innocent_lex: (Don't feel well)
How do I know? The sunburn. It's a really long time since I managed this. But we had summer for two weeks back in April and I just wasn't expecting it to come around again this year. Our summers have been frankly crap, so you can't really blame me.

Nice try

Jul. 27th, 2011 09:59 pm
innocent_lex: (Default)
I've just watched a programme about the 50 greatest Harry Potter moments. Some of them were good, though not sure they'd count as great. But the most bizarre thing about it was that they claimed Dobby the house elf was one of the most loved characters of the whole franchise. The various people who were talking did manage to keep straight faces, but I'm fairly sure they were joking. Dobby is only beaten by that peculiar creature from the Star Wars prequels as the most annoying character ever created in fiction.
innocent_lex: (Default)
Almost 100 people have been killed in Norway by at least one evil man (suspicions of more, but no clear facts as yet). The BBC News has gone with breaking news of Amy Winehouse's death. That's very sad, too. I wonder, though, what the balance of news will be now. 10 million people starving in Africa - pushed out of the news by 100 people dying in Norway - pushed out of the news by 1 woman.

The whole planet is one big tragedy at the moment, but sometimes the priorities of the news organisations seems particularly twisted.
innocent_lex: (Default)
Today it's been raining on and off most of the day. I looked at the weather forecasts for my local area on the BBC and the Met Office - they both denied it would rain until late this evening. Nope, they said, it's just white cloud and sunshine. Sunshine? said I. Where? I checked again later. Nope, still not raining, they said, while I listened to the non-existent water drumming on the roof. I checked again just now and they've finally admitted it's raining. Finally. Heavy rain! they say. Well, I say 'they'. The Met Office say it's raining - they could hardly argue with their own rainfall radar (despite the fact they've been ignoring it all day); the BBC still says it's fluffy white clouds out there.

I really do wonder why I bother with these forecasts.
innocent_lex: (Hmmmm)
The phone hacking scandal has been on the go for years in the UK. For those who don't live here, the very short version is that a few years ago some journalists from the News of the World (a Murdoch-owned so-called newspaper) were investigated on charges of hacking into the royals' voicemails, most likely Prince William. Two people were put in jail, the NoW said they'd do a rigorous internal investigation and claimed there was no more hacking, and that was that. The Press Complaints Commission conducted an investigation and said there was no more evidence of hacking. It seemed that was that.

Unfortunately for the NoW, news came out that they'd paid off various football folks to keep quiet about their phones being hacked. Various famous people came forward and started to take NoW to court for hacking their phones. As more news came from further investigations (some from other papers, some from more authoritative sources) the news came out that pissed off the British public: the NoW had hacked into victims of crime, including a murdered teenager (Millie Dowler - they deleted some of her messages, leading her family and police to believe she was alive when she wasn't), family and victims of the 7/7 bombings in London, and so on.

There have been a lot of denials by a lot of people in the last few weeks and months, sometimes years. Some of those people have now resigned, some have been arrested, the NoW is now closed, Rupert and James Murdoch will be going before a parliamentary committee to answer questions, and there is both a police investigation and judicial investigation (set up by the government) in progress.

The commissioner and assistant commissioner of the Met Police have now resigned over this scandal, on the surface because of failing to uncover the full extent of these criminal activities. Who knows what other reasons there are. The NoW has been closed, and most of the country see that as Murdoch's attempt to appease people. Rebekah Brooks, ex-editor of the NoW who was in charge during the time in question and who was the CEO of News International, resigned (we assume once Murdoch realised people weren't going to accept NoW's closure as the sacrificial lamb). In good news, Murdoch has withdrawn his bid for BSkyB - which would have given him full ownership of the very large satellite broadcaster in the UK. NewsCorp still owns The Times / Sunday Times, The Sun (the biggest-selling newspaper in the UK), and 39% of BSkyB. They own a lot more in the US and Australia. These publications and channels have an enormous influence over public opinion.

