Analytical Tracking

I installed Ghostery into Chrome yesterday, to determine whether my favourite Internet haunts are tracking me more than I would like.

Interestingly, of my most accessed websites:
Gmail: 0 trackers
Google+: 0 trackers
LJ: 8 trackers (9 when I get to the "post an entry" page)
  Comscore Beacon
  Facebook Connect
  Google +1
  Google Analytics
  Twitter Button
Fb: 0 trackers
Twitter: 1 tracker
  Google Analytics 1 tracker  
  I installed Google Analytics into it a couple of months ago ... I put a notification about doing it on the front page so that no-one would be unaware

British Days Out

Crossposted from my web space at

I've just finished reading the book:
Bollocks to Alton Towers
Uncommonly British Days Out

ISBN 0-141-02120-9
I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it has prompted me to try to visit as many of the attractions mentioned as I can, to blog about them, and to visit other quintessential British attractions.

The places listed are:
Blackgang Chine
British Lawnmower Museum
Peasholm Park Naval Warfare
Louis Tussaud's House of Wax
Kelvedon Nuclear Bunker
Porteath Bee Centre
Mad Jack's Sugar Loaf
Keith and Dufftown Railway
EastEnders Set
Pitt Rivers Museum
Eden Ostrich World
Keith Harding's World of Mechanical Music
Shah Jahan Mosque
Beckham Trail
Mother Shipton's Cave and Dripping Well
Apollo Pavilion
Hamilton Toy Collection
Cumberland Pencil Museum
Pack O'Cards Inn
Orford Ness
Exhibition Road
Tebay Services
Williamson Tunnels
Barometer World
Edinburgh Camera Obscura
Crystal Palace Dinosaurs
House of Marbles
Dennis Severs' House
Bletchley Park
Ripon Tramp Museum
South Bridge Vaults
Gnome Magic
A La Ronde
Port Sunlight
Morpeth Bagpipe Museum
Avebury Stone Circle
Christ's House

I have already visited some of these, although not recently and I can only really remember highlights:

Porteath Bee Centre
It was a gloriously sunny day in Cornwall, we were driving around, and came across this place.
Mine was the only car in the car park, but we spend a couple of hours wandering around the building. It was fascinating, being able to see the inside of a working beehive safely from behind glass.
The museum shop sells various local honeys, each tasting different due to the plants where bees have been collecting nectar (according to the plaques in the museum).

Exhibition Road
I wish I'd read this book before my last visit to The Science Museum. It's large-enough that I miss things every time I visit. Now I know to spend more time amongst gory exhibits in The Wellcome Collection on the top floor, rather than getting sidetracked for hours in the interactivity of The Wellcome Wing.

Tebay Services
Another place that I wish I'd known about before I went there. I was driving to see friends in Glasgow, and stopped here for a comfort break. I didn't stop to investigate the facilities provided at the motorway services.

Port Sunlight
I've driven through this village on the way to the Unilever office. It was raining, and I didn't think to stop.

I make a point of visiting Bekonscot every few years, as it's only 5 miles from my house! It's a lovely little place, and I enjoy spending time spotting the puns on the Lilliputian store fronts and sides of the tiny delivery vans. Chris P. Lettuce, the Grocer, for example.

Avebury Stone Circle
I last visited here during a school trip. I really need to visit again, as I only really recall the space between the standing stones, and the mounds that I now know are part of a huge ring ditch.

Christ's House
We have friends in Bedford. I really think that visiting them just to take a photo of this place would be wonderful!

New Techie Gadget Required

I know roughly what I want from a new gadget, but i don't know what it would be called, or who would make it. Does it exist already? Is there even a category for it?

I want an Internet radio / clock (with an alarm to wake me in the morning).
I want it to have a 5" (or so) screen, be able to play iPlayer, be uPnP/DLNA compatible, be able to stream from custom shoutcast sources.
I want it to have the ability to slideshow my photographs, regardless of whether they are uPnP from my home network, local to the device, or on any of the Internet photo sharing services.
I want to see the weather forecast on it.
I want to see status updates from microblogging sites on it.
I want it to be silent in operation, and use very little power.
I want it to be battery backed-up.
I want to spend less than £150.

Am I asking for a Chumby? Perhaps a Pure Sensia? The HP DreamScreen? Do any other devices spring to mind?

Problems with Appliances

 I freely admit to being a bit crap at some household tasks.  This includes some household appliances.  For example, keep me away from a loaded oven (see for details).  It had never before included a vacuum cleaner, though.

When I bought a house with discodoris we had multiples of many appliances.  We kept her expansive vacuum cleaner and got rid of my basic one (have you ever noticed that?  We place more value on more expensive items, regardless of whether a cheaper one will perform the same function).  It has lots of fancy attachments (in fact, I only found the curtain head yesterday), and I've never discovered how to take the dust chamber off.

Well, until today I had never discovered how to take the dust chamber off.  I was vacuuming today.  We have hard-wood floors throughout the house, with various rugs dotted around, and we've just assembled a new "piece-of-tat" Christmas Tree.  There was rubbish all over the floor, and discodoris asked me to vacuum while she was cooking lunch.  I vacuumed the hallway, then started on the lounge.  Whilst I was vacuuming the lounge, discodoris entered the room to load-up her laptop.  I continued vacuuming with her ignoring the hash I was making of it, until the plaintive cry of "oh BUGGER!" meant that I needed her assistance.

