Wednesday, 7 September 2011

2012 The Blog not the Film

First off let me apologise for taking soo long to post a new blog, I wish I could say that I have been incredibly busy doing incredibly important and worthwhile things but alas no. What I have had though was a complete and utter lack of any and all inspiration, the inside of my brain has, for the past month or so resembled a stereotypical old school western desert scene, complete with tumble weeds and the sounds of an old bell mournfully chiming in the distance (if you want to picture vultures circling hungrily overhead please feel free to do so). Anyway enough of that, lets move swiftly on to the topic of this months rant about deeply insightful and thought provoking commentary on  recent events that have been delighting, terrifying and inspiring the mind of Dave. Christmas this last year was the usual orgy of turkey and family rows seasoned with having to work a night shift on Christmas night the combination of which conspired to make me feel about as full of Christmas cheer as the Grinch sitting on ant hill in the middle of a rainstorm. Still as no limbs were lost I can conclude that this past Christmas was probably one of the better ones especially as I didn't receive any socks or comedy festive woolly jumpers.
As for this  new years eve I decided to forgo the usual drunken debauchery in favour of a nice curry and some decent films and at the stroke of midnight I made my traditional new years resolution to not make a new years resolution I quickly realised however that by making such a resolution I had already broken the afore mentioned resolution that I was not going to make in the first place. however despite my miserable resolution making skills I was able the next morning to take solace in the fact that I was the only non hung over human being in the western hemisphere.
So a new year and 2012 no less seeing as the Mayans/Internet conspiracy theorists/crazy cat ladies have predicted that the world will end this coming December. I have decided to take up photography as a hobby which should ensure that I capture some cool photo's come Armageddon, not that anyone will be around to view them mind bet hey ho, one cant have everything. I have spent the past few months researching camera's and trying to learn some of the terminology and functions of my chosen camera to make sure that I bought one that would engage me as a rank armature and yet would still offer up a wealth of new possibilities once my abilities and confidence grows. I finely settled on a Canon eos 600D after reading all the rave reviews it had received on review sites and from reading testimonies from 600D owners. Happy that I had selected the camera that was right for me I merrily and eagerly skipped along to my local camera vendor to make my purchase and that's when things went a little downhill.
Upon attracting the attention of a till jockey and explaining which product I wished to purchase the conversation went a little like this
Shop keep: so why did you want to purchase this particular model sir?
Me: I like the twiddly thing on the back
shop keep: um.... OK what type of thing are you looking to shoot with the camera?
Me: pictures
Shop keep........yes...indeed sir but what kind of photo's are you looking to take?
Me: Nice ones.
By this point I was sweating profusely and was mentally praying to Thor to come smite me off of the face of the earth. Every single thing I had read about photography and all the studying I had done around the model of camera I was to purchase had completely disappeared from my mind I swiftly concluded my purchase and left the shop as quickly as I humanly could.

Well that's quite enough out of me for one day
until next time.

Monday, 4 July 2011

The 4th of July

Now i love this country, I love the eccentricity of its population, I love the rich history, and the ever evolving diversity of its culture. However I'm not so keen on its weather. I do sometimes wish there was a way to move Britain into warmer waters, next to Jamaica would be nice! clear blue seas and unending sunshine would do a lot to improve the British disposition not to mention our tans.
As I glanced at the calender this morning whilst idly trying to imagine a Great Britain without grey skies and drizzle I saw that it was the 4th of July and I thought to myself that now would be a good time to put out a plea to our American Cousins. I'm fairly certain that the USofA does not actually need 50 states, I mean seriously 50! that's an awful lot to remember 49 on the other hand is a much much smaller number that is by far a lot more simple to recall. but what would happen to the remaining State? I hear you ask, well the answer to that is simplicity itself they could give it to us. Of course the State in question would have to be pretty much permanently sunny as we Brits crave sunshine in the same way that Lady Gaga craves press attention and Dogs crave the meaty buttocks of an overweight postman. So the State would have to be Georgia. But why Georgia? Well for one it's already named after and in honour of King George II  which saves the hassle of having to come up with a new name and secondly its warm summers and mild winters would be ideal for us soggy Brits to be able to dry out and cheer up. Its white sandy beaches and clear blue seas would make for a welcome
change from the likes of felixstowe which is more of a test of endurance than a relaxing summertime destination with its stony foot shredding shoreline its murky brown/green waters and the views it affords of Britain's largest container port not to mention the odd unexploded bomb that occasionally adorns the optimistically named "beach".
Felixstowe "beach" Suffolk England

