Friday, September 18, 2009

Look what I found

The asute amongst you will have already noticed this photo on facebook, but I needed something to make a new post about, so I'm putting it up here too:

I found the screw (not the penny, that's just there for scale) with my back tyre on Tuesday, which made 3 punctures of my inner tube (the first 2 from the screw going in one side & out the other). After an hour of trying the patch it failed, I had to go and buy a new tube. Boooo.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Something that I found in my picture archive

The photo is from February 2006, I've just put the caption on properly now in the traditional style of a demotivator. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

More politico reality-warping

This is from our latest Lib Dem 'Focus' newsheet (number 89):

I'm not sure what they're cheering about - the message of this graph is not 'only the Lib Dems can beat the Tories' (which plainly, they didn't), it's 'the Lib Dems recieved a slightly less round thrashing from the Tories than anyone else'.
I notice that the statistic that they've chosen to present is also very narrow, 'councillors in Cardiff North' - not Cardiff as a whole.

I may be back with more once I've actually read it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Photographic Self-Promotion #6, Castell Coch

A few weeks ago, I decided to use some of my copious free time to cycle to Castell Coch and take some photos (I also ate a banana, and drank some water). You may notice that the castle itself is not in any of the photos, so I suppose you'll just have to take my word for it that they were taken there.
Castell Coch was built by The Marquis of Bute in 1871 (completed 1891) as a hunting lodge, and was barely used.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Photographic Self-Promotion #5, More St. Fagans

Despite being taken more than 9 months later, this next bunch of pictures from St. Fagans are the next set (chronologically) of interesting pictures that I have.

95% of blogs abandoned

News just in from the nerd community, apparently 95% of blogs are abandoned. Well, now it's (95% -1).
Don't worry, I have some new photos for more self promotion in the pipeline. I also have a photo of the complete rood screen, and very rood it is too (I may have to censor it before I put it up!).

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Photographic Self-Promotion #4, St. Fagans

It was a bit flooded, this is the path to the timber circle:

And this is the shiny new church which they've built:

It's apparently called the rood screen, but I can't see what's rood about it

Wednesday, April 30, 2008



I'm back again with another serious post, this time about the impending local elections.
I have only just gone and looked at the official candidates list, and it appears that in my ward (Gabalfa) there are 2 each from: Labour; the Lib Dems; The Conservatives & Plaid, and one from the Green party. This leaves me with the dilemma of having no protest vote or independent to vote for. I also cannot fathom what any of them stand for:

  • From Labour and the Lib Dem's escalating war of leaflets, I gather that both of them stand for opposing each other and telling me that I must vote for them to keep the other out.
  • From Plaid, the Conservatives and the Greens, we have no information at all (well, the Conservative may have popped some drivel through the door a few weeks ago, but I've forgotten what it said), but Plaid have a standing policy of trying to force Welsh down my throat and The Greens are opposed to nuclear power and western civilisation in general.
I also can't truly gauge the mood of the neighbourhood; a quick scan of the street has: 1 house voting Lib Dem; 1 Conservative; 1 Green; 1 voting Labour who have managed to put a sign up in their neighbour's garden too; no-one voting Plaid; and several people voting for a variety of estate agents.

On another note: Gerard for the win in Ely!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Petty Grumble #3

Baby Talk.
No, not what babies say; what people say to babies.
In particular what they say as they cradle them up & down to try and get them to stop crying. My Grandmother is the worst offender for this, her favourite phrase when trying to get my newest niece, Lexi, to stop crying is "it doesn't matter".
I mean, what's 'it' that doesn't matter? The Northern Rock fiasco? The rugby result? Foot & Mouth disease? I suspect that Lexi has not the time, the inclination nor the comprehension to care about any of these things. 'it' probably refers to her being hungry, being in need of winding or being otherwise discomforted, and for a baby, these things do matter and no amount of telling them otherwise will make a h'apeth of difference.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fly Tipping

That's an unpleasant title, isn't it? So is the subject itself. Fly tipping makes the place look a mess, there's no question about that (although if you're on the lookout for stuff that you can re-use, following the advice of the wombles, it's a gold mine).
What, however, is the best way to deal with it?
Well, I saw in the local rag yesterday a piece that Cardiff Council plans to spend £20,000 on CCTV at popular fly-tipping sites to try and catch the nefarious types, along with a battery of other expensive measures.
Dear Cardiff Council, here's a clue:
The best way to combat fly tipping is to make it easier to legitimately dispose of your waste than to fly-tip it.

