Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Christmas.... :)

Well it's here...... again.... and to be honest I'm quite touched by how friends and family have rallied around this year to make Christmas a more memorable event than it otherwise would have been, it's been hard these past few months, constant worry about finances etc, but right now, this minute tomorrow will be a lovely day.... one thing I know, I should have bought a bigger Christmas tree the presents are over flowing from underneath it, the kids are uber excited, and then of course the sullen one is off to Austria on boxing day, so she should have a brilliant time out there.... providing she doesn't break anything :) she's pretty cut up that her dad didn't send her anything for Christmas, but no doubt she will give him hell when they next speak, but at least she has Austria and skiing to look forward to.... so her Christmas.... at least.... will be white. (see picture above, that's the latest picture from the resort she is staying at !!!)

As for my kids Emma and Rhiannon, I've given up on them..... you can only bang your head against the wall so many times before it starts to hurt, so I'll wish them a Happy Christmas and hope 2009 brings them all that they want and need.... and leave it at that ......

We have Andrea's parents down for Christmas, she tells me its the first time they have ever spent Christmas with their grandkids, so that's nice. Freya doesn't have a clue what is going on... all she seems to understand is "pretties" which means anything to do with the Christmas tree and the lights.... The tribe are in the kitchen at the moment playing "Monopoly" I passed on that one... "Monopoly" is just short of the egyption mummification ritual to me, it doesn't hold my interest for much longer than a few nanoseconds, and is easily trumped by any game of cards, which were also threatened..... my ex wife used to try and get me interested in cards..... she failed after 22 years of marriage, so my 2nd (much improved version 2) wife has absolutely no chance of turning the tide, in fact King Canute probably had more of a chance.......

The only other thing of note, is that a friend of mine Dom Kane has decided to give away his latest album "My Virus" for free as a thank you to all his supporters and you can get it here :¬)

if you like dance music, you'll really like this, and I would seriously look out for this man in the future he has talent by the lorry load ;¬)






Sunday, 14 December 2008

Happy belated birthday !!! ..... my mouse :)

Apparently on the 9th December 40 years ago, the humble mouse made it's d├ębut and changed the way computing was thought of forever, and will probably continue to be used for many years even with the advent of touch screens and voice recognition, and yes the picture above is one of those early mice.... more of a brick with the corners knocked off than something which fits your hand ergonomically, and yes it attached to a serial DB25 connector before we went DB9 and years before PS/2 or USB, I'm amazed sometimes how PC technicians today use the word PS/2 but don't realise that it was a model of computer which IBM manufactured back in the late 80's early 90's, and that it was they who coined the phrase "the PS/2 connector", prior to that we used the DIN standard......

It seems strange to think that there are kids today who have grown up with computers and can't think of what life used to be like without them and yet my generation and the one before saw their birth and proliferation over the years, to such an extent that there isn't a passing moment where we don't come into contact with them.

Cash Machines
Chip and Pin
Mobile Phones
Wristwatches
DVR's
Satellite boxes

even some of our household goods have astounding computing power, but lets take the not so humble mobile phone which everybody and his dog has these days, it's amazing to think that there is more computing power in a modern mobile phone than the computers that took the Apollo astronauts to the moon (unless of course you disbelieve they ever went, but there is room for everybody on this planet..... even the really mad loopy ones ;¬) )

Anyway I just thought I would mark the event because it's up there with sliced bread and electric toothbrushes !!! :)

all hail the humble mouse :)

Friday, 12 December 2008

Usually these things don't disturb me

But in this particular case it did, there was a documentary about the Jamie Bulger murder on one of the myriad of channels last night, but they were actually interviewing the mother this time, I think it was the first time I had actually seen her speak for that length of time since the trial of the two boys who murdered her son.

it's amazing how your mind softens things up and files unpalatable things like that away over time, probably because it goes against every instinct you have on how you treat children and in Jamie's case he was only 3 years old when he was callously murdered by those two 10 year old boys, they interviewed most of the people who were involved in the case including the Police officers at the time, and one thing became clear, nobody except the people who were actually involved in the case were allowed to see the brutality of his murder and what had been done to Jamie, and it has haunted them to this very day.....

