Monday, July 26, 2010

Rammstein’s First, Only, UK Show ...

Having been a HUGE Rammstein fan for many years, finally for us UK fans the moment has arrived: Rammstein’s first EVER UK appearance, and the only one this year, this Saturday on the Apollo stage at Knebworth. Tickets sold out months ago, I got mine in February.

Knebworth really has come along as a venue since I saw Led Zep there in the 80’s. This weekend Sonisphere festival may not rival Glastonbury in size but it does in quality - Iron Maiden, Placebo, Anthrax, Alice in Chains, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, The Cult, Slayer, Pendulum, many more you’ve probably heard of - but headlining it all - Saturday night - is Rammstein.


They’re not to everyone’s taste (industrial metal with pyrotechnics, angle grinders and gruff lyrics belted out in German) but they are true musicians, and true performers. Their stage shows have become legendary, and now after seeing them only on DVD we in the UK get to see them for real.

Oh, It’s going to be epic.

Trying To Figure Why Users Stick With Micro$oft ...

My Computer is Slow - Why?

… Because you run Windows instead of a proper system like Linux.

Make Your Computer Really Fast - An Effective, Simple, & Safe Way to Improve Your PC Performance!

… Yeah, install a Linux Distro like Ubuntu.

I’m constantly being called by family and friends to bitch and whine about how their Windows boxes (yeah, even the much-heralded ‘7’) keep f*&^ing up, crashing, letting viruses through, not connecting with the Net and generally being a piece of expensive sh!te.

My Linux system hasn’t crashed since.. well, ever - nor has it ever been turned off for about 6 months - even for program and system updates.

If you have never thought of using Linux, remember this - you probably already are. Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Facebook, all use Linux servers.

And if you think a slightly ‘geeky’ operating system must be ugly, this is my current screenshot:

Xubuntu 10, running XFCE, Chrome skins, Conky, Dock, Cadmium theme with Agua windows. [Select image for larger version..]

Update: January 2011

Linux Mint 10, running XFCE. [Select image for larger version..]

Try it, and you’ll never look back.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cat Pictures Always Cheer Me Up ...

Insomnia strikes. May as well go online and check some por … cat pictures!

From the utterly brilliant

Everyone's A Critic ...

Seems the bird life in Missouri have good taste …

Rock band Kings of Leon forced off stage by pigeon droppings …. !!

Has to be the best headline of the week.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

6 Pieces Of Clothing ...

Could you get away with wearing just 6 pieces of clothing for a month? (excluding anything you wear for work, within reason) ?? Interesting NYT article, reposted on Unclutterer :

Could you wear just six pieces of clothing for a month?

undefinedI could just about do it. (excluding socks, they don’t count… do they?) Quick launder every three days and you’re sorted. I reckon I only have about thirty items of clothing anyway, twenty that I wear regularly. We just don’t need every item in every color.

Black everything works fine for me.

And Again ...

As a final afterthought on my previous post, ‘Cav’ went and did it again by winning the final stage of the TDF in Paris in great style.

Only 11 months ‘till TdF 2011, when with a bit of luck I’ll be over there for 2 or 3 stages.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Not Bad For A Sick Guy ...

I’m a big fan of the Tour De France, and especially Britains’ Mark Cavendish who won today’s stage in the TDF, finishing in Bordeaux. The two really surprising and inspirational points about todays wins are these...

  1. He won without the support in the last two kilometres of his HTC team-mates, the ‘domestics’ who shield, protect and deliver Cavendish the sprinter to the front for his burst of speed. He had to do the work mostly by himself, and he did - winning emphatically and going away from the bunch at the end.
  2. He’s been suffering in the last few days from bronchitis. Let me say that again. BRONCHITIS. Today a sick man was the fastest man on the Tour.
Britain may not have Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky up there with the General Classification guys (the real Tour winners) and it looks like Andy Shleck or Alberto Contador will win, with only 8 seconds splitting them. But we have the fastest man in the world on a cycle. That’s 14 TDF stage career wins for ‘Cav’.

