Thursday, July 29, 2004

Spam and Strikes, Consumer Credit and Campaigning

A BBC Breaking News Alert tells me that
The amount of money owed by UK consumers breaks through the £1 trillion barrier.
Hmmm. Scary. Most of it is mine :-S

Stephen Newton's Museum of Spam is pretty funky. The email address which posts directly to his blog is advertised on the site, and thus all the bots pick it up, and all the spam he receives is instantly published.

I don't know why I think it's such a great idea, I just do.

The Sheffield bus strike is still going on. Day 9 I believe. And no prospect of return until mid-week next week at the earliest. It's fairly tricky to negotiate certain journeys at the moment, but it's First Mainline, not the striking drivers, who are to blame... They have too much of a monopoly on the public transport, and won't share a teeny weeny slice of their profits to actually benefit the people who keep the company running day after day.

And say hello to the new and exciting Voice-Hearers Action Group.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Vote Manor Lodge!

Everywhere I go, that is what I see - on the side of school buildings, facing out of office windows, everywhere is Vote Manor Lodge. So yeah, go ahead I reckon!

Sheffield Manor Lodge is the most important historic site in Sheffield, since the destruction of Sheffield Castle. It is an ancient monument and boasts three listed buildings, but despite this it is little known by the majority of Sheffield's population. This year, however, Sheffield Manor Lodge has been chosen to feature in the new series of the highly successful BBC 2 television series "Restoration".

To find out more about Manor Lodge, follow one, more or several of the links in that preceding paragraph.

To vote, call

You have from 2am on Tuesday the 27th to midnight on Wednesday 28th July.

Calls cost 50p each [34p goes to the Restoration Fund] and you can vote as many times as you want. Note: you can only vote by phone, not by e-mail or text.

There, I feel I've done my bit of citizenship for Sheffield for the day now ;)

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Public Transport Woes

The buses are on strike. They have been since last Tuesday, and it seems that no agreement has yet happened, and no further talks are planned.

I do support the strike, of course. Driving buses has gone from a schoolboys' dream job, to a thankless occupation with long hours, abusive customers and, it seems, crap pay.

There was a series of graffitied adverts on buses these last few weeks. They were on a poster encouraging people to work for them and each perk of the job had been commented on by a presumably disgruntled driver.

They were comments along the lines of this:

Want to start each day with a smile like this driver?
He's only smiling cos he's leaving tomorrow or he's only smiling cos he's on drugs.

They pointed out the long hours, poor perks, poor pay, and bad shifts.

I am really, really grateful for bus drivers. They get me around and without them I wouldn't get far or out often. I want them to be paid a decent wage and work in decent conditions. And miserable drivers don't make for especially pleasant journeys for the passengers either.

So, if First Mainline are by any chance listening (of course they're not), please give these people a decent package, so I can get around again. Preferably by Tuesday please, as I have appointments then that I can't get to on a Yorkshire Terrier service.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Witness to the Witnesses

Blurry but fabulous...

It's almost subversive! Recruiting people to evangelise to Jehovah's Witnesses. Like a strange form of karma.

If you can't make out from the blur it is a classified ad calling for people to Help Jehovah's Witnesses to find Christ.

I wonder whether the JWs are actively sought out, or whether people have the relevant literature ready by their door just waiting for a visit.

I have fairly regular visits. I used to get lots of Mormons coming round too but the ultra-smart appearance and the American accent gave them away instantly so I soon stopped answering the door.

If I decide at any point that I am searching for faith, I can't imagine that it will be somebody waking me up on a Sunday morning or interrupting a quiet evening in that would make the difference. Really.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Logos and Links

TypoGenerator is amazing! Go and play with it! Now!!

I did!

Cheery stuff can be found here.

One example of how 50s scientists may have predicted the future would be... along with a mini bit of cartoon cuteness!

Of course, they were shamelessly stolen from b3ta.

On the theme of my growing interest in photography, I absolutely have to send you to look at the Slumbering Duckling. Wow.

I will end this feat of randomness with some advice. If you are feeling a bit too sane for comfort... maybe out of place amidst the world's insanity, go see magical Trevor.

Friday, July 16, 2004

The Steel Man in front of Sheffield Town Hall Posted by Hello

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

"I drink to make other people interesting"

Water from the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain has sold on ebay for £205. Bloody ridiculous! However, given that the 12 bids above £14 are all from the same two very low feedback bidders (one with 0 feedback, the other with -1), time will tell whether the opportunist seller will get the dosh!

And I'm not used to the Guardian being so gooey.

Incidentally, do people know about BugMeNot? If you want to get onto, say, a news site which requires registration, you can see if anyone there has a user name and password you can use, to save giving your details out to the world. Tis fab.

I went into WH Smith yesterday and they are re-doing the inside of the store. One thing they have done is make the shelf units for magazines and such much, much taller. I felt a bit like Alice - shrunk. It was all the same as usual, except much bigger... Strange experience indeed. It was only on leaving the shop I realised my height hadn't altered one bit. Which is good.

