Summer is Over

Summer is Over 



One stretch ham-pink HUMMER limo on Hartcliffe Way. Seriously. Are you even surprised these days? 


Wink Wink (detail 2)

Wink Wink (detail 2)

Link Dump 29/08/06

A little late, as I started the process of redecorating my bedroom this weekend.

  • -  Doane Paper is a geeky combination of graph and lined paper. Available to purchase
    for $9 via Paypal, with free shipping inside the US.
  • - Despite not really knowing the guts of MMO gameplay, Gavin Woolery became so tired of the soulless game industry that he just designed his own.  The video is pretty... well. Something akin to the Spore demos. Take a look.
  • - UK bank Lloyd's TSB is now offering Islamic student accounts to help young Muslim's save money. It's also open to non-Muslims (obviously), but it's not very enticing to be honest. Free gifts, yes. Interest? Nope. Sharia law forbids making money from money.
  • - Claire Armitstead profiles David Mitchell, who has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize again. Must... read... more... DM. Although I usually find the Booker Prize winners rather shit.
  • - Next year, I want to go to PAX, the land of Guitar Hero head2heads and internet celebrities smashing their guitar controllers. I know this is a pipe dream, because travelling to the West Coast is GOD DAMNED EXPENSIVE.
  • - Blizzard made this proclamation last week. New expansions every year? I don't know how I'd keep up. Especially moneywise. Maybe that's the idea - they are planning to stop us all from purchasing and playing other games.


Francombe House (detail)

Francombe House (detail) 


Link Dump 22/08/06

  • - Snakes on a Plane hit number one in the box office in both the US and the UK. Bitter critics that had to pay for their tickets (or didn't turn up to Comic Con for the 10 minute exclusive preview) denounce this as "failing".

"Yes we have UK call centres"

The TV has recently been showing me a lot of insurance ads for companies such as Churchill that
 come with the assurance that their call centres are UK-based. They've been running for a few weeks now, and finally I need to express that this kind of bothers me. Why on earth does it matter where a call centre is located? Let's sound this one out.

People don't like dialling a number only to end up talking to a machine (this I can understand - touchtone menus are often really poorly catagorised), and then someone 
with a foreign accent, regardless of where the person is actually answering the phone. There is an
assumption that because someone has an accent, they are inept. How could someone in India, with a (presumably) fake English name, crammed into a tiny call centre with three people to a desk, be able to deal with your insurance claim/holiday booking/mobile phone explosion? Because the complaints don't stem from a desire to support the British economy - not when the majority of consumption in this country is of imported goods. So is it just about basic xenophobia? That as a nation, British people just don't like "foreigners"?

If Churchill or any of the other companies running adverts that proudly proclaim their "UK only call centres" could give me a good reason why they are making this an issue, it would be good. Because I know damn well that my job (and others of a similar level) can be done by almost anyone, at any age or intellect, and that it really doesn't matter where the office/computers/phones are located. Perhaps they have some insight into the complexities of pressing buttons 
and speaking to English people that I have yet to experience.


An Echo Against the Sky

Echo Against the Sky 

Blogger Beta In Testing

Woohoo! I finally got sent over to the new Blogger Beta! However, this means (at least template-wise) that things might be a bit shaky for a few days. I can't go in to edit my new template's raw HTML, 
so we're down to the bare sidebar essentials. Good fun though, I really enjoy having the opportunity to 
use new websites - and this is the third incarnation of Blogger I've seen in my years.

And ooh look. LABELS.


Link Dump 17/08/06

  • - BBCNews: Current baggage advice for anyone flying from the UK. The no-liquids thing is really annoying - any time I neglect to carry around water, I immediately get a dry mouth. I'm hoping these rules will be somewhat relaxed by the time I fly into the US again (when I flew a month ago, I didn't have to take off my shoes once).






It could be huge. Click around on the flash sidepanels of people's profiles. Webcams, video, pictures, shared music... this is cool. And I really really hate social networking sites, because the community often becomes larger than the tool. When the tool is greater than the potential assholery of a community though... just wait.

