Month: <span>November 2005</span>

Blimey, is it Tuesday already?

I received an email from Clare last week asking if I’d take part in a little game of hers. Sure thing, I said (always too quick to say yes and too nice to say no… it’s an affliction). I was glad when she only asked me to provide two photos. Phew.

Imagine my surprise when it turns out she managed to convince thirteen other nutte.. bloggers to do the same, meaning that you all get the chance to match the thirteen bloggers to the thirteen sets of pictures. Simple enough? Ha! I’ve seen the photos, simple this ain’t.

Anyway, scurry over to Clare’s site and proffer your suggestions, I’m intrigued to see if anyone gets mine (there is a clue in one of my photos though).

Blogging Photos

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Honestly, you women. Running around, daring to be happy and comfortable in your sexuality, wearing flattering clothes and flirting, yes FLIRTING, with members of the opposite sex. It’s ridiculous, but tolerable. The limit is reached when you start drinking though. Honestly. You can’t have everything, that’s just greedy.

Yes? No?

I’m gobsmacked at the news today that 1/3 of “people” believe that it’s the woman’s fault if she is raped. Apart from general amazement, my initial shock was quickly tempered by the hope that these “people” are the minority who believe what they read in newspapers, and don’t question anything. If you look at it from that point of view, you can understand (although not condone) the findings of the survey. Depending on your stand it’s either the result of a long standing campaign by the male dominated press, or it’s the unfortunate result of some tired hacks who can’t be bothered to question their world view.

Either way the survey is shocking. So let’s take the three key issues:

A third of people believe a woman is partially or completely responsible for being raped if she has behaved flirtatiously, a survey suggests.
The Amnesty International poll of 1,000 people also found over 25% believe she is at least partly to blame if she has worn revealing clothing or been drunk.

1. “if she has behaved flirtatiously”
I’ve already documented my thoughts about flirting, so let’s put that aside as a ridiculous notion.

2. “if she has worn revealing clothing”
Rather than dig myself into a huge hole, I’ll firstly confess that I am an admirer of the female anatomy in all it’s many forms. I am quite happy for women to choose clothes that they are comfortable wearing. If they feel good wearing revealing clothes, who am I to argue. In saying that, the clothes a woman wears do not give me the right to violate her in any way shape or form. I’ll plead guilty to the odd ogle or five, but rest assured that I always feel guilty when I get caught… um… I’m straying from the topic here. Again, I can’t do much with this reason other than suggest that it’s a lack of respect and the objectification of women that is to blame.

However, maybe there is a sliver of an argument to say that, whilst it isn’t right, it is a fact that some men see women as objects so there should be some awareness (note that I said “awareness, I’m not saying they shouldn’t wear what they want, and I’m appalled to think that the actions of a few men should have any influence on a woman when she decides what to wear) that wearing revealing clothing may attract the attention of ‘less desirable’ men?? Of course I guess the reason that some women do wear next to nothing on a night out is to attract the attention of men, and so we enter a swings and roundabouts discussion.

Suffice to say that I agree with Gert who recently stated: “I find it deeply insulting for men to suggest that women should cover themselves to prevent them from being the target of inappropriate sexual advances.”

3. “if she has … been drunk”
Let’s set a scenario. Bear in mind that I’m coming at this from the male point of view.
You are on a night out, you spot a couple on the dance floor, they are both flirting, she is wearing a revealing outfit, and they are obviously attracted to each other. They both look a little worse for wear but have definitely “hit it off”. A week later you hear that he is being accused of raping her.

Now, I’m not saying that her actions give him any rights or provide him with any defence, but if you were to ask any of the people who had seen them together in the nightclub, would there be a shadow of doubt in their minds? I would think so. (thankfully this scenario is not based on personal experience).

Regardless of the findings, rape is a horrific topic. My view, as with most things, is that better education is the way to tackle this, removing the view of women as objects, and ensuring rape victims are given the protection they deserve. If anything good is to come of this survey I hope that it’s a growing awareness of women’s rights. And that rapists get their balls chopped off. The likelihood is that this will soon be yesterday’s news.

Last thought: Why isn’t there a link to the survey from the BBC News site? They are generally pretty good at giving you a way to delve deeper into a story, but this gets one page and nothing else. Odd?

