Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thou shalt no God but me adore,
'Twere too expensive to have more.

No images nor idols make,
For Robert Ingersoll to break.

Take not God's name in vain; select
A time when it will have effect.

Work not on Sabbath days at all,
But go to see the teams play ball.

Honor thy parents. That creates
For life insurance lower rates.

Kill not, abet not those who kill;
Thou shalt not pay thy butcher's bill.

Kiss not thy neighbour's wife, unless
Thine own wife thy neighbour doth caress.

Don't steal; thoul't never thus compete
Successfully in business. Cheat.

Bear not false witness - that is low -
But 'hear 'tis rumoured so and so.'

Covet thou naught that thou hast not,
By hook or crook, or somehow, got. - Decalogue by Father Gassalasca Jape.

I think Fr Jape is a pseudonym adopted by Ambrose Bierce.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

On This Day...

In 1807 Henry Wadsorth Longfellow was born, he became a teacher and poet, writing many well known poems, he also translated Dante's The Divine Comedy.

A Psalm of Life

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream ! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real ! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
Be a hero in the strife !

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Act,— act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o'erhead !

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
Book Review : I Am Legend - Richard Matheson 8*

I've done this all in the wrong order, I read the graphic novel first (adapted by Steve Niles and Elman Brown and which remains very true to the novel), then I saw the film (largely a steaming pile of pointless CGI zombie crap with a mutilated ending) and now I have read Matheson's original novel.

Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth after a strange plague has turned human kind into blood thirsty vampires. Neville lives in his fortified home, he farms garlic to keep the vampires at bay in the night, and in the day he becomes their nemesis, seeking them out and killing them with a wooden stake.

Matheson's novel achieves a clever blending of numerous literary styles, this is both a sci-fi novel and a horror work, it is also rooted in the post apocalypse genre and explores the themes of loneliness, despair and the struggle for survival.

Neville is at first glance a strong man in both mind and body, he has planned well and is organised in his daily duties, the removal of vampire bodies and the constant hunt for food and supplies. Inside though he feels despair, life seems suspended for him, all his efforts go just to maintaining the status quo. He dwells on the death of his wife and daughter and drinks heavily.

Neville reaches a moment that changes his life, a dog strays into his garden, and actual living dog, and Neville begins to feed the dog each day in order to tempt it to return. After capturing the dog, he changes his pattern, taking research books from a library he teaches himself about the properties of blood and sets out to find either a better weapon or a cure.

Neville has a complex relationship with Ben Cortman, a former workmate who now as a vampire appears outside his house at every night fall. Cortman is one of the few vampires to speak, and Neville desires above everything to find his daytime resting place and kill him, but when events make this an impossibility Neville finds that his feelings for his tormentor are more complicated than he first thought.

Without giving too many spoilers, the novel ends in a brilliant inversion of the vampire myth, if you have seen the most recent film version with its awful disneyfied dumbed down ending then do read the novel, the original vision is so much darker and much more intelligent.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm Just A Glamour Girl by Chenille Steele

Eve Online - The Pilot's View

This is what Eve looks like to the player, the screen capture here shows a very small ship, a Gallente (a race of people descended from the French) frigate mining in an asteroid field.

The grey blocks down the left side of the screen are buttons to open various things in the game and are fairly self explanatory. At the top left of the screen is the capsuleer's (pilot) portrait, and an information block showing where he is - a system called Couster, where in the system he is - asteroid belt I, who claims ownership of the system - Gallente Federation, the region the system is in - Essence (important because trade in Eve is region wide) and the security rating of the system - 0.9

1.0 is the highest system security rating, this means that the police - Concorde, are most active here and will arrive almost instantly when someone commits a crime like shooting at another ship. 0.0 is the lowest rating, there is no Concorde presence here, the only law is that applied by the player corporation or alliance who hold the territory.

Further to the right at the top are pictures of two Scordite asteroids, the capsuleer has locked or targeted these and is mining them for ore, on the right hand side is the pilot Overview which shows you what is in space. In this case the pilot seems to be a bit of a noob, and despite the fact he is out mining, he has managed to turn the asteroid display off in his overview, he has also turned the Warp Gate display off, that's going to make navigation harder, he'll have to right click all the time.

