A Quiet Normal Life

A life lived half in Atlanta, half in London

Posted by brendanstallard on October 26, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 20067:15 PM

The trials of using cellphones across borders, agonizing and expensive. One day this too will pass into technological history and be forgotten, and as likely we will forget how the cellphone companies gave us a right royal wallet burning, in the meantime we’re all addicted to the damn things and being in contact.

When I quit the limo’s, I decided there and then to be finally done with the accursed things. In the limo trade, you’re always desperate for work, and contact is the only way you are going to get it: so people in the limo biz never sleep. When I retired from the cops, I was so pleased to be away from the blasted “pip” of the radio. It never brought you anything you wanted to hear, just some awful mares nest. I was very glad to be rid of that thing believe me.

Come the limo, the Motorola phones they use are phones, but they also have that radio facility which weirdly enough works better than the phone. So that I’ve actually had conversations with the boss when she was in the middle of Times Square NY over the radio, but I can’t get through to my downtown office via the phone. I hate sitting in restaurants where men have the damn things pipping through meals……grrrrr. I hate the things full time.

I purchased a Nokia 6320i in the UK and they told me it would work, on roaming (at great expense) in the USA as well as in the UK. Well, it didn’t. It could receive a bit, but it was expensive and worthless.

So: I fooled around on Ebay and found a pay as you go SIM card that offered to work, and believe it or not, it did. Straight out of the box. T-mobile do a service whereby if you buy $100 worth of calls, the thing will last a full year. So: $100 bux later and I have 1000 minutes to last a year, and a local phone number. So: actually not too bad. All I have to do now is NOT lose the SIM cards. Hah, we shall see about that!

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Posted by brendanstallard on October 23, 2006

Two nights good sleep now on the 3 megaton Lantana (okay Lunesta 3 mg) and its astonishing how much more energy I have first thing in the morning, raring to go. Hasn’t been that way for a long, long time. It doesn’t seem to have too much effect on bones, lungs or just about anything else I can hear or see. My mood seems to be light, body seems to have plenty of energy and not too many aches and pains……….long may it continue.

I finally broke free of the terrible hosting troubles of the last outfit, I won’t name them: in the probably incorrect thought that some outfits are just not suited for certain types of people and I surely was not suited for them, and vice versa. Almost every question was given the old biff into the long grass with one of those charming Microsoft “Help” classic answers that resemble the old conveyancing fraud answers. “The deeds are silent, but inspection may reveal”. It got so I dreaded, absolutely DREADED problems, because any question would end up with a multitude of even more complex mares nests to resolve.

They hung on to the registration until they noted that I was determined to leave and finally at about 3pm this afternoon, my site pointed to the correct servers and the things I planted from the Cpanel, just “worked”…….just worked: without a lot of swearing and cursing and fighting with tech support from another country who just thought I was a complete idiot.

Better days, oh, better days. Lets keep things simple and working!

A Guitar to sell on Ebay: an American Made Fender Stratocaster: does the picture look nice?

img_6871.JPG

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Posted by brendanstallard on October 23, 2006

Two nights good sleep now on the 3 megaton Lantana (okay Lunesta 3 mg) and its astonishing how much more energy I have first thing in the morning, raring to go. Hasn’t been that way for a long, long time. It doesn’t seem to have too much effect on bones, lungs or just about anything else I can hear or see. My mood seems to be light, body seems to have plenty of energy and not too many aches and pains……….long may it continue.

I finally broke free of the terrible hosting troubles of the last outfit, I won’t name them: in the probably incorrect thought that some outfits are just not suited for certain types of people and I surely was not suited for them, and vice versa. Almost every question was given the old biff into the long grass with one of those charming Microsoft “Help” classic answers that resemble the old conveyancing fraud answers. “The deeds are silent, but inspection may reveal”. It got so I dreaded, absolutely DREADED problems, because any question would end up with a multitude of even more complex mares nests to resolve.