News

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Back in April I mentioned that I was going to apply to join the 9rules network and my what a stooshie it caused:

If people want to sell their souls to advertising or to networks, why not write for the paper press? The 9rules thing seems 180 degrees opposed to everything I love about blogging and bloggers.

joining a ‘network’ seems a bit cliquey for me.

OK, maybe I’m overstating a little, it was little more than a ripple, and it was the bit about including adverts that really got people riled for, as diamond geezer recently found, the majority of “hobbyist” bloggers (within our little UK clique at least) don’t like the idea of blogs having adverts.

So let me clear some things up.

  1. I have not sold my soul to the devil
  2. I will not, ever, have adverts on this site
  3. Joining the 9rules network will have ZERO impact on you dear reader
  4. Point 3 isn’t entirely accurate as I hope the content will improve
  5. I have a very good reason for wanting to join, but more on that later this week

As it says on the 9rules website: “The 9rules Network is about building a community of high quality websites as well as a community of highly discerning readers. Content is king and looking good helps.”

I’m pretty excited about this and hopefully it’ll be the start of good things, things I’ve wanted to pursue for a while. The list of members is quite daunting, a lot were already respected regular reads of mine, even if I didn’t spot that they were members of the network. All in all I feel quite privileged that I was accepted, and I’m looking forward to learning new things and getting to know a whole new set of people.

I’ll post more about this later in the week, and I’ll include my reasons for joining. I’m sure a few of you will have guessed what I’ve been planning, so suffice to say that my main motivation for joining the 9rules network was focussed on THAT, not this site.

Blogging

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Finally!!!

Considering the amount of hassle I’ve had trying to setup and configure my new Airport Express, I’ve jotted down some information which I hope may be of use to others.

I may end up waffling my way through this so, if you want, skip straight to the summary.

Firstly some notes on my setup as it will differ from many. I am on Telewest Broadband (UK) and my cable modem is a Scientific Atlanta Webstar 100 connected to the PC using a USB cable (as installed by Telewest). My wireless connection is provided by a D-Link AirPlus G DWL-G122 USB Adapter (NOT a Wireless Router but it offers the same functions for a third of the cost), and I am running Windows XP Pro SP2. My Airport Express is versioned at 6.2 and I’m using iTunes 6.0.1.3.

Ohh and before I detail how I got it working, some snippets of info to note, this may be useful if you too are having hassles setting up Airport Express on Windows XP.

The gotchas

  1. If you have a cable modem that is connected to your PC using a USB cable DO NOT EXPECT TO SEE A CONSTANT GREEN LIGHT. Flashing amber is the best you can hope for (because you are not using an ethernet cable to connect your cable modem to your PC) … given that piece of information you should also note that…
  2. A constant green light means that the Airport Express has been correctly assigned an IP address. It does not necessarily mean it is connected properly (this threw me for a while).
  3. Patience is a virtue. It takes five minutes or so for my wireless connection to kick in and for the connection to be made to the Airport Express. It may show up via the Admin Utility before then but leave it alone for a wee while if you can. No I don’t know why.

So enough of the trivia, how did I get it to work?

Well the secret, for me, was to alter the “binding order” of my PC’s network connections. You can do this by:

  1. Opening the Network Connections control panel.
  2. Selecting Advanced from the menu bar, and then select Advanced settings.
  3. On the Adapters and Bindings tab you will see a box labelled Connections.
  4. Re-order the connections to ensure your broadband connection is first, and your wireless connection comes after that (for me I also moved my Bluetooth connection to last).

Contrary to what I’ve read elsewhere, you CAN let Airport Express use DHCP to grab an IP address. In my head the rationale is – based on re-ordering the network connections – that the cable modem gets assigned an IP address first, then the Wireless connection gets assigned an IP address, then when that is done it connects with the Airport Express and it too gets assigned an IP address.

If the network connection order is wrong you end up with the Airport Express trying to assign the IP address for the PC and the Wireless connection, this is all well and good except that it breaks your internet connection. Not ideal, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Note: the previous two paragraphs might not be technically accurate but I THINK they explain what happened to me.

I spent hours mucking around trying to set the IP address manually, all to no avail (see the “green light gotcha” above) and whilst I managed three or four times to get music to stream to the Airport Express it was always at the expense of my internet connection. Re-ordering the network connections seems to have sorted that out.

