Friday, October 29, 2010

Being Loved, And Loving Someone ...

- Lao Tzu, 6thC BC

A Good Traveller ...

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.’
- Lao Tzu

Your Life Is Too Valuable To Waste Buying More Shit ...

There is more joy in pursuing less than can be found in pursuing more. In many ways, this is a message that we already know to be true.

It’s just that, since the day we were born, we have been told something different. We have been told that possessions equal joy. And because we have heard that message so many times and from so many angles, we have begun to believe it. As a result, we spend our lives working long hours to make good money so that we can buy nice stuff.

But when we again hear the simple message that there is more joy in pursuing less than can be found in pursuing more, it rings true in our hearts… because deep down, we already know it to be true. We know that possessions don’t equal joy. And we know that our life is far too valuable to waste chasing them.

It just helps to be reminded from time to time. So today, remember…
  • Our life is short. We only get one shot at it. The time goes by quick. And once we use it up, we can’t get it back. So make the most of it. Possessions steal our time and energy. They require unending maintenance to be cleaned, maintained, fixed, replaced, and removed. They steal our precious attention, time, and energy and we don’t even notice it… until it’s too late.
  • Our life is unique. Our look, our personality, our talents, and the people who have influenced our lives have made us special. As a result, our life is exactly like no one else. And just because everyone else is chasing material possessions doesn’t mean we have to too.
  • Our life is significant. Far more than success, our hearts desire significance because significance lasts forever. On the other hand, possessions are temporal. They perish, spoil, and fade. And most of them, by design.
  • Our life is designed to inspire. Let’s make footprints worth following. Nobody ever changed the world by following someone else. Instead, people who change the world live differently and inspire others to do the same. Possessions may briefly impress, but they never inspire.
  • Our life is important. Our heart and soul makes us valuable. Don’t sacrifice your important role in this world by settling for possessions that can be purchased with a card of plastic.
  • Our life deserves better. Joy, happiness, and fulfillment are found in the invisible things of life: love, hope, peace, and relationships. And they are not on sale at your local department store. Stop looking for them there. People who live their lives in the pursuit of possessions are never content. They always desire newer, faster, or bigger because material possessions can never satisfy our deepest heart desires.
Be reminded that your life is far too valuable to waste chasing material possessions.

And find more joy today by choosing to pursue “better,” rather than “more.”

[From the always excellent 'becomingminimalist.com']

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Benefits Of Supporting A Crap Team ...

So I've been a Brighton F.C. fan for a looooong time - usually checking the scores to see how badly they've lost. It's a lot harder than being, say, a Chelsea, Man U. or Arsenal fan, where winning streaks are a given.

So when all of a sudden your crap team gets its act together and hits a run of wins - lots of wins - it's all the sweeter. After lounging in the bottom half of League 1 last year, Brighton in 2010 are storming,  8 points clear at the top of the table.

Premiership fans will never understand the joy of following a REAL team. All those low times make the glory so sweet - a lesson, perhaps, for the johnny-come-lately followers of any Premier side that happens to suddenly show signs of talent. It's the lows in being a sports fan that makes the joys so worthwhile.

Most premiership fans will never know how that feels.

[PostScript: Brighton went on to win League One and gain promotion to the Championship in their brand new Amex Stadium. Life is good]

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Domestic Violence ...


To all wife- or girlfriend-beaters:

While you SCREAM at your woman, there's a man wishing he could whisper softly in her ear.

While you HUMILIATE, OFFEND and INSULT her, there's a man flirting with her and reminding her how beautiful she is.

While you HURT your woman, there's a man wishing he could take her pain away.

While you make your woman BLEED and CRY, there's another man waiting to heal her hurts.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Partial Line-Up for Antiracist March & Carnival ...


Confirmed (partial) line-up for Sat 6th November: Artists who have already confirmed include indie-rock, ska and hip-hop band Kid British, and the legendary founder of The Specials, Jerry Dammers.

Also appearing will be British-Muslim pop favourite Mumzy, Missing Andy from TV’s Must Be the Music, Abbas Hasan with his electro-pop and Asian classical fusion, west-London singer Tasha Tah and LMHR stalwart DJ Rugrat.

More acts will be added to the line-up soon.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Glitch - Art Site on Facebook ...

Friend of mine, Kitty Wadlow, along with Adam 'Dreadman' Collins, has set up a site on FB called 'The Glitch', for all Collins and Wadlow art work fans, to keep up to date with the latest art activity and exhibits.

Kitty and Adam hold regular exhibitions in the Surbiton & Kingston area, and you now have the opportunity to buy both originals and prints at any of their exhibitions.

The Glitch is here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Untitled, Kitty Wadlow, 2010 ...


See also here for their last exhibition.

Current Favourite Quotations ...

