Sunday, February 25, 2007

pro-nationalisation? why, just why?

Like most of you, I'm sure, I feel for all those involved in Friday's tragic train crash.

However, on reading various comments - such as those on the BBC News page - I am left speechless at the few who feel the need to spin out this latest incident to promote their blinkered and narrow minded call for renationalisation.

It may not surprise you to know that I am not a fan of nationalisation (consider the disaster that the British car industry became in the 1970s, for a start). Almost by default therefore I must be pro-privatisation, and certainly my experience of the post-privatisation railway is a postive one, with a much better service on offer - a point proven by the vast increase in passenger numbers - and marred only by incompetent governmental interference.

Even if you disagree with me however, I think you'd be hard pushed to legitimately use Friday's accident to argue your point . Would it have still occurred under a nationalised system? Probably. And consider this; as it stands, defective points are thought to be to blame. Points, which are maintained, directly, by the government's Network Rail. On the other hand, the train - designed, built, and pushed in to service as a result of the vision and investment from a private company - survived an impact at 95mph more or less intact, saving many lives as a reuslt.

I rest my case.

Actually, I would rest my case here, but I would like to add one more point. A while back, amidst a few 'untruths', Railtrack was disbanded at a large cost to the shareholders, and Network Rail was formed. I think safety reasons were cited. Something to do with an incident involving defective points was the catalyst, if I remember rightly...

Friday, February 23, 2007

"a day without chocolate is a day without sunshine"

Apparently. I'm not convinced, but that might be because I'm not a woman.

I do know that it's quite a popular thing to give up for Lent though. I haven't, but I wonder how many of you have?

I see that Cadbury's have done their bit to reduce the tempation by recalling a lot of their products again. Typically I am slightly behind with the times but I will share my opinions on the issue nonetheless. I was thinking about the recall earlier, as you do, and thinking that this really is bureacracy gone mad, to coin a phrase.

If I have understood it correctly, it is all to do with the fact that the chocolate in question has not been labelled properly ; specifically it lacks a nut allergy warning. Now, forgive me if I am wrong, but if you had purchased said chocolate and heard about the recall you would now be aware of the potential risk. Returning the chocolate for a correctly labelled replacement would do nothing to change the fact that if you're allergic to nuts then eating it might not be a good idea. In fact, it would acheive nothing bar some unnecessary wastage and some extra costs for Cadbury's.

Brilliant.

Friday, February 16, 2007

you can stick that in your pipe and smoke it...

...it may even go well with the cannabis.

I'm not usually a fan of blowing my own trumpet, as it were, but having received my semester one results I'm feeling quite pleased with myself and figure that every good rule has its exception.

It seems that the hard work has after all paid off, and I don't think I could have done a huge amount more to silence the critics.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

credit where credit is due

Whilst I am having a bit of a splurge, I feel duty bound to mention the driver of the 410 I caught this morning. Buses are normally the bane of my life, and if they get mentioned here it's invariably because I want to rant. However, the driver this morning saw me coming up the road and had the heart to wait at the stop for me - such behaviour, an oasis in a sea of grumpiness, is noteworthy.

travelling the blogosphere

I have updated my links to other parts of the blogosphere (and my RSS reader, for that matter). Hello to Lucy.

Looking down the list, some parts of the blogosphere (or livejournalsphere, if you wish) seem to have been deserted, which is very sad. I'm feeling too charitable to embark on something of a cull at the moment; however I'd like to think that the threat of such action might spur some people to return and show some signs of life.

on the feast of saint cyril and saint methodius


shreyas
Originally uploaded by JP1984.

Happy Saints' Day.

Did anyone receive any 'Cyril and Methodius' gifts or cards? How about sending something?

I hope that if you didn't that you're not too bitter; but if you are I don't want to hear how pleased you are not to have to spend out on commercial tat. Despite the fact that it is a reasonable excuse it probably doesn't reflect your true feelings.

Personally I think it's good if people wish to celebrate the feast days of the saints in style. This article in the Metro amused me. (Incidentally, I might be pleased that I get a seat on the bus in the mornings these days, but I do miss the Metro).

I've had quite a mellow evening with housemates and friends watching the Brit Awards, and it's been good. Amy Winehouse is more attractive than I first thought, but I am very disconcerted by her deep voice. Russell Brand, in the words of Huce, is a tit. I couldn't have put it better myself. And has anyone else noted Liam Gallagher's small bald patch?

Incidentally the photograph is of one of my housemates. He is neither Cyril nor Methodius.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Triumph of the Week

I was sat in the office yesterday when bearers of great joy arrived, heralding the distribution of free cookies outside the Student Union, by Accenture or some such company. Immediately two of us broke in to a sprint and our spoils were duly claimed. Then, donning a suitable disguise, Jeremy went for a second attempt. A trend began and whilst I attemped to debug the program I was writing people returned with four, five, even six cookies each. The gauntlet had been laid. Now, as this was not Brian Lara cricket, I rather fancied my chances of beating the high score of six. Determined to avoid a 'grab and run' scenario I dragged my thought process away from the exciting world of computer programming. A master plan that was at least 'worth a shot' was hatched and minutes later I returned bearing a box of 50 cookies "for the office". I think there might also have been some company literature as part of the deal, but surprisingly no-one in the office was interested.

Travelling First "Great" Western

..well, travelling First at least. The train was so full at Bath that I couldn't even board my coach, let alone get to my reserved seat. However I have had the last laugh because I headed for the first class end of the train (it may surprise you to know that this is not yet normal for me). After 15 minutes in of standing in the vestibule we stopped and enough people alighted for me to find a free seat. The guys with the refresment trolley have told me I can stay put. If only I'd had the guts to claim a free coffee...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

enticing


Image011
Originally uploaded by JP1984.

I love the way that despite the fact the wording couldn't be any less committed about the amount one would save there is still the obligatory asterisk* and associated disclaimer.

>>
*OK so if you look closely it's not actually an asterisk, but "obligatory cross thingy" would have just ruined my post.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

what's in a name?

I was amused to learn during the recent 'crisis' that there is actually
someone with the job title 'United Nations Co-ordinator for Bird-Flu'.
Imagine bringing that up at a dinner party.

I also recently came across someone with the title Prebendary recently.
Does anyone know what a Prebendary does or how one becomes one? Unless
it's particularly cool I have no desire to be one, but I do think it's a
beautifully random title. It too would also be fun to bring up at a
dinner party, and is certainly more intriguing than 'accountant'.

I have Bernard Matthews Turkey in my sandwiches today.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

a ride in a shopping trolley is a sign of a good night out


Image004
Originally uploaded by JP1984.

Last weekend* I made the trip across the country to Cambridge and had a quality time. Thanks to everyone who made it so good - particularly to Ben for driving, Tom and Kev for the hospitality and to Shteef for being Huce.

Highlights included my high score of 6 on Brian Lara cricket**, a trip to Linton*** Zoo and a night out in what is apparently Britain's largest pub. Bizarrely, despite my cynicism, choosing a table by the lonlg "sofa" against the wall really did result in some random girls coming to talk to us.

On our way home, Shteef vaulted a gate and we encountered a shopping trolley strewn across the path. The offer of a ride was just too tempting to resist. Oh what a hooligan I am.

We also saw a unicorn****, and this entry would not be complete without giving the guy in the photograph a mention. Seen in the market square, I was pleased to receive my free hug. Legendary.

>>

*OK so I'm a little behind
**A classic MegaDrive game. Never played it? You're missing out...
***"Equidistant from London and Norwich" [Alan Partridge]
****More like a slightly deformed white horse