But what's in it for you my American chums?  Well over here in the UK we get ripped off financially left right and centre so much so that the term rip off Britain has become well established as a phrase to describe the squeeze that is thrust upon the British consumer due to the apparently huge costs associated with popping products across the Chanel from the mainland. Not to mention the cost of fuel which now requires that our first born be sacrificed in order to pay for a full tank of petrol. If we were given the State of Georgia I can almost guarantee that given access to American retail prices the resulting consumer spending explosion would single handedly and overnight reverse the financial crisis that we all find ourselves embroiled within, therefore ushering in a golden age of wealth and prosperity for all. Now whats not to like about that?
And that's just the financial rewards the social rewards would be even greater we would be able to build actual pubs in every town and serve actual beer instead of lager. There would be fisn 'n' chip shops everywhere and what better way to liven up a long distance car journey then having to switch from the right hand lane to the left hand lane and navigate a series of roundabouts the minute you drive over the state lines? we would also treat you to such cultural delights as Morris dancing or Dancing the Maypole or if you fancy a dose of adrenaline then how about trying the extreme sport of Cheese rolling. So while your celebrating the 4th of July spare a thought for those of us who were left behind and try to see it within your hearts to generously donate to us the state of Georgia.

Well I hope you enjoyed this little bit of light hearted mick taking
until next time

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Well That Was Nice While it Lasted

  Ahh there is nothing quite like the great British summer, what with the sun beating down and the almost tropical temperatures it makes you feel good to be alive. And I for one enjoyed all 12 hours of it on Monday. But now that we seem to have returned to the perpetual autumn that is the only true season us Brits get, I thought I would turn my attention to scribbling down some things that have been delighting me, boggling me and down right cheesing me off over the past few weeks. I hope you have your wellies and brolly at the ready for a stroll through the mindodave.
The first thing that cheesed me off this month was a new patent submitted by our Apple Overlords for a piece of technology which would effectively prevent an owner of a camera equipped Apple device from being able to take pictures or videos at certain locations that gave off a specific infrared light pattern a possible use for this technology could be to prevent fans from recording during a concert for instance. But why stop at concerts how about football matches and other sports events? Or more worrying if the technology caught on beyond Apple, it could mean that potentially public demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience could be censored too, also it begs the question of what if the technology fell into the hands of criminals? Imagine a robbery where all of a sudden every handheld electronic witness is suddenly struck blind leaving no physical record of the crime.  Now i don't know about you but I for one quite enjoy the fact that i am able to snap a photo or shoot some video on my phone at will and I frankly find the whole concept of being told what I can and cant take pictures of on my device quite disturbing. However it is not all doom and gloom you can read some of the pro's and cons for this Apple innovation here.
Something that made me smile this week was apparent proof that poltergeists do in fact exist. I was trawling through some old BBC news archives when i stumbled upon this under-reported gem. I mean seriously you would have thought that proof of ghostly goings on would have created a bit more of a stir in media circles! oh well perhaps some football player got his leg over  overshadowing all else that week.
Even more terrifying then ghosts and ghoulies I see the ultra conservative loon fringe of American politics have a new champion by the name of Michele Bachman as if Sarah Palin wasn't scary enough on her own. However unlike Sarah Palin who is lets face it only good for laughing at due to her almost paranormal ability to say the most stupid of things at the very worst possible time, Michele Bachman was a tax lawyer and a businesswoman she also seems to be able to keep a lid on the crazy ramblings side of things, unlike Sarah Palin. However she doesn't always get it right, like the time she stated that President Obama was un-American, and her limited grasp of American history which recently shone through dazzlingly when she stated that the opening shots of the revolutionary war were fired in New Hampshire when they were in fact fired in Massachusetts. Michele Bachman is certainly going to be one to watch as the pace builds for the next US presidential election not least because unlike Sarah Palin she is now a declared candidate. But why do I care who runs for for president in the US of A? Well the truth is America exerts a huge influence on the world as we know it, so the choice of president can severely alter the direction that influence takes. Some of the previous presidents in recent years most notably George dubya have caused dramatic changes in the world around us, the consequences of which will be felt for decades to come. And as imbecilic as ole dubya was, he was however frankly a model president in comparrison to the crop of ultra conservative's who hope to take their turn at the helm. The damage and mayhem that these fine folk could wreak in the world through popularist politics could be astronomical and the consequences of their actions could potentially be felt for generations to come.
On a completely different note someone i know bought a new fish this week, it was he assured me as he proudly held his shiny new fish up in its bag for me to admire a relative of the piranha but unlike piranha this particular specimen was apparently a vegetarian, and would happily co-exist with the other fish in his tank. Now I'm no fish expert but as i gazed upon his new aquatic acquisition I couldn't help noticing the rather large teeth that were poking out of its mouth, I dutifully pointed out my observation but he assured me that the pet shop had assured him that the fish was definitely a vegetarian and he happily left to introduce his new fish to its tank-mates. 10 minutes later the fellow received a call from the pet-shop who couldn't apologise enough as they had in fact sold him a red bellied piranha needless to say that by the following morning the tank contained one very fat piranha and very little else.
Well that's about it from me this month I hope you enjoyed your stroll through the damp corridors of the mindodave. Oh but before I leave you I am planning on quitting smoking over the next couple of weeks and I have been toying with the idea of documenting my progress through tweets and a separate blog maybe even throwing in some video footage what do you think dear readers? should I do it? and would you be interested in reading/watching my progress? let me know in the comments section.
Also I would like to thank debra madden for kindly allowing me to use her image at the top of the page if you would like to see more work by this talented artist (or maybe even buy some) why not take a stroll on over to her site which you can access here