First off what was going through the minds of these two boys when they had planned to take another toddler and to push him/her out into a busy road with oncoming traffic to make it look like an accident ???? and were overheard planning this by a mother of two toddlers, one of whom they had targetted, and then by pure chance stumble across Jamie as he wandered away from his mother as she paid for food in the butchers shop that day, and how they led him for nearly 3 miles away from his mother, passing many strangers on the way who asked if he was ok, brutalising him and lying to the strangers who asked about him, and then take him to a train track throw paint over him and then torture and kill him ????

For all of that they got 8 years in council custody because of their age, and now they are both 26 years old, with practically their entire lives ahead of them, living with entirely new identities under licence.....and nobody is allowed to identify them, and for good reason .... because they would be torn limb from limb within days.....my guess..... Andrea and I discussed this last night and we both agreed that if we came face to face with the killer of any of our kids we would without hesitation take their life and suffer the consequences afterwards, does that makes us just as bad as them ? does killing somebody for a higher principle and belief in societies values in general alter that ? or would it simply be ridding the earth of scum/vermin with no right to live their lives ?

I suppose if you take murder on it's face value then yes it probably is just that.... murder, but there is such a thing as justice, and when justice isn't served I think it's a natural thought process to make such awful people pay for their wrong doings, I had forgotten just how harrowing the Jamie Bulger incident was, and that night I simply could not settle down and go to sleep, who knows maybe one day they will meet their end and be just as terrified as Jamie was that day he died, or then again maybe they won't, maybe they have learnt what they did was so very very wrong, and how they tried to lie their way out of it, and the fact that they tried to cover up their crime by laying him across a train track so he was cut in half, maybe the fact that they have to live with that until the day they die is enough punishment......Then again, maybe they simply do not care........ who knows ?

But the whole thing struck a certain resonance within me, probably because I have a 14 month old little girl...... just learning to walk and and talk and is experiencing life for the first time.......something Jamie didn't have very much of in his short life

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Well the job hunting is not going well

I've probably been made redundant at the worst time of year, coupled with the worst economic downturn this century..... which doesn't make finding a job (any job) easier, I was looking at the various job sites on the internet and the amount of people applying for even the most menial of jobs is staggering....

I've also found out that I am not entitled to Job Seekers Allowance because my Class 1 contributions haven't been high enough in the years they looked at, my Class 3 contributions are high enough and up-to-date but that doesn't cover things like JSA.... when you need it most eh ? One of the pitfalls of being self employed for so long I guess..... so things have gone from pretty damn bad, to bloody awful in the space of a few days really, but looking on the bright side, if I drag my sorry arse into town every two weeks and sign on the dotted line, they will pay my class 1 national insurance contributions for me.... bless.... at least I'll have a pension when I hit 65 ... providing we don't die of starvation in the mean time.

So this Christmas is going to be a VERY low key affair, the kids will be lucky to get an orange and a walnut in the bottom of their stockings on the 25th December from us, it's turning into a very Dickensian type Christmas, but the eternal optimist that I am, I will keep bashing away at applications, probably the most annoying and soul destroying part of looking for a job is how these days they don't even get back to you to say "NOT YOU !!"...... the only time you ever get anything back is when they want to interview you, which I think is pretty damn rude considering you have taken the time to apply... but it seems that's the way of the world these days.

I suppose the only silver lining to this whole sorry episode is that the CSA can't take their substantial slice of my salary anymore, I honestly don't know which was worse, working and having over half of my pay packet surgically removed at source, or not working and not having to pay child maintenance. It's six of one and half a dozen of the other really. In an ideal world I would be allowed to see my kids and then maybe I wouldn't feel so bitter at having to fork out for something I get no benefit from....some people simply do not know how lucky they are...... hey ho....

Anyway Freya is fine as are the rest of the kids, I'm teaching shadow boy to play chess which he enjoys, obviously he isn't very good at the moment, but he has grasped how the pieces move and keeps badgering me to play him, and I oblige, he is a very bright lad very quick on the uptake six months of this and he'll start to make me think a bit, but at the moment he gets mugged every time he plays, it's very much like taking candy from a baby..... but it's all about learning, and I do tell him when he is about to make a stupid move, but he can't disguise his intentions very well and his attempts at subterfuge are very amateur, almost transparent, but hilarious to witness...........