Tag: <span>Europe</span>

Last year I flew to America (visiting Boston and Chicago) and this year I’ll be flying to London (twice) and to Singapore later in the year. I’m travelling much more than I used to so I guess it’s only natural that I’m pondering how to rebalance my carbon emissions.

This definitely played into my decision making when I recently changed cars and whilst it wasn’t my main focus, I was pleased to get a hybrid engined car (petrol/battery). It’s also a nice side-effect of getting fit and cycling to work now and then (not as often as I should mind you) that I don’t run my car as often either.

However, to properly rebalance things I need to do more. Recycling at home is one thing but given the air miles I’m clocking up I’ve been looking at other options.

On the face of it, it looks quite straightforward, carbon offsetting through something like carbon credits seems to be the right thing to do but, as ever, when you start to dig a little into the motivations behind some of these things and part of me does agree that all I’m really doing is ‘buying absolution’.

So what to do? Stop flying to far away places? Having not travelled much beyond Europe until recently (one trip to San Franscisco 11 years ago this feels a little bit harsh but no, I’m not suggesting I’m in ‘carbon credit’ already. Perhaps the bike thing is what to focus on first and foremost?

Anyone else got any ideas/suggestions/thoughts?

Personal Musings

Decluttering continues, hampered only by a sudden lack of interest. I’m not surprised of course, that’s how it always is with me, all excited and raring to go at the start before… meh.. apathy and distractions.

One of which has been catching up with the latest travelogue from Michael Palin. It’s been fascinating to learn more about parts of Europe which I knew of, but knew nothing about. It is a very quick look at the culture, politics and beliefs of Eastern Europe, but well worth a look. I may also be watching series 2 of Heroes, but that would be naughty and illegally so can’t possibly be true (although the mexican girl is kinda cute, huh).

I’ve also managed to fix this site, after upgrading WordPress left me error strewn and kinda hacked off. Not a very good show that. However, having originally installed WordPress in a sub-directory all I did was install it at the root, shift some plugins and my theme, et voila! All is working and I can maybe get on with some of the tweaks I had in mind (that fecking Sidebar for one thing).

The other blog is still taking some time mind you, and I’m still slowly building an audience. In saying that, the audience here isn’t that big, and took 6 years, or so, to build so I guess I shouldn’t be in so much of a hurry.

I’m still ripping CDs, only another 100 or so to go. It’s quite good fun actually, ‘rediscovering’ some old favourites and ‘discovering’ some gems I’d completely forgotten I’d purchased.

Right, I’ve got physio exercises to do, a little work to finish off (the downside of now working close to Louise is that I’m not curtailed by her working hours, but the upside MORE than makes up for that), and possibly another stab at Portal. I don’t play many games on the computer, but it’s quite catchy. The opening levels are easy, all of 20 mins to get to level 15, but I hear the last level is what it’s all about, so I’ll get to that point tonight before, hopefully, getting a reasonably early night (now where have I heard that one before?).


I do feel a little guilty doing this kind of post for the second time in as many days but.. well.. see the previous post as to why.

So let’s start with, and you knew it would be this way, the recent Apple ‘event’ (product launch). If that doesn’t interest you, skip the next paragraph and read on from there, can you help me get out of my contract with Orange!

Is the “iPod Touch” a fallback position because they couldn’t garner contracts with the mobile telecoms in Europe? Why DID they add Video to the Nano, it was perfectly suited as a music only player and if they are keeping the Shuffle as a highly focussed product, why are the others all starting to converge? Why WILL it take Starbucks until 2009 to roll out their partnership stuff and, frankly, do I even care?

Apples and Oranges, purely coincidence I promise.

I have a contract with Orange which lasts another 8 months or so (it’s an 18mth contract). However, I’m less than happy with their services, coverage at our house is appalling, and the handset whilst not broken is full of annoying faults which force me to hang up on calls now and then (the sliding mechanism doesn’t always seem to lock in).

I’ve spoken to them about the handset but, and I think I’ve got this correct, if the fault isn’t listed on their system then they can’t offer replacement handset. I argued that one for a while but eventually gave up, as even the ‘supervisor’ (presuming it was actually said person) confirmed that the ‘system’ wouldn’t allow such things. Handy that, eh?

