iBlog: February 2009


Tomorrow's blog today

Saturday, February 28, 2009

! نعم يمكننا€

That's Arabic for `Yes we can!`.

I'm reading the Audacity of Hope at the moment, and as something of a political-sceptic, I'm finding myself rather aroused by it all.

I don't ever remember bein this randy by '97 when New Labour spun it's funky thang*. That's probably a combination of me being a wee ten year old at the time and a sapient hindsight that sees through the spin. And so, with the smugness of this hindsight, I still don't remember swallowing the fruits of Alistair Campbell's electoral gaydar whole, and to my memory most of my family took the whole `Tony will make all our problems go away` mentality with a pinch of salt.

And so when Obamarama came about and is introduced to the wee UK by the media as `the black guy`, with the statutory `potential first black president` alluding to `new era` alluding to `new hope les in Obama`, out came the rocksalt for a good old three finger pinch.

But the more the campaign trail went on the more I softened to Obama. His addresses certainly seemed sincere and he carried himself with a certain nonchelant authority that's seldom seen by those vying for the premiership. By the time it was (an ultimately) three horse race between menopause woman wanting to live up to her husbands legacy, pensioner wanting to live the republican dream*** and Obama, I found myself quite vehemently rooting for Obama and, whether blinded by naivity or animated by the media hype, getting swept along with the `new hope` bandwagon.

By the time election came and race between St. Obama and Geriatric-John came to, I (as I suppose did most people I knew) couldn't really stomach a world where Obama wasn't the president of the most powerful nation. Kind of like the `cup final`: Spurs blatently won't win against Man United so the gn00bs that support Man U, in their pre-emptive celebrations won't imagine any other outcome than that which belies their happiness and revelry.

So a few months into the job and America's Big O' has done more good for the nation than Bush managed in a decade which means he's on his way to galvenising his legacy with his biggest proving ground - the trial by fire of making good on his manifesto.

In my tiny scepticle brain, words and actions are two different things and spin and attitude don't necessarily go hand in hand on the campaign trail, so I've waited til now to really look into Obama's ground breaking mentality and fresh air approach to politics. And so to `The Audacity of Hope` or ``Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream`` to call it by its happy subtitle.

The Audacity of Hope is a short bographical of the campaigns that took him to Senator in 2004, and the revelations that came from it. He makes no bones that his progressive liberal stance and Christian beliefs (in additition to his pro-choice views) might offend and makes it clear that at the end of the day, he's still a Democrat. Even the simple gesture of acknowledging this shows to me at least that this guy, in spite of his revolutionary momentum, is still a politician in a time of partisan politics.

But the liberalism he talks about directly relate to the bigger picture of what the American people want. I guess our direct (and disappointing) counterpart would be Dave Cameron who, it is safe to say pretty much gets told on Monday morning what the British electorate wants, then makes a speach about it on Tuesday afternoon and promptly forgets when Orange Wednesday comes around. But Obama's attitude certainly seems different to this. There's a freshness to the way he approaches these issues of the public.

Traditionaly the Republican party seem very much trying to squash the needs of the people into their own bolstered policies and broke welfare systems. For example, a not too old now bill was passed that bumped up massive taxes on prescription medicines to pay for the deficit that tax breaks for the wealthiest corproations now enjoy that was drafted and ratified by the Bush administration. The Obama attitude seems to be re-thinking the whole politic from the ground up: regurgetating the message heard at every election, but in a way that permiates the heart of Capitol Hill.

Another example comparing our two great and wise nations is the spending of federal/national funds to cushion the blow of the recession. Brown is pumping money into the black holes that are the trust funds of the banks which to me, is a bit like the crew of a sinking ship standing ono deck holding their hankies up to the wind to get the closer to shore rather than use them to stuff the holes in the keel. The Obama stance is more to do with securing what's important: the industry, the retail, the workforce and labour network, by driving money into the American car manufactering industry. By doing this the whole web of industries from the mining, import, logistics, manufacturing, designing, selling and ultimately purchasing of a car are kept afloat by real dollars and the cashflow that the economy depends on is sustained.

This isn't a primarily economic decision too, it's based on the will to keep Americans in jobs, paying mortgages instead of receiving state handouts. This tangental theme seems to be prevalent in his thinking, for example when talking about the hostile partisan politics of modern politics:
Quoting a conversation with an elderly Washington Hand... ``Back then anyone with any power in Washington had served in WWII. We might have fought like cats and dogs on issues. A lot of us came from different backgrounds, different neighbourhoods, different political philosophies. But with the war, we all had something in common. That shared experience developed a certain trust and respect. It helped us work through our differences and get things done``.