So that was the short version. Really. The real issue this has brought into the light (as if it wasn't already known, just not really spoken of) is the power the media - in particular Murdoch-owned media - has in this country. Both the government and senior police have been involved with news organisations for years and years and years. There have been payments, hospitality, and high powered agreements made behind closed doors that we'll likely never get the full picture of. But the fact that MPs and prime ministers were afraid to piss off Murdoch and his senior staff is a clear sign of the disaster that's been on the bubble for years.

Possible actions coming out of all of this are likely to include more regulation on ownership of media, and also on behaviour of those working for those media. Some of that will be a good thing. Some of it may even come from a good place in caring about a broad range of opinions and not granting any one person or corporation too much power. But I'm sure some of it will be coming from a desire for revenge from MPs who've felt powerless in the face of unspoken but absolutely clear threat from those such as NewsCorp. While I think regulation will be a good thing overall to deal with the issues around power balances, from what I'm seeing at the moment the crimes that are coming to light are already crimes - you cannot hack into someone's voicemail, you cannot give or take bribes, and so on. Will the changes in regulation give MPs a feeling that they can now act on what they think is right in going after bad behaviour in NewsCorp, or will they just end up being another way for MPs to feel they can get away with things such as fiddling their expenses? Who knows.

This rambling post was brought to you by a disappointed but wholly unsurprised citizen of the UK.

For more on the timeline, see the BBC's notes: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14124020
innocent_lex: (Default)
The patented old-amazon-box-with-bird-seed-in-it mouse extraction plan has been put into effect once more. Cat brought in a mouse. I've explained several times that mice live outside. It's really not sinking in. So now I have to wait however long it'll take for the mouse to feel safe and hungry enough to want the food, and to walk into the little amazon box. I feel it's going to be a late one.
innocent_lex: (Default)
Since it's taken me a while to get to the bottom of this problem and fix it, I figured I'd post for anyone else out there with the same problem. I'm running Win7 64bit and in the last few weeks have had repeated problems with the internet dropping out on me. It's pretty regular, really annoying, and not the router or anything hardware related. I went through a load of forums, sites, updated drivers, tested this, switched off that, etc.

Anyhoo, it's the Apply bonjour service that's the culprit. It gets installed with iTunes in stealth mode (i.e. it doesn't tell you it's happening) but unless you run speakers over the network or connect your iphone or something else fancy over the wifi, you don't need it. So I've uninstalled it. Blissfully, my internet connection is now fine, the browser and email are running faster, etc. Took way too long to track down the problem and I'm really unimpressed. It's apparently causing problems in Win7 and Vista, so if you find yourself getting this issue, try bonjour first.

This public service announcement was brought to you by a very irritated tech user.
innocent_lex: (thinky face)
Apparently it's going to be set out in law, clearly and in single syllables, that I'm allowed to stab a burglar in my house. It counts as self-defence. Which is lovely, 'n' all, violence is *so* the answer to everything from someone parking in your driveway to stealing your roses, but there's no guidance on where I should store my knives. At the moment they're in the kitchen, which is about as far from my bedroom as they can get. And if said burglar comes in while I'm asleep, that's no good, is it? If he comes in when I'm staring into the fridge, musing on what to cook for dinner, I'm sorted. How likely is that to happen?

Also, I have no training. Where should I stab? Which is the best knife - large or small, carving or butter? Should I have a pre-defined level of heinousness for the crime? If he's taking the telly do I go for the thigh, but have a crack at a kidney if he's after my chocolate stash? Could I ask him to hold still while I boot up the laptop and google me some anatomy lessons, or is that considered uncouth? If I can't reach a knife, what will be a suitable replacement? Will the insurance charge me a premium excess on a claim if I don't at least have a go with a pencil or a tuning fork?

