Thursday, July 19, 2007

Nope, I don't like it

My natural state, I've decided, is paranoia.

I dislike Fbook, so don't be surprised if I don't play the game and "zombie bite" you back... what cra9 is that anyway!?

I'm almost thinking of closing down my account. Even if I don't I'll be buggered if I'm going to invite anyone to join my friends. Although paradoxically that would make me look unpopular. I have had friends ask me who certain people are who've asked them to be friends... thats how little you have to know someone.

So, the number of my friends is up to 15 or 16 or something meaning I have less friends than most people I know ... except that woman who I'm not replying to who only has three - freak.

How many people would feel insecure with less friends than someone else. Or as an acquaintance of mine who works with certain "famous people" said - "look at all the famous people I'm linked too!" yeh, yeh, yeh, you're still boring, and a lazy self centered slob no matter how many 'popular' people you know.

And FYI, people do check the site for people who they are going to employ. I've worked with people who have and do. I know several people who will not go drinking with new work colleagues for the first few weeks for solely that reason. If they do that then why would they invite them to see unsolicited phots of them on a website?

One of the things I hate about it is that I have no control over who tags pictures of me on their FB. I hate photos of myself but more importantly why would I want an actual photo linked to me when I have no control over the thing.

Lastly, you can put your credit card details in there! Your address, date of birth, sexual orientation, a tag saying "if you want to rip me off, steal my identity and f me over - here's all my details brother". Yeah, it's all harmless my ass!

I never fully appreciated how invasive the site can be, with or without my input when I signed up. I'm still thinking about giving up this blog - mainly because I still haven't decided what to do with it. So don't be surprised if one day it disappears and all that's left is amusing photos of highland coos getting personal.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.

BTW, the cows photo was taken on my Easter trip to Scotland. Damn good trip that was too. I'll have to tell you about it sometime.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I think I'm an Old Man

Reason I say this is because I just signed up to Facebook.

Facebook - you know the one, the "social networking" website. Why? Because I received the critical mass of 3 invites so now I can avoid the whole social stigma of "no mates". This is important to me because of my slacker attitude to updating these types of things. Just need to look at this blog to know how sporadic I am when it comes to technology.

So I signed up to facebook because of my mate KC from uni "poked" me - yeah, not going into the whole connotations associated with that am I...? So lets follow some potential difficult decisions scenarios
  • Embarrassing photos of me appear that haven't gone through the strict censorship process that I apply anywhere (I've already noticed this has happened to me)
  • I don't have as many friends as other people
  • Even more important, I don't have enough good looking friends (okay so its not going to happen with my friends, but it could happen)
  • Where do I post photos ... my blog... facebook... my travel blog... another photo site...?
  • People who are friends of mine log on to a friends profile, see me as a friend of a friend and therefore instantly feel aggrieved that I haven't invited them to become my friend.
  • An ex girlfriend finds me thru a common friend and asks to become my friend ... okay so the majority of my ex's aren't crazy but...
  • More importantly, a crazy friend of an ex girlfriend writes crazy stuff on the wall of an ex's facebook about me...

Okay, it's important to remember that this is all "made up" situations...

On a different note. K and I now have Google diaries, hence putting more power into Goggles hands. People talk about Microsoft and censorship, but Google (bless their good natured hearts) have admitted to saving all your search histories (including embarrassing medical conditions, porn, sects, political party's, religions ...), all your blog entries, probably credit card details ... and will actively use this to build a profile to better aid your "web searching". Is this scary?

So now all my holidays and stuff are on my Google diary. They now know when I'm on holiday, where exactly I'll be and what I'll be doing (not even my closest friends or family know this). Not that this bothers me because I'm not paranoid (still doesn't mean they're not after me), because it has helped dramatically in letting us organise our personal lives. This is important because by this weekend it'll be close to two weeks since we saw each other and we need to know what each other has on to determine the best time to spend that fleeting three minutes a week together.

Back to the real point of this blog, what I think my real problem is is this.

There are so many technologies and websites out there and I have no idea what I belong to, where my details are, what has been written about me, or anything. For example, I know I belong to WAYN, couch surfing, Facebook, Travelpod, blogger, my camera apparently has a website, I recall signing up to various other websites, and at least one of my ex's signed me up to a million others. I have several loyalty scheme, frequent flier clubs, ticket sale places, online shops... I don't even know what websites hold my credit card number, I've bought at so many places.

