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It's going to piss some people off, no matter how I put this

Bur here goes.

A massive car bomb, fizzing and smoking but fundamentally failing to go off is noticed by an ambulance crew; another one is found nearby that didn't even get to the smoking stage. Today, two cretins in a land rover type vehicle attempt to torch themselves to death whilst blowing up half of Glasgow airport. not only do they fail, but they can't even manage to suicide themselves in the process.

It occurred to me during today that the calibre of kids who are willing to become obsessive, kneejerk, reactionary, unthinking tools of the fundamentalist movement; willing to take their own lives in the name of Allah because (according to the Daily Mail) some bloke got a fucking knighthood... must be relatively low. Basically.  Yes, they will strike "lucky", as it were, every so often, and people will die. And it will be bad. But hopefully, they will continue to be a bunch of inept amateurs whose knowledge of explosives comes from a couple of sessions, in the rocky deserts of Pakistan, bolstered by the stupendous self belief of the idiot.

It comes to something, however, that I feel uncomfortable writing this, even despite the knowledge of my trusty 11-13 muskateers (ie: it's highly unlikely any potential eedjits are going to even find this post, never mind be incensed by it).

Your comments, please, my trusty crew...

Carbon Offsetting: Friends Of the Earth comment

Unfortunately this is a PDF link, but anyway.

so I've been feeling more and more uneasy about all this carbon offsetting business. It doesn't really bseem to be solving anything, does it? Carry on as usual, but pour some cash in to a non specific chjarity fund which supposedly does somethign useful with it?

Anyway. In this month's "Earthmatters", the FOE news magaziney thing, there was an excellent piece echoing my disquiet, but putting it in far more sensible terms.

Can we start please, having a gentle backlash against something which is obviously well meant, but is more self serving than actually useful?

Microwave alarm horror!

James pulled our microwave off its shelf (ie: the top of the small fridge). the glass shelf came out and a huge piece chipped off and shattered around his bare feet; the guide circle thing span off and I grabbed the microwave as it hurtled toward his lovely head.

Cue a few seconds of holding on to Jamie for grim death, holding the microwave precariously, but basically balanced, wondering what the hell in blazes I was goling to do next. In fact, the plug held nd it would have just hung there, about a centimetre above ole' goldencurls. But I didn't know that.

Haing extricated both of us from the actual microwave, it was a swift "James to shoulder" scenario whilst we tentatively picked our way across the kitchen.

The day before, James had managed to shatter a pyrex measuring jug all over the kitchen floor. Again, we were both in bare feet. I wonder just how much quicker I could have picked him up. Not much, is the answer.

I've really got to do industry posts more often. My hits have jumped up - my eleven faithful musketeers have become 65 since this afternoon! Quick! Er... Myspace, um... Bebo! Er, Powerpoint sucks! Google are just a business, not the Jedi! (Whoops, sorry about that one).

Facebook growth

An all too rare excursion in to industry blether type areas.

I looked at the Alexa graph for Facebook growth last week, taken over the course of a year, June to June.  The growth rate since  opening up the platform and including the webmail contacts API skimmer thingummy are astonishing. It must be making the person who originally came up with the idea insanely overjoyed that what might have seemed a little crazy at the time has so spectacularly born fruit.

It's amusing to me that I pitched this model internally when Friendster and AudioScrobbler had arrived. I mean I'm assuming that it was pretty bloody obvious to everyone what they should do, mind you. So given the fact that my managers at the time (all long since gone so hopefully this won't get me the sack) could only see short term gains and got confused if anything delivered a year later, and we didn't have an SSO, we didn't become trailblazers in the field of SN. I can't claim any special privileges.

I could prove it to you with powerpoints, look! They're dated! See? I should have patented it! No, really - don't run away from me while I'm talking to you!

Meanwhile, Facebook has many things that I would do differently but realistically, they are minor quibbles. They've done gone and got themselves a gorgeous thing, which hopefully will continue to morph in to something essential. The morphing probably 90% through external applications. You've got to hand it to them, haven't you.


I recently managed to get my iTunes organised on a newish laptop. It didn't have a CD drive, and I am so offended by the business model for iTunes Music Store that I refuse to purchase anything more than the extremely rare "daft single" from it. Therefore, since all my CD's are in storage and all my previousy ruipped tunes are sitting stagnant on an old laptop (the pain!) I've been stuck listening to Radio 3 or 6 Music.

Until now!

So I've pursued my teenage obsession with Ben Folds, and managed top get hold of a slew of live MP3's, and I'm currently listening to The Smiths for the first time in a couple of years.

Frankly, this post was purely to say: The Smiths. Surely one of the best bands to have ever come out of England? These songs are extraordinary.

I remember doing this last time I listened to them for the first time in years - it was like being knocked out.

It's so, so good to be sitting in my own little old-school puffy big headphones world listening to this brilliant stuff.


Sudden realisation that days have gone by...