Monday, 16 May 2011 Far From Bliss

I consider myself to be a pretty laid back kind of guy, there's not much in my day to day life that has the ability to produce the kind of levels of steam from my ears that could power a small turbine, or make my blood boil furiously within my veins. Ignorance however is one of those things, it has a singular power to turn me from an otherwise chilled and generally nice guy into a snarling foaming at the mouth swamp creature from the abyss. However not all ignorant people have the power to trigger in me an almost physical tourettes urge to punch them in the face. As far as i can tell there seem to be two distinct types of ignorance in the world, there are those that are genuinely ignorant and a conversation with them may go something like this

Me: Hello Cletus what lovely weather were having clear blue Sky's and not a cloud in sight
Cletus: what do you mean clear BLUE sky? Sky's RED
Me:.........(facepalm) um Cletus i think you will find its BLUE
Cletus: Nope my wife/sister told me it was RED
Me: Oh i see, Cletus my fine fellow may i draw your gaze upwards for a moment
Cletus: Yup i reckons (looks up)
Cletus: Its Blue!!!!
Me: indeed lovely isn't it, well my fine fellow I'm glad we sorted that out I'm afraid i have to go now as your lesser spotted Norfolk Raccoon seems to be trying to mate with my shoe, Farewell Cletus.

This type of general ignorance is tolerable because when faced with some evidence our friend is able to make an informed opinion based upon the facts that are presented. General ignorance is purely a lack of knowledge that education and reason has the power to challenge. It is the second type of ignorance that makes my skin crawl, knowledge and reason are seemingly powerless against the solid wall of stupid that these willfully ignorant types construct around their pea sized brains, a conversation with such a person may go like this.

Me: Ah good day Mrs Cletus what an amazing coincidence it is to bump into you, i was not two minuets ago talking to your broth....uhum....husband, its a small world is it not?
Mrs Cletus: Yaaarp
Me: I was just reflecting upon the fine weather we are having today such beautiful clear BLUE skys and not a cloud in sight
Mrs Cletus: Sky's RED
Me: (facepalm) yes that does seem to be the general consensus today however i will have to insist that the sky is in fact BLUE
Mrs Cletus: Naarp its RED
Me: I must admit my dear I'm feeling a touch of deja vu, however may i draw your gaze skywards for just one moment?
Mrs Cletus: Naaarp!
Me: (scratches head) but if you would only indulge me for one moment i believe we can settle this matter quite quickly and to everyone's satisfaction
Mrs Cletus: Naaarp no need sky is RED
Me: But...
Mrs Cletus: NAAAARP!!!
Me: B...
Mrs Cletus: NARP NARP NARP ITS RED!!!!!!!
Me: ARRRRRRRGH FFS!!!! (kicks raccoon into low Earth orbit)

This type of ignorance is one i know only too well, i work with the homeless and i at times find myself bombarded with the opinions of the misinformed and willfully ignorant usually with such well researched and thought out comments such as 'Its there fault they choose to live that way' or 'why don't they just get a job'  and a hundred and one other stupid and thoughtless throw away comments which are just as moronic as the ones listed above. I have for a long time now stopped trying to reason with such people as to do so is frankly a waste of oxygen. They have their opinions and nothing short of a lobotomy is going to change them. So for my own peace of mind i just smile politely and make some excuse to get as far away from them as possible as quickly as possible.

I Hope you enjoyed today's rant and thank you for taking the time to wonder the corridors of the mindodave.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Some Thoughts About Procrastination........I'll Write Them Down Later

As many of you know i am currently engaged within my second year of a psychology and sociology degree, for those that didn't you do now. I happen to find the subjects fascinating and insightful, and I absolutely love reading a smattering of the thousands of sociological and psychological studies that have been written over the years. But when it comes down to actually writing my own papers, well that's another thing entirely! I will literaly do anything to avoid making a start on an essay. Recently i kid you not i actually spent an entire hour clicking my toenails together whilst staring into space rather then muster up the required energy to raise my fingers to the keyboard. However once i had actually started typing (my toes were getting sore) the words began to flow and i started to regret my hour long toenail symphony. So why do i procrastinate if i later regret the time that i have wasted ? This website offers a fairly comprehensive explanation. But for me its the simple fact that having deadlines and thousands of words to write is stressful and thus unpleasant, on a lovely spring day when the sun is shining and nature is resplendent in its glorious display of life and beauty, the absolute last thing i want to do is sit inside my flat hunched over the laptop ignoring the wonders of nature outside of my window whilst trying to find a piece of research to back up a statement. When i could instead be sitting in my flat with the curtains shut blowing up radioactive mutants in Fallout.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.

