Dr Sue Black : Saving Bletchley Park

One of Gabsatrucker and my coolest and greatest friends is Sue Black. I met her via the web years ago when talking about Bletchley Park. Bletchley Park wasn’t only the home of the Code Breakers, and the worlds first digital programmable computers – in fact it was one of British Telecoms most studious of technical training centres and a place where I first learned about technology, telecommunications and much more. But that was 1989 and at that time only a very few people knew of Bletchley Park’s real history. I certainly didn’t before I went there.

Today we all know about Bletchley Park; its impact and ultimately what freedoms together with the vast sacrifice of that time gave us in Europe, UK, the USA and in many countries around the world.

Yet it hasn’t been without a vast amount of work by the team at Bletchley Park and the unbelievable amount of input and some hard work by Sue Black.

Sue is a mom, is funny, zany and probably one of the most intelligent women you could meet. She runs to raise awareness and to raise money for things she believes in and has given herself completely to Saving Bletchley Park as well as supporting women in tech, and pioneering a new approach to teaching tech to children.

Sue has been approached to write about Saving Bletchley Park and Unbound.co.uk has asked her to do a full pitch of her forthcoming release.

Unbound is a unique new-ish system for publishing where you get to participate at various levels.

Please visit HERE or click on the image below to go to the page and video to give it a look. You can’t miss her – she is the one with the pink hair :-)  She’s growing it now – for charity i.e. I’ll give her £5 if she does ;-)

You can learn more about Sue here WikipediaLinkedInFacebookGoogle+Carpool Google Scholar and SueBlack.co.uk

About these ads

Lets catch up on a little Rocketboom

Published in: on 25 October, 2012 at 05:19  Comments Off  
Tags:

Strange week and a respectful sadness…

On Wednesday, a guy in America died… no surprise, people die all the time. So what was SO different about this guy?

Well firstly, before Hollywood told a minuscule part of his life, there wasn’t many soldiers who hadn’t heard of him. If it wasn’t enough to be a legend in grumpiness, striking fear in those who worked with him irrespective of their rank – his life time of service to his country was staggering.

His C.O. in one of those actions is a man whose very rules of life are things I strive to live by and while history and many people will give little credence to the Vietnam War, his small part in it has become almost mythical.

Indeed, he fought in WW2, took part in the invasion of Sicily, later he landed on the beaches of Normandy, made no less than 4 Combat Jumps and later he did a 5th as he parachuted into the Korean War.

A tough man; rising to the rank of Sgt Major and respected and revered by all who knew or had heard of him.

It was Vietnam though as the Sgt Major to 1 Bn 7th Cavalry Regiment, Custer’s regiment, that standing in the centre of a raging battlefield, armed with nothing more than his mouth, guts and trusty Colt 1911 that his legendary status became complete.

That battle was La Drang; his C.O. was Hal Moore and Hollywood recorded it under the movie title “We were Soldiers”. La Drang was a battle that raged for four straight days and was won through incredible leadership, determination, guts and sacrifice.

In my life, there are truly few people I’d be honoured to meet, most are already gone; But Lieutenant General Hal Moore is one of them and the other… Well the other died on Wednesday:

Command Sergeant Major Basil L. Plumley

A nation should be proud, a soldier to be observant of the character and standard of this man – a standard they’ll never be able to attain.

In other news…

This blogs resident copper – one times PC Charlie… has been busy busting another marijuana farm… No this isn’t in reference to the elderly couple who had a visit from the Police last week after they’d bought, from a car-boot sale, what they believed was a shrub. They took it home, planted it and cultivated it over several years – thus growing it into one of the largest cannabis plants ever seen in the UK…

Charlie and his colleague’s on the other hand raided a rented house that had been turned into a full-scale production facility containing over 730 mature plants sitting under heat lamps and integrated hydroponics systems.

So professional are the people who build these places they have a whole system of engineering ready to go. What they apparently do is rent student accommodation, these are often very large vacant houses; they pay a years rent up front in cash and say there is no need for anyone to come around etc.

Hours later their team go in, run pipes and cables straight through ceilings and floors, bypass the electric meters, waterproof the areas that need it and make sure no one can see the glow of sun lamps from outside and so on… Then they bring people over from China to maintain it…  Well this bust had a street value yield of several hundred thousand pounds if not more and in to the 7 figure brackets.

As he told the local media “Normally they would just bypass the electricity through the consumer unit inside the property but they have done so much damage it has had to be isolated underground outside. This is a very dangerous property. “We have located 736 plants worth around several hundred thousand pounds. “This is one of the largest I have seen in the area and I have been involved in 15 cannabis factory closures.” Sadly Charlie didn’t see or come across a packet of hand rolling tobacco for me  ;)

Other stuff…

The last flying Vulcan Bomber will apparently fly for the last time next year… The trust that run it have said they need to make vital modifications to the wings next year that would cost over £200k. They  have asked people to NOT donate or raise funds because if they damage the wings in the process – then the damage is permanent… This is very sad news  – BUT!!!! There are plenty of Vulcan’s sitting around and if this is the case – what the hell were they doing it for in the first place?! I’d like to see one of each of the V-Force flying together and I’d also like to see a Vulcan fly in the true ballistic pattern (some will know what I’m talking about) because every time I’ve seen that Vulcan fly – they’ve never shown what it can really do :-(

Blogging

This last week we had a bit of trouble with the site. It turned out that trying to post a comment resulted in a “405 nginx” fault. I spoke to WordPress and it got sorted out… The team over there are just great! :-)

There’s a good reason why Dell is the prefered business machine

Published in: on 12 October, 2012 at 12:59  Comments Off  
Tags:

So true….

h/t Rockposer for sharing this.

