Music, fun, laughter & thought provoking social commentary from the one & only oceanic oracle & pernicious piscine pariah and "badass wanabee". Oh yes.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Crime & Spam Don't Pay

"Sorry luv spam's orf..."

Incredibly Spam is on the decrease - hooray!
The nasty purportrators, often called 'net criminals' are increasingly turning to phishing attacks instead - boo! But no one reading this blog is dopey enough to get caught out by such fiendish-like fraud right? - hooray again!

Seriously Spam is being seen as unprofitable hence the switch to creating dopleganger websites in the hope people will reveal their bank accounts details. 'There's nowt so queer as folk' and it seems some people are only too happy to hand over their confidential details to any Tom, Dick or Harry.com As such this has meant a reported decrease in the ratio of spam to legitimate e-mail from 83% in January to 67% in June. If this accurate then one of the very real benefits of this will be a slight freeing-up of net-congestion - to my mind the most serious side effect of all that spamming traffic.

See this from the beeb for further info plus background links from The Register et al.

Vague-Promise-Time
I do want to include a real-life everyday security and common sense feature surrounding the dark side of the web called The Dark Side Of The Web. Well that's some progress because I didn't have a title until just then. As the shallow individual I most definitely am, a cool logo design or a catchy title goes a long way to getting copy on page. There are a lot of things one can get stung by while surfing the net especially if you like to go off-piste as much as I do. So with this in mind plus the problems faced by many 'average' users to whom I've had to lend support before my Agoraphobia set up squat and preventing the growth of my all-conquering IT support business, I shall write up something shortly - promise :)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Auntie's Come To Stay

"Here is the news and this is John Snagg reading it"

What's one of the golden rules for blogs, or any website come to that? Never apologise for the lack of recent content. Just get stuck in and get on with it. So with that diplomatic, if somewhat ironic intro, I'll push on by confessing an almost perverted pleasure to have won approval to display BBC Headlines on this site. As they say, "BBC News is editorially independent. Its appearance on this site should not be taken as an endorsement", but one does need vetting for content from BBCi Syndication. Sort of a secret service wing of the news world one suspects, but with much less chance of being fatally wounded.

Thankfully they didn't mind the copious amounts of swearing contained herein. I must say I hadn't noticed until my good friend Sharon commented, "Don't you swear a lot?". Apparently the half a dozen articles here constitute more reprehensible rhetoric that she's heard from me in a lifetime. She must surely be thinking of somebody else because it's virtually impossible these days to mention certain news-worthy figures without addition interjections......Jeffrey-F*cking-Archer is a perfect case in point. Alan-Twat!-Tichtmarch is another, but until I see good reason or receive sufficient complaints to the contrary I shall not be exercising too much restraint. Without wishing to deliberately create offence, a blog should be as true to oneself as possible.

I probably visit more BBC pages than any other but then it is pretty rich in content and mercifully free from attention grabbing ads. Talking of content don't miss the chance to watch The Mighty Boosh via BBC3's site. Each episode is available a week prior to actual broadcast. We're going to see an awful lot more of this approach too as one of the key points made during the recent formal application for
it's charter renewal was to allow licence payers greater access to it's archive material and current programming across a variety of digital platforms. If I can just edit out the Weather and Local News I'll be happy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Reason's To Be Cheerful (Part-Time)

Continuing our unofficial, entirely-on-a-whim British & Proud campaign.

Don't believe the hype - the Golden Age Of Television is right here with us now. Big Brother my arse. Set the video, stay in, pretend to be ill, buy a dvd recorder and watch with friends who appreciate good tv because Thursday night on BBC2 is looking pretty good - The Line-Up:

Thursday
BBC2 21:00 - 21:30
Extras

The return of award-winning, (but don't let that put you off), writing team that is Stephan Merchant & Ricki Gervais (The Office, as if you ned telling). Gervais plays Andy - a lowly extra still trying to get his big break after five years. An impressive cast over the next six weeks features Samual L Jackson, BenStiller, Patrick Stewart, Vinny Jones, Kate Winslet, and a couple of complete wankers namely Les (quick I'm gonna be sick) Dennis and Ross (another bucket, I need another bucket) Kemp.