They hung on to the registration until they noted that I was determined to leave and finally at about 3pm this afternoon, my site pointed to the correct servers and the things I planted from the Cpanel, just “worked”…….just worked: without a lot of swearing and cursing and fighting with tech support from another country who just thought I was a complete idiot.

Better days, oh, better days. Lets keep things simple and working!

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Posted by brendanstallard on October 22, 2006

Sunday, October 22, 200610:35 AM

Worst book of the year, so far (and very unlikely to be surpassed) is the utterly dreadful: “Natural Selection” from David Freedman. Entirely written to formula, with bad dialogue and idiotic characterization: at times this seems like a book written by a schizophrenic or two people.

At times the prose flows quite well and the dialogue seems real: but then descriptions of the bogey creature come up again and complete romantic disbelief is required to make it acceptable.

I was determined to find my way through this book, because I enjoy a cassandra tale, but this was actually aggravating me more and more to the point where just prior to the eventual denoument I assume will eventually arrive…….I just gave up in fury.

Back to the drawing board, Mr Freedman.

3/10

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Posted by brendanstallard on October 22, 2006

Drugs and sleep.

I hesitated before writing this as a blog entry. It qualifies as a diary entry, but I wonder if it has any interest at all to others. Then I figured: this thing is about me, not what’s interesting for others: its for them to make that decision, so off we go.

Always a nervy child, after teenagerism and the time when I learned that I had to pay for things myself, the rest of life has been a fairly constant effort to keep the taxman satisfied and the rent paid. Hence a fair bit of worry wort ism, to a fairly worry wort type of character.

Add the police force as a job: whose insane shift system turns sane recruits into zombies in about three years is still in practice and we get to the point that sleep is something I have been a stranger to most of my life. The problem with that is that if you don’t sleep well enough, and I can get by with about five hours or so: any less and you are not effective at what you do. Always falling asleep at the wheel. That in itself is a dreadful hamsters wheel, because you sleep/nap in the day, and the wheel starts again……….

One particular drug that was particularly successful at giving one nights sleep and no comebacks, was one of the early barbiturates that you can’t get now, (unless you have a sleepless pet:))…….

Then since the eighties, they were prescribing the pams, (Temazepam) all of which didn’t send you off to sleep, but kept you half awake all the following day. Horribly worthless.

Since coming to America, there is something that works wonderfully well, called Alprazolam/Zanax, which one isn’t supposed to take because its addictive, but a few days on it definitely leaves one calm and relaxed. It makes my arthritis worse and works on the asthma too, so best avoided, but quite good.

Lastly: after a particularly rotten period of late: when I’m forever waking up at 0230hours and unable to get back to sleep: I yelled for help from the doctor and in a knee jerk reaction: she prescribed Lunesta. Not the 1 mg of the past, but a full 3 megaton version which bopped me upside the head and worked a treat.

So far: I did wake at 0220 hours, (there must be something happening at that time, which is getting me awake) but it allowed me to roll over and go back to sleep…hooray!

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Posted by brendanstallard on October 20, 2006

Man Of The Year

This is a Robin Williams movie, nothing specially wrong with that, but I rather object to movies where the star is front and centre through the entire movie. I think it gives the actor far too much power over proceedings.

Actors need vanity, it goes with the nature of the job. Like a prosecutor needs to be a bastard with massive ego, actors need to be vain and self centred. Hence they need direction. I’m okay with them being directors, when they can clearly bring the knowledge and experience of being in front of the camera to the back of it. Where it mostly doesn’t work, with a few honourable exceptions, is when they alternate between directing and acting at the same time.

Robin Williams is a bit of a curates egg, but kudos to him, he can act and he can be damn funny. He’s not quite my cup of tea, but I respect his abilities especially as his appearance isn’t exactly top drawer film lead.

“Man of the year” follows a fictional and popular television comedian who decides to stand for president following the intervention and suggestion of an audience fan at one of his shows.

Its a comedy with quite a lot of serious undertones, although rather simply drawn, it is well put together and gives its lessons in an appealing way. The director, Barry Levinson, clearly thinks that the win of George W Bush in 2000 was a massive injustice and the dialogue of the movie clearly reflects that opinion, making many references to the debacle in Florida and the entire plot of the movie is drawn on a computing conspiracy.