So far so good then. I had fallen prey to the “audio drop” issue and turned to some of these suggestions, specifically changing the channel and turning on “interference robustness” but the key seems to be leaving the Admin Utility running. No I don’t know why either.

A final note. If you turn off your PC at night, you’ll need to restart the base station when you turn your PC back on or you won’t be able to connect to it (because it needs to have the IP address re-assigned ya see… I hope you are still following all this).

Frankly the Airport Express is not inspiring much confidence, a first for when me it comes to Apple products.

To summarise (and re-order things) then:

  1. Check your network connections order before you start.
  2. Use the setup tool, the Admin Utility can be confusing if you aren’t 100% sure what you are up to.
  3. If you don’t need to, don’t use any security.
  4. Don’t worry if you don’t get a green light, the Airport Express may still function correctly.
  5. If you restart your PC, restart your Airport Express (highlight the base station in the Admin Utility/Base Station Choose and select the Base Station menu then Restart).

I’d like to publically thank a man called Henry B. who managed to help me solve my problem. The discussion is here and may be of use to others. I’d also point out that the Discussions area on the Apple website is surprisingly open, active and helpful. A small beam of light in the quagmire that has been the “Airport Express experience”.

In closing then… no I’m not including any screenshots in this writeup as my problems were a lot simpler than I had realised. No Bonjour didn’t help (it’s only really concerned about wireless printing on the Windows platform). Yes this has lowered my opinion of Apple products.

Right, I’ve got a beautifully crafted playlist sitting in iTunes, so I’m off downstairs to listen to it!

Media Tech Work

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Meme-like post ahoy!

I’ve been on a musical voyage of re-discovery lately, digging through dusty CDs and uncovering some albums I’d forgotten about. Some, I’ll happily admit, haven’t really stood up against the ravages of time and my changing musical tastes; one Kevin McDermott Orchestra CD has worn so badly you can see through parts of it, and I’m still not entirely sure WHY I bought that Army of Lovers CD…

On the plus side I did discover a couple of albums that, at the time, I listened to almost non-stop. One was The Senseless Things album The First of Too Many, and brought back many vivid memories. The main one being how I’d rushed to record it onto tape to take it with me on my walkman (a constant companion through university and long walks through Glasgow) and how one of the tracks got split during the ‘reverse’ of the tape sides…

Just for kicks I bashed “Senseless Things” into Google to find, to my amazement, that not only had they appeared on a Peel session or three, but that the album cover was designed by Jamie Hewlett. Yes, the same Jamie Hewlett that drew (and co-created) Tank Girl and the same Jamie Hewlett that co-created and is responsible for the “art” side of Gorillaz . Who’d a thunk it?

Anyway, enough waffling from me, over to you guys. Which albums have you recently re-discovered in your collection?

Blogging Media

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Movie info from IMDB
Movie reviews from Metacritic

Terry Gilliam has a certain way with imagery, you either love it or can’t quite figure it out. For the most part I love it and this story, of the two young Grimm brothers and the supposed origin of their famous fairytales, is a perfect foil for Gilliam’s eye for the strange dark places that haunt your mind.

Heath Ledger and Matt Damon play the eponymous brothers, with Ledger turning in an excellent performance as the bookish reader of tales, alas Damon forgot to lose his Hollywood tan and looks ever so slightly out of place. In fact this lack of attention to detail is the downfall of the movie.

Set in French occupied Germany, the accents range through most of Europe and feature, amongst others, a small boy in a German village who speaks with a Yorkshire accent. I’m all for suspension of disbelief but I expect a movie to help me along that path, not jar me back to reality every three minutes with yet another odd moment to lose continuity.

The script is fine, the story amicable enough (it IS a fairytale after all) but the direction lacks sparkle and magic. Add to that some inconsistent performances (Ledger and Jonathan Pryce aside) and the movie left me some what bemused. Terry Gilliam and the Brothers Grimm seemed like a perfect match, alas neither side has come out very well.

Ohh and I’d better mention THAT scene between Monica Bellucci and Heath Ledger… ohh to have that woman breathing my ear….