In lesser hands this cast list would look like a display of self-congratulatory ego-massaging oppurtunity to bask in one's own reflected glory and although I'm sure they'd be the first to say, 'My friends are bettter than yours', I've little doubt the Marchant & Gervais boys will let things become sicophantic. I think it's generally appreciated that not all Celebrities or Americans are complete arseholes and who better to set the bull-shit detector on kill.

Thursday
BBC2 21:30 - 22:00
The Catherine Tate Show (Series 2)

I'm not sure how much mass appeal this will revieve. The last series was patchy to say the least and I remember an entire episode where I got bored and didn't laugh one - but that could just be me. The saving grace is the impeccable skills of Tate (damn, I do so fancy a women who can make me laugh). Hopefully the genius comic creations that are, Nan, Lauren: "Am I bothered though?", the genius "I dunno!" couple, the over-protective new mum: "Shut up and drive you evil little dwarf", the psychotic woman: "..give 'im a good stiff back 'ander..." and loads more. Truly inspired writing skills sometimes fail to hit the mark every time but that's only because they themselves have set their own standards so high. I think the DVD of the first series is due out around now. Cue continuity, and go continuity: "(slight but contained laugh), And viewers may interested to know that the first series of The Catherine Tate Show is now available on DVD and video cassette from all good retailers."

Thursday
BBC2 22:00 - 22:30
Absolute Power (Series 2)

I have to admit to missing all but the odd scene of the first series this. Another Radio 4 graduate isn't it? It stars Stephen Fry so that's all you need to know really. The only superior itillectual on the planet that insists on being clever all the time and yet never comes across in the least bit arrogant or prigish. Fry co-stars with John Bird as a pair of PR agents. Though not quite as starry as Extras, this also features some famous guests in the shape of James Fox and Philip Schofield. Well, It was probably all the agency had left that week.

What unites all the participants here besides their obvious talent and skill is their humility. We don't do 'Big-Superstar-With-Bus-Full-Of-PR's-And-Minders' in this country particularly well. We do, however, know how to keep our heads down and get on with the job.

Shame the 'beeb' can't be bothered to update Tate or Absolute Power's respective pages - odd.

Other worthy mentions should also go to the following (many others for sure but these are the first to spring to mind - clearly I have problems with long term memory!):


COMEDY
The Thick Of It
The Mighty Boosh

DRAMA
Shameless
Sugar Rush

DOCUMENTARY
Around The World In 80 Treasures
A Picture Of Britain (not to be confused with the recent superficial, pedestrian, and frankly, shite affair from Alan Titchmarsh. Rumours of a new BBC channel for old dears and housewives called BBCTit remain unconfirmed at present, however dumbing-down still remains a top priority it would seem - evidence to follow.)

Of course you could always pretend to be so cool by going down the pub and pretending not to have known it was on but if you don't set the video before you leave you're a complete nob. Soak up the diverse brilliance that is British comedy and see why we are the envy of the world. Say what you will about the BBC and us 'investors' but when it comes making good tv it takes more than trying to please this weeks commercial sponsor to make a hit - Government pressure not-withstanding. Well you can't have it all can ya?

Let's hope I'm not building this up too much, but then, even a bad night on BBC2 is better than a week of SKY or ITV. I'm off again get another bucket...........no the big one.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Haven't these poor people suffered enough?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Pssst! Wanna know a secret?


LONDON WAS BOMBED BECAUSE WE INVADED IRAQ.

I'll say it again in case that came as a bit of a shock to any government ministers who happen to be looking in:

THEY BOMBED LONDON BECAUSE WE TRASHED THEIR COUNTRY AND LEFT IT IN A WORSE STATE THAN BEFORE.

London falls silent to remember those we lost.

