28 February 2014 (Friday) - Internet, Cybermen

I slept well last night for a change, and got up shortly after 7am. I put the last of the food left over from last week's party out for the recycling dustmen. It was probably all past it's best by Monday and was probably the reason why I had bad guts during the week.
Whilst I am glad that we had enough to feed everyone at the party, it's a shame so much went to waste.

Normally I would have taken "Furry Face TM" for his walk, but the rain was rather extreme, so I did chores and some more of my "future of the internet" essay until I gave in to his worrying to go out. The rain hadn't abated, and we were only out for five minutes before I was soaked to the skin and my dog resembled a sea lion.
We came home and I did more of my on-line course. I'm now onto internet technology, and with ninety per cent in today's quiz and one hundred per cent in my first essay I suppose the course is going well. During the video lectures "Furry Face TM" jumped onto my lap, looked me in the eye and stole one of my biscuits. He raided choccy from er indoors TM" handbag yesterday. I think it's time to take a firmer line with that dog.

With the rain having slackened off to a medium monsoon I walked the pestilential pup round the park. He was relatively well behaved, even if a passing normal person warned his child not to stroke "every wild dog you see in the park".
Home again. Earlier on Facebook I'd read that KFC are going against God and Nature by breeding multi-legged mult-winged (and presumably multi-breasted) birds to sell in their establishments. It never fails to amaze me how the public beleive such utter drivel, but it left me fancying KFC for lunch. TIme was I would have that stuff all the time. Now it's an ocassional treat. As I scoffed I watched "The Moonbase" DVD which "My Boy TM" had got me for my birthday. A Doctor Who story from nearly fifty years ago, only half of the show exists; the other half has been reconstructed in animated format, and is absolutely brilliant (or really sad, depending on how much of a geek you are).

And then being the last Friday of the month I set off to astro club. We had an AGM; albeit a little overdue. I was again elected as Treasurer. It's not an arduous position, but it's something I can do for the club. We then had a presentation about future plans, I hawked the raffle, and Stevey gave a rather good synopsis of the constellation Leo. It was only a shame I had to leave early. Got to work tomorrow...

27 February 2014 (Thursday) - Stuff

Over a rather early spot of brekkie (shared with my dog) I watched the latest instalment of the Tomorrow People. Today's episode featured a guest appearance of Nicholas Young who was the star of the original series. I do like this program - I have yet to sleep through much of it. But I do wonder how far it can go before straying into ground already covered (and done to death) by shows such as "Heroes" and "The 4400".

And so to work through the driving rain. After a lovely day yesterday, today was rather mucky. As always I listened to the radio. I had a wry smile about the article on child poverty in the UK. Up until now a child was considered to be in poverty given that the family income was less than a certain amount. Apparently this simplistic method of deciding whether or not a given child is being brought up in poverty is to change. A new calculation is to be devised which accounts for all sorts of demands on the family budget including alcohol and drug dependency. The implication being that druggies are to be given more leeway than decent people when it comes to assigning social and financial status.

And I grinned like a Cheshire Cat at the news from the financial giant Standard Life. Ostensibly a Scottish company, it's made no secret that it wants no part of an independent Scotland. I've said so many times that devolution is a bad thing. It seems I'm not alone in thinking this.

And so to work where I had a rather busy day. And some news. Whilst I'm pleasaed to have had a professional advancement, in the new world order I'm not going to be able to take any holiday over the Teston Kite Festival.
So I probably won't be going this year; which is a shame. I might pop up for the day, or I might organise a booze up somewhere else.
I've a few months to sort something out...

26 February 2014 (Wednesday) - The Future

I woke at 4am with the most excruciating pains in my belly so hurried to “Trap One” where nothing really happened. After a few minutes the pain passed, so I went back to bed again and managed to doze until 7am.

After brekkie I took “Furry Face TMfor a walk. As we went through the park a small child pointed at him and asked loudly “why is that doggie walking funny?”. His mother bellowed (even louder) that she didn’t know, and both looked at me expectantly. I smiled politely and kept going; and then spent the next two hours of our walk watching my dog like a hawk. I hadn’t been aware that he had been “walking funny” and he certainly didn’t do so whilst I was watching today. Admittedly he does do an odd thing with his back left leg from time to time, but a lot of Jack Russell variants do that.
The rest of the walk through the park was promising to be rather dull after that; that is until we acquired a golden Labrador. Suddenly this huge dog appeared from nowhere and joined us. If I knew where his owner was I would have taken him back, but the dog seemed to be an autonomous entity.
After a few minutes the dog wandered off on a mission of his own and we continued round to Singleton Lake where my dog chased ducks, geese and assorted waterfowl until a swan put the willies up him.