We took James to the emergency Doc's again over the weekend. Luckily nothing more serious than nasty tonsillitis (he was cryng like some kind of crying academy trainee). A bout of dayglo looking drugs later and he's back to his hilarious, giggly, snuggly self once more.

Meanwhile I managed to go out *two nights on the trot* last week. No, I don't really understand it either. My friend Bob was over for a flying visit (apparently Dexter, her "basically the same age as James" son, bawled the entire journey from SF to here. Ouch). It's so good to spend relaxed time doing nothing more unusual than blethering about nothing in particular with friends. I value that time more than I could possibly tell you.

The following night my Mother came up for some overdue babysitting (last time she was going to, one of the kids was sick) and we went to our friends Rich & Emma's combined 40th birthday party. the party in itself was partially satisfying. Nice location in the middle of town, but a very loud band (who were good, just too much for a small space) buggered it up a little. Here I am reviewing a bloody party. The important point about the evening was again, hanging out. And also meeting an old friend's girlfriend for the first time. He's been going out with her since August <smacks head>. She was ace, he was so blissfully happy, Emma looked amazing, in full on sixties mode along with red Joe Orton hat. Rich looked great and is trying to think of a sow to go with the actual concept which he's already done all the publicity for. As usual.

It'll be so nice / so expensive (delete as appropriate) to go up to Edinburgh in a couple of years with the kids for two or three days in the week - share out babysitting or something and go see a buch of childrens theatre during the day - but more importantly, go see some of the stuff our friends do and we miss constantly.

We were not persuaded to go to the Lattitude Festival (sort of Cambridge Folk meets Hay on Wye with a small actual rock festival tacked on) given that James is still in nappies, obviously, plus there's the Goats Milk issue. Still, we have made the commitment to saying that when he's out of naps, we will attempt to do this kind of thing. although looking at Glastonbury this year, my reaction if rain was on the cards would be so say in a sort of shrill panic "Are you absolutely insane???". Yes, you too can spend three days in the St Johns Ambulance tent, wrapped in blankets trying to ward off hypothermia.

Erm... oh yes! I thought I had  a most appalling skin condition . Scabies! The palms of my hands  have become horrendously itchy, with little blistery bumps under the skin. I recognise the bumps, I have always had a tendency to develop them on one of my toe knuckles. But the only net description I could find that matched was Scabies. Cue a certain disorientated revulsion. It turns out of course that I've got stress related eczema. Sometimes, it itches so much, I wish I had sandpaper and a woodblock. I'd sand it down to the flesh, I'm telling you.

Think, woman

The tell tale signs were there. 4 year old's party, held at a private dedicated playcentre for young kids. Child in question goes to a school's nursery school, where she will later enter the fee paying bit upstairs. Nora hasn't seen her friend from her old nursery for 6 months. Sara.

It said "Fancy Dress!"

Cool! so I gave Nora a number of options, thinking "It'll all be Princesses and fairies". So. you could be a cowgirl, like cowgirl Jessie ) she hasn't seen the film yet, but she knows the character), or you could be a dinosaur, or a princess, could you? Or a fairy? I think I was hoping she wouldn't say fairy, but knew in my heart that she should.

Nora said dinosaur.

We had a brilliant time making the costume. Painting, glueing, sewing - it was hilariously home made but great. A cardboard head, a £4 green adult t-shirt sewn thinner, so it made a sort of dress, with glued felt scales  (and a bit of a weird tail, truth be told). We got to the playcentre, and it was a baby gym. The impact of Nora's cardboard head was approximately 5 seconds before it had to come off and be stowed somewhere safe. Nora had a green face. Every single other little girl was dressed as a princess. not just a Woolworths princess, mind you - a posh online shop, fully lined, satin and lace type of a princess.

Nora was wearing a long tshirt, with the sleeves cut off, with green felt bits glued on, dragging a fucking tail around a gym. She got scared of the height of a bit, and got all upset, with her green dinosaur face all smudged. She hadn't seen Sara for 6 months, Sara was surrounded by her new friends, who were older and more physically confident that Nor.

Well. Put it this way. She found an equilibrium in the end, and didn't want to leave the playgym, so it wasn't all bad. She didn't notice the obvious wealth disparity of course, and it's not like any of the people there were mean or anything. They were all great. I feel bad that I let her down though. It's not a question of going out and spending £50 on a 1-wear costume, it's a question of making more time to think about the context, before lumbering in, with my own desires to be met also (you think I got bored, improvising a crazy dinosaur costume out of bits and pieces?).

My retaliation will be a fancy dress party with the term "Home made" written before it.

Do people make fancy dress anymore then? Do they just buy it? I was thinking on the way home, I wonder if it was a birthday party full of geek families, whether anyone would show up in bought fancy dress. I'm betting that there would be way more  Dinosaurs. Know what I mean?

She looked bloody great, too. My Norasaurus.