Seeing as I average about 12mph on my cycle, it just stuns me that ‘Cav’ can sprint like that - at the end of a 5 hour day in the saddle.

The rest of us are mere mortals.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Current Favourite Cartoon - NSFW ... !

Surprise - The iPhone 4 Is Not Perfect ...

Actually it has a serious design flaw. Apple took the prefectly good internal aerial and relocated it to a place where your hand (and it’s combination of sweat and natural magnetism) would interfere with reception.

I’ll stick with my HP iPaq rx3715 which is old, looks outdated, but does almost everything the iPhone does (slightly slower) but - more importantly - has worked faultlessly for nearly 6 years. It does everything I need it to do (let’s be honest, Apple iStore may have 26,000 applications but 25,950 are crap.) I even use it as a remote control for my TV, Media Centre and PC (via Bluetooth). It’s my Mp3 player (using a 4GB SD Card), and my GPS.

As it’s a PDA the only thing it doesn’t do is make phone calls.

But then, neither does the iPhone 4.

Favourite Movie Quote ...

I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of ‘God’.

I have seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers.

Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness.
- Hospitalier, ‘Kingdom Of Heaven’ (played by David Thewlis)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Quotation ...

"Nobody can give you freedom; Nobody can give you justice or equality or anything - If you’re a man, you take it."
- Malcolm X, 1963.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Firefox 3.6 Now Out ...

Jeez, you’re seriously not still using Microsoft Internet Explorer, are you? Why not try a free browser that is better - faster, more secure, more reliable, more adaptable, more upgradable - and more usable - Mozilla Firefox.

The latest MS Internet Explorer V8 looks like a substantial upgrade with good features, but then it should be - most of the good features were ‘lifted’ from the latest Firefox. The only thing MS left behind in MSIE were all those security holes.

Firefox is currently the second (behind MSIE) most widely used browser, with 23.81% of worldwide usage share of web browsers, according to Net Applications.

I believe that the only reason some people still use MSIE is because they can’t be bothered to change (until it crashes finally and completely. or their identity is stolen. Then it’s too late.)

Some security experts, including Bruce Schneier and David A. Wheeler recommended that users should stop using MSIE for normal browsing, and switch to a different browser instead; Wheeler specifically recommended Mozilla Firefox.

Mind you, there is one reason not to download Firefox v3.6  … Firefox v4.0 is nearly ready!

A Random Photo From My Archive ...


Mediaeval Vault under Westminster Palace, London. Jan 2010.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Ugly And The Beautiful ...

During a conversation with my mate Dave F., the subject turned to subjective beauty, not in women, but in bikes. Is there such a thing as the definitive ugliest bike, and the ultimate beauty on two wheels? I got challenged to find and post two images as examples... 

The Hideous Rat Bike ... 

Don’t know what it is or was, but I want nothing to do with a mess like this. Part of the recent craze for ‘rat’ bikes, designed to run just fine, but look so beaten up that no-one wants to steal them.

The Classic Vincent Cafe-Racer, Updated ...

A thing of style, elegance and grace. The classic Vincent Cafe-Racer, brought up-to-date with modern fuel system, brakes and suspension. Goes like the clap, too. This bike has been lusted after for forty years by true bikers all over the world.

Rossi Is Back ...

Did you see Valentino Rossi today in the MotoGP?

Awesome. 4 weeks after breaking his leg (the shin bone was sticking out of his skin, for christs sake) he returns to the fray, walking around on cr18/08utches, limps onto his bike and battles with Casey Stoner, finally just getting overtaken on the very last bend and finishing an amazing 4th.

Not bad for a guy with one and a half good legs. Stoner fought tooth and nail with Rossi over the last three laps, the lead changing hands about 6 times (I counted) - now Stoner has to be thinking “How good is Rossi going to be when he’s fit?”