The box reading 'My Cargo' is the interior hold of the frigate, the capsuleer has also jettisoned a container - floating container, a jet can, which holds much more than his hold, he is transferring ore into this and will come back with a larger ship when it is full to collect it. Or perhaps he has friends close by with an industrial ship to collect the can for him. He could fall prey to can flippers whilst mining like this. Can flippers are pirates (human players) who will steal ore from the jet can, this gives the can's owner the right to lock and shoot the ore thief. The thief will probably be an older pilot with better PvP - pilot/person versus pilot/person, skills, and will shoot the capsuleers ship to reveal his capsule, and then may well pod him, or kill his capsule as well.

At the bottom left is the chat box window, where you can talk to people in local - the same system, corp - people in the same corp as you, alliance - people in the same alliance as you, hilfe - I think this is the German language help and assistance channel, Rookie help - this channel is for noobs (new players) only, you can ask questions in here and then pray that the person answering isn't as green and hopeless as you.

In the centre bottom are the ship controls, the circular dial has three rows of bars for shields, armour and hull, this ship has 100% of each. The centre of the dial shows the ships capacitor level, almost full in this case, and the lower bar the ship's speed, he is sitting still.

To the left of this are controls for things like the ship scanner, opening the cargo hold, weapon range indicator and autopilot controls.

To the right are the ship's fittings or modules. In the top row he has two mining lasers, the one on the green circle is running, in the middle slots he has an asteroid scanner (I never bother with these, I just mine everything into dust no matter how large they are) and for reasons that escape me, a webifier (a device that stops a locked ship from accelerating), he has no guns so what use is the webifier ? He's a noob, so it's probably something he took from a rat wreck (Non Player Character pirate ship). In the bottom slots he has a repairer to fix either his armour or hull in space should he get damaged, and a power plant module which will increase the rate at which his capacitor recharges.

This then is the capsuleer's view of Eve when mining, when you're in combat it is much more confusing.

Eve Online

If you are in the game, do say hello to me - China Flex.
Eve - Planet Bound

Every year CCP, the company who produce the MMORPG Eve Online, add an expansion pack to improve and extend the game, and to provide further interest for older players and keep them in the game. In recent years we have seen the addition of wormholes with the very scary Sleeper drones, the salvage from which can be used for the production of Tech 3 cruisers, and some big changes to the way in which 0.0 sovereignty works.

This years expansion, named Tyrannis will finally take us to somewhere we have never been before, the surface of planets. Industrial corps will now be able to set up and hopefully profit greatly from mining on a planet's surface, at the moment mining can only be done from low and zero sec moons, and from asteroid fields.

Sometimes the Eve expansions pass me by, I don't play much in 0.0, and I have only done a tiny amount of wormhole exploration, although some other members of the corp are much keener WH players. Tyrannis though looks like just my sort of thing, it will doubtless have a whole slew of new, and very expensive, skills to purchase and learn, but a big expansion aimed at us mining/industry types is great news.

A species of insanity in which the patient evinces a rage for reciting poetry. From Greek metreon, metre, and mainomai, to be insane. - Imperial Lexicon of the English Language, Rev. John Boag, c.1850

The painting is 'Poetry Reading' by British artist Beryl Cook.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Caption This...

haley joel osment
see more Lol Celebs
I've Lost This Fish

Or, to be more sensible, I have an amount of weight equivalent to the weight of that fish, 9lbs lost in 3 weeks, and just over a third of the way to the total that I have been ordered to lose by my doctor. I am really pleased this week, after being all annoyed the previous week when I'd actually managed to put a pound back on, I have stuck to the new eating regime strictly and got in a decent of exercise as well.

To be honest though, I don't really feel any different at all for shifting half a stone, there is no perceptible bagginess in my clothes, my belt doesn't fasten a notch further in, but the scales say I'm doing well so I shall persevere.

If pictures of men holding fish are your thing, then George (pictured) has loads of them on his fishing blog The Local Hook Up, which, despite sounding like some dating site of dubious virtue, just contains lots of pictures of men holding fish.
On This Day....

A Daimler from 1886.

In 1899 F R Sewell gained the dubious distinction of being the first driver to die in a road traffic accident when the wheels of the Daimler he was driving in Harrow fell off. He was not however the first person to die in a car related accident, Irish scientist Mary Ward managed that three years earlier when she toppled out of her cousin's experimental steam driven car and was then run over.