I am tired of the endless fucking debate. You break into someone's house and smack 'em in the face, you see what you get back. Listening to the hypocrits in government who created this mess saying that there is no correlation between these two events would be laughable if it were not so utterly, utterly, sad.

I AM FUCKING SICK OF YOUR LIES THAT HIDE THE EVIL TRUTH BEHIND THE WAR IN IRAQ AND ARE DIRECTLY RESPOSIBLE FOR THE DEAD, DYING AND INJURED IN LONDON.

When it comes down to it we are a calm and pretty responsible country. Then the next bunch of media-hungry politicians come along to fuck it all up attempting to seal their place in history.

Doesn't it just make you so fucking sick, and I'm not apologising for my tone because it pales into insignificance next to having the blood of innocent dead people on your hands. That is the true obscenity.

Most of us just want to live a quiet life, getting on with our neighbours trying to stay healthy, trying to make the money go round, wishing we could give more to charity. How much say do we really get though eh? Same old story: You vote them in and they do whatever they fucking well like. They just can't stop themselves from fucking it all up, time and time and time again.

On balance I was happy with the calm & efficient manner in which our Police force have behaved. Demonstrating how to get things done with the minimum of fuss. Of course it would have been a lot easier if we hadn't welcomed all the world's terrorists into to this country with open arms in the first place. Yes they were 'home-grown' I know but doesn't mean they didn't have help.

I want to live in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic country built on tolerance and acceptance of opposing views in the hope that one day we may all get together and finally realise the point of our existence in this life is about more than me, me, me, and only then do get to see that we can have everything we ever dreamed of. Does that surprise anyone?

Monday, July 11, 2005

We're Not Online

I'm Afraid We've Crashed

In the clamour to publish the latest pictures from Thursday's bombing in London I'm feeling a little uneasy that the technocrat is also be embracing the techno-prat.

The camera phone is yet another indispensable tool in the blogger's armoury that is providing the user with the ability to be their own one-person news gathering unit and it's creating reporters of us all. However there is an important distinction between humble reporter and trained journalist and the resposibility that entails.

Moblog.co.uk, the mobile phone blogging site which I featured over the weekend has extended it's reach by creating a website called we're not afraid [www.werenotafraid.com] which invites visitors from around the world to show solidarity by submitting pictures sporting the 'we're not afraid' slogan. All of this is very laudable of course and such is the interest in the project that the site has been unable to cope with the present level of internet traffic has remained out of action for most of the day.

Creator Alfie Dennon wanted to, "...let people tell the world that what happened in London doesn't scare us, or change us for the negative". I also read on the Sky News website that Mr Dennon plans to sell 'We're Not Afraid' T-shirts to help fund the British Red Cross London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund, which has been set up by the Mayor of London, with the British Red Cross, to raise money for the victims of the explosions and their families.

There are many inspiring photos on display, however, a number of the images left me with the impression that this idea was being somewhat diminished, by some, as a competitive event intent on out-doing each others efforts and turning the exercise into a series of photo gags with the punch-line being 'We're not afraid'.

In the rush to publish we must not lose focus of the ordinary families whose lives have changed irrevocably beyond measure in a way most of us cannot even begin to contemplate. I don't doubt the sincerity of Mr Dennon and the majority of bloggers out there but let's not let our enthusiasm over-shadow reality.

Solidarity is more than a tokenistic upload.

See also...
The British Red Cross
Mobiles Capture Blast Aftermath
Alfie Dennon
Google cache of werenotafraid.com

Head For The Pills

3:11 AM: I Can't Sleep

My head is fucking killing me. I've not had a migraine this bad in ages and stopping to stare at an LCD screen, even one as easy on the eye as a Vaio, is probably not the wisest of moves. The the excuse of forgetting to unplug the laptop, 'so I might as well drain the battery a little', is not really sufficient but the addition of a strong cuppa, (seems to help despite all anecdotal evidence to the contrary), to boost the caffeine content of Propain, the only non-prescript drug that has any effect, plus a banana - for reasons I have yet to discover, all add up to my tried and trusted 'migraine-relief plan'. The ice cold 'face-pack-strapped-to-forehead' technique loses all credible effect amid this current humid state.