Yeah, I have a folder in my hotmail account that "manages" this, but even then, I think I need a web management policy. After my credit card and cash card were cloned last month (3 days apart) I have become even more paranoid than before, because I know that I never use them in the same place EVER to avoid such incidences! So when are they ever together... my wallet and my flat - they're not even from the same bank. Have I missed something or is it just a coincidence?

When I write a blog, or sign up to a website like Facebook - where do my details really go? How at risk of bad things happening am I? More importantly, what are those bad things that can happen?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New York, New York

I thought I might write a little something here about my trip to New York a month ago.
So yeah, I went to NY with K for the first bank holiday and had a blumin good time. Within 24 hours of arriving there I had years and years of built up preconceptions falling around me. I don't think it's too much of a secret that I generally disliked the US due to issues with the current president, working for an American company, gross generalisations from the media, Americans I would meet on my travels, and other information sources. Its always good to have a "bad guy" somewhere, and for me America was it. K on the other hand loves NY and the other couple of cities she's been to there so I felt it necessary, and timely (I've travelled well over 40-50 countries now) to actually visit.

Within 24 hours I'd decided that I could live in NY and in fact liked it more than London. The reasons, strangely, didn't come down to the extremely favourable exchange rate but more

  1. The friendly hotel people.
  2. The complete stranger who said "bless you" to K when she sneezed on the street.
  3. The Jewish guy who took us on a walking tour around Grand Central, who against all my previous preconceptions of American humour seemed to know how to take the pess out of his city (something I thought was distinctly English and which Americans didn't understand) without demeaning himself or his city.
  4. The sports pages - its been a while since I read an unbiased analysis that gives a fair picture of the strengths and weaknesses of a match or a competition. The English press are far too one sided and negative. Admittedly here I was won over by the Americas Cup analysis that gave big ups to the South African Team and gave credit to the quality of the (comparatively) "underfunded" NZ team.
  5. The buildings, Central Park (okay its sculptured, but it has a nicer feel than the very stark London Parks), the very distinctive districts with their mix of shops and people.

  6. The shopping - I bought the most items in one 12 hour shopping spree than I had ever done before - jackets, shirts, trousers, shoes, accessories ... the list goes on.

So basically what I'm saying is that if the US is NY then I could comfortably live there. I'm not naive enough to think that it is, but I am definitely more willing to give it a go. The only thing that worries me now is that I might have become the perfect consumer that is personified, strangely, by the city I now like and the country in which it resides.

As for the other things - the "tourist" things ...

We stayed in Times Square at a hotel called Night. A modern goth hotel - K's surprise - which whilst it isn't what we both thought it would be was absolutely amazing and the staff were really friendly and accommodating. Comes high on my recommendation list.

Did the whole Statue of Liberty thing. Learnt that the best time to go is not first thing in the morning as everyone seems to get that idea. When we got back from the statue there were no queues! Damn. Also security was shocking, especially if you're going into the statue where they do the whole anti bomb treatment. Still it's worth doing once, but make sure you do it well so you don't feel the need to go back!

Visited Ground Zero... felt oddly disjoint from it even though I remember vividly the day they fell. The pictures on the wall were moving, but apart from a massive hole in the ground there wasn't much there.

Central Park... good

The M&M shop ... damn, three floors of M&Ms!!!!

Oh, and my favorite piece - having a donut in a donut shop, looking up and seeing a cop eating a donut with a cup of coffee just prior to being joined by his mates. Okay, so I didn't see the Knicks play, but this was damn close in terms of things to do in NY.

New York has broken my American continent drought and opened up a whole new world of travel. It scares me as I haven't finished with Africa or Europe (East or West), so what is a man to do? Where do I move next? Where's my next holiday?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I had a thought today

If Noah had lived today he probably would've been sent to jail before he had time to set sail. I mean imagine getting all those animals into that cramped boat!

Imagine the animal rights activists!

Noah got lucky.

I thought about this because of the news story about the people who are rebuilding the ark on Mt Ararat the mountain where the ark was meant to have landed after the water went down.