The metaphor of the comedian, elected on a computer error is clearly pointed at Dubya, and is somewhat late, but enjoyably pursued.

Laura Linney was terrific and mesmerizing, a welcome return to form in a decent movie after the dreadful “Squid and the Whale”. Christopher Walken was his usual excellent self, completely convincing and the rest of the ensemble produced decent performances. I was very happy to see Jeff Goldblum back in the saddle, he’s a fine actor and has plenty of life in him.

The whole thing was a nice, fairly serious comedy which dragged a bit in the final third. In a year of utterly dreadful films, it wasn’t at all bad.

6/10

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Posted by brendanstallard on October 19, 2006

I had a very poor nights sleep last night, once again being woken at 0230 hours and unable to sleep further even though I felt dreadful four hours just isn’t enough. No doubt one of those damn cats were slinking across me face and deliberately walking me up.

Well: I’m up at the walking track at lunchtime after getting almost human after a shower and I’m feeling arthritic and moaning inwardly to meself and then a light goes on my head. The old crocks up here on the walking track are a few bent over old ladies who barely appear to be breathing. Two of them are actually using those oxygen tanks that you drag/push around with you.

Time to start feeling lucky!

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Posted by brendanstallard on October 18, 2006

Blood pressure back to normal this morning, dunno what caused that minor spike last night when it went up to 144/75, was back down to 107/65 this morning: much more like it.

Mind, it didn’t do a great deal for my blood pressure to see this thing wandering across my carpet floor just as the today programme was finishing.

that-spider.jpg
There are, apparently two dodgy spiders in GA the black widow and the brown recluse

http://www.desertusa.com/july97/du_bwindow.html

http://www.desertusa.com/desert-animals/brown_spider.html

This clearly was neither of those: so I trapped it in the glass as you can see above and put it gently outside on the deck.

I don’t quite know why, but I have a horror of bugs of any sort. I just don’t like them, maybe as a result of being very attractive to the biting sort. I have nothing against them, but along with rattlesnakes and alligators and all large predatory species: the only place I want ever to see them is on the television. I just don’t want to share space with ’em, ya know?

I note the websites above state that extra care with vacuuming will help to keep them away. You can be sure the office will get the hoovering of its LIFE today and hereafter:)

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UK Current Affairs Mailing List

Posted by brendanstallard on October 18, 2006

A plug for a nice list.

For many years, there was a lovely, and lively group of folks who would gather at Compuserves UK current affairs forum. It was seriously busy, but mostly happy group, primarily involved with politics vis a vis UK and USA.

Then AOL purchased Compuserve, it was like letting the viruses in turds manage the water treatment plant and quite the maddest decision in the world that year. Anyone who has spent more than five minutes on the web knows that those poor souls with an AOL membership are bereft of something necessary for civilisation and should not be permitted to write or disseminate their thoughts in public.

Eventually, the forum died, not before sterling efforts from Colin, but the new AOL format was too much to take. John Waghorne, through being blind: couldn’t handle all the jiggling about and so opened up a mailing list on YahooGroups.

That mailing list is now going great guns, with expanding membership, and you can join it at:

http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/ukcurr/

It’d be good to see you there.

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Posted by brendanstallard on October 17, 2006

Madonna adopted a baby from Malawi, a poor and grotty corrupt nation. Madonna has lots of folding green and the world is made up of 5.99 billion people who want some of it from her. She dropped a dime or two to the characters involved and spirited the kid off the Heathrow. Now people are squealing. Whaffor? Big money doesn’t talk, it swears and it just about always get what it wants.

The kid is likely to have a better life than the one he’s got now, so what the heck are people bitching about. Madonna may have a crapulous voice and the acting skills of a turd on skunk, but she’s loaded and will likely have nannies aplenty for the kid, and send it to a decent school.

Grrrr, people don’t have enough to do, better we spend some of our ill gotten shekels on the starving of Malawi.

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