Media

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UPDATE: The idea for this post came from Lea Alcantara. I’ll summarise your comments over the weekend and maybe even let you know why I asked. Maybe.

Right, interaction time (stop groaning at the back).

For reasons that I can’t yet disclose (unless you’re willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement? No, didn’t think so) I need your help. I need to know how other people (that’d be you lot) perceive me. Simple.

This is open to everyone, whether friend or family, regular or virgin reader. Three adjectives are all I ask, although I suggest you think them up before you open the comments so you aren’t influenced by others.

I’ll collate the responses later, and I’ll be emailing “non-blog aware” people as well.

Feel free to comment more than once; three adjectives per comment on what you think when you think “Gordon McLean”.

Blogging Life Personal Musings

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From the last Scottish blogmeet, found when clearing out my desk over the weekend.

During a clear out I found a scrap of paper on my desk at the weekend. It was from the Scottish blogmeet and was used to jot down URLs and the drinks order (soooo organised!). On the back of this piece of paper I had scribbled the following notes:

  • purple hat
  • cher wig
  • bikini
  • normal situation
  • neil – hat – back to front
  • gunnella’s teeth
  • keanu reeves – half dressed

I’m certain that, at the time, this made sense and I’m certain that I wrote these things down as a reminder to blog about them at a later date. Unfortunately my memory is slightly (Guinnessly) hazy… in truth, I’m stumped.

However I decided not to let that trivial matter stop me, so here are some random notes from the last Scottish blogmeet:

purple hat
I’ve always wanted a purple hat and was incredibly jealous when someone arrived with one. Admittedly I was slightly bemused as they were wearing it strapped to their left knee but, as I’ve never claimed to be fashionable, I let this pass without comment. I did find myself staring at the hat though, and obviously this was noted because it wasn’t long before it was removed from the leg of the wearer. They replaced it with small green glove.

cher wig
I’ve always wanted a Cher wig and was incredibly jealous when someone arrived with one. Admittedly I was slightly bemused as they were using it to carry a small dog but, as I’ve never claimed to be fashionable, I let this pass without comment. I did find myself staring at the wig though, but soon stopped when the dog leapt out of the wig and sunk it’s teeth into my nose. Whilst this did make drinking a little tricky, I considered it was the least I could put up with for having been so impolite. One must NEVER stare at someone’s wig.

bikini
I’m so glad I decided against wearing my bikini. It would have clashed horribly with the one Richard wore.

normal situation
We discussed a large variety of things during the blogmeet, yet I never felt like it was a normal situation. That’s probably because it wasn’t. Rarely would you find yourself sitting in the company of 10 or so complete strangers about who you knew a little but not a lot. There are two ways to approach this kind of situation. One is to engage in the gentle art of conversation, taking your time to get to know each other, what each person finds offensive, what their sense of humour is based on, and so on. The other approach is to get drunk and talk a lot of rubbish. Both seem to work (although I have only tried the latter).

neil – hat – back to front
In another strange incident, Neil had arrived without a hat. What’s even stranger is that he had already left with a purple hat in his possesion, but upon his arrival back at the place he had left it was no longer attached to his person but to someone else. That would have been fine but I now recall that the aforementioned hat was actually back to front with the opening at the top, rather than underneath like more traditional hats. How do you wear such a hat if the opening is at the top?

gunnella’s teeth
Not only was it wonderful to see Gunnella, but it turned out that she had remembered to put her teeth in – what a bonus. She was the only person at the table who had, and we all watched on jealously as she munched her way through a sandwich. With our gums salivating we turned to alcohol and mushed bananas for solace (the only available food in the pub that didn’t require chewing).

keanu reeves – half dressed
The biggest surprise of the day was when American actor Keanu Reeves made an appearance. However as, in the advertisement for his appearance, he had suggested he would be completely nude you can imagine the disappoint that rang around the room when he turned up with a purple hat strapped to his leg, carrying a Cher wig from which a small dog peered. Thankfully he had socks on so at least his hands were covered up. I’m not going to comment on his bikini though, that’s best left to the imagination.

Editor’s note: I have no idea where this post came from, or what inspired it, but I’m of the distinct impression that Gordon may have had a little too much caffeine and sugar this morning. Don’t worry, he’ll be weaned off these substances over the coming week.

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