I've not yet finished the book but I'm inspired by it. After years of Bush... Well... Bushing it all up and before than Clinton sticking his cigars in the office property I'm excited by the future of the country, and with it the world. One can only hope the sincerity and zeal with which Obama is making his vision known filter feed to the rest of the world political scene. The bench mark has been set and the newly savvy electorate have thrown the gauntlet down to the party leaders in this country for them to inspire a flagging patritism and disillusioned country back to the lofty ideals that make democracy worth writing about...
``There was, and always has been another tradition to politics, a tradition that stretched from the days of the country's founding to the glory of the civil rights movement, a tradition based on the simple idea that we all have a stake in one another, and that which binds us together is greater than which drives us apart, and if enough people beleive in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done.``

* Incidently, you may wish to know `لا يمكن إلا أن الأمور تتحسن.`** is Arabic for `things can only get better`.

** Wow! if you type in arabic, because they read right to left the right keypad button tracks left and visa-versa. Ooooh. I feel like I understand much more of the chip on Al'Quaida's shoulder now. Maybe they'll be less frustrated and disolusioned with the West if someone nips into their BIOS settings and flips those two keys around?****

*** That's growing up in a rich family, doing a stint in 'nam and fitting in presidency before golf and eventually death and a cup of horlicks.

**** I'd be remiss if I didn't mention `death to the infa-Dell` somewhere...


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Working Unpaid overtime is like Pandas your parents having sex

... Even the thought of it makes you shudder but there was a time when it was necessary.

So after some long thinking, the unsurprising conclusion occured to me that when it comes to being a manager at where I work, my passion is 50% my will to succeed, 60% wanting a payrise and about -10% enthusiasm for the job, so I'll be closing the door on that line of work.

