn't give you confidence about eating somewhere that could have been involved.

So we had lunch at the hotel, I had an excellent egg curry before we set off to haggle with some rickshaw drivers about transit to Jama Masjid Mosque (which turned out to be very like the one we saw in Delhi, only in a poorer state of repair and smaller) and the bazaar nearby. It was very odd being the only Caucasian people there, we felt like magnatesmagnets for every hawker, seller and pickpocket in the entire neighborhood. Hermione bought some bangles and we made our way to some more tourist oriented shops nearby where we picked up a silk painting.

By now it was heading for dinner time so we consulted the guide books, trying to find anywhere for an evening meal (the hotel was nice, but it could get monotonous really quickly). It recommended only eating in the restaurants of posh hotels. Just up the road from us was the local Agra Oberoi, so we decided to blag our way in there. The entrance to the hotel is a grand affair with flaming torches in the approach road and a huge courtyard filled with fountains before the main entrance. Apparently it's supposed to look like a Mogul Palace. The food was expensive and disappointing, but the place was quite spectacular and drinking /eating there was quite an experience.

All in all today has been a day of contrast. We have seen the contradictions of India with sheer opulence next door to abject poverty. It is not every day, either, that you sit in a motor-rickshaw with horns blaring everywhere, overtaking a herd of cows.

Unfortunately there are no good photos to accompany this day.

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'Cos You Don't Scare Me At All

2008-Feb-24th, | 10:00 am

A rather excellent day of (6 nations) rugby yesterday.

Wales looked pretty ordinary in the first half against Italy, indeed it was good to see the Italians break out and play some expansive and entertaining rugby. The second half was a different mater though and Wales team brought home the bacon in a thoroughly encouraging manner.

I still think that this Scotland team has potential and indeed that can be seen in flashes, but unfortunately Ireland finally seem to have got it together and a solid team performance beats a few flashes of brilliance in rugby (almost) every time.

Now, England... they've been playing like numpties recently, they go to the Stade De France where it's notoriously difficult to win, have a half functioning lineout, let the French over for a soft try despite having massive ascendancy in the forwards... and still win convincingly! Happy me! It's also great to see so much new young talent in the team, playing well. That's encouraging for the future.

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India Diaries: Delhi 20 Jan 2008

2008-Feb-20th, | 07:18 pm

This is the second post in the serialisation of my SO's diaries from India. See the first post for details. You can view the entire series by using the India tag.

Apologies, BTW, for the tardiness of this second post, I've been comedy busy since coming back. Hopefully this will all calm down soon and I'll be able to post an entry every couple of days, otherwise we'll be here 'til the summer!
Content cut for lengthCollapse )

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India Diaries: Delhi 19 Jan 2008

2008-Feb-14th, | 07:13 pm

This is the first post in a serialisation of a diary written by my SO whilst we were traveling around India in late January and early February 2008. The original diary is a very personal affair, so there has been a substantial amount of editing to make it more appropriate for third party reading.

All in all there were 6 people on the trip, their names have been changed to protect the guilty, although people who know us in person will soon figure out who's who.

The Cast...

Ron - a colleague and friend of mine for several years, Ron is highly intelligent, straight-talking, direct, and fully conversant with his inner child.

Hermoine - friendly and outgoing, yet with strong determination and the knack of getting what needs to be done, done, Hermoine is the long term (as in 20 years) girlfriend of Ron. Along with Fleur, she was responsible for much of the logistics and planning of the trip.

Fred - Quick-witted and jovial, Fred is the English gentleman, fond of the niceties of life but not afraid to muck in where there's work to be done.

George - more introspective than the rest of the group, George's insight and sense of humour always provide food for thought.

Fleur - the primary author of the diary and co-organiser of the trip (with Hermoine), Fleur is the long suffering wife of Bill. Academically gifted and fiercely open-minded, Fleur is one of the more adventurous members of the group, although she often disguises this well.

Bill - husband of Fleur and editor of the diary, Bill is, well, me.

Delhi 19 Jan 2008

Well I have finally arrived in India after at least 15 years of wanting to visit here. On first impressions, it's everything I was hoping it would be and more. I'm exhausted from the overnight flight but wanted to get my initial thoughts on paper before going to sleep.

The journey from the airport to the hotel was an experience in itself. It felt like being in a TV documentary about the chaos of Delhi. The driver barely said a work to us (his English may not have been very good) but he successfully navigated the mayhem that is Delhi to get us here.

The Delhi traffic is astounding - wing mirrors are folded in to get those extra few inches of clearance that's the difference between your car fitting in a gap and not; they really do drive that close. It seems also that a driver is only expected to pay attention to what is in front of him, the horns of the vehicles behind are used to tell him where they are. Overtaking can happen on either side, the normal procedure being to move to the side and then sound the horn to notify the driver of your presence, then attempt to drive past and hope that he doesn't do something careless.