Streeker, a layer out of the dead, the corpse would be arranged on a Streeking-board, probably from the Saxon streccan meaning to stretch or lay out, Glossary of Northern Words - John Brockett.
Book Review : The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold 6*

Susie Salmon is raped and murdered by a paedophile living close to her home, Susie goes to heaven, a malleable place shaped by your own needs and wants. Susie's body is never found, apart from one gruesome discovery, and as the days without news stretch into weeks and months without hope or closure her parent's marriage fractures.

Sebold's novel is clever, and I enjoyed the way in which she has the main character, the murdered girl Susie, narrate the story from her position in heaven. The novel sets off as if it will be a relatively simple 'will they catch him ?' story as her father and sister obsess over her death and the possible identification of the murderer. Sebold though expands the story in other directions as the family and friends of Susie cope with both their own day to day lives and the aftermath of Susie's death.

The themes of rape, violence, death, loss and its aftermath run through Sebold's works. She was raped at college and her first book, Lucky, deals with the many issues arising from the rape, her most recent novel, The Almost Moon, also deals with death and loss as a woman kills her mentally ill mother.

The supporting characters in The Lovely Bones are in the most part well conceived and believable and Sebold's description of the manner in which Susie's parents cope, or fail to cope, with her death are both uncomfortable and realistic. In the end though, I found the book a little wanting, it ends nicely, a little too nicely perhaps, but without the punch or definition I was hoping for.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

From Hacked In Real Life.

Thanks for Mr. Moosehead for the link.
Yorkshiresoul's Rambling Quiz Series 7.4

The rules....

Please don't put answers in the comments.

E-mail your answers to me with QUIZ 7.4 as the title,, on/by Sun 7th March.

Please don't supply multiple possible answers, I will mark them all as wrong.

1) What bells could owe me the sum of five farthings ? (1)

2) Which series are these stills from ? (1)

3)What was the code name for the defoliant used widely by US forces during the Vietnam War ? (1)

4) What fruit will grow from these flowers ? (1)

5) What is the most common form of tumour in infants and young children ? (1)

6) What is this ? (1)

7) Following the week's theme, what is the area between Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield known as ? (1)

8) What was the nickname applied to British sailors and referred to a preventative medical measure ? (1)

9) What fruit is banned from much public transport and many hotels in Asia ? (1)

10) Who is this ? (1)

Good luck.

Please don't put answers in the comments.
Coheed Century Scrobble

My first track to reach 100 listens since joining is the epic In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth 3, that's about thirteen and a half hours of one of the best prog metal songs ever written.

'Man your battlestations, we'll see you dead pretty soon.'
Album Review : The Butcher's Ballrom - Diablo Swing Orchestra 7*

So young Swede Daniel thought he'd form a band, and he went to his mates and said "What I have in mind is a bit of metal mixed with some classical strings, a dollop of East European folk, some 70's American cop show theme tunes and sung by an operatic diva." And instead of his mates saying "Dan mate, you're barking mad," they actually said "YES, but needs moar flamenco."

Diablo Swing Orchestra then, a blend of numerous musical styles that really should not work at all, and yet, this insane blend of Nightwish, Gogol Bordello, Ennio Morricone and Apocalyptica is damned catchy. Put Ballrog Boogie on your stereo and you're feet are going to start twitching, you'll be plucking air harp strings to Rag Doll Physics, and, er, playing to didgeridoo to Gunpowder Chant. I must admit, it had never before crossed my mind that the world of heavy metal was a poorer place without the didgeridoo.

DSO are a mighty flood of originality, there are so many things happening on The Butcher's Ballroom that is is really hard to sum them all up. The songs and musical pieces are well written, the production values on the album are very professional and the band play and sing beautifully, especially the opera singer Annlouice Loegdlund who provides quite stunning vocals throughout the album.

The Butcher's Ballroom was released in 2006, you can download the entire album as a free and legal download from Diablo Swing Orchestra on Jamendo. Jamendo works by providing free music with the artists consent, you can give money to the artist if you have appreciated their work or buy items from their Jamendo virtual shop.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Canada vs Afghanistan

Does anyone in Canada recognise this man ?

This is Nitish Kumar, right handed batsman and spin bowler for the Canadian team. He scored 74 in Canada's first innings stand of a massive 566 against Afghanistan and took two wickets.

He is also the only member of the Canadian team to have been born in Canada. Kumar's team mates come from all over, India, the Windies, Sri Lanka. They have all emigrated to Canada and I presume are now Canadian nationals.