It's always the logistics that get in the way of these otherwise excellent ideas.
innocent_lex: (Default)
Me: Hang on, I recognise that noise. But why is it so much louder?
Cats: miaow!
Me: You know, I set my alarm. It usually works. I don't need all of this encouragement to get out of bed.
Cats: Lookee! New toy!
Me: [opens bedroom window, steps back to let the bird fly out at high speed]  When I said on Monday that birds live outside, I wasn't just talking about the sparrows. All birds live outside, including blackbirds.
Cats: ...
Me: [changes sheets that blackbird crapped on, feeling grateful it didn't crap on me]

*sigh*
innocent_lex: (Default)
Step 1: ignore alarm clock as long as possible
Step 2: wonder what that noise is I don't recognise
Step 3: work out what that noise is
Step 4: get out of bed in search of the noise
Step 5: find key to open window
Step 6: open window and let the sparrow out that's been flapping its wings against the glass
Step 7: explain, yet again, to the cat that birds live outside
Step 8: breakfast
innocent_lex: (Default)
A squirrel is sitting on the fence just outside the back of the house watching me through the window. Just sitting there. Watching. That is just bizarre.
innocent_lex: (Cute)
I'm watching a thing on Discovery called "When Aliens Attack". Cool beans :-)

New telly

May. 18th, 2011 06:55 pm
innocent_lex: (Default)
My digiguide has just updated and told me a date for Falling Skies (new scifi) on FX in June, plus SPN S6 in June. SPN is going on at 10pm - a bit late, but maybe Sky think their viewers are easily scared? Plus Lie To Me is definitely back in early June for the last episodes.

Also, a new Aussie programme on Monday called Rescue Special Ops. Daft name but it's about a search and rescue team, so might be worth a look.

In case any UK folks are interested, there's a bunch of talks / conversations starting next week on Sky Arts 1 from the Hay Festival (which is a book festival). Some fascinating people, like Stephen Fry, Ian McEwan, Robert Winston, Bill Bryson, Jo Brand, etc.

And Louis Theroux has a thing on Sunday. And new Primeval is on Watch next week.

Wow, actual stuff to watch. Huh. Have reformatted the box in advance so it'll hopefully be feeling happy and ready to actually record stuff for me.
innocent_lex: (thinky face)
This kind of thing is always really personal (as in, each person has their own, not as in my deepest, darkest secrets). Still, I've had a few little things that have made a huge difference of late:

- I bought a couple of little thermoses that I use to take a mug full of tea with me on the train in the morning. The difference this makes to my brain and my peace of mind is entirely out of proportion to the scale of the little hot drink, but I'm not asking questions.
- I implemented the concept of a 'doing day' instead of trying to have tasks done every day. This means I don't worry on normal days that there's an endless list of stuff that still needs doing. Today is one such day. Am having a break for tea and t'internet.
- I have a to do list app on my phone that I use when I'm having a 'doing day', so I can tick off absolutely everything I've done - no matter how small - and feel much progress has been made
- Thornton's Viennese truffles. I bought some a few weeks ago and they're scrummylicious to have with tea. I've known that for years, but for some inexplicable reason I keep on forgetting they exist.
- Watched a 17 minute video review of yet another tablet simply to get an itch out of my system that I need one. It's shiny. I don't need one. More importantly, I don't want one. 17 minutes saved me £300 of impulse buying. Huzzah!
- Use of my amazon wishlist. I think I've mentioned this before, but when I want some DVDs or a book or something, I add it to my wishlist. I come back a week later to see if I still want it. Then give it another week. Then sometimes more time. More often than not, stuff just gets deleted from the wishlist.
- Also have created a 'to watch on film rental' wishlist on Amazon - if I have an urge to watch a film and have no idea what, I can check that list out.

Any wee things that work for you, dear flist?

More telly

May. 14th, 2011 01:52 pm
innocent_lex: (Default)
There's a lot of cancellations of US programmes happening, it seems. Yesterday I recorded the first episode of a new police programme: The Chicago Code. Apparently it's been cancelled. Tell me, oh flist, is it even worth watching it or should I just delete it from the box?
innocent_lex: (Default)
Apparently the whole Sky buyout of various Virgin channels has really borked things up. Supernatural has been MIA for months (expected in Jan / Feb as usual). Now it turns out White Collar and Leverage aren't likely to be coming back at all. We had S1 of White Collar and S1/2 of Leverage, but no more expected. Sky keep going on about their wonderful new Sky Atlantic channel, which so far has a whole bunch of telly on it that I don't want to watch so it's nice of them to keep it all in one place and not let it bother me. But getting rid of stuff that's actually worth watching? Bloody typical, really.