  1. At fly-tipping hotspots, and this is a real innovation; leave a skip for people to put rubbish in!
  2. If someone's bin if full to bursting, it means that they have a lot of rubbish and it needs collecting. Leaving their bin, full, at the kerbside is utterly counter-productive and a danger to public health.
  3. Make municipal dumps easier to use (like not requiring people to own cars to be able to use them). There's a dump around the corner from where I live, apart from very bulky items, it would be possible to walk around there with rubbish, but we have to drive instead - if we didn't own a car, we simply wouldn't be able to dump our rubbish.
  4. Stop charging for commercial waste disposal - it's rubbish, it goes in the dump, that's what dumps are for. Making it hard for people to do that (by charging a really substantial amount of money) is going to make it harder to get by without fly-tipping - legitimate tradesmen who do things properly have to pass that cost on to their customers, who are now more likely to go with the cheaper option of using cowboys.
  5. Structure your recycling rules such that if in doubt, you put things in the green bag, rather than the black one.
  6. When people call up to get bulky items collected, have enough capacity to be able to offer them an appointment within 24-36 hours, rather than next week. Most people don't want an old sofa to sit in their front garden for a week before it's collected. Nor do they want dangerous items like old fridges to sit around any longer than necessary.
See; simple, sensible, solutions - I suppose that means that there's no chance of the council employing me now :-(

Friday, May 18, 2007

I have a serious point to make

would you believe it?
Anyway, my serious point regards John Sweeney's piece about the 'Church' of Scientology on Panorama. Unfortunately, I was nominally revising, so didn't see the entire piece, but that's somewhat immaterial. What I want to discuss is the major talking point, John Sweeney losing his temper. See this video (from the scientology people):

And then there's the BBC's version:

Now, it should be noted that even in the BBC's version, he's losing control of his voice, but in the CoS version, the sound is actually distorting - either they're using cheap equipment OR they've deliberately manipulated it to make it seem like it was louder than it was.

Now, my point on the whole issue is this, this Tommy Davies character could have wound John up, made him explode, and got a great capital out of it. Maybe he thinks that he did.

He didn't. See the thing he didn't do was shut up. Had he allowed John to shout and then calmly responded he may have managed to acquire the intellectual high ground. As it was he just kept his condescending monotone waffle talking right through him (which also shows the value he has for his own point of view). Maybe he was hoping that by continuing to talk and winding John up further he could keep him shouting and come out on top.

It didn't work. You see, the thing that Tommy failed to realise is that we've all seen his type before and most of us aren't impressed when we see the archetypal 5-year-old putting his fingers in his ears and going "la la la la, I can't hear you". That's what Tommy is doing and it's the last refuge of someone who realises that his argument has run out of steam. Another five year old would probably have hit him. Maybe he was hoping to keep John shouting and try to look good for not being a raving madman.

It failed. I, and I suspect many others, saw past the shouting man to the other man who was deliberately winding him up. Being the person losing their rag is bad; being the person who deliberately winds them up is worse.

Now, back to Tommy. If you watch the BBC clip right through, you'll see another little gambit with the roles reversed and this time John demonstrates far better how to deal with an angry shouting person. John is talking about the CoS and qualifies it with the phrase "some say it's a sinister cult" and Tommy leaps on this and goes off on one about religious freedom and storms off, refusing to answer John's really very valid point about freedom of speech. (While it maybe be Tommy's right to hold whatever religious beliefs that he wants, it's equally Johns right to label it a sinister cult.) Now, it's interesting to notice that it takes him a good few seconds to erupt, during which time it becomes clear as to where John's line of questioning is going. Is it taking Tommy a while to wrest back control of his anger behind those dark glasses or did he figure out what the question was going to be about and quickly backtrack so he could shout about some side topic before leaving quickly? Also, if he has such great faith in his beliefs why does he get so angry that someone who doesn't share them doesn't put so much stock in them? (Which, in fact, wasn't even the case since John was simply quoting a oft-repeated popular opinion of scientology).

Kudos to the BBC for tackling this head on and not letting the CoS silence them (or at least getting a lot of it out there). The CoS may have thought that agreeing to do this would give them some good publicity and show the world that they're going mainstream. It hasn't. They're the same bunch of raving nutters and winding a BBC reporter up to the point of getting him shouting has only reinforced that view. Perhaps they thought they could break and discredit the BBC. They haven't. It's going to take quite a lot to shake the BBC's reputation for (normally) quality journalism and this wasn't enough. Go for a smaller fish.

So, in conclusion, a few tips for Tommy:

  • Don't wind people up.
  • Don't talk over people.
  • Don't go for the condescending monologue, it doesn't look good.
  • Don't go banging on about your right to hold religious beliefs; it doesn't extend to forcing others to respect them or not call them a cult.