Published in: on 8 October, 2012 at 12:22  Comments (2)  
Tags:

Oh OUCH!!

I sometimes wonder if successive governments really understand “Defense”… Because I’m sure that I’m not the only person who simply observes that there seems to be zero logic, understanding or know-how of what it takes to have or even why we have a military at all.  The British Armed Forced have been decimated in the last few years – raped of it’s history, regiments, manpower, self-respect and pride

Basically; remember shock and awe? IT DOES NOT WORK – you need boots on the ground!! Get over it, and welcome to military know-how 1-0-1

See here…

One day, they’ll know why… but with a history like ours – we should know better…

Published in: on 5 October, 2012 at 14:27  Comments Off  
Tags: ,

It’s Rocketboom!!

Published in: on 1 October, 2012 at 22:15  Comments Off  
Tags: , ,

Stuff, some odd, some kewl…

Ok, over in the USA presently is this blogs buddy, cohort, founder of The <goto> Foundation, lady saving Bletchley Park and rocking friend of both myself and this other blogs torment ;)  (Gabsatrucker) – Dr Sue Black….

Sue has been on a whirlwind tech tour of Brazil, Mexico and is presently on the Orange Blog Bus travelling and tweeting her way from San Francisco to who knows where. While I’d be the first to rib her and say wherever she goes she’s no more than a stones throw from a beach or pool, I have to give credit to her perpetual long distance travels and all the hassle that they bring – recently; appalling food poisoning!

But with visits to just about every company in Silicon Valley and the entire San Francisco Bay area under her belt, I can’t help but think she’s found her true home and calling.

In other news

There is a load of frankly crap going on in the UK news about a senior minister giving a Police officer grief – which he in turn realised the error of his ways and apologised.. however! This has not stopped the police federation and other political parties demanding the resignation of the minister.

Well my point of view is (bearing in mind the police officers read this blog and are my friends) that he’s apologised – so if the day ever comes when you don’t get an attitude or even passive threat from a cop – then fine, have him resign… but until then “pot & kettle” (pun intended) . It’s certainly not something I accuse all officers of, but in certain forces it happens a lot.

Which brings me to more Policing news…

We often see videos on the news or You Tube of officers stepping over the mark… But what about a cop with an exemplary record and not one complaint?  Well look no further than a CBS News report in to L.A. Sheriff’s Deputy Elton Simmons… Over 20 years in the job and over 25,000 traffic stops – not one single complaint! This… is how policing should be, but… alas there are different types of policing by the nature of crime itself, but this guy is a great place to start. Click the pic to go to CBS News and watch the vid.

Finally:

I was pottering about the Land Rover Dallas website (because the Little Rock one isn’t very good) while searching for a vehicle for 3 months use and noticed their website page header. To be honest the company is also based in Austin and Frisco but nevertheless it made me smile and some way I concur… see what you think.

Credit where credit is due….

It’s fair to say that on the TWBrit blog, I have never shied away from giving this bloggers life long buddy and 24yr veteran of the Black Watch Regt. a bit of stick about wearing skirts etc.

In fact regular commenter and a past contributor to this blog Charlie Wright also does the same. So I laughed when I received a pic in my email today – and yet I find myself simply having to concur…

Indeed…………………………. they belong in a barrow!! :D

Published in: on 17 September, 2012 at 16:33  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

Something different to make you smile: Street Art

My old friend Dave Bones often posts some cool stuff on Facebook… Today I’d like to share some. Click to enlarge.

And finally this one which just rocks!!

 

Published in: on 12 September, 2012 at 17:39  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,

UK Telecoms wake up to the future the hard way with Olympic Data Usage Stats.

So ok, the main Olympic event is over and the Para-Olympics is in full swing – but there has been a repercussion the likes of which this blog has been going on about for years and has now frankly shocked telecom providers the world over.

It wasn’t just simply the demand that hiked up the usage, it was the fact that certainly here in the UK, the streaming was ALL in High-Def… So what am I talking about?

Well mobile/cell carriers anticipated and therefore allowed around a 20% increase in streamed media during the games. But when you add the blogs, sports pages, twitter, Face Book and just about everything else – they were staggered to find the usage for the average user rose by not the planned and predicted 20% – but a whopping jump to 80%… and this is without 4G services available in the UK yet!

Even the BBC were shocked, especially when their stream output at one point hit a stunning 2.7 Petabytes!! Well beyond the anticipated few hundred gigabytes… Obviously the knock on has been vast with Internet Service Providers struggling to cope, let alone to find that the High-Def throughput made most households in the UK exceed these so-called “fair usage policy’s” several times over within just a matter of days.