Canada are one of the Associates cricket nations alongside countries like the Netherlands, Kenya, Ireland, Scotland and Zimbabwe. It's hard being an Associate, the big 8 Test playing nations have little time in their schedules to play the smaller countries, indeed it is said that South Africa wanted a $100,000 payment from Kenya in order to arrange a match against them, disgraceful behaviour from one of the rich nations.

Still the Associates continue to play despite all the hurdles and financial hardships, one or two are close the big league, Zimbabwe are aiming for Test status again and Ireland are looking stronger in the short forms of the game.

Actually, never mind asking if any Canadians recognised Nitish Kumar, perhaps I should have asked if any Canadians knew they had a cricket team ?
Dr. P's Film Reviews

Dr. P has now moved all of his excellent film reviews to a blog, you can read up about the latest film releases at Dr P's Film Reviews.
Book Review : Legend - David Gemmell 9*

Druss the Legend, Druss of the Axe, The Deathwalker, Druss has gathered about himself myths and heroic tales as no other man, and now he is old, his beard white and he feels rheumatism in his joints. Druss is a warrior, he does not fear death itself, but he does fear the death of arthritis and senility, of the loss of himself tot he creeping advances of age. When a letter arrives from an old companion asking for help in defending the castle of Dros Delnoch Druss sets off, he has no intention of returning home.

David Gemmell's first novel was an instant classic of the fantasy genre. It is low on magic, and there are no Elves or Orcs. What there is is the inexorable force, the horde of the Nadir, against the defenders who seemingly cannot possibly hold on.

Druss arrives at Dros Delnoch to find a depleted, ill trained defensive force whose morale is low. He is talismanic though, his very arrival lifts the men's hearts. He begins to teach the men how to fight, and just as importantly in his eyes, how to die.

Gemmell's novel seems on the surface like thin fantasy fare, a standard setting, an implacable enemy. What makes Legend so fantastic though is Druss, he seems like a simple warrior, yet his philosophies on fighting, bravery, comradeship and the acceptance of the inevitable, delivered in blunt fashion, show Druss to have great depths of intellect and empathy. Druss leads by example, he leads the line at every battle, and his men respect and love him for it. Druss as the Legend is shaped by the views of those that follow (and oppose) him, he understands and accepts this realising how important he is as the myth rather than just the flesh and bone man.

Legend is a great fantasy novel, the fairly direct plot is augmented by a good cast of supporting characters and some nice twists and turns, and like other great fantasy authors, Gemmell is not afraid to cut a bloody swathe through his literary creations.

57 of 1001 (I've read this one before, so no advance)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Diet Blues

I could have gladly binned the diet last night and gone out for something meaty, greasy and satisfying. I know part of the reason that I'm overweight is that we eat too much takeaway food, Donner kebabs, pizza, Chinese and curry. When I have spent all day in the kitchen often the last thing I want to do is to set to and cook another dinner, so too often we have relied on the local takeaway food shops to supply our dinners.

I'd worked a steady day yesterday, 8.30 to 6pm so not a long shift, and it was fairly busy as opposed to being packed, run around in chaos mode. After work I got the rowing machine out and did 1,100 strokes in about 35 mins, had a shower and then I was really hungry. Porridge for breakfast, vegetable and bean soup for lunch, the lure of a sweet and sour chicken and friend rice was almost too much.

So it was a rather grumpy chef that went back into the kitchen and prepared dinner and my tomato and vegetable pasta isn't going to go down as a culinary high (unlike last night's sweet chilli turkey stir fry which was a winner). It was hot and filling though.

The pasta dish also made yesterday a vegetarian day. On the diet I am eating much less meat, no more sausage or bacon for breakfast, and the fatty red meats that I love, especially lamb chops, are right off the menu.

One thing, among many, that makes dieting such a pain is the way your body reacts to fat after being starved of it. We had a night away at a good hotel this week, so just one night and one morning off the diet, and despite staying on track for the rest of the week those two indulgences put a pound back on.

So, week one I did well, 5lbs down, week two was poor, 1lb back up, week three I'm trying hard, I've been eating very well and getting plenty of exercise.