Good luck fella's I reckon Greenpeace, the RSPCA, WWF (not the wrestlers the other ones), and the Peoples Front for the Liberation of Cute Furry Animals (PFLOCFA) find out. Oh yeah, there be trouble.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Another Rant so soon

So yeah, I was going to go into another rant, this time complaining about certain countries, certain border guards, certain embassies but then I thought to myself - No! So I went and updated ... okay started, a "I have friends blog" reference thingy. Interestingly I found two new friends :)

This is one step to the official release of my blog.

Yep, and you know that when I do release it there will be a party right here! Admittedly the five people I know already know of it's existence so there really is no release - only K doesn't know, and she's interested about all the things I write about her. Which obviously I don't. So I'm going to start.

Back to my original point.

K had a conference in Budapest this week, she was meant to fly back tonight, but she lost her passport. Not that I judge people, that's for my more learned friends, but I reckon it was stolen. She argued with the border people to let her take her chances with the English border people but they said she had to stay - why because apparently they like illegal people in Hungary. In the UK they'd lock you up give you a massive dole, free accommodation and employ you as a plumber even if you don't have a qualification or speak the language. But not in Hungary, no way , they let you walk the street and freeze.

Anyway this brings back memories of a certain friends birthday.

Budapest two years ago, I fly to Budapest for my friend Nats birthday. Shes a saffa so she gets visa problems sometimes, but she thought she had the right visa. Turns out she didn't. Anyway, my memory of that weekend was communicating to her through the passport control, past the rather large Hungarian border control chappies, calling her boy on the phone while he was drinking in town with the locals (he got in early) and generally feeling hopeless. Why is it that someone you know can speak English refuses to when you have an important conversation to conduct. Suffice to say she got locked in an airport room all night with no water or toilet or bed and had to catch the next flight out in the morning. Nice.

Yep, if you know me then don't go to Budapest cos it seems everyone I know gets trapped by those border people.

Anyway, tomorrow is the one night a week I should be seeing K as she tends to travel a lot with work. Seems like tomorrow night is destroyed as she isn't expected back in the UK until Friday at the earliest. I am now happy I didn't manage to get decent seats for Avenue Q.

Oh, and the Romanian conversation will come later - probably when the ABs play Romania in the world cup. I'm looking forward to that grudge match!

Okay, this really is me. Seems I've been ranting everywhere today - even at work. No, don't get me started.

BTW, anyone done that whole Google or Yahoo calender thing. It ain't too bad. Get one cos its alright - that's how K and I are going to manage our relationship. Sad I know, but believe me its necessary.

News Rant

There are a couple of things in the news at the moment that really annoy me.

1. Prince Harry is not allowed to go to Iraq because its too dangerous and they've threatened him!

Okay people, its war, people kill each other, people get threatened. He's a Prince to be sure, but for f's sake, isn't a Prince/King meant to lead his nation by example, inspire the men etc etc? And what say William Wallace (gotta love Braveheart) stayed at home because he got told by his mother (okay his mother was dead but use your imagination people) that he shouldn't fight for freedom because those meanie English people were threatening him and he might get killed? Exactly he wouldn't, he'd fight!

My question now, apart from the obvious should we really be in Iraq is, what the hell is the point of the royalty apart from getting me a long term visa to the UK where I can abuse their services, take their high paying jobs, export their money, steal their women...?

2. Okay, lets stay on the political theme. Gorden Brown for Prime Minister - God save the corgis (Not the Queen, King or Princes because they'll never get close enough to death to be threatened apart from maybe getting a paper cut, although that is probably too dangerous as there might be a secret threatening note written on the paper. At least the corgis have the possibility of getting injured hunting lame rats).

Okay ... Gordon is the English version of George. Yeah I don't know what his policies are, but then again I'm too scared to ask and really he bores me so I don't care. Everything I've heard about him or seen of him says he has the personality of a pig, he doesn't listen to peoples opinion, he is condescending, and generally has a bad manner. I can't really say much more because I just don't know what to say apart from - I don't like him! When I disagreed with Blair, at least he had personality.

3. That Madeleine girl ... who gives a f'k! Take it off the damn news!

Her parents should be shot FULL STOP, end of story. I couldn't give a shite if they don't find her, I don't care if David Beckham and every other "I want to be so fashionable" celebrity has gotten on the bandwagon to support the parents. If this opinion makes me heartless then so be it, I would rather someone had the balls to tell the parents they are going to be castrated for being so irresponsible. IT SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED IF THEY HAD BEEN RESPONSIBLE!