Valentino now has 2 weeks to recover before the next race - just in time to wipe those arrogant smug smiles off the faces of Pedrosa and Lorenzo, currently leading the championship due to Rossis absence.

Rossi is making a case for himself as probably the world’s greatest ever motorcyclist. The man is just a God.

Current Favourite Cartoon ...


Check the site at for more - great fun.

What The Hell ... ?

Pretty cool-looking ‘Tuk-Tuk’ three-wheeler painted with asian/oriental symbols and patterns, used as a burger stand transporter ! Seen in Hampton Wick, Surrey, UK, during a Community Fun Day.

Juliette Binoche - Older and Hotter ...

I’ve always had a fascination with French women. I recently saw ‘Chocolat’ on TV (again) and was reminded just how talented Juliette Binoche is, in this film and in ‘The English Patient’ in particular. 

Ok, I’ll admit it, this is just a very thin excuse to post a good pic of her.

Maybe it’s just a factor of getting older (I’m the same age as Juliette) but she looks way better now than she ever has - just as many ‘mature’ actresses do, like Susan Sarandon, Isabella Rosselini, and quite a few others.

Such a change from the $10 ‘celebs’ that fill most TV and Movies these days who seem to think that a career is based on providing the media with ‘accidentally leaked’ sex-tapes, ‘unintentional’ drunken nip-slips, minor drug and traffic busts along with associated court appearances.

Saw Juliette being interviewed recently on TV and she was just vivacious, witty, and totally charmed the pants off the male interviewer, who was visibly melting under the influence of those eyes and that soft, sultry voice. Style you can’t buy.

Poor guy never stood a chance.

Bikes As Therapy … ?

A therapist friend of mine recently asked me over to watch a World Cup Game, and I arrived toting my lid (non-bikers, to you that’s a helmet..)

He didn’t know I’d recently gone back to biking, and mentioned a study recently done in Spain (Toledo, I think) which concluded that a sporting or other suitable passion (outside work) was either more or as beneficial to mental well-being than most any medicine or therapy.

Among those that came top as ‘desirable therapy’ came running, hiking, cycling, kayaking, etc, i.e., generally those pursuits which let you choose whether you are part of a team/group or remain solo.

Motorcycling came 4th, which he found interesting.

Not ever having being a biker himself, I tried to explain the attraction - the freedom, camaraderie, exditement (or comfort, depending on what you ride) - but I couldn’t find the words. I just asked him,

“Have you ever had a biker client for therapy?”

He couldn’t recall any in 22 years of practice.

The Italian Marriage Test ...

Heard this great joke yesterday… enjoy.

A young man was due to be married in Milan, to a beautiful Italian model, who also had a very sexy sister.

One day a few weeks before the wedding, the sister invited him round to her flat to ‘fix her computer’.

While he was fiddling (with the computer) and finding nothing wrong, she disappeared into the bedroom and soon emerged dressed in just a barely-there peach satin negligee…

She huskily said “Wouldn’t you like a last fling, before you tie the knot?”

Well, to the guys credit, he grabbed his car keys and ran out of the flat as fast as he could - to be shocked by the sight of his fiancee’s entire family, lined up outside, applauding him - It had all been a test!

The moral of this story is clear:

Don’t keep your condoms in your car.

Favourite Movie Quote ...

The race is not for the swift, nor the battle for the strong. But time and chance happens to them all. Fate’s hand falls suddenly, who can say when it falls ?
Papa, ‘Munich’ (played by excellent French-British actor, Michael Lonsdale)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Was Gone, Now Returned ...

Well, gee, here I am, back again. Was gone, now returned. Dunno how regular I’ll be posting, but what the hell.

Yeah, that’s me above. I promise you the original photo wasn’t out-of-focus or grainy, and more-or-less correctly framed. Wonderful how Photoshop (actually The GIMP) can replace creativity with a few buttons… I don’t always look this cool. (Often, just not always)

I’ll be in touch.