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.
– Seneca
Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.
- Bill Waterson
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- Anonymous
It is never too late to be what you might have been.
– George Eliot

Don’t say you don’t have enough time - you have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
– H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
To wish you were someone else - is to waste the person you are.
- Anonymous
Your time is limited - don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
– Steve Jobs

Andrew Marr Attacks Bloggers ... Pot, Kettle, Black ... ?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Andrew Marr—NuLabour slut and moron du jour—and his delightfully broad attack on bloggers and other such unworthy people.

He claims that bloggers are "socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother's basements and ranting."

I'm proud to say that none of these adjectives apply to me. Except maybe 'ranting'. I do that sometimes.

Perhaps Marr's afraid of the competition from people who report honestly, without ties to media organisations with too much to lose?

Read a full (and hilarious) reply to Marr on The Devils Knife.

Military Cutbacks ...


Monday, October 11, 2010

The Boycott List Begins ...

I've decided to post about this issue instead of what I normally do, gripe to people AFTER they've bought a product or service from a company I consider to be immoral, corrupt or careless.

So I'm starting the Boycott List. Ethical Consumerism is something I've preactised for the last five years, and I want to spread the message. We'll start with ...

Hewlett Packard
... who are cutting 1300 jobs in the UK to switch those jobs overseas. This is in addition to the 900 jobs which were announced earlier in the year.

You will think, no doubt, that HP as a company have a right to employ who they want, where they want, especially to keep costs down. Which is fine.

But if they don't want British employees, perhaps British consumers should consider whether we want HP products - we have a right to choose, too!

BP
Nothing to do with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, I've been boycotting BP for years due to their practices in Alaska on the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. Poor security, shoddy maintenance procedures and poor quality materials have led to a list of incidents that shame BP.

It seems that paying fines and repair bills is cheaper than proper maintenance - obvious when oil spills are blamed on cost-cutting by august newspaperas as the UK's Independent.

And finally for today...

Nestle
The largest consumer packaged goods company in the world,  headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland. Nestle have claim green credentials

since 2000 when Nestlé and other chocolate companies formed the World Cocoa Foundation, specifically to deal with issues facing cocoa farmer, and also from being a founding participant in the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), set up in 2002 to end child and forced labour in cocoa growing, and to eliminate child trafficking and abusive labour practices. Fair enough.

Sadly they've blown their good rep by their practice (and that of their contractors Sinar Mas) of rapid deforestation in Borneo and other regions to make way for oil palm plantations, denying living space to orang-utans. While many companies such as Unilever and Kraft are making efforts to disassociate themselves from the worst practices of the palm oil industry, Nestlé has done diddly squat.

Greenpeace initially announced this boycott. Clearly Nestle are embarassed about being found out, as they hide 'palm oil' as 'vegetable oil' on their ingredients list - but it's in their, in 1000's of dairy and chocolate products, including Kit-Kat and Aero.

Nestle still continue to do business with Sinar Mas, unlike Unilever and Kraft who have stopped all contracts. With other companies not willing to be tarnished by the devastation Sinar Mas is creating, this leaves Nestlé - like the orang-utans - out on a limb.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

KCC (Kingston Cycling Campaign) Bread Pudding Ride ...


Did a first-time ride-out with the KCC riders today, called a 'Bread Pudding' run - miles and miles of the best scenic cycle routes in West London, with a pub lunch then coffee and bread pudding in the afternoon. Good bunch of people, excellent ride - and gorgeous weather.

Such a civilised way to spend a Sunday. Report is here, pictures are here.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Images From Wadlow/Collins Exhibition ...

Finally got round to editing and posting images from Kitty Wadlow and Adam Dreadman Collins' Art Exhibition at the Surbiton YMCA. These are dynamic, sometimes disturbing but always intriguing, fascinating works.

I've had to miss out a few as the low lighting meant shutter speeds of 1/15th second, and a few came out a little blurred. I'll catch up with the rest, and the new ones, at their next show.



Top 10 Countries That Censor The Internet ...


You probably know all about Chinese Internet censorship through their battles with Google, but note that China is one of many countries to restrict what their citizens see, and what their bloggers write. In some cases, the dictatorships or totalitarian regimes restrict the access to this media and impose prison penalties for uploading any “misleading” information to personal webpages. Here's the Top 10 List.

People’s Republic Of China (Of Course)
China has the most rigid censorship program in the world. It counts with providers of services that filter searches, block sites, erase any “inconvenient” content and monitor email traffic. China blocks or filters Internet content relating to Tibetan independence, Taiwan independence, police brutality, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, freedom of speech, pornography, some international news sources and propaganda outlets, certain religious movements, and many blogging websites. Fortunately, Listverse is not on their banned list (though it may be after this list).