One thing that did help las night's dinner were two glasses of Baron de Ley Forteleza De Imas Rioja Reserva 2001. When Rioja declared a 'holy grail' vintage in 2001 I bought 4 cases from different vineyards, the 2001's are now drinking beautifully having spent 9 years aging in my cellar.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

England vs. Pakistan

England got off to their now traditional tour start of losing the opening match, this time though they managed to lose to their own 'B' team as South African born wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter battered the England 'A' bowling all over the park in the 20-20 match.

They got their act together for the first 20/20 match proper against Pakistan, another South African born batsman, Kevin Pieterson, scored 43, but the match winning performance came from Eoin Morgan who made a quick fire 67 from 51 balls.

What is rather worrying though is England's openers for 20/20 and ODI's, having tried about 15 different pairs in the last 18 months, England sent a new pairing of Trott and Denly in to face Pakistan yesterday. The openers were dismissed for 4 and 1 respectively.

A win is a win though, and better than LUFC can manage at the moment. Beating Manchester United was obviously a bad omen, and Leeds have not won a game since. Today Leeds are at home to relegation strugglers Brighton.
Yorkshiresoul's Rambling Quiz 7.3 Answers And League

1) This is an edible plant, what is it called ? (1)

This is the Cherry Eggplant, or Makuea Poung.

2) Which of these is a Scottish invention ? (1)


Bovril, Bagpipes were mentioned in the Bible, Whisky was drunk in ancient China, Haggis was invented in Greece and Porridge has been found in the stomachs of Neolithic bog bodies in Central Europe, but Bovril was invented by the Scot John Lawson Johnston.

3) What is the name of this painting, and who painted it ? (1)

The Raft Of The Medusa by French artist Theodore Gericault.

4) Who, in 1873, discovered the cause of the disease which the main character in Stephen Donaldson's 'Chronicles' series suffers from ? (1)

Gerhard Hanson discovered the cause of Leprosy, the disease which the character Thomas Covenant suffers from.

5) Who is this ? (1)

Indie / pop / rock band The Killers.

6) What should come next in this list ? (1)

High Hopes
Never On Sunday
Moon River
Days Of Wine And Roses

Call Me Irresponsible, this is a list of the Oscar winners for Best Original Song.

7) Who is this ? (1)

George Papandreou the President of Greece.

8) Where was the Guillotine invented ? (1)

At Halifax in Yorkshire, the Halifax Gibbet was in use from 1286.

9) Which city is this ? (1)


10) What should come next in this list ? (1)

Camden Town NW1
Cricklewood NW2
Hampstead NW3
Hendon NW4
Kentish Town NW5, a list of the London NW postcodes.

7.3 Scores

Eleanor 8
Dave P 8
Tony G 4

Quiz 7 Leaders

Dave Podmore 23
Mr Moosehead 19
Tony Gott 16
Eleanor 8
Lyle 2

Well done folks, and despite comments that this round of the quiz seemed abnormally difficult Eleanor and Dave both scored highly. As always, I'm certainly not infallible, so if it appears that I have made a mess of your points or got an question wrong, please do point it out.

I'll try to get the next round written for early next week.
The husdand threw a hateful look -
A kind of optic snarl and
Growl - on wifeys cookery book,
By Marion Harland.
'Some of these recipes I see
Begin with crosses sable;
The meaning please explain to me,
If you are able.'

'She thus marks those that she has tried,
And finds them nicely fitted,
For dinner use' the wife replied,
And hubby's dullness pitied.
'I thought these crosses now' said he,
With brutal sneer and vicious,
'Erected to the memory,
Of the men who ate those dishes.'

Ambrose Bierce
100mph On A Butcher's Tray

Britain's Amy Williams held her nerve in the Women's Sliding At Pants Wetting Speeds On A Bit Of Tin (also known as Skeleton Bob) last night and earned Team GB's first gold medal of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, hurrah !

That gives Team GB a medal tally of.....wait for Oh. Still, at least it is a gold one.

As well as being everyone else on the course, Williams also had to beat a huge amount of whining and complaining from both the Canadian and USA team's management who lodged complaints over the design of her helmet, the complaints were duly thrown out and Williams retained the gold.

Friday, February 19, 2010

(this was supposed to be a widget displaying the covers of my favourite albums, but obviously it doesn't work outside
On This Day......Jam And Jerusalem

On the 19th February Adelaide Hoodless founded the Women's Institute. Whilst the WI is often regarded as something archetypal of the British way of life, it was in fact founded in Canada to partner the Farmer's Institute.