New management (whom shall remain nameless for the sake of my job) has been quoted as saying
``If you're not working at least 100% at least 100% of the time you can fuck off``
```short day` shouldn't enter your vocabulary``
(39 working week should be split into 4*8 hour days and a short 7 hour day).

This coupled with the continual blackmail of `work unpaid overtime or you'll be taken off your fast-track programme` doesn't inspire the average iBen.

The main comptetition to where I work have made the majority of their full time staff redundant and my employer seem to use that as the happy sword of damaclese in the manner of `work harder or it'll happen to you`.

So all in all, where I work is not a nice place to be at the moment, and so it is time for a change.

I've had the last week and 'arf off which has been good to get some headspace to find out what I want to do.

I went to the forum and the `learning shop`* (sigh) and went on a computer programme (like the 21st century post modern generation we are, I allowed my future to be decided for me by software) and clicked some brightly coloured buttons asking me whether I liked `working with children` or `do you enjoy following a set methodical process` and all that jazz. Anyhoo, the great PC thought long and hard and said I should be a naval architecht.

My naval always gets full of fluff so I don't want to let that spill into my working life so the next suggestion was I should be a quantity surveyor and there's no way I can work from not until retirement with `tity` in my job title so that went out of the window.

PC diligently kept suggesting things like `architechtural technician` which sounded interesting but on closer inspection turns out you need a degree to be a scivvy. Everything needs a degree, incidently. I might moan about that some more later perhaps.

Anyhoo, I thought I was being a bit ungrateful to poor old PC (it was working so hard, I'd never seen a WINDOWS 95 machine busy light so passionate about helping me find a job) so I decided to be an accountant.

Yup, the glorious, life changing adrenaleine rush that is adding receipts and calculating the VAT and adding that to a ledger and then adding up more receipts and calculating the VAT and adding that to a different ledger and if there's time, finding the sum total of some receipts working out the tax and putting that on one of these ledgers one reads so much about.

Definately the career for me. I love numbers, I'm not good enough with them to do anything worth while so I'll stick to the trused +*-/% calculator functions for the next half century.

I think I'll be happy there.

* something left wing and Labour funded full of `... liaison officers` and `employment facilitators` alluding to the same conclusions one can find through google and ringing City College but helps the government's image of progress and supporting the average joe on the street in a way that's cheaper than cutting NHS waiting times, putting more bobbies on the beat or reducing class sizes.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


This weekend was nice.

My big brother got married (to a woman, which closes the door on a lot of my 13 year old banter) in a big ole hotel in Wales which was nice. I was an usher but didn't get thanked in the groom's speech (though I thanked my ushers in mine, not that I'm sore or anything - no seriously it's okay, it's fine, don't worry about me).

Then after that he was all married 'n' that. And so was Rhian. And Blah remained married. Smugly.

Then I went mountain biking with my friend JD which was similarly immense, more mud, but I'm sure just as much adrenaline looking at my big brother at the altar front of the civil ceremony.

While doing this, my wife who is Laura went for a day out in Bath which is a place near Bristol which is a place on the Bristol Channel because this is where JD lives now and where Jane Austen used to live and she liked that. Then we all went out for dinner at a pub and I drank lots of coke (because I threw up the previous evening's ale that morning). And then we were walking home but I was alert and sobor and heard this from an underground trendy smoky jazz bar... wait, I'll get the link, hang on...

Dale Hambridge Trio Myspace

Which I has to say was some of the very very best live music it has ever been my pleasure to listen to. So we all sat in a corner booth with an overpriced bottle of chablis and mellowed into the music.

Then we came home and went to the gallery with the wife in Norwich Castle which was also nice.

Oh, and we hired a Yaris, which was a 1 litre in-line 3 cylinder which was the most disappointing thing ab00t the weekend but we didn't let that spoil our time for we are strong people.


So in summary:

Big brother isn't homo (not that I'd think any different)
Mountain biking with JD
La likes Bath
The exhibition about decorative arts in the castle
Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazz Club (remmeber that??)

6 pints of worthingtons

And don't forget, for YOUR chance to win a weekend for two in sunny Brixton, send your suggestions for what I should be doing with my life. Send answers the back of a postcard to Benquest, Livingstn St, Norwington, PO Box 1337. Don't forget to include your name, age, adress and a daytime contact telephone numbers. Winners are selected at random. All under 16s must be accompanied by an adult, and always ask permission from whoever pays the bill. Good luck!

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Luke Skywalkers's Old Man -> Jafar


Huge moment for me that can only be summed up in an emoticon


Let's re-cap this epic journey of pictoral mallet's mallet

Michael Jackson
Nigella Lawson
Lawrence Lllewgwens Bowens
Julio Iglesiers
Jack Nicholsons
Sir Alan Sweet 'n' Lo
Rory McGrath
Mick Hucknell
Luke Skywalker
Luke Skywalker's dad (artistic licence)

Swampy -> Luke Skywalker

Mick Hucknall -> Swampy

Friday, February 13, 2009

Rory McGrath - > Mick Hucknall

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sir Alan Sugarcube -> Rory Mcgrath

Things I actually REALLY do want to like (have tried) but, regrettably, just don't like

  1. Sting
  2. Wuthering Heights
  3. Sunny beaches (and the film Beaches with Bette Middler - disliked too much for its own entry here)
  4. The West Wing
  5. Biology
  6. Parsnips
  7. Weed
  8. The Message [translation]
  9. David Cameron
  10. Evangelical Extraversion
  11. Jarqouarn Phoenix
  12. France
  13. Y-fronts
  14. The xylaphone
  15. Motorola mobile phones
  16. Roast Chestnuts
  17. Motorbikes
  18. Painting
  19. Jospeh Hayden
  20. Aluminium cooking pots and pans
  21. ACDC
  22. Renaults/Citroens/Pergeuts (pattern?)
  23. The Observer
  24. Football
  25. Dogs
  26. Dad-in-law's taste in music
  27. My job at the moment
  28. Cubism
  29. Swimming
  30. Keeping my mouth shut
Things I haven't tried but think I would like given the appropriate opprtunity
  1. The Louvre (if the locals don't bother me)
  2. Aston Martin DB9
  3. Jayma Mays
  4. Duck a l'Orange
  5. Speaking Italian properly
  6. Toni and Guy Haircut
  7. Morocco
  8. Growing old together with La
  9. Children
  10. Paying off the wedding
That's a ratio of 3:1 that shows that the world is more empiricly disappointing than it is hopeful.

Sorry to put a dampner on your day.
Butt-on the plus side, it's not that bad - at least you probably didn't marry a rapist. (And if you did, then... well. Isn't much I can say to that really is there)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Jack Nicholson -> Sir Alan Sugar

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Julio Ingrasiers -> Jack Nicholsons

Monday, February 09, 2009

Lllweewllwen Bowens -> Julio Iglasias

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Nigella -> Llawrence Llewen Bowwen


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Dita Von Teese -> Nigella Lawson

Friday, February 06, 2009

Michael Jackson -> Dita Von Teese

Thursday, February 05, 2009

So La came up with Pictoral Mallet's Mallet

. We;ve thus far gone from Jafar to Prince.

Now Prince to Michael Jackson

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

What Blah did this evening,,,

We all did Tae Bo, except for me

We played darts with a rubber band. La won with 5 points to my zero :(

We moaned about Tesco delivering our shopping late

We booked a holiday to Scotland to see La's families

We watched aladin and decided that Jafar is the same person as Prince

Then we went to bed*.

So it is concluded that Blah does not need a tele licence.

* Not in that way!!!