Oh, and I'm giving it a try. I have duct tape on my foot. Time will reveal whether it is the long-awaited cure, but I'm desperate enough to have a go.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Thou Shalt Beat Thy Kids

The Christian Institute have sent out an email as follows:

I would greatly value your prayers today (Monday 5th July) as the House of Lords debates whether to change the law on the parental right to smack. It now seems likely that the issue will be put to a vote.

This is extremely serious and could greatly affect Christian parents.

Please pray that

* the law would not be changed
* Peers and the media would see through the false and misleading claims of the children's rights lobby
* there will be strong speeches in the Lords against changing the law
* Christian Institute staff will be given great wisdom

There is growing pressure on the Government to ban all parental smacking, or come as close to this as possible.

Today Peers will be faced with a bewildering range of amendments ranging from an outright ban on smacking through to Lord Lester's proposal for a ban where prosecutors believe that the smack was serious.

It seems from press reports that the Government may be about to permit a free vote on this proposal from Lord Lester. In theory the amendment does not ban mild smacking, in practice it is not as simple. We have two very serious concerns about this proposal.

(1) It hands huge powers over to prosecutors and social workers. If they have a personal anti-smacking agenda they could try to use the new law to criminalise loving parents.

(2) It will sow great confusion in the law. We fear the proposal will lead to a 'rachet effect' where successive court cases decided by politically correct judges intervene ever more closely in family life.

Thank you for all your prayers.

Yours in Christ,

Colin Hart

Ok. What was that again? We must pray that we continue to be allowed to hit our children. Indeed, this is extremely serious to us.


It scares me. I know they are horrible to gay people, but what have children done to deserve this?

Their briefing document talks of loving smacks, "The current law works perfectly well", and that a ban would open the door to massive state interference in family life and it would be hugely resented by the overwhelming majority of the public.

Ok. Right. Loving smacks... where do I start? If you love someone, you don't hit them. Fin.

The current law works perfectly well... ummm does it? Look at Victoria Climbie. I know it's been an overquoted example these last few days, but surely it does prove that the current child protection laws do not work perfectly well?

And about interference in family life and that being resented... isn't that what we said about Section 28? About partnership rights? About leaving me to live my own life with the person of the gender of my choosing?

Yes, I resent YOUR interference. I'm hurting noone. People hitting children are hurting someone. Get your priorities right. Use your frighteningly large amount of power for good. Support people who are good, and fight things that really are bad, like war and starvation and ethnic cleansing. And leave me and my girlfriend and my friends alone.

Hmm. Where was I? Sorry. Yeah, if the Christian Institute want to shout about things, why on earth are they shouting that they need to be allowed to continue to beat their kids? It really does make you wonder.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Shameful Childhood Afflictions as an Adult...

I really, really need some help. I am slowly coming out of the closet about a very, very delicate issue... something that adults don't talk about... admit to...

But it is driving me mad!!

Here goes [deep breath]...

I have a verruca

There. I've said it.

I got it after buying some new shoes last October / November time. Obviously someone with a verruca had tried them on barefoot and I caught the bastard soon afterwards.

And still have it.

I think Americans call them plantar warts by the way, in case anyone doesn't know what I'm talking about.

At first I ignored it, but it started hurting a fair bit, so tried Bazuka Gel from the chemist. It made no difference at all.

At this stage I decided to leave it alone again, as these things really can just sort themselves out.

But mine refused to. And got more and more and more painful, I think because of just where it is on my heel.

Since then I have tried various salicylic acid concoctions, right up to the highest over the counter dose of 50%. This strength mainly causes me to feel that a hole is being bored through my foot for most of the day and is highly unpleasant.

I have also tried pure essential oils (lemon and tea tree), aqueous cream, leftover trimovate, and anything else I could get my hands on which may help.

I am getting totally desperate. In the hope of finding a cure not yet discovered by modern or ancient medicine, I have contemplated soaking my foot in wall paint, diet coke, cabbage water... anything to get rid of the increasingly ugly and hurty thing under my foot.

So I'm looking online for help. Not too encouraged by the first link for alternative cures for verrucas stating that According to available research papers, Hypnotherapy seems to be the most effective alternative treatment of warts. I mean, I'm open minded and all, but if the burn-a-hole-in-my-foot dose of salicylic acid won't get rid of it, I doubt that subconscious suggestions could...

The NHS Guidelines for warts and verrucae tell me that the 50% salicylic acid treatment can take up to 3 months, so I guess I will continue to do that.

However, it also led me to find that duct tape occlusion is supposed to be really, really effective. You stick duct tape over the thing and remove it after 6 days and do that again and again. 85% success, compared to 60% success for cryotherapy (i.e. freezing, i.e. the cause of much agony at chiropodists' when I was a child, i.e. the reason I haven't mentioned this to my GP!).

It also tells me that a website without a working link suggests:

a vitamin E bath with a bandage works wonders, as do crushed garlic cloves. According to Food Folklore, cutting an apple into as many pieces as there are warts, rubbing each piece on a wart and then burying it in the earth cures the affliction.

Hell, I'm desperate!

So I'm gonna carry on with 50% acid-foot-burning goo, until I can get hold of some duct tape or garlic(?!). But please, if you have any magic tips for getting rid of these monsters, tell me tell me tell me!!!!