That, coupled with various other interactions with their customer service department, has me cringing every time something goes wrong with my account or my mobile phone. So I wanna ditch them before the end of my contract? Any suggestions? Saying that I’m going to working abroad for the next year is an option perhaps??

So it’s R.I.P. for Pavarotti. I’m not a fan of opera, but he seemed a nice big chap, didn’t he. Couldn’t half warble. Admittedly I’m less than thrilled that the airwaves will be filled with Nessun Dorma for the next day or so as I’m sure that he had better highlights but, well you’ve got to pander to the proles don’t you. I’m sure Gert will be expressing her sadness.

And finally, bananas. I used to work with a woman who found them wholly disturbing things, couldn’t even look at one. Isn’t that odd?

News Work

Yes, still sniffling, but the worst has passed. In some ways this cold/man-flu has been a pain in the ass, in other ways it’s been helpful.

Ohhh who am I kidding… I was going to say that it’s helped me realise how much I’ve been enjoying my jogging, and that it’s given me time to think about stuff.. you know, that whole “time to reflect” kinda thing but, jogging aside, I’ve done little except try to stay awake during the day, watch old movies, and keep myself dosed up on all sorts of drugs, herbal remedies and spicy hot curries.

Anyway, on to other things.

The Ryder Cup for one. Well done Europe for… well.. without overplaying it I think the word “annihilation” may feature in the tabloids this morning.

Other news I’ve “missed” include the ongoing Blair/Brown bore, the near-death experience of the hamster (glad he’s getting better!), and lots of other exciting things that have slipped by my Lemsip-addled brain.

It’ll be back to work tomorrow, and back to life, and we’ve a busy week coming up.

Well my wife does, as she’s out every night this week. I’m gonna take it easy until this damn virus is out of my system, and then, hopefully, I might have something to talk about!

Update: How remiss of me not to thank you all for your kind thoughts and suggestions. I tried most of them, including the “bung” (made of tissue, soon failed due to over absorption), and can safely say that not one did the trick but I think the combination of them all helped to subdue the bug. I’m currently applying for shares in Kleenex. Ta muchly, one and all. Yer not a bad bunch.


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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….


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Apparently, this site is one of 14.4 million other similar sites. Presumably, and I’m certain someone far smart than me will be able to formulate this better, of those 14.4 million, only a portion of them can be directly compared to this site. Of that portion, there will be other factors that will set my site aside as well, geography, topic coverage, age of the author, average of the readership etc etc.

I understand why it’s good to know how many blogs there are, and I think technorati is doing a good job collating and publishing these kinds of figures, but how do those figures affect me? Do I care that 80,000 new blogs are created each day, especially as only 36,000 or so of them will make it beyond the first few months? What I believe is lacking is the next level of detail, the key one being geography. However as the large majority of new blogs are created using a free tracking service – blogspot, livejournal, msn spaces – which offer no way to track where the author is located then we have a problem, don’t we.

Then again, if it’s one thing the interwebnet is good at it’s finding solutions, so why has this one perpetuated for so long? Is it because those in the US have their “rest of world” goggles on? Is it only non-US blogs that care about these facts? (I use the term care advisedly, I don’t CARE but I am interested) Should we be leading the way… when I say we… I mean the people that actually DO things, not people like me who merely pontificate from below and hope that someone somewhere is listening.

Of course this swings back around to the thoughts of community and niche. how they form whether we like the idea or not, and how categorising blogs and their influence is a hugely vast and completed job because there are no rules or guidelines to follow, no structure to how things are done, with everything both global and local at the same time.

The big numbers are important but it’s the more focussed info that bloggers need if they are to get an idea of what their “competition” is, what the trends are in their neighbourhood. I want to know how many new blogs there have been in the UK, in Europe. How many are personal sites, how many are “for profit” ventures?

No, I’m not overly bothered by these thoughts, nor will I expend much energy pursuing them, but I am curious. I guess that’s common after spending over five years on a hobby.


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Bassett’s Fruit Allsorts are top. Want one?.. ohh sorry, I appear to have eaten them all.

My Gran (85?) uses phone banking.

Ryder Cup heading destined for Europe?

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