Thursday, June 23, 2005  

It's all going pear shaped.

Taxdodger's server is down, so I've moved the images to a temporary folder in a kitchen in Tokyo (cheers Dan). However, once I had changed all the paths in the template I find my main post font has reverted to fucking times new roman. At this moment in time I really can't be arsed trying to fix it. In fact, if I leave it and stick my head in the virtual sand it will be ok tomorrow.

To aid me in my attempt to forget, Margaritas. Adios amigos.


The 50,000th visitor to this site was...... Piers.

Thanks to everyone who has been here, and especially those of you who, for some reason, keep coming back. Here's to another 50k.

| posted by Simon | 10:20 pm | 0 comments

Slow, slow, quick quick, slow.

On the road to Newcastle from Carlisle there are four speed cameras, everyone slows down just before each one, only to speed off as the last of the little white notches has gathered the rubber from their back tyres. Do we really think this helps road safety ? No, it’s an inconvenience for those drivers who are familiar with the area and another way to take money off those who aren’t. I have driven this road a few times over the last year or so, I have yet to see a police car. I have, however, seen quite a few ambulances, and unfortunately more than a few bunches of flowers sat in little road side shrines. These patches of floral tributes to those who have died on the roads have a far more profound effect on my speed than a little yellow box on a pole. As with a lot of knee jerk policies of our government, they just seem to miss the point every time. They ban fox hunting but do nothing about the suffering of factory farmed animals. They plan to introduce a police state to counter terrorism, but do nothing about Mugabe or the IRA. Speed cameras are just another example of trying to solve a problem by making money out of it. You see it finally all became clear, the comment about the private sector in the letter (see previous post) lifted the veil of mystery from in front of my eyes. The government will make a tidy profit from selling the information on our ID cards. Just imagine how much a marketing company would pay for a nation’s spending habits. Supermarkets are putting microchips in everything, you need to produce your passport just to get a fucking bus ticket nowadays, the multinationals just need to fill in the blanks, what better way than biometric information on an ID card ?

| posted by Simon | 12:06 am | 0 comments

Wednesday, June 22, 2005  

Identity cards.

A few weeks ago I sent a fax to my MP Tony Cunningham about my objections to the identity card scheme. Yesterday I got a reply, and enclosed was the answer to the question he asked on my behalf:

Andy Burnham MP
Pariamentary under secretary of state.
2 Marsham Street London.

Tony Cunningham MP
House of Commons London

Reference: M1 1887/5

Thank you for your letter of 3 June 2005 to Tony McNulty, on behalf of Mr Simon Morris about the Identity Cards Scheme. As Minister responsible for this policy, your correspondence has been passed to me to reply.

As you may be aware, the Government's decision to introduce a national Identity Cards Scheme was announced in the Queen's Speech on 17 May and the Identity Cards Bill was reintroduced to Parliament.

I appreciate your concerns about the effect an Identity Cards Scheme will have on terrorism. However, the Security Services and the Police have said that an ID card will help in the fight against terrorism and we trust the judgments of those people whose job it is to fight terrorists. They tell us that a card scheme would disrupt the use of false identities by terrorist organisations, for example in money laundering and organised crime. We know that at least one-third of terrorist suspects make use of multiple or false identities. An ID card will reduce the opportunity for those facilitating terrorist and organised criminals to operate using multiple identities. The scheme would also be a useful tool in helping to monitor and disrupt the support activities of terrorist networks.

Many people are concerned about the Identity Cards Scheme infringing their civil liberties. We are confident that the proposals comply with the Data Protection Act, as set out in Annex D of the consultation paper on Legislation on IdentityCards. We are, of course, aware of our obligations under human rights legislation and we are confident that our proposals strike the right balance between the rights of the individual and the good of society. It is also important to remember that all our EU partners are bound by both the Data Protection Directive and the European Convention on Human Rights, as we are, and that 21 of the 25 EU Member States have identity cards, including the Netherlands and Sweden.