But this all comes back to the issues surrounding future planning and furthermore; High-Def technologies. The bottom line is you simply can’t transmit full HD over any distance to millions of TV viewers via standard radio waves and if they could, any terrestrial TV company would struggle to provide a true High-Def TV service to everyone, it really is almost impossible at present.

Well we can’t say they didn’t see this coming, but it’s fairly obvious that to build for tomorrow they’ll need to reconsider the vast throughput, quadruple it – then double it to understand the vast step up in streaming media if they’re to stand any chance. And just to be clear here, I suggested a long time ago that the absolute minimum they should be planning for is 200 GB’s per person, per month – or a Terabyte for an average family on a single connection…

Now, because of this level of High-Def, I think my estimate was conservative to say the very least…

Published in: on 31 August, 2012 at 23:32  Comments (6)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

A true Regimental Salute to His Royal Highness Prince Harry, Capt Wales

Yup, like I stated previously – the Army does NOT think the same way as civvies – they like, live and love a more raucous life style…

It’s just the way things are… and how they roll

Picture : The New Daily Patriot

The Last Bastion of Commonsense and Hope is touring again…

Yep, the ever prolific Al Murray persona of The Pub Landlord has put a whole new show together and is out hauling it all around the UK.

This “The Only Way is Epic” tour only started a while ago and is rapidly selling out – and he’s taking it to just about everywhere!!

Here’s the promo for it and click the The Pub Landlord logo below to check available dates.

Published in: on 24 August, 2012 at 19:54  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,

Boeing Chinook aka the Wocca-Wocca : 50 years old!

Published in: on 23 August, 2012 at 21:31  Comments Off  
Tags: , , , ,

And now…. Something a little different

I love this pic by Christopher of CMGW Photography

CMGW Photography

 

And for something unusual h/t Georgina Wilshire for bringing this to my attention

 

Published in: on 22 August, 2012 at 15:32  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , ,

Music: the theme tune to your life

I sometimes use a quote that I took from a TV show; I was sitting in my villa on Ranco Village compound, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in the summer of 2000, hiding in the comfort of air conditioning from the extreme heat outside and flicking through the channels as you do. I started watching something I’d term “brain mulch”, I find if you let yourself go with this stuff sometimes you can actually enjoy it (which explains why I don’t own a TV). Anyway, the quote was “If ain’t coming out of a thing called Marshall, then it ain’t music”. I smiled at this, looked over at a recently purchased cheap Epiphone Strat copy that I’d bought locally (for reason of its amazing setup – not the sh*te pickups).  I thought “true! – to a point…”

A year later and living in London I enrolled in the Guitar Institute, the reason was that while I love much about the guitar (albeit, I was more a drummer), I never ever understood it, nor did I ever understand the part when an individual crossed the line from being about to play every note or chord in any key and suddenly find the whole lot as an extension to the player’s emotional creativity. Sure, I did basic music in my first year of high school, they had weird acronyms and stuff, like “good boys don’t burn their toes in the morning”, (nah, that wasn’t actually a saying)  and I did retain the knowledge of what treble and bass clef was and what the tempo looked like. The music bit was about letters, but really the thing to “note” was that as the dots went up the ladder thing, so did the pitch… Then someone showed me piano music, I accused them of taking the piss and that was the end of that – go figure ;-)

The Guitar Institute course did my head in, and for the most part it killed my enjoyment of the guitar for a long while. But in that sentence is an answer to my overall question – if it’s a passion, just how passionate are you and where is your thirst for learning it? Or more over, how did I let someone else kill it…

This isn’t so easy to answer unless you’ve ever tried to play an instrument and spent many hours forcing your body, fingers and mind to keep going until you’ve made the sound or tune do as it should. In fact modern music styles, and even modern house music is constructed completely differently, by this I mean different instruments. I won’t belittle it, but some tunes have just come about by nothing more than just tapping a key repeatedly on a keyboard.

The one thing I took away from the Guitar Institute was a pro-session by a well-known guitarist who did an incredible demonstration of multiple finger tapping… they were a guest at another well-known (but now sadly deceased) performer’s concert later that day. They came on, the guest did their amazing finger tapping, the audience was stunned at the skill – then the person whose concert it was walked on and finished the segment with a single power chord… and the crowd went wild…(Yay!). The lesson (as pointed out by my tutor) was simple… Are you playing for your own benefit, or to teach? or for entertaining a cash paying crowd? and if for the crowd – which bit made them go wild? Because that bit was the entertainment!   Yup, the single “A” chord rocked out the crowd… but then I thought – the power of that single chord would not have had its effect without the finger-tapping before it.

This is what I think of as 2nd gen music theory or the true ballodial (think I just made that word up) effect of the overall music – whether in one piece of over the course of many pieces of music together. It’s like that great live concert opening that explodes in front of you – that can fall like a damp firework if the wrong song is chosen to follow it by.