Once home I hosed the mud from the dog, then popped up town. I dropped birthday cards to the correct recipient, then went to look at saxophones in the music shop. It was closed. I then went to the shoe shop that Martin had told me about only to find it was a mobile phone accessory shop. And when I went to look at DVDs in HMV and found the thing had gone bankrupt I gave up and came home. Via the milk shake shop. Regular readers of this drivel may recall that I found a fiver on Monday. I squandered it on a curly-wurly milkshake before coming home.

Once home I did the astro club’s accounts and then did my own. I wish I was as good with my own as I am with those of the astro club. And over a spot of lunch I watched this week’s lectures in my course. The course is entitled “Internet History, Technology, and Security” and we’ve now completed the history part. I got ninety per cent in this week’s test, and I then spent much of the rest of the afternoon working of the next essay for the course. It’s an interesting essay: “Write an essay that imagines how the Internet will be different 20 years from now.  Justify your answer by connecting your ideas to the history of the Internet that we have learned in this class and through outside materials.  Your answer can focus on how technology will change or how people will change or how governments and policy will change or even how society might change”.
I have some ideas, but if any of my loyal readers might care to make some suggestions… that would be cheating.

‘er indoors TM set off to the AGM of the arky-ologee club. I’ve not been in two years, and didn’t fancy it. Instead I settled down in front of the telly and watched the film “Carriers” starring Chris Pine. It started well, but lost the plot about half way through

25 February 2014 (Tuesday) - Scandal, Swords...

After nearly two weeks holiday I had to be up early for work today. Yesterday's walk had taken its toll on "Furry Face TM" who had spent all of yesterday evening asleep and he still looked shattered this morning; too shattered to even eat my toast.
Mind you when I brandished the comb he did struggle onto my lap to be combed; he likes that.

Yesterday I went caching; I only found about two thirds of the caches and didn't think I'd found enough clues to go for the bonus cache. But a quick look at the clues I had found together with a little judicious brainwork and perusing maps came up trumps. I had a possible location which was only a mile or two out of my way on my drive to work.
So I set off a little early, and shortly after 6.30am I was doing the happy dance in some mud; another first to find.

As I carried of driving to work I listened to the radio which was full of nasty allegations about the politician Harriet Harman.
Apparently many years ago there were vague and tenuous links between various bodies with which she was associated and paedophile rings. And consequently the media is now digging the dirt. Whilst obviously children need protection, this media-driven furore is now way out of control. Does the fact that a child is in a swimming costume make any adult in the vicinity a paedophile? Apparently so in the view of the popular press.
As a scout leader I often took the cubs swimming. In retrospect I am sorry that I gave up my time to help, and the Daily Mail can rest assured that because of their predilection for spreading suspicion I will not be so public spirited again.

And while I'm ranting about the media I couldn't believe what I read today. Disgraced ex-editor of the News of the World has said in court that at the time of all the phone hacking scandals she didn't realise that hacking into someone's private conversations or voicemail was illegal. How can anyone be so amoral that they need to be told precisely how privacy is to be respected?

Mind you all wasn't doom and gloom in the news. Our old friend science has found out (through the wonders of electroencephalography and the expenditure of several thousand quid) that dogs understand what humans do and say.
It's amazing that in this new world order of austerity science has money to throw away; has he never held up a lead to a dog, said the word "walkies" and seen the reaction?

I did my bit at a very busy day at work, and came home via the weekly gathering. Today we were at Arden Drive for more "Merlin". It's watchable, but the story has a lot of holes. Why is Arthur the only one who takes his dogsbody in to battle every time he has a battle. I can think of no other reason that that the star of the show has to be in the thick of the action. Which isn't really a reason which lends credulity to the show. Mind you the advent of a rather fit sword wielding chesty boiler (to coin a phrase) has inproved the show no end.

24 February 2014 (Monday) - Wye

Another restless night – fortunately the morning’s post brought my referral to the sleep clinic. I was pleased about that.
After a spot of brekkie I took “Furry Face TMfor his morning constitutional. We went up past the civic centre, out through the back of Hythe Road and home via South Willesborough, Frog’s Island and Pets at Home. We only tried to fight with two motorbikes, a milk float, a removals lorry and one cat, so the walk was rather uneventful.

I’d bought my dog a stuffed bone in the pet shop, so once home I settled him down with said bone and went up to town. There was money to pay into the astro club’s bank account and a cheque to pay into my bank account. And I’d been given money and vouchers for my birthday so I had plans to see if I couldn’t buy something or other. Family and friends have been really generous (for which I am very grateful), and I thought I’d treat myself. I’ve been toying with the idea of a saxophone for some time…
Whilst in the first bank my phone rang. The matriarch of Kent geocaching wondered if I knew that a series of geocaches was going live even as we spoke. I didn’t, and made a snap decision to chase some First to Finds. So I abandoned all plans and voomed home, collected “Furry Face TMand my wellies and set off to Wye.

