Happy Christmas!

flickr-2106654035-hd

I’d just like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas!

We’ve always had a family gathering with large numbers (read: 10ish) of our family around on the day, but for the past two years that number has been significantly lower at just four due to various circumstances. Let’s hope that this year we have better luck at seeing everyone!

That awkward moment…

… when you do a Google Image search, and it returns only one or two results for what you want, and lots of random stuff…

strand harmony 22-40

Highlighted in red are the images relevant to my query, “Strand Harmony 22/40”.

London 2012: Opening Ceremony

Well, as I guess most of the world was watching the opening ceremony last night, I guess I don’t need to write a good description of what happened.

In a typically British way, we had to start with the Shipping Forecast for the island surrounded by the sea.

I’d heard that there was a plan to have the British countryside represented in the stadium, clouds and all, and I thought this was just going to be a complete failure, that we’d never live up to Beijing’s gauntlet. After the performance last night, with the Isles of Wonder section (forging the Olympic Rings), and Happy and Glorious (the Bond bit), it just looked amazing.

Awaiting the arrival of Bond and Her Majesty

Awaiting the arrival of Bond and Her Majesty —Matt Lancashire (CC-BY 2.0)

The use of technology in the modern world was nicely illustrated by a young couple hooking up with the use of technology in the stadium at a “night out”, with Dizzee Rascal performing live on stage.

The NHS and other literary works were represented as well, including Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, and Harry Potter. We also can’t forget Mr Bean’s “assistance” in playing Chariots of Fire.


All in all, it was a memorable show, there’s even rumours about this being the first lesbian kiss broadcast on Saudi Arabian state TV, but there’s been no confirmation from anywhere about that.

Merry Christmas!

Aside

I’d just like to wish you all a very merry Christmas, thank you all for reading my blog and hopefully staying sane while I just rant on and on!

Cuts protesters claim police tricked them into mass arrest – Guardian

Cuts protesters claim police tricked them into mass arrest

EDIT: Some of the language in this article has been toned-down from when it was originally published.

According to the article, a peaceful protest in a public place (a shop) with no restrictions to other people, where the protestors were asked to leave, and even tidied up after themselves and were then kettled and aggressively arrested, meanwhile other protesters who were actually being violent and causing trouble elsewhere went unchecked. In my opinion, this is one way to start off violent anti-police protests.

The protesters were even apparently lied to, being told they’d be able to leave quietly, without being kettled or held in any way – thus making the police seem to be lying, cheating thugs. This sort of reputation is only going to raise anger amongst those affected, which happens to be practically any citizen who has ever peacefully protested in this country – anger against the force designed to keep the peace and uphold the laws of the land. Acts like this only go to highlight how maybe they aren’t quite doing it right.

xkcd.com - Voting Machines

Given that there were literally hundreds of thousands of people there (estimates range from 250 to 500 thousand people) protesting against the cuts that the ConDem government is putting us through, the Government isn’t getting a very good image as it is, and as the Police are giving this image too, it reflects even more badly on them.

What’s more, this isn’t the first instance of heavy-handed policing in recent times – protesters at Glasgow University who had been staging an occupation of an unused university building for seven weeks, when the university decided they didn’t want them there any more, so called in police to evict them, which turned into students being dragged from the building. Eventually, the students decided to occupy the main services building of the university instead, causing havoc to the operations of the university. Eventually, the university struck a deal with the students allowing them to return to the unused building just to get them out of the way.

In all seriousness, the police and the government need to take a good long hard look at themselves, and decide if this is the way they truly want the country to turn out – and with calls for a national strike, I don’t think it’s going well for the government. We seem to be seeing a resurgence of the Thatcher years, with all protests and strikes there, although I doubt David Cameron has the backbone for it – although when supported by his best friend (and seemingly puppet) Clegg, they might be able to keep up the traditions of the Iron Lady.

EDIT: Some of the language in this article has been toned-down from when it was originally published.

Nationwide and the mortgage answer phone message

On Thursday I got a rather interesting and worrying thing happening, I got this message on my answer phone:

Hi this is _____ calling from Nationwide, I’m the mortgage consultant for West Bromwich branch.

Er, I’ve got an appointment booked to see you tomorrow morning at 09:30 in the Birmingham Bennets Hill branch, now I just wanted to have a chat with you about what you were looking to do and what you need to bring along with you – and if you give me a call back when you get this message that would be fantastic erm my mobile number is 07________, that’s ___________.

I’ll speak to you shortly, thank you, bye!

<handset put down>

(hidden bits for privacy)

While I do have a few accounts with Nationwide, I’ve never had and never even indicated in any way that I wanted a mortgage, so this was slightly concerning. It’s also been a couple of years since I was last in Birmingham, so this was also weird.

The fact that I was supposed to call them back on a mobile number was also suspicious.

A trip into the local Edinburgh branch revealed nothing had happened with my account recently – no appointments, no contact, etc, and because they didn’t mention anything about me specifically in the call, and that the number was withheld, it seems likely that it was a scam. (Outgoing calls from Nationwide apparently set the caller ID to some 0845 number)

Another mystery solved :)

Minatures in photography

Video

Just seen this on a friend’s blog – it looks amazing!

The Sandpit from Human Music & Sound Design on Vimeo.

I’ve seen this sort of thing before as still images, something called tilt-shift or something. I dunno, but if anyone knows how to do it easily, preferably if it’s possible with a 5 megapixel phone camera, or editing with something like The GIMP, I’d love to know how.

I don’t consider myself an arty person, and I don’t really know any of the arty lingo, I just know that this looks cool! :D

Oh, and did I mention – the music in that video is really cool too! :D

Andy’s blog

Aside

Just a quick message to gently spam about Andy’s new blog – a friend of mine and he’s only just starting this whole blogging thing… so please be gentle and encouraging!

Best wishes, and welcome to the blogosphere, Andy! :D