But you see, main music theory is either the most obvious key to life to some, or it reads like an incomprehensible dark art to everyone else – albeit based in complete logic. Then there are the instruments, some consider the guitar as not a true instrument; I understand this, it has frets on the neck making it the equivalent of paint by numbers when compared to the violin and cello. If you don’t know what I mean, the moment I place my finger on the guitar string, it pulls it down and locks its movement against the fret before it. At the point of the fret is the location of the note – BUT what if that fret wasn’t there? The note would be exactly where my finger on the fret board is – so what note would that be? Damned if I know… but a cellist and violinist would know as they have to know where they’re at without references and get it right every time. Move the finger only a millimeter or two out and – boom! It’s a different note altogether. Heck, a cello is tuned in “5ths”(?!) and I eat with a spanner :-?

In fact, I know a bloke who can knock out a tune or two on a Cello, not only that – his wife can also knock out a fair old tune on a violin… Now, when a “youth” (pron. Yoof) and after my time at boarding school this guy was by far one my best mates, then one day, in amongst the long hair, rock playing in the background and the scent of joss-sticks courtesy of shops like Pippy’s or “Bringing it all back home”  he whips out (wait for it) a cello… at the time I thought “wtf you doing with that?!” (in fact knowing me, I might have actually said it thinking I’m about to be blown away by a classical Lemmy) right up until the point he did like Robin Hood and took a bow to it… Strangely the cello stayed in one place and what followed was (to me) stunning… At 15 I was at the point where I could only wish to make a coherent noise on a shocking guitar I had that had a neck on it that actually could have been put to good use by Robin Hood… heck he coulda hit Fr**ce from here with the arrows if he’d used it – and give them something back on behalf of our Harold!  But right there and then I saw a guy, who was as good and bad at everything as the rest of us were, completely change, the music, the indulgence of passion, the feedback of instant (to me) perfection was not only instant, but totally consuming to him.

I watched as well as listened to something that while today I understand, but have never experienced – true passion for the creation of music by feeling, still keeping it artful while I was trying to get me head around it by typically being annoying.

Now…. I’m an old-ish kinda bloke, heck Sue Black simply calls me pregnant (and that is on a good day) and I understand all sorts of technologies – my mind: a sponge… Yet no matter how young or old you are, you’re moved, excited and revitalized by a lot of music, yet we are ALL moved by classical… I’ve never been to a classical concert in my life and yet there isn’t a movie we watch that doesn’t have an element of classical that hits an audience with power… Heck even at my own mother’s funeral I was fine, except for the bit when they played Nimrod as they brought the coffin in and I totally lost it – mother, the music really didn’t help!! (vengeance huh?)

Like all of us, we have our musical heroes, they could be great blues players, drummers – pop artists with astounding voices, but artists with a blind passion completely draw me, whether it is Stevie Ray Vaughan, Alison Goldfrapp or yes, my old buddy… These people truly have something few others have and I certainly admire someone who truly follows that passion throughout their whole life. They’re consumed by it, it is to them as common as the air they breathe and yet they know they’re nothing without supreme excellence – heck, they don’t demand it of others, but they work hard persistently to hear the right note at the right time with the right accent reverberate through their entire bodies. In this I know I’m not a musician in any classical sense, nor will I ever be, but we need music’s classical heritage to keep alive the passion and all musical styles thrive on those who will experiment, improvise and have a go at crossing the divide of classical and modern styles and my old buddy does this in the most staggering way.

Also, as I mentioned before; after leaving the hell hole that was my boarding school which is becoming more and more well documented, this guy was the first kid to even try to talk to me. As an adult and with the recent processes regarding the school I have come to realise just how important he was in my adjustment to life after. I won’t mention it all here – as it can go in the book. What I will say is this; He gave me something that even today 32 years on and while during this time it has taken him on to  perform in over 50 countries, with him and his wife playing with just about every Orchestra in the world of note at some point – his way still holds true as he showed me that not only thinking differently was ok – but was the way to go.

Nevertheless, while I have a passion, I accept I’m simply not gifted with the passion that others have. To my old buddy, all I can say is “dude, what’s with the hair?” ;-) and to everyone else, wherever you are in the world, if you ever want to hear true passion in musical form, to see and feel it, and like me, not fully understand but really see a person whose life truly does have a theme tune running all the way through it – then do look up the name Matthew Barley and his awesome wife Viktoria Mullova as they will be coming to a country or town near you at some point… and let’s be honest here, if you come to my read my blog – then you could probably do with the culcha! ;-)

Matthew Barley.com

To Matthew, you’ll probably never know why, but thankyou!

Published in: on 20 August, 2012 at 17:48  Comments Off  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tattoo w,w, WHAT?!

Maybe not for the work place or persons under that age of 18, or whatever the age of adulthood is in respective nations

Published in: on 15 August, 2012 at 10:05  Comments Off  
Tags:

TWBrit : The Olympic Games

It was almost 10 years ago when I was working on a project in Stratford, East London. Our office was on Burford Road and on the floor below was a little office with a handful of people in it who forever seemed to be working away like mad. In fact some days while having a crafty smoke outside I would see the odd person go into the office that were reasonably well-known in the UK. That little office was the centre of activity and the base of the London bid for the Olympic Games.

A place where the cool-aid was bottled and stacked to the ceiling and surrounded by a great many sceptics. However, I had a little experience with larger scale sporting events as I was the marathon controller for the 1991 World Student Games in Sheffield with 111 countries and every single competitor a member of their national Olympic teams for the 1992 Spanish games. In some respects due to the sheer number of countries participating; the 1991 World Student Games was far bigger than the Olympics the following year.