As I parked my car I saw a familiar face. One of the local cachers had been for the first cache in the series, couldn’t find it, and his phone had gone flat. So together we went back to the cache and together we couldn’t find it either.
We did find the next two though, and we were the first to do so. But after the third cache Simon had to leave us and go to work, so Fudge and I carried on up the Downs where, despite an intensive search we failed to find the next cache. We got the two after that, and then broke the next one. I say “broke”; I’m taking the line that having been out in the rain for some weeks has taken its toll (they went live today but were hidden six weeks ago).

At this point of our walk we were at the top of Wye Downs. Some wonderful scenery; the best views for miles around, one of the highest points in the county and through some amazing feat of local geology it was one of the muddiest places I have ever found. “Furry Face TMwas actually swimming through the mud.
The next cache eluded us entirely, but we got FTF on the next two. Just as I was approaching the last cache I met a young family coming the other way. They fussed my muddy dog, and we chatted politely. It was only on reading the log at the next cache that I realised that this young family were also geocaching, and had beaten me to the last FTF by fifteen minutes.

And so home where I hosed my dog down half a dozen times until he was eventually mud-free. I took a few photos whilst we were out, and I put them on-line. As I did so I had an email from the people who look after the hall in which we stage the astro club. They have had a minor disaster and there is currently no running water or functioning toilets in the hall. And there won’t be for Friday’s meeting either. That’s a nuisance.
I then got on with dyson-ing and doing the laundry and washing up and all the dull old trivia. As I took the recycling out I found a five pound note lying in the front garden. That was a result. I then fell asleep in front of the computer for a couple of hours.

With ‘er indoors TM off bowling I watched the BattleStar Galactica prequel movie “Blood and Chrome”. It was quite good really, even if I did seem to lose interest half way through…

23 February 2014 (Sunday) - Cheriton Festival of Lights

I woke feeling rather rough this morning. Can’t imagine why that might be. I came downstairs to find the kitchen was awash with food left over from last night’s party. When putting on a buffet it goes one of two ways; either it looks like the locusts have been after five minutes, or you have loads left over. We had loads left over, which is probably the best way for it to be – we can be sure no one went hungry.
Mind you we also had some wonderful people helping us by bringing along some rather good scoff. I’m not going hungry this week.

An interesting episode over brekkie; despite having more baguettes than sense (six) we had no margarine. And something else that was missing was my voice. I went to say hello to my dog and nothing happened. I moved my mouth and did the breathing-out-speaking thing and all that happened was a strange squeaking. The voice slowly came back as the day wore on; perhaps being a lead vocalist isn’t for me?

I walked “Furry Face TM “ round to “My Boy TMwhere after a little while ‘er indoors TM  joined us. We had a rather good bit of lunch, and then I did pressies. So many people had brought me gifts to last night’s party and partly because I wanted to be sociable and chat to everyone and mostly because I was pouring the beer down my neck, Cheryl took all the cards and pressies safely. After lunch I sat down and opened them all. I was rather pleased and more than a little humbled at what I’d got. Some very generous gifts; I’ve got some wonderful friends.
And people with whom I’ve not worked for over two and a half years had clubbed together to get me an Amazon voucher.

‘er indoors TM  took “Furry Face TM “ and Lacey for a walk whilst I slept in front of the telly. When the girls returned we drove down to Cheriton for the light show. Last year there was a festival of lights in Cheriton. At the time I mentioned that it was nothing really special, but was a fun event. I rather assumed that the organisers would have worked on the foundations of last year to make a better event this year. I don’t want to sound critical, but they hadn’t.
The live music was good, the display of camper vans was interesting, the light displays were excellent (especially the forest in someone’s living room); but there seemed less of them than there were last year. But it was a good evening out; and the fireworks were a wonderful way to finish off what has been a rather good weekend.

22 February 2014 (Saturday) - Party

I woke at 3.30am this morning. I lay awake for an hour then got up and watched rubbish on the telly for an hour. I went back to bed and lay awake for another hour. By the time I took “Furry Face TMround the park for his walk the day felt half gone even though it was only 9am.
The park was full of runners, as it is on a Saturday. So we gave up on that idea and wandered some local streets before coming home. I tried to sleep, but it wasn’t happening. I phoned the GP to complain about how long this referral to a sleep clinic is taking and got put through to NHS 111 and some nice lady who meant well, but really didn’t speak English.

Once home ‘er indoors TM  emerged from her pit and started baking. “My Boy TMarrived and leaving the girls to do kitchen things we drove up to the Elwick club. The afternoon vanished in a blur of driving here and there fetching and carrying, and it wasn’t long before the party was in full flow. We were expecting just under two hundred people, and the place became rather full as the evening wore on. I didn’t manage to spend time with everyone; but it was rather humbling to have so many people turn out. The food was excellent, the band were (to coin a phrase) “not too shabby”; even despite the guest vocalist of “yours truly” for “Mr Blue Sky”.
A wonderful evening with some truly wonderful people. For all that I whinge and rant here, my life’s not that bad you know….