Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas has arrived early

Those that know me, also know I have a compulsive addiction. Panic not - it's not heroine or alcohol or sex (well, let's ignore that last one) but the thankfully slightly less expensive habit of having to upgrade my camera all the time. I reckon it's probably about once a year which in turn probably makes each photo I take cost about £5 a shot, but there you go...these cruel manufacturers keep coming out with another model that I simply must have!
Hence my Christmas present to me this year is the new Fuji Finepix HS10 which sports an enormous (yes you can read in penis extension if you want) 30x optical zoom with a manual barrel twist which makes framing a shot so much easier than when it's linked to motors to zoom in and out. OK my camera may now be the size of the average satellite NASA launches, but it's my new baby! :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Land of the Free

Hmmm...Land of the free? Well, I must say, that's not the case in Vegas!
I've recently returned from a week in Las Vegas, which was an absolutely fantastic time, but boy, how the price of stuff has really rocketed. I know Hotel bar prices are always more than any regular bar, but we were paying $6.50 for a small bottle of beer (a little less than half a pint), and that was local bud - if you wanted something a little nicer add another dollar. That makes it something like 4 times the price of "proper" ale back home in my local. And to be honest, prices didn't seem to come down a lot even outside the hotels.
But hey, you don't go on vacation to winge and whine about the prices! Vegas is still that wonderfully uber-tacky playground for big boys and girls. Sadly the newer hotels going up seem to be steering clear of the "themes" like the Luxor, New York, Treasure Island etc, that make Vegas so much fun, and going more for elegant steel and glass structures that are far to business like. I do hope the trend doesn't continue. but for now there is still enough of the whacky stuff to entertain.
I've finally got to play poker in Vegas too, although quite predicably, I was knocked out a couple of hours into the tournment, so it was either just a fun experience for $60, or a very expensive 2 coffees and a glass of wine. I won a good couple of hands though so I think it was worth it just to say I've done it the once. And to come away from Vegas having only lost $60 to gambling I think shows great restraint.
And the othe thing Vegas is famous for? Weddings! Well, I didn't get married again, but we went for the next best thing and Shelley and I ended up renewing our wedding vows while we were there. If you want a bit of a giggle the video of that occasion is on YouTube now at:
Don't worry, it's only about 7 minutes to watch.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

World Cup Frenzy!

Most of you will know that I'm not the most enthusiastic of football supporters, but even I can happily sit in the good ol' Swan for a few pints and watch England snatch defeat (or at best a draw) from the jaws of victory. So I thought I'd throw my two penneth worth into the melting pot on a couple the topics high up in the World Cup forum of debate.
Firstly that goal that was just a tad upsetting. Poor old Mr Green has been much chastised by the fans with many a statement such as "my grandmother could've saved that!" or "You bas***, wan***, sh**-faced rotten excuse of a fu**ing goalie!". But to redress the balance for my poor namesake, think on that a goalie just has to make a single mistake and he finds himself in this unenviable position of the nations pet hate. Watching the rest of the game it occurred that the same venom doesn't seem to get directed at all the strikers who make mistake after mistake in poorly judged crosses or shots on goal that might have well have been aiming for the stadium roof. These catalogs of mistakes seem to be ignored, but alas the goal keeper's single slip is likely to stay with him the rest of his life.
Secondly, the vuvu...well, the plastic trumpety thing! Yes it's an annoying drone in the background, but is it any more so than a thousand fans chanting "duh, duh d'duh" to the tune of Pig Bag? Only you can decide. However, the point is that this aggravating horn seems to be the South African national way of celebrating the sport, so really it's a bit of a case of "tough luck" - we're guests in their country, so it's up to them how they run things. However in the other direction though....back here in blightly, if that kid outside my house doesn't pack it in soon with that bloody trumpet, I'm gonna ram it somewhere the sun don't shine!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Parga May 2010

Just want to say thanks to Martyn, Lyn, Laura, Darren, Geoff, Pam, and all the others that made my trip to Parga with my Mother a very memorable and enjoyable time. Hopefully this quick video will bring back a few memories (that already seem like ages ago). The music is now indelibly stamped on my mind as the soundtrack to the holiday - and that's your fault Martyn & Lyn! LOL

Just to add - all my photos of parga, including those from this holiday, are available at

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Organic oppression

I have always been a little sceptical about the whole organicly grown vegatables issue, mainly as I'm in two minds about whether I would prefer a controlled amount of chemical fertiliser spread on my vegatables as they are grown or just lumps of cow shit thrown all over them. However I can totally understand the marketing of organic produce as many will not want to fill their bodies with "fake" chemicals etc.
Similarly I can understand the idea of fair trade for items like coffee and clothing so people can buy their products in the safe knowledge that the masses haven't been oppressed in the far corners of the world to provide cheap stuff for us.
What confused me on this weekends trawl around the shops following my wife was to spot a clothes shop selling T-shirts made from "organically grown cotton". Is this just trying to jump on a modern PC world conciencious shopper bandwagon? How can growing cotton organically make clothes any safer to wear or give any better pay or conditions to the producers? Or are todays shoppers really going to pay extra as "it's organic, it must be better". It did amuse me.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Democratic Ignorance

With the election coming up, I took the opportunity last night to watch the first leaders TV debate to see if I could get any clues at all as to who to vote for on May 6th. It has to be said that I’m none the wiser.
Quite apart from the point that what a politician says they’ll do may bare little relation to what they would actually do if they gain power, I am more fundamentally challenged with the problem that even if their manifestos are accurate, I simply don’t have the knowledge to know which policies might be best for the economy, or education or defence etc. I flatter myself that I’m a fairly intelligent bloke, but, for instance, will further spending in the public sector or radical savings be a better approach to economic recovery? I just don’t know, and 3 leaders arguing their point gave me no more insight into it that flipping a coin would have done.
Here then is a basic problem as I think a huge section of the voting public will possibly have even less grasp than me, so the idea that a democratic system of government is the only fair and just way to rule seems to me to be merely a way of shifting responsibility for failure of government onto the masses. If I ask a child which piece of plastic I should use to pay for the shopping, they’ll probably answer baser on what colour the card it, rather than if you get cashback, or if the interest rate is lower, or if I’m going to be paying the card of at the end of the month or not. In the same vein I might think that as the country has a huge debt, then cuts in public spending is logically a good idea, but the economy is such a complex beast, I am just not equipped with enough knowledge or experience to know if that gut feeling is valid or not. Effectively giving me the right to vote is introducing a random element into government which is actually not fair or just at all, it’s actually irresponsible.
If I get on a plane I expect people with knowledge and experience to have selected a pilot based on his skills to fly the plane. I don’t want to be presented with 3 candidates and have all the passengers vote based on which pilot can convince us he knows what he’s doing. It will be no comfort as the plane plummets to the ground to think that that pilot was fairly elected.
Of course it’s not just a matter of competence to rule, as the democratic process we have gears politicians to design policy based primarily on what will get them elected and keep them in power rather than what policies the country and population actually need.
So the net result is we have an ill equipped public choosing between sets of popularist policies, designed by people who may or may not be qualified to carry those policies out. Thank goodness we still have some hereditary peers left who aren’t constrained by the vagaries of democratic election with a power of veto.