There are three lane roads that are six abreast with motorcycles and rickshaws filtering past the traffic by using the pavement (sidewalk). I swear our driver never once looked right when approaching a roundabout, the entire journey seemed to be an act of faith.

The buildings on the route were a complete mish-mash of ramshackle sheds to opulent supermarkets, there was an entire street comprising of nothing but buildings selling tyres. Eventually the chaos died down and we entered a quieter, more residential area where our hotel proved to be.

We are staying at the Oberoi Maidens, an amazing old colonial building with outstanding service. Whilst we waited to be checked in we were served tea, samosas and pakoras on the garden terrace. The food was delicious; the first thing you notice about Indian cuisine in India is how much clearer and cleaner the spices taste, they have a real zing to them. When we returned to the reception desk we discovered that they had upgraded us to suites. Bill and I have one of the bridal rooms, we have a large sitting room, a second sitting / relaxation area within the bedroom (which is massive), a walk-in wardrobe and a bathroom with separate shower and bath cubicles. The rest of India has a lot to live up to...

There are a couple of pictures here. I'll upload more as I get them sorted out.

Don't worry, although we started the trip by staying in some of the best rooms in one of the best hotels in Delhi, the next hotel was strictly in the "budget" category. Stay tuned for the next thrilling installment...

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It's Good to Be Back Home...

2008-Feb-10th, | 03:48 pm

Well, yes, I am. Back in the old familiar study with the old familiar keyboard. For some reason craving fish and chips and warm beer :)

India was very, very special, I feel extremely privileged to have been able to spend the past three weeks traveling within it and gaining just a little understanding of the country and its people.

Mrs Sinibar kept a diary of our little adventure and has kindly said that she wouldn't mind if I serialised it here (with some editing). This I am intending to do.

There is also a host of photos. We'll be pooling them with the other people on the trip so I will post a selection of the best when we are in possession of all.

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(no subject)

2008-Jan-29th, | 06:36 pm

If you ever want to become coniderably more aware of your own mortality, I strongly recommed an auto-rickshaw ride through any major Indian city. It somewhat like a cross beteen a rollercoaster and dodgems, only considerably more dangerous than either.

Apologies for the lack of updates, but reliable Internet access in India is not quite as easy to get as I had been led to believe and I can't seem to get through to do voice posts any more.

We're now encamped in Jaipur, having come from Agra via Varanasi. Have seen Agra Fort, the Taj Mahal (at dawn), the ghats on the Gangees, the yellow fort, monkey temple and much, much more. Having an absolutely marvellous time. Now heaading down South where Internet access is likely to be even more sporadic, so again, don't worry if it's a while between updates.

Toodle-pip for now...

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Voice Post:

2008-Jan-19th, | 01:09 pm

91K 0:28
“Hello! We're in Delhi and we're going to be in India for the next 3 weeks on holiday. The hotel here is marvelous, but yes we'll try and update when we can. But this is India so that may not be very often and don't, don't get too worried if we don't update. For those of you who do know we're in India, we've arrived safely. That's it. Message ends.”

Transcribed by: sinibar

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I'm Taking my Thoughts to the Railway Station

2008-Jan-2nd, | 01:30 pm
mood: busybusy
music: Donna Summer - Hot Stuff

I yoinked this privilege meme from oddlystrange. According to it I are scum. I think some of this may be down to a loss in translation between US and UK language / culture, but it's still an interesting list to look at. I've annotated it in italics.

Privilege Meme

Bold the ones that are true for you.

The list is based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill,Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. The exercise developers ask that if you participation this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright.

Father went to college
Father finished college
Mother went to college
Mother finished college
Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor (US professor = UK lecturer)
Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
not at once, but there was a hell of a throughput
Were read children's books by a parent Occasionally. Mostly I read for myself.
Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18 (outside school, like ballet, horse riding, musical instruments)
Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18 (this is actually illegal in the UK)
Your parents paid for the majority of your college costs none, I paid for myself
Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
Went to a private high school
Went to summer camp (we don't really have them in the UK)
Had a private tutor before you turned 18
Family vacations involved staying at hotels No, we stayed in B&Bs
Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them They didn't buy me car at all
There was original art in your house when you were a child
Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
You and your family lived in a single family house
Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
You had your own room as a child
Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
Had your own TV in your room in High School
Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
Went on a cruise with your family
Went on more than one cruise with your family
Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up not specifically, but if there was one there...
You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

Other than that I've been busy busy busy working on the hallway. I shall post photos when I'm done, but don't hold your breath. There's still a long way to go.

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