Turkmenistan
To most Turkmen the internet is a luxury due to its high cost, a strategy used by the government to dissuade people from using it. The only internet service provider is the government, and it blocks access to a lot of sites, while monitoring all the email accounts in Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail. Also, websites run by human rights organizations and news agencies are blocked, and any attempt to get around the censorship could lead to grave consequences.

Vietnam
The government of Vietnam asked Yahoo, Google and Microsoft to give out the information of all the bloggers that use their platforms. The Government has created an agency exclusively to monitor the content exposed on the internet, blocking websites critical to the Vietnamese government, expatriate political parties, and international human rights organizations, among others.

Tunisia
Tunisian internet service providers must report to the government the IP addresses and personal information of all bloggers on a regular basis, in order to keep them identified and under constant watch. All the traffic goes through a central net with which the government filters all content uploaded and monitors emails. Tunisia has also blocked thousands of websites (such as pornography, mail, search engine cached pages, online documents, conversion and translation services) and peer-to-peer and FTP transfer.

Syria
Any blogger who expresses any kind of anti-government feelings, or any kind of opinion that may “jeopardize national unity”, is arrested. Also sites that criticize the government are instantly blocked. The owners of Cyber Cafes are obligated to ask all of their customers for identification, leave a name registration and time of use, and report them to the authorities. In addition to filtering a wide range of Web content, the Syrian government monitors Internet use very closely and has detained citizens “for expressing their opinions or reporting information online.”

Iran
Bloggers that dare to criticize the government or any religious or political figure are detained and harassed. The government demands that anyone who has a blog or personal page must go register in the Ministry of Art and Culture. Government has filtered webpages with contents critical of the government, pornographic websites, political blogs and, especially recently, women’s rights websites, weblogs and online magazines.

Saudi Arabia
Around 400,000 sites have been blocked, including any that board political, social or religious topics. According to a study carried out in 2004 by the OpenNet Initiative, Saudi Arabia has “the most aggressive censorship focused on pornography, drug use, gambling, religious conversion of Muslims, and filtering circumvention tools.”

Cuba
Cuba has the lowest ratio of computers per inhabitant in Latin America, and the lowest internet access ratio of all the Western hemisphere. Citizens have to use government controlled “access points”, where their activity is monitored through IP blocking, keyword filtering and browsing history checking. Only pro-government bloggers and government employees are allowed to upload content to the internet.

Burma
Censorship of printed and audiovisual media. There is minimal internet penetration in civil life and any that exists is heavily monitored by the government, which filters emails and blocks access to human rights groups and opposition groups sites.

North Korea
Only a few hundred thousand citizens in North Korea, representing about 4% of the total population, have access to the Internet, which is heavily censored by the national government. The North Korean network is monitored heavily with only two websites being hosted under a domain name. All websites are under government control, as is all other media in North Korea. Naturally, blogging is not allowed and all content is uploaded or approved by the North Korean government.

Waste Of Paper By The Ton ...

Can anyone tell me why Argos (the UK Catalog & Store Group) waste SO much money and paper on their catalogs? Ok, they're a catalog store - but that doesn't mean they have to print out a dead-tree version every time - perhaps just an update, or special offers.

A large proportion of the UK have access to computers or the internet - why why not a CD version (cost: 35p) instead of a printed version (cost: anything between £4 and £8?)

Their website is rather slow and complex to follow, so browsing online is a real bugger of a chore - but a CD or DVD-based catalog, with prices guaranteed up to a certain date (i.e., just like the catalog), internet updates and a favourites function, would do the job very nicely - and bwe alot easier and cheaper to produce, transport to stores - and carry home.

Sure, there are some people who either don't have the access required or who even might PREFER a printed version - but a disc-based copy would be a real bonus at least as a choice.

Then Argos wouldn't have to furnish their store with pallets full of useless, wasted paper that few want.

These pictures were shot at Argos in Kingston, Surrey, and show a rough total of about 1440 catalogs, estimated weight between 2.5 and 3 tonnes of paper.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Totally Gratuitous Cute Cat Picture ...


Failing At Facebook ....


Best Browser For Power Users - Google Chrome ... !

You've probably noticed I'm a big fan of Firefox as a browser (safer, more secure than MS Internet Explorer, no holes, no bugs, etc), mainly just thankful that it rescued power users from the garbage that is MS Internet Explorer - see the comparison chart here.

Firefox has so many add-ons (for example, you can download ALL images on a page, or all links, to a pre-set older with one click.) but it's true that so far Firefox has been adopted only by 'power-users' whereas most PC users just keep on using MSIE.

Why? Because it's what their PC came with, and it's ... okay. Most of the time. Well, some of the time.

Well, there's a new boy in town - among power users, apparently Google Chrome is now overtaking Firefox - which pushes the awful MSIE down into 4th place, after Opera.

So I guess the message is - if you're NOT a 'power user' - follow the experts.

If you're still using MSIE - time to change, eh?