The profile of the WI soared when the ladies of the Rylstone & District WI posed for a nude calendar in 1999, the story of their charity fundraising effort was made into a successful feature film, Calendar Girls starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters, and has been adapted a play by Tim Firth, the stage production is now touring the UK.

Tricia Stewart, one of the original calendar girls.

Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Fund.


"An expletive denoting surprise or shock. "Bezonter me! But ah'm fair gormed." - Glossary of Cheshire words - Robert Holland.

Also - gormed - which may be a vulgar version of God damn (ed) and may be found in David Copperfield by Charles Dickins and The Long Highway by Jeffrey Farnol.
Amy Williams Leads in Skeleton

Britain's Amy Williams was in the gold medal position after two runs of the skeleton bob last night, but two runs is just the half way point so keep your fingers crossed. Fellow Britain Shelley Rudman (pictured) lies seventh in the competition.

I watched the snowboard half pipe yesterday, and although I have some reservations about sports which cannot be measured in absolute terms, I did find it very exciting. In particular Shaun White's halfpipe runs were thrilling to watch, I can't tell a 1080 double McTwist from a McDonalds Double Cheeseburger but the height, speed and complexity of the twists and mid air turns that the multi millionaire White got into his run were awesome.

Most ignominious end to an Olympic dream went to the poor skier in the Women's Downhill who pushed herself out of the starting gate and then fell over, distance achieved, about five yards.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

You Might Not Have Heard.....DirgeK

For Fans of : Alanis Morissette, Amy Winehouse, Ani DiFranco, Racheal Sage

"Dirge K was born on 5th October 1981 and died on 3rd October 2006 aged 24.
At school she played the flute and read music. She taught herself to play the guitar and the electric organ and loved to sing. She spent hours practicing her singing notes.
She started collaborating with other musicians on the internet at various music collaboration sites in 2003. She wrote all her own lyrics and used Cubase for AppleMac for recording her vocals and did all her recording in the dining room or kitchen of her house.

She recently won Golden Kayak Awards for Best Female Artist 2007 and Best R & B Song ‘Coming Home’ " - DirgeK's artist description on Scrobbler.

I can't find any other information on this girl, where she from, how she died, it's all a mystery. She has a lovely voice, and if these songs were all recorded without the use of a real studio then she has done a fantastic job on them. Her music is jazz influenced, slightly more laid back and bluesy than Amy Winehouse and not as obviously pop/rock as Alanis Morissette, not all are perfectly recorded but their was obviously a fine talent here.

You can download an album's worth of songs by DirgeK from her Scrobbler page.
Tensions Mount Over Falkland Islands

We live in worrying times. Argentina is threatening to stop shipping engaged in oil exploration from using its ports or sailing through its waters. In 1982 the UK went to war with Argentina after armed forces from the South American state occupied the South Atlantic islands.

Three years ago, Argentina withdrew from the agreement that covered oil and gas exploration around the Falklands, now they have upped the ante and again raised tensions in the region. Argentina should be careful though, when the Falklands were thought to contain nothing but British citizens, sheep and the odd penguin, nobody cared less about Britain and the Argies having an armed tussle over them. Now that the seas around the islands are thought to contain large oil reserves, the Argentines should be planning for an impending invasion from the USA.
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

- Shakespeare, Rome and Juliet
Book Review : Fanny Hill (Memoirs Of A Woman Of Pleasure) - John Cleland 7*

Cleland's work of erotic fiction was first published as two volumes in 1748 and 1749. Fanny Hill writes two long letters in which she traces her life story but especially her sexual awakening and subsequent sexual adventures. Cleland's writing is typical of its age, dense and flowery, but still surprisingly erotic two and half centuries on.

The books caused a furore soon after publication, probably due to the homosexual acts that Fanny spies upon, and Cleland was twice brought to prosecution, in court he disowned and renounced the books which were then banned by the court. Fanny Hill remained banned until a further obscenity trial in 1963 brought the book to wider public attention again, finally in 1970 a full, unexpurgated version of Fanny Hill was again published, legally, in the UK.

Cleland champions, albeit with anatomical errors and a rather phallocentric point of view, female sexuality. His women are creatures of lust, love and passion, who revel in and draw great joy from the act of sex. His book spares no detail, from straight sex through homosexual couplings and exhibitionism to a violent and brutal sado-masochistic scene, Fanny Hill explores sex and delights in almost every aspect of it. Fanny's reaction to seeing two men having sex though reveals something of the attitude of the age or the author though, although Fanny has experienced a lesbian encounter and enjoyed it, she wishes to see the gay men punished.