I would rather Harry show some balls and tell his superiors that his position is in the army fighting with his men in Iraq not watching while his subjects and his men kill themselves in a pointless war. Act like a f'n Prince! You say you want to go - GO! LEAD! What use are you otherwise?

I will be voting against Brown IF I actually learn what his policies are and I disagree. I might just do it anyway because I just don't like him.

4. Jose Mourinho - I love it!

Don't get me wrong, i dislike Chelsea in a way that can really only be understood by English football fans. I think given the opportunities he has been given Jose has done a crap job, but that just goes to show he really has no talent and that in the past he has been handed things on a plate. What I love about him is the terrier. Right on mate, save that cute little doggie. I'm starting a fund now to save the doggie from those cruel police people.

For all you news people out there - find more stories like Jose's. Please.

Its been a while since I've ranted. I liked it.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


I think summer is here.

On my way to work this week I passed the guy who lives just around the corner from me. I realised that this was the first time I'd seen him since last summer. I had remembered thinking at the end of summer last year that maybe he had moved permanently and so I was surprised to see him during the week.

I've been meaning to ask him if he has a winter place and if he only lives in my area of London during the summer, but this is me and I'm just not up for those types of questions in the morning. Thoughts often drift to other "more important" things in the morning.

So I've been wondering where he'd move to for winter. I've been thinking sunny places like Spain (I love Spain), or (since I was just there a few months ago) South Africa, or Morocco (always wanted to go there), Croatia, South of France... the list goes on.

I did snap out of it on Friday as I realised that that was just me thinking of places I'd like to live in for winter. Chances are he moved somewhere closer.

The guy I see is the homeless guy who lives under the A40 overpass. I guess that's why I feel uncomfortable talking to him - what do you say? On one level I feel sorry for him, on the other level I don't want to get involved. While I might ignore all those beggars out there who pester you for money my guy just lies under the bridge all day. At least he's there in the morning (and I get up early) and he's there when I stumble home from a drunken night out. He is the ONLY truly homeless person I "know" in London.

Its a dilemma and I want to solve it. Maybe he's just meant to be the visible part of my conscience that reminds me every day that I really am fortunate and that I need to do more to help others in that impersonal create a direct debit to your favourite charity sort of way.

Meanwhile I'm about to head off to the first BBQ of the season - it looks like it's going to be a scorcher today, and its about time I made a move to enjoy it. Moral dilemmas, as well as work, can wait until Monday.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

New Records

I've been unemployed since my return from Southern Africa.

Its been relatively unexciting being unemployed.

No money, limited social life, short term focus, limited ability to travel etc etc, the list goes on.

I don't recommend it.

It was with some excitement that I started a new contract last week. However by the end of the week that excitement had faded, and I ended up setting myself a few records on Friday.

  • Shortest ever job (aside from the DDS job which only one person really knows about) - five days
  • First time to be escorted off the premises of a company
  • Shortest time between finishing and starting a new job - one hour

So I started a new job at 4:20 Friday afternoon, an odd time to start to be sure but as it happens "normal" really didn't apply to all of my last week. This week will be better.

On another note, I heard on the TV that blogs are celebrating their 10th year of existence. I also hear that a lot of employers search the web for peoples names as a form of reference check to see what has been posted about them or by them.

To me this seems like a huge invasion of privacy.

I agree that if I'm dumb enough to write something incriminating on a website then I deserve to be caught. But what if its taken out of context? If someone doesn't like me and writes something bad about me then do I deserve to be incriminated?

Who determines the truth?

Truth be told, although I just finished my shortest ever job, it was still a job I could have liked. Problem was I got offered a better job that could well turn permanent. I'd be stupid to turn down an opportunity like that especially since I've stopped deluding myself that I'm going to leave London in the near future.

Truth be told, if I stay in the same industry then my name will be known by potential employers anyway, as over half the people I interviewed with in the industry seemed to know my old boss, and I have no doubt that soon that will apply to me too. Blogs are another way of people finding out about you, but a better way of destroying yourself is by being incompetent or stupid anywhere you have human interaction. I don't plan on being either.

So, the future looks bright, the summer is looking like a scorcher, I have a job, a roof over my head, cash in my pocket, a beautiful woman at my side and a world of opportunity on my door step. What can go wrong?