Ah the wonders of modern technology, this week i have been royally pissed off not once but twice and as bad luck apparently runs in threes I'm spending more time then usual looking over my electronic shoulder and eying the toaster with a level of suspicion bordering on paranoia. The first techno let down of the week was the revelation that Apple have been tracking my every move via last years must have gizmo the iPhone 4. Personally i find this an unacceptable breach of my privacy and as soon as i can afford to buy out the rest of my contract i will be switching to an Android phone, although i don't hold much hope of having my privacy respected anymore by Google then Apple if I'm honest.
 However as much as having my every move tracked by our Evil Apple overlords is, it is hardly an inconvenience to me in my day to day life as I'm not after all an international super spy or a member of al qaeda. What is potentially a serious annoyance to me and especially my bank account is the total failure of Sony's security "experts" in securing my personal details including potentially my debit card details on the PSN (or Play Station Network for those of a non geek persuasion). As a result of this hack i have had actual steam venting from my ears and every other steam friendly orifice.
 The apparent ease with which the hackers had access to 70 million (yes million) PSN accounts really raises some poignant questions in regards to online security and is seriously making me re evaluate the whole concept of online purchasing because frankly unless Sony employed actual monkeys (or heaven forbid bloody Panda's) to oversee their network security there is some serious potential for other large companies to be targeted by hackers. imagine if Amazon or EBay were to fall foul of similar hacking attacks just how many millions of people would be left exposed to information or financial theft? A worrying thought indeed.
It also annoys me that i can be robbed remotely at least in the good ole days a thief would have the decency to whip out a blade the size of which would intimidate your average Klingon, before demanding i hand over my wallet. Or they would at the very least have the decency to whup me upside the head with a suitably blunt instrument before picking me up by the ankles and shaking me empty of change and possessions, It really grates me that in the age of technology i can now be robbed by some spotty nerd sitting at a computer thousands of miles away. Anyway That's enough out of me for today I'm now off to check my bank statements i hope you enjoyed taking a stroll through the mindodave. Hmmm did that toaster just move?

Sunday, 6 March 2011

United we Stand Divided we.... Hang on........Where the Hell is Everyone?

So here i am, munching on a bag of beef jerky and procrastinating over yet another essay, i must say procrastination seems to be a very productive tool for my blogs, however perhaps not so good for my grades but i digress. Over the past week or two i have been watching with some interest, events unfolding in Wisconsin USA. In a nutshell the powers that be within the state are aiming to break the unions in  Wisconsin by removing their collective bargaining rights and interfering in the way that unions are able to act as a cohesive body. I'm not going to rant too much about this particular event in this blog but if your interested in finding out more check out the BBC news website
I am myself a Union member and have been an avid supporter of unions for many years (namely the Transport and General Workers Union and now Unite). In this day and age of globalisation and multinational corporations it is more important then ever for workers to have some kind of effective representation and support within the workplace. However whenever i dare to utter the word union in polite society i am amazed at the backlash that sometimes ensues coupled with the inevitable mention of the name Thatcher. It never fails to amaze me how a group of people can complain about poor wages, poor working conditions and being made to work every hour under the sun through "voluntary" overtime and then in the next breath criticise the one thing that could actually help them restore a work life balance and a living wage.
The unions themselves however do not always help themselves there have been some unpopular strikes in recent years which have done nothing for the public image of unions. I am a very big believer in using the strike as an absolute last resort especially in areas that will effect the general public. It is not Joe publics fault that big boss "B" has decided to slash the wages of workers in firm "A" so i fail to see the logic of striking and at the same time alienating the very people that the union needs to support its cause especially when there are many other ways of getting a point across such as using the media and working to rule. In the past this kind of behaviour has been responsible for the government and public backlash against unions in the 80's. It is however important for unions to maintain a healthy balance of power with employers so that both the workers rights and industries needs are addressed in such a way that it is beneficial for all parties.
There is a place in modern society for the trade union and that is that the unions can provide a workforce with a voice, a voice that seems to be missing in a lot of workplaces these days. They can provide workers with legal information and representation and help people to feel that they are a part of something in there work place as an individual and not just a faceless pay role number.