*Update* (Monday)

Funnily enough, both times I tried leaving the site, my computer decided to reboot itself. The first time permanently disabled my Firefox. Now I'm not sure whether the endorsement of this site was wise.

Link Dump 12/08/06

  • - Drug Baron's Fall, an interview with Clifford Norris by Mark Townsend. "Norris has nothing. There is no woman in his life and visits from friends and family are notable only for their rarity. The ambling figure in Upper Denmark Street is proof, perhaps, that crime does not pay. Norris admits he made mistakes, that his drugs empire was 'out of control'."
  • - Nintendo DS-centric: MSN messenger on the DS/DS Browser released in Europe in October: "The Nintendo DS Browser is a convenient web browser, which enables Nintendo DS users to surf the web, check and send emails, bank and shop online and even communicate with their friends in live chat." Interesting developments.
  • - The Shape We're In, an analysis of women and weightloss by Mimi Spencer. "With every image of Nicole Richie's feeble wrists or Posh Spice's concave thighs - which seem to shy away from each other as if they've never been properly introduced - with every shot, an inch or an ounce is shaved off the notional ideal female form which governs our relationship with our bodies and with the world." This is the horrifying Amy Winehouse picture by the way.
  • - The GSD system, a seriously inspiring organisation/productivity speech.

When the Clouds Block the Sun

Bit of pimping for my friend Alex Dewars, who happens to be selling this original painting for £400 from Arbroath, Scotland. If you're interested in purchasing this original piece, check out his website or email him directly at evil_alexdewars@hotmail.com. He'll (probably) take commissions if you ask and regularly exhibits his work around the UK.



Originally uploaded by _saturnine.


Childcare Standards

Illiterate nursery staff discussing their nights out drinking in front of toddlers risk creating a generation of "Vicky Pollards" - I really wish I could disagree with this statement, but I can't. When I was younger I had a part time job cleaning a day care centre (as well as having a close relative who spent many years as a childcare worker), and pretty much everything said in this article is bang on correct. The people most likely to go into that line of work are undereducated, undersupported in their efforts to improve this state of being, highly pressured (both in and out of work) and lack a lot of behavioural self-restraint (ie: chatting about unsuitable topics, calling in sick, quitting without any thought as to how this will affect the children around them). That's not to say they don't care about the children they look after, but that's not enough to be a (paid for) positive role model.

She went on to suggest minimum entry requirements for childcare workers: "childcare workers should be expected to have passed GCSEs in maths and English at grade C or better... Trainees should also face rigorous interviews to establish whether they know what the job will involve." And I agree with this completely - it's important that parents know they are handing their children over to hard working, highly disciplined, well educated (not private schooled, but just someone with a good range of demonstrated knowledge) individuals. Not to mention raising the bar a little for the people who choose childcare as a career. A little hard work never hurt anyone.

Link Dump 06/08/06

  • - Adopted Chinese children return to China as government guests: "If these kids know the Chinese government is interested in them and supports them, it will make a big difference. Otherwise, they may have a bitter feeling: 'My own country abandoned me, gave me away'"
  • - Harvest Moon DS has been delayed. I was addicted to the Gameboy version, forgot about this one, so I can't really complain about the delay, but I'll buy it when it comes out.


Red F(l)ag

Red F(l)ag
Originally uploaded by _saturnine.

A clean-up operation around Bristol's Temple Meads railway station has seen 36 tonnes of rubbish cleared and 285 pieces of graffiti removed. More than 50 staff from Network Rail took part in the spring clean around the station on Monday.

Tracks and buildings in the Temple Meads area are now a "zero-tolerance" zone in an attempt to cut vandalism.

Robbie Burns, Network Rail's Western Route Director, said: "We are determined to tackle graffiti and vandalism on the railway and make sure people know this will not be tolerated. Any help that members of the public can give us in catching those responsible is welcomed and we urge anyone with information to call the British Transport Police."

Fuck that. The real vandals are the people destroying this city's natural art culture. When will they learn they're not going to win the guerrilla war?

[BBC News]