Fanny does not really grow as a person through the book, her changing fortunes are governed by the men whom she attaches herself to, but still Cleland created a strong female character. Like many male protagnonists Fanny seeks out what she wants from life and does not hesitate to satisfy her own needs and desires.

57 of 1001.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dave The Toff Plans A Public Services Postcode Lottery

I listened to David Cameron's speech from Battersea yesterday, as always, I was fairly impressed with Cameron's oratory and delivery, and this time even some of the content was good, until, he got around to re-introducing the idea of public service -co-operatives that the Conservatives first floated a couple of years ago.

As we edge closer to the General Election we're going to hear a lot of these sort of big ideas from party leaders, but this one does worry me. Listening closely to Cameron's vision of how workers could run their own departments in future it became apparent this this is first and foremost a cost cutting idea. Cameron said in plain language that workers who achieved substantial savings in their department would be given some of the money back as a bonus.

There are already major concerns that you can receive different levels of treatment under the NHS dependant on the catchment zone of the NHS trust you live in, I am concerned that Conservative plans for other areas of public service will only accentuate the already fluctuating standards achieved across the country. Perhaps under the Tories council workers will be able to earn themselves a bonus by not buying enough winter salt, or by not doing road repairs, or by the loss of already depleted health service 'non-essentials' like dentistry and physiotherapy to the private sector.

When it comes to the election, my primary concern is Britain's looming energy crisis. As out own oil and gas runs out we are becoming ever more dependant on foreign suppliers, whereas countries like France have engaged in a long term plan of building nuclear power stations we have allowed our own nuclear generation to run down. Wind and wave power and other renewable forms are still decades away from supplying our energy needs, we need nukes.

My other problem when it comes to choosing who to vote for is that I have come to believe that the government of the day never really achieves anything, Labour have been in power since 1997 yet the gap between rich and poor in UK society continues to widen, Labour seem to have done little to reduce to reduce child poverty in the UK, one of their big pledges from early on. If the Tories get in this time around, will our society be better in four or eight year's time ? I don't really believe that it will.
On This Day....

Today is Shrove Tuesday, perhaps now better known as Pancake Day. Shrove Tuesday, celebrated in most Catholic countries as Fat Tuesday is a movable date based on the cycles of the moon. In the week before Easter Christians would repent of their sins by confession in order to be shroven or shriven of them, it is also traditional to eat up many of the rich foods in the house before the period of Lent fasting begins on the following day, Ash Wednesday.

Around Britain there are a number of traditional Shrove Tuesday events, many villages hold mob football games with hundreds of people competing on either side. The famous Pancake Race of Olney in Buckinghamshire has been held annually since 1445. A pastime that has thankfully died out was Cock-Sqwoilin, the hurling of live chickens at a target.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tesco Buy One Get One Ooh Er Missus

Silly person Vash The Stampede from b3ta plays Tesco Spice Rack Sweary Scrabble.
Loose Lips Sink Ships

It is indeed fortunate that no members of the Taliban have access to the internet, a television showing BBC news or any forms of printed newspaper, because otherwise they might have found out about Operation Moshtarak well in advance giving them time to vanish into the hills and leave behind vast quantities of booby traps, oh, hang on....

Can you imagine this sort of operational advertising happening in earlier wars ?

"In the London Times today, D-Day ! How next week's big event will affect the Nazis."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Glowing and Saddened Hearts in Vancouver

Last night the Georgian team stepped out into the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics in what must have been a time of great emotional distress and turmoil for them, what should have been a highpoint of their careers was made bitter by the fatal accident suffered by luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili only hours earlier. Around the glittering arena the Olympic and national flags were raised to half mast in respect.

The opening ceremony itself was dazzling, wonderful entertainment ahead of what Canada hopes to be a successful Winter games. Things have not been perfect at all though for the host country, costs, especially those pertaining to security, have spiralled, costing six times as much as the initial estimate. Weather conditions also have been against the hosts who have been in the rather embarrassing position of having to bring snow in a fleet of trucks to try and get enough of the white stuff on the slopes. Today, the rain has been pouring down around Vancouver and already the Alpine Skiing events for Saturday and Sunday have been postponed.