The cats have a 4ft long toy snake.  They love the snake, and bit its bell out within a week, and subsequently they have bitten its head off.  I have discovered that it shoots-up the hose and into the vacuum cleaner very easily.  I couldn't save it from the vacuum, so discodoris had to rescue me and dismantle the appliance so that I could get the snake back out.

I would suggest that I'm endearingly helpless ... but I'm not sure how endearing it is for me to constantly have problems with the simplest things!
  • Current Mood
    embarrassed embarrassed

The Trouble With Football

England have been knocked-out. Therefore, there's a post-mortem about how come we're disastrous that we weren't able to win the competition.

I think I've worked it out.

Not every nation can win the World Cup. I think that, even in England, the lowest odds on England winning it were 5/1. That is one chance in 5, or 20 years in World Cup tournaments. If we still have the same squad in 20 years, I'll accept that they should win the World Cup then.

France have gone out. As have Italy. I don't see post-mortems from those countries ... not about the performance of the teams during the matches, anyway. Wondering why this is so, whilst I'm watching Netherlands v Slovakia in Croatia, I have come to realise that English football commentary is BLOODY AWFUL!

I am streaming UK commentary whilst watching Croatian TV. I'm also listening (ish) to the Croatian commentary. I find that I'm disappointed with the commentary that I can understand. It is analysing and it appears to be telling me what to think about the match.

It's half-time now, and Lee Dixon & Alan Shearer are with Clarence Seedorf and Gary Linekar. They are also telling me what to think, and disrespecting teams that have failed to get to this stage.

It's all talking bollocks!

I hear that the UK media are also conducting a post-mortem about the England failure. I'm glad I'm in Croatia, as I watched an exciting match between a young, dynamic team and an experienced, out-of-form team, and the dynamic team managed to hit the experienced team on the counter-attack, showing-up the slowness of the defenders. That is ALL I saw. I didn't see any players lacking motivation, I saw no players playing for money, I saw nothing to indicate problems. I saw the statistics about the match, and it indicates that England had the majority of possession & the most shots, which is what I remember watching.

I enjoy watching football. I dislike being told what to think or how to analyse the play, I especially dislike the bollocks talking about it. 

Music doesn't cause emotion

I think I have a problem.

From discussions with others, it seems that I get less from certain stimuli than they do.

I only know what emotion music is trying to invoke when someone tells me. Once I understand, I can recognise it elsewhere
I have the DVD of Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide To The Orchestra, but I end-up arguing with him when he says that any specific instrument is happy or sad.

I discovered, this evening, that ballet is supposed to evoke an emotion. I don't get it.

I've also just been told that modern art is supposed to connect in the same way. I don't find most modern art to be anything more than an intellectual exercise of the artist being self-regarding.

I have difficulty working-out what emotions people are exhibiting through their tone-of-voice. I have just realised that I intellectually try to determine emotions, using the words used, body language, etc.. And when I have emotions, I'm poor at conveying them through my own tone-of-voice. discodoris  has just told me that when I try for sympathy, it sometimes comes across as patronising or sarcastic.

It's like a colour-blindness, but for emotions rather than colours.
I have tried to search online for what it could possibly be, but I don't even know what to search for (looking for antonyms to "synesthesia" came-up blank, and "music blindness" means something else).

I have reached 43 without it being an issue, so it's not something that I'd bother a doctor with. I would like to know if there's a recognised psychological term for it, though.
  • Current Mood
    curious curious

Jam Tomorrow!

 The time has come to talk of many things; of shoes, and ships, and ceiling wax ...

Hmm ... perhaps there's something that Lewis Carroll can teach us about politics. Gordon Brown as the dormouse, David Cameron as the Mad Hatter and Nick Clegg as the March Hare.

Anyway, it's time for us in the UK to elect the next bunch of self-serving, bigoted, embezzling hoorays to re-embed class-based inequality back into the governing of the country. This time, whoever wins will have 6 months of honeymoon period before they need to slap us with a 30% increase in income tax, slash public services and find some way of taxing us for breathing the air here, just so they can service the debt that we've been lumbered-with from the incumbent shower.

I don't have time for any of them, or the process of only having the option to vote for people who, simply because they put themselves up for election, become (in my mind) un-electable. Perhaps I need to declare independence. After all, it worked for Americans!
  • Current Music
    Beyond The Sea - Bobby Darin

I think, therefore I rhyme

 I finished my book on the train before arriving at my home stop, this afternoon. My brain started idling ... in rhyme.

It started with "moon, June, cocoon", and turned into this:

in a cocoon
the middle of June
feels like a womb
Packed sardine-tight
Missing the light
we must look a fright
Climb the moving stairs
to the fresh air
and the light there
The sky a bright blue
You feel it too?
the cry of "Big Issue!"

I have no aspirations to be a poet, and little aptitude for it, but discodoris suggested that I post it here for criticism, and to show how my brain happened to be working today.