Another thing that keeping me awake following this afternoon's reconstruction of 'When Ants Attack', (see previous post), is, what happens when poison goes off? Does it become safe or get better?

"Harry, over here, have a look at this one old chap. Rat poison circa 1910. When first introduced it promised to give old ratty a pretty stiff seeing-to and a nasty stomach-ache to any curious child with a penchant for poking about where he shouldn't be."

"Like most children Sir?"

"Yes Harry, like most children, now it's absolutely bally lethal. Why, just a thimble full of the stuff is sufficient to knock out an entire typically sized family friendly south coast English summer holiday resort."

"How can you be sure Sir?"

"Last month I tried it out on the residents of Bognor Regis"

"I read nothing in the press."

"Just so - thus far outside of the improvement nobody's noticed the difference."

"One of Sir's little jokes?"

"No Harry this time the joke's for real. They'll think twice next time before before issuing a parking fine to a visiting Regional Sustainability Development Co-ordinator and part-time Epidemiologist for nothing more than a five minute dash to WH Smith & Son for the latest copy of Cage & Aviary Birds Magazine."

"And you left your hazard lights on didn't you Sir?"

"And I left my hazard lights on, Good God well remembered Harry, I did indeed. For heaven's sake what kind of a world do we inhabit when such a disproportionate response can arise out of such simple retail essentials?"

"Permission to utter an ironic 'Doh! Sir?"

"Go ahead Harry, you've earned it"

"Doh!"


See also...

Migraine Action Association
www.migraine.org.uk
Bognor Regis
www.bognor-regis.org
Birds Of Britain
www.birdsofbritain.co.uk


Sunday, July 10, 2005

World War II + "When Ants Attack"

"We Shall Never Forget"

The symbolism of one million poppies descending from the 33ft long bomb-bay of a Lancaster flying over Pall Mall this afternoon was still on my mind as I faced my own invading army.

[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4668737.stm]

Little did I expect to come face-to-face with a regiment of well disciplined soldiers bent on a complete invasion of my home. As I started downstairs I saw a few, then some more. The few became a swarm and the swarm became an infestation. Yes it's flying ant season again. Oh bloody hell!

We've always had ants drifting in from year to year foraging for food but this was on more of an epic scale. The entire front hallway was, urgh I hate saying this, it was crawling with them - I hate insects. But the desire to ward off this invading army was stronger than any churlish cowardliness. Armed with ant powder, and the savior of the day, the vaumn cleaner, we eventually had them under control. If you ever have an invasion on this or any scale I can heartily recommend using a Hoover. It is an extremely rapid and efficient method. Sucking up ant powder too surely helps to finish the job while they lie in the vacuum bag. And no they don't crawl out when you switch off. Believe me when I say, I monitored this closely.

Two quick ant facts: 1) All the worker ants of a particular colony have developed as sterile females from eggs laid by the colony a?s single queen, so they are all sisters. 2) The queen can live for up to 15 years. There you go you can use that down the pub tonight if you like. Guaranteed to be admired for your vast range of knowledge and women will fall at your feet, or men - whichever. Don't say I never give you anything.

See also...
Bronze sculpture in Whitehall commemorates role of women during WWII.
OK, this blog isn't war-obsessed I promised we shall get to the fun stuff too but this had to be included. My Mum tells wonderful stories of the great community that existed during the war and of, paradoxically, "Happier times". I don't mind admitting that I shed a rare tear of sadness and of utter respect whenever this generation is commemorated.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4663687.stm

See also (ants!)...
Flying Ant Colonies Sweep Cities
"At one point, some cars in Glasgow city centre were entirely covered by ants. The flying ants' hatches have been caused by the warm weather. People are being urged not to panic after millions of flying ants appeared in Glasgow and Edinburgh."
From: Wednesday, 28 July, 2004, 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3934591.stm