Individuals registered on the scheme would have subject access rights under the Data Protection Act 1998. In addition, the Government is investigating whether it would be possible for a cardholder to use his card securely to access his own record to avoid the usual authorisation process and cost involved in applying for subject access. The Government will have to be satisfied that this could be achieved without compromising personal information, for example that another person could not use a stolen card to view another person's record on the National Identity Register.

I can assure you that information held on the Register will be used by public and private sector organisations with the consent of the individual for verification purposes. The Government's proposals limit the information that could be provided with consent. For example, information about name, date & place of birth, gender, addresses, residential status and validity of identifying documents can be supplied. However, the Secretary of State may, by regulations, impose further restrictions on what information may be provided.

The Government's proposals are designed to safeguard, not erode, civil liberties by protecting people's true identity against fraud and by enabling them to prove their identity more easily when accessing public or private services.

More information about identity cards is also available on

I am grateful for the time you have taken to comment on this issue.

Yours sincerely

Andy Burnham.

Not what I wanted to hear really, but the most worrying part was the bit about the private sector having access to the information contained on the proposed cards. This isn't the end of it, oh no !

| posted by Simon | 10:57 am | 0 comments

Monday, June 20, 2005  

Booked it, packed it, fucked off…….

It seems to be a bit of a tradition in this country to hope that while you jet off to sunnier climes, that good old blighty shivers in the grip of an extreme cold snap. You will get no such wish from me, I hope it’s sweltering and I hope it lasts until late September.

In other news, FC United of Manchester have joined the northern counties league second division, and are potentially ten seasons from the premier league. They may play their home matches at Droylesden’s ground; I already hate this place because the national front used to have their meeting there. Sadly I think that Old Trafford will still be full every home match next season, sending the message to mega rich businessmen that English teams are easy to buy and even easier to fuck up the arse in the name of profit. Good luck fcum, I hope you win ten successive promotions….. we could do with the six points.

Right, where did I put that travel iron ?

| posted by Simon | 10:58 pm | 0 comments

Sunday, June 19, 2005  

Wishy washy shite.

I know some of you said it looked good, but I think you were just being nice. I don't think there is another one like this so I'm keeping it for good this time, no more fucking about (except with colours obviously - #8FABBE courtesy of Tom) unless.....

I was watching Jools Holland a couple of weeks ago and heard a new artist I had never heard before, James Blunt. So I got some of his stuff and I have to say he is excellent, especially the track "Goodbye my lover". I've also been listening to Nick Drake.

I have finally found out what that song was off the three advert, I've been humming the tune for weeks, I would sing it but my Japanese is a little week. It's called "Sukiyaki" by Kyu Sakamoto, and I advise you to get the Japanese version, the lyrics in the English version are shite and I now wish I had preserved the mystery of the song.

Being in Tunisia until early July will save me a moral dilemma, I will miss the live8 concerts. I have critisised Geldof for several aspects of this concert, but Andy Kershaw has put it into better words than I could here (via doctorvee). I don’t even have to give it any thought, which at the moment is a blessing. I have two interviews in two days and Tracy has her exams on Tuesday and Wednesday. I also have a huge list of things to sort out before we fly out of the country next Sunday afternoon. I’m going to miss Pink Floyd though…… fuck ! Nose. Face. Spite.

I just hope when I get back from holiday I have a job waiting for me.

| posted by Simon | 10:35 pm | 0 comments

Thursday, June 16, 2005  

Lies, damned lies and carphone warehouse.

If you enjoy being fucked about, if you are quite partial to being lied to in order to get you to part with your money, if you like waiting in all day for a phone that never arrives because, you later find out, it was out of fucking stock, or if you revel in the idea of being put on the wrong contract for a phone they fail to activate and then charge you for the privilege…….. Go to carphone warehouse, it’s a different class of incompetence. Better mobile life ? My arse. You expect a certain amount of fucking about I suppose, but lying isn’t a customer service I would recommend to a business that is competing in a cut throat industry.