BUT… at the incredible opening ceremony the ministers of sport from 110 countries turned up – and the British one? Nope… because the host nation’s government didn’t think was a big deal. As such, British Gas wouldn’t even sponsor the flame, so after the opening ceremony – they actually switched it off!
However, it rejuvenated the east end of Sheffield, commerce and the later use of the Arena and Stadium as concert venues make the city a “must” stop for any touring production or band worth their salt…
I knew that games cost a fortune and rarely see a financial return; at that time a given, as while I stood there having my smoke, I also remembered what a massive effect it had on Sheffield and its people. But knowing what I witnessed before – I did have to wonder if, as a nation, we were up to the task.

Later I saw the model of the Olympic village they had made as the proposal – that’s when I realised they were serious and had a chance.

Obviously the rest is history, but it is a history marred with pain; the day after the UK won the bid, London was ripped apart by multiple bombings on the Underground system. This was of course the July 7th 2005, 56 people lay dead and a great many more injured. Now, if you listen to scare mongering by the press, there wouldn’t have ever been an Olympics – but while we have fought terror for a great many years (since 5th November 1605 in fact), we know that living so freely often comes at a price – one that we can handle and not beat up the rest of the world over – unless of course you remember the Empire. ;-)

The biggest waste of money hasn’t been the games… it has been the London Underground Connect Project. This was a complete and total upgrade of every part of the Underground system and as I have worked on the project twice – never have I witnessed such a complete waste of money on planning and paperwork in my life… In fact tens of millions spent before anyone attempted to install a single thing. Anyone use an air conditioned train lately? Not on the underground you haven’t! But contrary to popular belief police radios do work underground and the entire system is Cell/Mobile ready – they just need to switch it on…
Irrespective of cost, the Olympic city appeared on time and what an awesome venue… Due to the transportation of so many people I, like so many avoided London – as it turned out, so did millions of others. This led to a great part of London’s tourist trade being almost demolished throughout the games sadly and even £500 a night hotel rooms were being offered for under £100 instead.

But the there were three other issues
1 Security of the City of London
2 Ticket access for the games
3 Private security

The Defence of London came under the direct control of the Ministry of Defence – strangely enough, it’s what they do… it’s in their title y’know.  This logic was lost in the eyes of some lily-livered do-gooders in London… So when the city was placed under an anti aircraft missile shield – oh did they just whinge… seriously!

The ticket access for the games was an abomination that I hope Rio can learn from. In major events of this type, they gain a massive hierarchy of VIPs which = BS… and the IOC more than indulge this because most of them have their heads up their own jack like backsides… Let me be clear – these are either the people’s games – or they are not… I guess they’re not when a massive amount of seats remained empty and those that filled did so on a £70+ price tag… Yeah, the people’s games – uh huh….

The company “Group 4 Security” failed to provide the manpower to secure the games and as such – the Army was called in, I’d add the other services, but after watching the RAF warrant officer marching out of step with the Olympic Flag – hell no. The really strange thing about the G4S shortfall was, well…. I didn’t once see an advert hiring anyone for the Olympics – and I looked…

Finally: Olympic copyright… seriously, I get using their logo and name with reference to these games is a fair copyright – but when they started copyrighting common words like the phase London 2012 – I took serious offence to this… the reason? We were already using that phrase long before the IOC copyrighted it and I think it’s just wrong and BS gone mad… But then stories came through thick and fast about all sorts of things like the many years old Olympic Cafe being ordered to change its name – my answer “get real!” after all it’s not written in Greek… And in true British style, the owner did – and five minutes with a ladder and screwdriver changed the name to Lympic Cafe… :-)

The Opening ceremony…

Ok, huge on the wow factor, bit slow in parts and needed to be explained to simply too many people – thus, while spectacular, it kinda failed in concept… No, I’m not slagging it off (I’ll do that later) but when commenter’s in the USA ask “Who is some guy called Tim Berners-Lee?” you gotta think – WTF??
The opening ceremony was pretty amazing and the HM Queen-007 thing was great… Strangely, after the diabolical Diamond Jubilee concert when it had become plain to all those with ears – Sir Paul McCartney’s voice has sadly lost its edge… So why on this earth did they insist on him finishing the night off.
The Olympic torch was frigging awesome! And the rock history thing quite cool – with even a riff or two of the Sex Pistols thrown in for good measure.

The Games

What seemed like a slow start for the UK and was bitterly shouted about in Fr**ch news papers that along with our “mediocre games” they were leaving the UK far behind in the medal tables. Indeed at first we were a few places down with China and the USA at the top… but within 3 days we not only surpassed the F**gs (ribbit) but in doing so we would perpetually see them get further and further down without any chance or glimmer of hope of a comeback – shame huh?

The USA soon took over China and while we had started to gain on the US, it was short lived with the games being finally won by Team USA, Team Take-Out 2nd and Team GB in 3rd – the Fr**ch coming in 7th.

Germany did better than the French (historical fact) and really took to the overall spirit of the event and that leads me to wonder if there should be a Team Spirit Award at these things.