In scifi telly news, we're apparently getting Falling Skies, the new Steven Spielberg in July, some more Eureka in September, and the final season of Smallville is starting next month on E4 (apparently), which is possibly vaguely interesting as various review sites have claimed S10 is actually not bad at all. I don't know if they mean 'not bad as compared to the rest of Smallville' or 'not bad as compared to quality telly' but I may actually give it five minutes to see if any of the reports are true. I mean, it's clearly got nothing in common with the actual comic (which I read a lot as a wee kiddie) but I'll recognise at least some of the characters, right?
innocent_lex: (sleepy)
Saw an interview with Hugh Laurie which prompted me to try watching House again. It's still irritating.

Rookie Blue is holding my interest. Main characters aren't pointlessly assholish (makes a change these days) and the stories are less predictable than most. Sticking with it for the moment.

Absolutely no sign of SPN S6 on UK telly. However, Amazon has a date for the DVDs: Nov 7th. I can avoid the internet and spoilers for that long, right? *sigh*

The Good Wife is still good, though a couple of storylines lately have been a bit on the unbelievable side.

Tried watching The Defenders. Lasted approx 45 seconds. Yeah, no thanks.

New series of Primeval coming in a couple of weeks. Might be good, might be complete pants.

New series of Doctor Who already here, which seems to be heading up its own backside. Let's hope that habit doesn't continue.

Have DVDs to watch for In Plain Sight S3, Friday Night Lights S1 and Flashpoint S2. Also have films to watch, some old, some new. One day I'll get around to all of that.
innocent_lex: (Default)
This is CNN's headline. Am sitting in T5 where there was no change to security that I could discern (though I did expect it to be overblown and reactive yet again). And then I come to the lounge and discover that not only is Bin Laden dead, but he managed to kill Sunday before he was shot. That's impressive, but why pick on Sunday? I like Sundays - they're relaxing. Couldn't he have picked Tuesdays? Tuesdays are always a bit blech.

Not sure what to make of all of this. Clearly it's taken a very long time to get to this point. There are many other terrorist leaders to take his place. Seeing lots of people dancing and chanting in the streets over death looks very familiar - just different location from previous events.

Yes, it was inevitable that this would happen. I hope there is a lot of work going into getting to the root of the problems that led to this situation, but I see no evidence of it. Will anything change? Can't see it happening. Will people get their rights back? Can't see that happening either. I've never believed the death penalty solved anything, whether with or without a fair trial. A great deal to ponder.

Why?

Apr. 14th, 2011 09:22 pm
innocent_lex: (Default)
Had a complete nutter on the tube this morning shouting, yelling, about god and Jesus. Really, yelling at people who just wanted to get to work in peace. No idea what he thought he was going to achieve. I was a wee bit suspicious after a while whether he was just being the distraction for other nefarious stuff happened, because seriously? Nutty dude randomly shouting about god on the tube? Wrong country for that bollocks. I got out my phone and took a picture of him, and as soon as he noticed he turned around and then got off the train as soon as possible. Yeah, that's not at all suspicious, random nutty dude.
innocent_lex: (Default)
So, the government's computer system that tracks the census is buggered up. I'm shocked, I tell you, completely stunned. How do I know this amazing fact? Someone just knocked on my door and asked me why I hadn't completed my census. I pointed out that I had. I showed proof. I did it 10 days in advance of the actual date. You know my mistake? Doing it online and assuming when the system said my submission had been accepted and registered that it actually had been.

Luckily, I'm a cynic of the highest order and knew this was coming. I have a lovely screenshot to demonstrate the acceptance screen and submission code. Sucks to be you, poor census-chasing people - you're going to get shouted at today. But at least it's sunny.

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