You may or may not have noticed that for a while I have been using lyrics as my post titles. I actually nicked the idea off Steve, but recently I’ve seem to have been thinking more about which lyric to use than the content of the post. I think it probably says more about my obsessive compulsive tendencies than anything else, so I’m going stop thinking too deeply about it and concentrate on the post a bit more.

We got up on Monday morning and it was raining, it’s now Thursday and it’s still raining. With the possibility of an endless summer of grey miserable days, we decided to sod off to Tunisia for a week. I have started a reading list for the beach:

The old Patagonian express – Paul Theroux.
Walking on water – Brian Clough.
Rancid aluminium – James Hawes.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

| posted by Simon | 10:32 am | 0 comments

Saturday, June 11, 2005  

Straighten my new mind's eye.

Just about twenty years ago me and Tracy watched live aid, we watched the whole thing and we got the whole thing on video. I wonder where those tapes went. Anyway we, along with a lot of other people, thought it was brilliant, I remember mumbling about the Concert for Bangladesh and how George Harrison should have been credited with the idea, but on the whole we thought it was a success. Why is it then, that twenty years later there are still people starving in Africa ? I’m not calling in to question Sir Bob’s motives for organizing the live8 shows; I just think there are a lot of other things need to be done before we start to throw money in the direction of people who never seem to see any of it.

I’ve had my aptitude test, now I’m just waiting to hear if I’ve got the job. To try and remove some of the tension, and there has been a lot, we went for a walk on the beach. The slag was looking rusty, and where some of it had been eroded there has appeared a large blob of tar, it was melting and bubbling in the sun. I took some pics but the one of the blob was crap, so I’ve put this one up instead.

| posted by Simon | 12:26 am | 0 comments

Thursday, June 09, 2005  

Jesus was batman.

This via Jim.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

I'm already faster than a speeding bullet, or so Tracy says. So it would have to be the ability to fly, that would be very cool.

Which, if any, 'existing' superhero do you fancy, and why?

None. If any had managed to look like Kate Bush dressed in her babooshka armour then maybe.

Which, if any, 'existing' superhero do you hate?

All the American do-goody ones. Cunts !

What would your superhero name be?

Goat Boy. Inspired by Bill Hicks.

Is there an 'existing' superhero with whom you identify, or would like to be?

It would be a villain, a real nasty twat. Roaming the world looking for people sat in the middle lane, a few hundred deadly fireballs and people would maybe think twice about doing it. Burberry as well, I'd burn it all... and those fucking burger places, fucking firey arches more like...

| posted by Simon | 7:19 pm | 0 comments

Thursday, June 02, 2005  

An old piece of bacon never eaten by Elvis.

I thought I had slept through summer.

On Tuesday we had a barbeque, the sun prickled my skin and the barbeque filled my stomach, the sky was as blue as Colin Bell’s shirt and the beer stopped me from cooking along with the sausages. I thought a nice description would sound better than “six pints of wife beater and three sausage butties”.

We woke this morning at an ungodly hour to go to Carlisle for Tracy’s university interview; it was like the middle of November, rain and mist made the drive hard going. At least all the bird shit was washed off the car, by the time we got to Carlisle the beast was looking good and the rain had temporarily ceased its short journey earthward.

The interview went well, and Tracy will be an applied psychology undergraduate come September, as long as she passes her current course. The upshot of this news ? I’m drinking vodka to celebrate, Dr Smirnov has made a house call and prescribed drunk.

I have been playing chess quite a lot over the last few days; I seem to do this thing where I play like crazy for a few weeks, then nothing for months. This time I’m going to ration it, I’ve already easily beaten the novice level of the program I have, and I’m currently pitting my wits against Nagoshi, and expert computer opponent. The problem with these programs is they don’t understand the concept of a stand off, you can offer a sacrifice and they’ll take it every time. There’s no fun in playing poker with a robot. With this in mind, does anyone fancy a game of email chess ? Stick your challenge in the comment box and I’ll email a link to you for a really nice flash generated chess site.

The gauntlet has been cast to the ground. Well we need something to fill those long grey and wet summer months.

| posted by Simon | 8:27 pm | 0 comments
a good book
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