In Badminton we had controversy with several people being disqualified and rightly so and I managed to watch some Shooting events, Kayaking and other stuff but missed the beach volleyball :-(

The games also made history with several historic records broken by athletes from around the world – but the highest praise has to go to Michael Phelps of the USA for attaining more medals than anyone, anywhere – ever, throughout the duration of his Olympic career.

Troops drafted in to take over security were, as it turned out, a welcome sight and it’s nice to see uniforms being worn out in public again as wearing your uniform was not allowed to worn in public for many years because of the troubles in Northern Ireland tended to get them blown up, or followed home and shot in front of their families.

Needless to say, nearly every nation took the spirit of the games to heart and as the games drew to a close there was a genuine feeling of sadness from every corner of the earth except Fr**ce who seemed bitter until the very end – no surprise there then!!
In the USA however, there was a lot of unhappy people! You see historically the Olympics have, where possible, been televised live around the world. Indeed, the Olympics were one of the few events forcing global live television technology in the first place. Ironically it never truly worked until 12 noon (BST) 13 July 1985 when the first truly global televised event took place – that was Live Aid and since then we’ve never looked back…

So how then did the ENTIRE North American continent not see most events live? How come this stuff wasn’t streamed globally on the internet for all to see? Well some TV person somewhere who is either the most money grabbing nob OR the most money grabbing nob – decided only to air the whole thing in primetime… thus leaving the alleged most forward thinking of nations – well behind in the darkened orifice zone wondering what the hell was going on with twitter alive with up to date commentary from users and medal tallies going up, thus knowing the results before being able to watch it.  And because the Olympics is such a money grabbing self gratifying event to a select few and copyrighted to death event – nothing was even available on YouTube for days – and still isn’t.

I genuinely felt sorry for our North American friends, I even held a web cam to my screen for some to watch, but it wasn’t same – all because one person made probably the single worst anti-viewer decision in TV history…

The Crying Games

OMFG!! The boo-hoo-games…. Seriously, an opportunity to cry was taken by athletes, coaches, watching team members and audiences…
Cry if you win, cry because you lost, crying because you watched, crying because the sun came up, crying because they’re crying, crying because the fat kid has chocolate – crying because they were f’kin breathing!!


I commented on Twitter that maybe the games official sponsor should have been Kleenex… Then Kleenex started tweeting with me!!

So, I thought I should cry – not!!

The Closing Ceremony

The coolest part of these events are the opening and closing ceremonies… and I don’t think this one failed.  Some things were a little too kitch and frankly when I saw Liam Gallagher sing I just thought – why don’t you get that you’re nothing without your brother… But then I thought this might have been too harsh while I considered he wasn’t much better with his brother! Noel of course being the talent.

The thing with live audio in a stadium is, well, radio waves… radio waves take time to move, as does the audio signal down wires. Infact it’s a very serious business that one of the single most expensive things in the new Wembley Stadium is actually the PA! The PA at Wembley is so good that bands don’t actually need to bring speaker stacks, they can just hook into the PA. It’s no surprise then that with people and performers walking around the stadium, moving different distances from the receiver equipment that delays and echoes suddenly start appearing.
For the most part they coped well with this at the Olympic stadium, but from time to time it was apparent.

The overall show was tracking back over 50 years of UK Rock and Pop and while I gave quite a bit of grief to the Diamond Jubilee concert organizer Gary Barlow, this time I can’t and even if he was the person who did organize it  – wouldn’t. Because just over a week ago his wife gave birth to their still-born daughter… and yet he was still there and came out singing with the rest of Take-That. The Spice Girls appeared to my thoughts of “oh, there’s a 5 piece baby factory” and yet again that kid with the toy guitar who looks like Prince Harry’s younger brother turned up to sing looking like a complete slob – in fact, I don’t know who he is – but I wish he’d not get roped into these things.

While I could list all the bands I will list two that changed the entire place: First up Freddie Mercury appeared on big screens and led the entire stadium in an impromptu sing along from the grave before Queen rocked the entire place… and finally The Who finished the night… Proving actual “Rock” is what really gets a crown bouncing like mad – not Pop… Pop music is fashionable money grabbing commercial music where the record company makes a fortune and the artist makes little in comparison and is often gone in a matter of months – Rock being the thing that affects the soul to its very core when live and played well and is why so many Rock bands are still going and still making money.

