My friend Damian sent me the following Google Video clips.
I think he might be hinting that it is about time we went back!
Edit: Just this minute I have found out they do conflict – trust me to post just before the update
In the latter half of 2006 we haven’t really done the conference/networking thing. It has been tough because of workload and the fact that Nick is stuck in Denmark. We are going to stretch our wings in 2007. Regardless of what the future holds we need to get out and talk to people.
It will be fairly obvious to most people why I chose Vancouver but the choices also reflect how complimentary and different Nick and I are in style. Nick is currently very interested in web applications and widgets (some people are already calling it Web 3.0), I am still very into the now of blogging, social, community, publishing and media. The fact of the conferences geography is just gravy!
We are going to have a very interesting December and January but regardless I will make every effort to be there so if you will/might be there do let me know.
Clare bought me an early Christmas present today, this bad-boy, a Nespresso Coffee machine. It’s one of those “pod” coffee machines but unlike some of the other varieties this is both convenient AND the coffee tastes good (which is the point after all).
I am feeling quite proud of myself, I have gotten my coffee habit down to three or four cups a day. With this machine at least they will be *good* cups of coffee and made efficiently.
OK those amongst you who know my coffee-snob tendencies might be surprised. It really is good coffee once you find a flavour that agrees with you. And it’s quick and easy with far less mess than the other ways of getting the perfect brew I have tried. I hate grounds in my coffee, grounds are for making coffee not part of the finished product!
The downside is the pods cost about 24p each (which is ok compared to starbucks but a fair bit more per cup than the old gaggia) and they have to be ordered mailorder. Even that would be ok but the website has some serious bugs in the signup process right now which nearly gave me a severe downer after my initial high of opening my lovely gift. There is nothing like severe web coding suckage to give you buyers remorse. Thankfully you get sample pods in the box and can order over the phone.
So far I love this machine but here is a guy who loves it even more, so much he made a video!
A psychologist has worked out the happiest countries. Not sure I believe it but UK is waaay down. Canada is number 10. Denmark (!?) is top! From what Nick says about Denmark it seems a nice place but a bit lacking in the old shopping department which wouldn’t contribute to my happiness.
The 20 happiest nations in the World are:
5. The Bahamas
13. Costa Rica
15. The Netherlands
16. Antigua and Barbuda
18. New Zealand
20. The Seychelles
Other notable results include:
The three least happy countries were:
176. Democratic Republic of the Congo
A while ago I stopped taking so much notice of the news. The news is just depressing most of the time and there is not a great deal I can personally do about it. Sure I recycle, give to charity, vote, but those things don’t take the fear away so I just don’t switch on the news quite as often as I did. So when I see people in forums and blogs get all worked up about news reports I think they need to back away from the media as I did. The future doesn’t seem so bleak when you distance yourself from the sensationalist headlines. Every now and then I succumb to checking the headlines, like today. After all, big news in the USA, got to know what is going on, eh?
Just when I think I have positivity and balance about our future these “time travellers” (who seem to all have the same mission of visiting forums in our time and spending their precious hours chatting with geeks and seem to crop up more and more since the success of “John Titor“) warn us of a coming apocalypse in our lifetime beginning with civil war in the United States. There are a few people who say Titor was right more than he has been proven wrong (his statements about black hole experiments and the IBM machine, etc). It’s enough to make you want to stock up on tinned food, wear a tinfoil hat and lock yourself in a cellar, or would be if it wasn’t so far out. Or is it, check out this from Yahoo! News …
Shortly after 9/11 Bush began the first of a long series of power grabs that have transformed him from the leader of a country beholden to its people to an authoritarian despot. He signed a secret executive order granting himself the right to declare anyone in the world, including a U.S. citizen, an “enemy combatant”–without proof–and order him assassinated. Violating federal law and privacy rights, Bush authorized the NSA to listen to our phone calls and read our e-mail.
FBI, CIA and HomeSec goons “disappeared” thousands of people into a horrible new matrix of concentration camps and secret prisons.
On October 17, 2006 Bush signed the Military Commissions Act. The new law, scarcely mentioned in the media, is breathtaking for the breadth of its attack on basic rights. Under the MCA either the president or the secretary of defense may declare you an “enemy combatant”–as usual, without proof. Under that designation you may be jailed, without the right to an attorney, for the rest of your life. You can even be tortured. Your U.S. citizenship can’t protect you. And it’s all “legal.”
In January 2006 HomeSec awarded a $385 million contract to Kellogg, Brown and Root, the subsidiary of Halliburton Co., to build “temporary detention and processing capabilities”–internment camps–“in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.”
The question, asks Progressive magazine editor Ruth Conniff, “is what is the government planning to do with mass roundups of people?”
I think it is only natural to worry about the future, especially once you become a parent, but this stuff doesn’t help me keep a positive frame of mind. William Gibson might have got it right after all, heh.
This is my niece Bethany dressed in her ballet getup. She isn’t playing dress-up, she really is a great dancer. Her mum wanted a photograph as she is growing up so quickly.
While my friend reckons it looks like they were taken in a studio (photography or dance I am not sure) they were in fact taken in our lounge. Our rooms are tiny so I had to struggle to light in such cramped conditions. The effect I was aiming for was a “dreamy” quality as she looks like a little fairytale princess. I hope I managed to capture her ok, I am still learning this photography lighting stuff.
Last night I managed to drag myself out to a family bonfire party and I am so glad I did, Amy had a lovely time.
Since Thursday I have had a pretty nasty stomach bug. I am sure I don’t need to go into details. By sunday night it had subsided enough that I was confident I could spend a couple of hours outside.
Being a good Catholic boy, and from a long line of non-royalists (to put it mildly) I shouldn’t really be in favour of this particular English tradition but to balance this there is a strong firebug gene that we find hard to resist. I am sure this tendency is what drew my Dad to the fire service. At least we can say we didn’t burn any Catholics in effigy.
Some bonfire night factoids
My parents recently found out their application to resurrect their Canadian landed immigrant status had been denied. This is quite a set back but not going to stop me pushing as hard as I can to get us back where we belong dammit. We are going to have to go the sponsorship route with me sponsoring my wife and parents (my daughter Amy and I have Canadian citizenship).
A friend told me he was getting bored of me banging on about moving to Canada all the time and I should “just go”. Unfortunately while I could “just go” on my own, I want my family to go with me (or as much as we can, my brother has a nice setup in London that he doesn’t want to leave which is fair enough). I can fully understand people getting cynical or bored of me talking about it though.
Recently I haven’t been quite as jaded about England as I was but still given the choice would much rather be in Canada. I’m sure there are a lot of things about the UK I will miss, probably friends and family most, but it just feels right that we should at least try living there.
For now I have to make do with living vicariously through Canadian blogs, flickr and planning vacations. I am getting twitchy, it is now more than 6 months since we were there last, I am not sure how we have lasted this long.
It’s not often I have a positive reaction to Google news items but this one completely made me sit up and take notice. When I looked into subscribing to the only UK sat channel that showed Ice Hockey it was ludicrously expensive, after all I only want that one program (I get monday night football for free on channel 5 and it records automatically and I can skip all the pundit yabber yabber thanks to sky+).
No matter where I am I can keep track, albeit in a shabby streamed way but better than nothing eh? nice.