At the back of all Canadians minds there is probably a little voice muttering away in prayer, and the prayer is "Please Lord don't let this be another Montreal." The Summer games of '76 in Montreal was a financial disaster for the city which spent over two decades trying to pay back the fantastic debts that the games had accumulated.

Hope and effort though are central to what the Olympics are. Despite the rocky start to Vancouver 2010 it can still be a fantastic event. The ski jumpers have been in competition this morning, later on there is ice hockey, luge, speed skating and more. I think one of the great things about about the Winter Olympics for the casual watcher is that so many of the sports involved are so fast and exciting, ice hockey is fast and can be brutal, luge, bobsleigh and skeleton are fast white knuckle rides, snowboarding looks fun and ski jumping is quite frankly barking mad.

Here's to a good games and a couple of glasses of wine whilst watching the curling.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Making Work For The Shipbuilders

A while ago I moved on to a new corp, where I have been doing my old job of recruiting, it was supposed to be a mining / industrial / mission corp, but, as seems to be the way, we are at war again. Not one war either, but three different groups seem to want a piece of us.

Last night we found our home base camped by two of the red groups, intolerable, just intolerable. We gathered a fleet on the quiet, using our home advantage to scout close systems and gather at unopposed gates. In local the griefers were bigging themselves up and calling us out, and we responded.

In that dry mouth, heart racing state of nervous tension we waited, hidden in safe spots around the star system, at our home base a single Alliance battleship undocks and the enemy begin to pour weapon fire onto it.

"WARP WARP WARP," cried our Fleet Commander and we are inbound, death and destruction awaits.

I arrive in the good ship M a few moments later, the enemy have 4 big ships close to the station, and in a slight tactical error, they have left two battleships out as snipers. The ship's screen begins to fill up with the flashing red bars indicating enemy ships, all around me war drones are spewing forth from battleships. I lock target on two battleships and two battlecruisers and launch my own drones.

We have gained a slight numerical advantage, at least in the close up fight. M has warped in almost on top of an enemy Armageddon and the Fc calls him as our primary target, within moments seven ships of the Alliance fleet have him locked and are battering his shields. There seems to be a moment of confusion amongst the enemy, in the few seconds it takes them to unlock their original target and lock onto one of our newly arrived battleships we have blown the Geddon's shields away and dozens of drones are shredding his armour, an Alliance battleship rams the Geddon to prevent him aligning to a gate. M is packing webifiers and warp scramblers and I fire them up, the Geddon is going nowhere.

His armour melts, and the ships hull is subjected to terrific amounts of damage, lasers, missiles, projectile cannons and drones rain their devastation upon him, the Geddon glows, lights up and vanishes in a storm of hot particles.

"New primary Megathron." The Mega is already locked, I have 6 guns and my drones on him in an instant. My corp boss reports his armour is being depleted, there is nothing we can do, we have come as an assault fleet this time, it is do or die. His battleship dies and moments later the enemy Mega explodes, now we have 6 ships to 2 in close, the next in line red battlecruiser dies in seconds and we lock up the last remaining battleship.

Seconds later it's all over, four enemy vessels are nothing more than burning wrecks, the pair of snipers have run, the station, at least for a short time, is ours again.

By some fluke of good fortune the M and myself have survived, and not only that but we got in the killing shot against the Armageddon and dealt damage to the other three ships we killed.

For a very brief time I sign off as, kill board leader, China Flex.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

You Might Not Have Heard.....The Dunwell Brothers Band

I think the video was taken at The Station pub, Ilkley. I hadn't heard of these guys before Brother in Law mk.3 brought them to my attention, but they're pretty good.

You can get some free downlaods of their music from their website The Dunwell Brothers Band.
Do These Things Only Happen To Me ?

I went cycling yesterday and managed to get lost, on the Wii.

I must have done four laps of the bloody island looking for the next flag, I could see it waving away somehwere in/on/around/under/over the volcano, but could I find it ? Could I chuff.

And then I fell off a cliff. Twice.

Coast Redwood Tree, Muir Woods, California.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter Olympics Babes - Amy Williams

Amy Williams competes in one of the most mental of all Winter Olympic sports, the skeleton bob, which is pretty much riding down an ice chute at a hundred miles an hour on a baking tray. Amy has twice finished in 4th place in this season's World Cup runs so she could be an outside chance for a medal in Vancouver.