It was a fantastic ceremony, not sure why some people were there but it was good nevertheless.
The Olympic park is now undergoing a massive reorganization process for the Para-Olympic games and as it does, we look at the media from around the world… Every nation praised the UK for the job it did, there were a few snarky comments from the US media, but at least all athletes made it to our games and nothing got blown up. Team USA did an outstanding job for the US, the first lady on hand for a good part of the time too. The Fr**ch were and are still totally bitter and in Germany they even took the newspapers names off and replace them with Thankyou Great Britain…

To everyone : my snarky stab at the games, the people behind it etc. mean nothing! These were as these things go – a pretty damn good Olympics. Infact I’ve not enjoyed an Olympic Games as much since the L.A. Games. If you’re not from or haven’t been to the UK, well I hope you had fun seeing this little part of the place – we’re not all bad… But we can be found at a colony near you ;-)

:-) God Save The Queen :-)

Published in: on 14 August, 2012 at 19:22  Comments (3)  
Tags: ,

There are still real Rockers ;-)

So, after a Ted Nugent concert in Maine the band’s drummer was arrested for what can only be described as latent “Rock Hotel room Syndrome”, something that hasn’t seen the light of day for quite some time – without much in the way of flare anyway. In time honoured tradition, the Rocker must be:

Smashed out of his mind – check

Something must be stolen – check

Major disruption caused – and check…

Yep, Drummer Mick Brown, staggered from the show, stole a golf cart and headed out of the security area. Observed to be driving erratically, security strolled after him and arrested him for DUI…

So my observation…. Is this is really what Rock-n-Roll has come to?!

taken by TWBritAnother rocker was the Washington Monument which suffered at the hands of a real mover and shaker last year when it became the recipient of a 5.5 earthquake. It was a genuine shaker for those inside it at the time… As large scale monolithic needles go, they’ll have fun with the thread on this sucker as it’s going to cost over $30 million to repair and won’t be open until 2014 – which is a quite some time after the end of the world apparently – blame Cern ;-)

Other information of note is that recently – Britain is wet…. no real news there.

There was a streaker at the Olympic Torch relay

And finally: the British Army is losing more personnel… Yup, a few years ago they amalgamated all of the regiments into over sized new regiments and simply numbered them as battalions to the new regiment. In the case of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, The Green Howards and the Prince of Wales own Regiment of Yorkshire, they were bundled together into a thing called The Yorkshire Regiment. Now, because they didn’t make a “Yorkshire Division” it was fairly obvious there was going to be more foul play to hand. So after all the regiments lose their own identities being squashed into greater entities (thus destroying the regimental system at its grass root level), it was no surprise that even with the order not to lose any “Cap Badges” (not that they have to anymore). 4 battalions out of the new regiments are to be disbanded… Which in real terms means 4 original regiments

This will bring the total of British Army down to strength of 82,000… And that my friends is totally unacceptable.  As such the UK’s voice in the world has now become one of “put up or shut up” because along with a strong voice in the world – you must have a military big enough and capable of taking on all comers – and we no longer have that. And the last thing? You can’t rebuild regiments from scratch, these now move into history and to be forgotten as too the system that made the British Army so formidable to a man. But until we suffer a defeat the like of which we haven’t seen for nearly a hundred years, nothing will be done about it. So hey, if an enemy attacks in strength – the people at the front end dying will know there is no one behind them to back them up.

Scotland…. say what?

Yer know… I love Scotland; the Highlands are the last great wilderness in Europe apparently. The history of the place is nothing short of staggering! There are more castles and fortified houses than you’ll find anywhere and the people? The people are awesome.  One of my oldest friends is Scottish and I understand fully why he and his family are proud of their heritage.

Recently I took Gabsatrucker up there and showed her the basic sites; Glasgow, Loch Lomond, Fort William, Loch Ness, Inverness and Edinburgh, and while I’d have loved to taken her further north, sadly time simply didn’t allow.

Scotland is of course a major part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and through a thing called “devolution” Scotland now has its own parliament and has a fair amount of control over its own affairs, not everything because together we are one nation – not separate entities.

This has been both good and bad, Scotland is a credit to the UK as a whole, its history and traditions kept alive through tourism and investment from the greater nation, but there has always been a strong nationalist movement in Scotland who have wanted independence from the UK.

This is based mainly within its proud history, but the reality of life today is often quite different. Nevertheless, some of the “Freedom” chants are not always a brandishing of a historic nation – today some are just downright rude and out of order.

It’s funny I guess, the first time I noticed a difference apart from the culture, landscape and accent was as a child. We were on holiday up there when my mother noticed some of the “keep the place tidy“ type signs. You see in England and Wales they say “Keep Britain Tidy” but these signs simply stated “Keep Scotland Tidy”. It was as though they were all but saying “and F*ck the rest” – and I noted that at 8yrs of age.

Nevertheless there is now a real call to vote for independence… But this seriously doesn’t make sense. Scotland has a greater identity because it’s part of the UK than without, but you don’t have to go far to hear some interesting claims from our Scottish brethren. Things like “England takes all the money from Scottish oil” or “We pay all our taxes to England and what does Scotland get?” This infers that Scotland is being robbed by England and in turn shakes the historic references of England stole Scotland from the Scottish – which they didn’t – they actually signed it over to the then King.

So, while I have posted something similar previously on Facebook – I’ll point out the benefits of Scotland being in the UK and it not… and yes we’ll mention some money too – then I will tell you what I personally feel.

If Scotland leaves there will probably be a lot of unemployment and discomfort for a good few years.

As of 2007 the population of Scotland was 5,494,801 (call it 5.5m) and of these, only 2,475,386 (2.5m) are of working age – take away between 8 and 11% unemployment and of the remaining 2.2m only 80% of them are working at any given time. This leaves 1.76m people working and that is a major problem with income versus what has to be paid for. Best case we’re looking at 2.2m people working, supporting Health, Defence, Social Services, Govt/local authorities and Police/Fire. Now consider the upkeep alone of thousands of miles of roads, street lighting, snow clearing and then the pockets and mouths of the other 3.3m people…

What about the upkeep of the national heritage, all those castles and the history…

So contrary to popular belief, England DOES NOT keep all the tax…  Spending £12 billion alone on Scotland’s NHS and in 2010 Scotland’s public spending was £78 billion pounds, not bad for a country that only raises around £35 billion in taxes etc.

So when people say England keeps all the tax, well, I’d say evidently they don’t… more the case they collect it and share it out across the UK as a whole… And remember, people in Northern Ireland get a bigger cut per capita than most people in the UK.

Then there is the loss of the military, if Scotland goes it alone, it won’t have an airforce, army or navy – it simply won’t be able to afford one. This of course means the disbanding of some of the oldest and proudest regiments in the world – one of the things that make Scotland just as proud a nation today as at any time in its history.

All joking aside, this issue is about the here and now, a 21st Century Scotland… Yet no matter which way around you look at the figures, they just don’t add up… You see these days  people like their creature comforts, but when they see there isn’t the money for Hospitals, Defence and most other things – life would get very tough considering the sheer scale of the short fall.

However; the energy industry is an area that can be capitalized on – but in doing it, it would bastardise every acre of stunning beauty that is Scotland’s natural trademark to do so.

Financial services is another area already developing, but if you were to throw in a Free Trade Zone – then there could be a very big future. That said a free trade zone would put Scotland outside Europe.

Ok, My feelings on the subject:

Scotland just rocks!! And yes there is and will always hopefully be an age old rivalry between England and Scotland. The Scottish have done incredible things for the UK throughout its history and certainly while many think of Irish hard work building in the Empire, it was the Scottish who did most of the exploring and managing.

David Livingstone was one of the greatest explorers in the world, he found most of Africa, the best governors of Australia were Scottish and today there are huge Scottish communities in every English speaking nation on earth.  Infact of all the UK nationalities, none move away from their home country like the Scottish.

In 300 years no one has prevented Scotland becoming its own economic goldmine and centre of global entrepreneurship… Yet today we live in different times, the internet age – a global nationality in cyberspace. Even the CBS Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson enjoys poking fun at England which is fine and fun, but then you find he soon left Scotland and lived in London, then moved to the US saying that his entire previous life was a failure… This is common and yet so many things were invented in Scotland;

The Telephone,

The TV and Colour TV,

The Refrigerator

The Kaleidoscope

The Flushing Toilet

The first automated can-filing machine

Cotton-reel thread

The Ghillie suit

Pioneering the use of surgical and general anaesthesia

Identifying the mosquito as the carrier of malaria

Penicillin

The Bicycle

The MRI body scanner

The seismometer

The ultrasound scanner

Criminal fingerprinting

Hypnotism

Radar

and of course “Swish F*ck-it” (sorry, I meant Golf…)

There are just so many more things, and an irony? The Bank of England was designed by a Scotsman as well and there are just far too many things to list here that Scotland has achieved. But the question remains, why isn’t Scotland a wealthy nation? No one put handcuffs on these inventions, they’re not stolen by England – they’re used by the entire world…

So Scotland has fewer than 2 million people working and over 5.5 million people, and yet at a recent stay in a hotel in Scotland – every single member of staff was eastern European, not a Scottish accent between them. I don’t want Scotland to leave the UK, I too am proud, very proud of Scotland – and yet I’m English…

BUT!!

Some attitudes are just too snarky, often said beyond humour and certainly recent comments by  tennis player Andy Murray soon lost him a massive amount of support across the UK in his Wimbledon final… Is this the way we want it to go? Really?

Scotland would have to do a great deal if it left the UK and wished to join the EU, until it did, border controls would have to exist, all the British Military real estate and jobs would be gone over night making tens of thousands unemployed.  The Scottish SNP leader has been touting this real estate to the US DoD but forgets that the US is reducing its UK presence considerably. They’ve already shut down their operations in Scotland for the most part and closed several major bases in England too.

Then there is the sheer cost of administration – all those UK passports held by Scots that would be instantly void and a Scottish one would need developing to replace them. What money does Scotland have for foreign embassies? What back up support can Scots be able to rely on while living and travelling overseas with a home country that spends £78 billion yet only generates £35 billion in taxes? I’d argue none… in fact I’d argue that beyond the romantic notion of an incredible history and days of old – anyone wanting to put Scotland through this is no Scottish patriot, in fact they gotta hate the place to even conceive of putting a nation through it. Heck the base rate of tax would have to be 60% over night…

To my Scottish friends… don’t accept the people with venom in their whinges, yes historic and rival piss-taking is ok, but know that England isn’t England without a bit of grief from Scotland. But likewise – don’t let the people who would foolishly destroy your country – do so.

Also remember; if Scotland goes it alone, you’d be saving England over £43 billion a year… and that constitutes a third of the UK deficit…  add to this the cost of the Scottish Military and that’s staggering. Yet Scotland will be strapped for cash.

Go if you wanna, we don’t want you to, but if you go – you can’t come back :-(

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers

%d bloggers like this: