110228 Restful resting

Here we are, two months into 2011 already. Life moves fast, we move faster, technology moves faster still, and no one has much of a clue what’s going on and why we are doing what we’re doing. I don’t mean theories and philosophies and beliefs, there are plenty of those, but a real sense of what’s going on, what life is about, why we are here and what is a right action, not just getting on with it because that’s what job was available or that’s what everyone else seems to be doing. It’s easier to get busy going fast than work out anything new, or explore into alternatives.

I had a lot of tension this morning, bundled with a while bunch of energy, making me short tempered and a bit wild. I took it out on a friend and colleague, arguing for the sake of arguing, getting all snappy. Soon I am going to take a good few days off, just for myself. It’s not really about taking time off to be well, but being well every day. But it’s been a long time since I could let go of work and relationships for a while, let go of the difficulties and questions and problem solving at work and at home and just do something… fun… interesting. I tend to take on issues I don’t need to get involved it.

Next weekend it’s my brother’s stag weekend, which will definitely be something different. Met F & A today, who are back from California. It’s good to see them again, old colleagues, and again, friends. I feel blessed to be able to work with people I also like. That really helps.

The book arrived, ‘The Highly Sensitive Person’. I haven’t read it yet but I can definitely tick most of the Yes boxes in the questionnaire. I feel it’s going to be a good read and a real learning ground, I can tell. This morning, again I started with a Sivananda session at dawn, then drifted back into some snoring for half an hour. I reckon you need energy to be able to rest deeply, a restful rest. Otherwise it’s just a sleep and then wake up and carry on. What if a night allowed real relaxation?

Steps stepped: 4372

110227 Yogi/Surfer’s Path

Back to the yoga with a delicious Sivananda session first thing. That routine really ticks all the boxes for me. This morning I was really feeling the sickness of the last couple of weeks and breathing with it. I felt energised and relaxed through the day, even though health hasn’t fully returned. Spending an hour or more on the mat is different from any other activity. Changes happen, things are learnt, just by gently watching and stretching.

Surfer’s Path magazine is full of wonderful images. Here are a few from the March/April edition that just arrived, as two surfer friends come to Europe for a visit from California:

110226 Raptors and Owls at the Itchen

For this week’s weekend walk we went to Brambridge, which is on the Itchen between Twyford and Eastleigh. We parked at the garden centre and were surprised and delighted to see about twenty birds of prey sat on their little perches in a paddock by the river. We had chanced on the base of the Falconhigh Display Team. The birds consisted of falcons, hawks and owls, and some cross breeds. We were able to get right up close to them as someone from the team showed us round.

This owl had been rescued from a life in a box in someone’s flat:

One of the many hawks:

A Great Horned Owl:

Who quite liked to be stroked:

One of the many falcons, perhaps a cross breed. They can fly faster than 150 mph

I didn’t like seeing these great creatures tethered but it seemed they were being well looked after.

After the birdies we walked upstream along the Itchen Way:

Meeting a sunbathing horse:

Steps stepped: 6485, plus some more when Adam, James and I go out to see True Grit. Edit. = 9805

110225 Counter Strike

I have submitted to YouTube Counter-notification submissions for all three contested videos. Not because I am really contesting the copyright but because I want my account back. Not because I really want the account but because YouTube is the only place my first fourteen Weekend Walk videos exist. Yes, guess who didn’t copy all their data when they got a new computer.

According to others who have had their accounts terminated – and there must be thousands of cases, with the Film, Music, TV industry going crazy over copyright – the counter submission method works because the original claimant then has to go to court to get the video taken down. Meantime, I get my strikes taken off and my account resurrected. Well, they won’t have to take me to court as I will delete everything I didn’t make. Even those lovely BBC wildlife clips. I just want to save the videos I don’t have locally and to not have to start all over again with views, tags, titles, and oh so much uploading. Please Mr You Tube, be gentle with me.

BTW, the third strike, the IT crowd clip… the entire episode is there on the Channel 4 site. Crazy!

Had an eye test in Winchester. A slightly curt blonde American optician asking, “better with 1, or better with 2”, and switching multiple lenses. I remember when you used to have to wear this big heavy thing on your face while they slotted in lenses by hand. My eyes are slightly worse than two years ago, the slow decline. Computers since the first home computers in the early 80s is what did it, I suppose. Then the opticians push to get you to buy the frames or re-glazing in-house, which costs twice as much as online.

In the afternoon I was back in Winchester having my car brakes checked, after the nearside front wheel started grinding on braking. Pads worn right down. While I waited for them to fit new ones, I wandered around the shops checking out the TVs, then to the library to finish Dead Lucky. Saw a book in there called ‘The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Survive and Thrive When the World Overwhelms You’ Without being all, er, sensitive about it, from my quick dip into the book I suspect I am one of these types. I’m going to get a copy of the book and will report back.

Steps stepped: 6804

110224 Denied

My YouTube account has been suspended, perhaps terminated, cancelled, kaput. They have a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ system of dealing with copyright infringement. I had two strikes, one for uploading the opening credits to Mon Oncle, the other for a clip from the film Religulous. Suddenly today my gmail account was suspended and this evening I found out it was because Google/YouTube have suspended the YouTube account. The reason being I now have a third strike, not because of a new upload but a clip from The IT Crowd is under a copyright claim from MPI Media Group. As far as I can tell, this is a company publishing DVDs of TV shows.

OK, fair enough I guess, none of these are mine to upload, but I think they could be fairer in the amount of notice given. In each case if they’d given me a day to remove each violating video I would happily have done so. Also because it isn’t a new upload, you can get three strikes so easily on content you’ve had uploaded for years. The IT Crowd clip had been online for two years. Imagine if someone has three MPI Media copyrighted files uploaded – instantly their account would be cancelled.

YouTube say the only way to get my account reactivated is to win a counter claim for one of the videos, yet the counter-claim page says: ‘If you did not have all of the rights to post the material at issue, you MUST NOT submit a counter-notification’. So, a classic Catch-22. I am also suspended from creating a new account. (This is easy to get around by using another email address). I’d like to have my walking videos back online. The TV stuff I don’t really care about. This suspension happened as my channel reached over 1,000,000 views. I think I’ll probably head over to Vimeo instead but I need to test the WordPress embedding. So a lot of my blog now links to nothing…

The new MacBook Pro line was released today. The 15″ and 17″ are now on quad core Sandy Bridge Intel i7 and the 13″ has an almighty leap from Core2Duo to i5 or i7 Sandy Bridge. I was thinking of moving from the 15″ MBP to the 13″ but there is no discreet graphics card in that model, so it’s not great for video work. The new models have Thunderbolt which is 20x faster than USB 2.0

Feeling much better again. So very glad to sit in the sunshine at lunchtime, absorbing light, heat, relaxing. It’s been quite a sunless winter in Hampshire.

Steps stepped 4579 plus a few later this eve.

110223 Deadhead

I feel the best I’ve felt for over a week. The dizziness is subsiding and I’m way more centred, stronger. Thanks for all the well wishes. I went over to Alresford where C gave me an acupuncture treatment, clearing out damp in my system. I felt the effects immediately, a clear head and integration taking place as I lay on the massive sofa. I’m tired though, so plenty of sleep tonight.

Continuing the Everest odyssey, I’ve been reading Lincoln Hall’s book ‘Dead Lucky’. Regular readers will remember Lincoln is the guy who was left for dead with cerebral oedema at 8,300 meters and yet somehow survived the night to be discovered the next morning. “I imagine you are surprised to see me here,” he cheerfully announced to four climbers on their way to the summit at dawn. Here’s a ten minute interview with the legendary Lincoln Hall:

Really liking the new Radiohead song and video. The choreography is by Wayne McGregor. In my ignorance of dance I assumed there was no choreography:

Beyonce Single Ladies version:

Steps stepped: 3817


I’m feeling highly unusual. Spinning out a bit. It comes and goes. I can work, I can type, I can function, but I can’t focus too much, too long. A bit vague, some dizziness, some nausea. I don’t know what’s up. Perhaps a viral infection that comes back when I’m a bit run down. Perhaps not enough iron or protein. Perhaps none of this. I have felt like it before, even more out there, staggering through woods, unsure what’s going on, in Sweden, C guiding me home, me refusing to go any further north east, really wigging out. Just got to keep resting, watching my diet, taking it easy. I’ll talk to a friend soon who may be able to help. Slipping into meditative states very easily.

New Mac Book Pros coming for Steve Job’s birthday in two days. This will open the door for the Hackintosh community as they will be running the new Sandy Bridge Intel chips.

It’s sad bad news about the oceans

Black areas show the least biologically productive parts of the world’s oceans. These so-called ocean deserts are expanding much faster than previously predicted. The UNEP warns that by 2050 productivity will have decreased in nearly all areas and with it fish catches. It also says that the continuing decline in marine biodiversity will compromise the resilience of marine and coastal ecosystems to the impacts of climate change, as well as their ability to mitigate its effects.

Plastic waste on the Azores Islands in Portugal. The UNEP says marine litter poses a ‘dire, vast and growing threat’ to the marine and coastal environment. Most marine litter consists of material that degrades slowly, if at all, so a continuous input of large quantities of these items results in a gradual build-up

Nine other issues and pictures:

Marine ecosystems at risk from pollution

110220 Two Artists: Fred Thomaselli and Alan Watts

Digging the work of Fred Thomaselli. It reminds me of the lights inside the head in the eyes shut darkness. He cuts and pastes onto huge canvases then uses surfboard resins to cover it and seals with a blowtorch.

Each time when closing my eyes today, slipping below thought into an energetic space where something very different to the usual thinking, thinking, thinking takes place, in a space unrecognisable yet more familiar than ever. Other times, relaxing into the four-day headache and the sickness close by, revealing of forgotten memories, dreams, stuckness and tightness.

Listening today to Alan Watts, self-described ‘entertainer’ of awakening. Here’s a clip from YouTube (where there is a lot of Watts’ talks but mostly split up into small chunks), talking about looking without chatter, conceptions; magic in everyday life:

Steps stepped: hardly any

Wall Street: “Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail”

…the politics are so obvious. You want to win elections, you bang on the jailable class. You build prisons and fill them with people for selling dime bags and stealing CD players. But for stealing a billion dollars? For fraud that puts a million people into foreclosure? Pass. It’s not a crime. Prison is too harsh. Get them to say they’re sorry, and move on. Oh, wait — let’s not even make them say they’re sorry. That’s too mean; let’s just give them a piece of paper with a government stamp on it, officially clearing them of the need to apologize, and make them pay a fine instead. But don’t make them pay it out of their own pockets, and don’t ask them to give back the money they stole. In fact, let them profit from their collective crimes, to the tune of a record $135 billion in pay and benefits last year. What’s next? Taxpayer-funded massages for every Wall Street executive guilty of fraud?

The mental stumbling block, for most Americans, is that financial crimes don’t feel real; you don’t see the culprits waving guns in liquor stores or dragging coeds into bushes. But these frauds are worse than common robberies. They’re crimes of intellectual choice, made by people who are already rich and who have every conceivable social advantage, acting on a simple, cynical calculation: Let’s steal whatever we can, then dare the victims to find the juice to reclaim their money through a captive bureaucracy. They’re attacking the very definition of property — which, after all, depends in part on a legal system that defends everyone’s claims of ownership equally. When that definition becomes tenuous or conditional — when the state simply gives up on the notion of justice — this whole American Dream thing recedes even further from reality.

via Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail? | Rolling Stone Politics.

110219 Owslebury/Marwell Loop

Took a short walk after the days in bed, but not a lot of energy for it, either of us. We went to Owslebury then walked a loop around Marwell Wildlife Park For reasons I can’t explain, I really wanted to see a giraffe. We didn’t. But we did see some antelope I’d never seen before and an ostrich, through the fence at the back of the park. The footpath basically hugs the edge of the park. Later I read about the very old Marwell Hall, Henry VIII having stayed there and it’s supposed hauntedness.

Starting point, Owslebury church:

Caroline’s muddled boots. Mine looked and felt much the same as we stomped past Little Coney Park:

Peering through the fence at a quiet morning at the zoo. Choo choo:

Nice Park billboard:

Anyone know what these are?

And back to Owslebury:

So we have a large wildlife park twenty minutes from Brockwood. I knew it was there but hadn’t paid it any attention. We’ll go in sometime. They have over 200 species. Part of the walk met the Pilgrim’s Trail a long distance path from Winchester to Normandy. After I finish the South Downs Way, I’d like to walk the UK part of the trail.

Spent the rest of the day in bed. Watched Precious, harrowing and not really that uplifting even at the end.

Steps stepped: 9110. Too many for a not-well Duncan

The Drinking World

Drinking habits

A map of world alcohol consumption



THE world drank the equivalent of 6.1 litres of pure alcohol per person in 2005, according to a report from the World Health Organisation published on February 11th. The biggest boozers are mostly found in Europe and in the former Soviet states. Moldovans are the most bibulous, getting through 18.2 litres each, nearly 2 litres more than the Czechs in second place. Over 10 litres of a Moldovan’s annual intake is reckoned to be ‘unrecorded’ home-brewed liquor, making it particularly harmful to health. Such moonshine accounts for almost 30% of the world’s drinking. The WHO estimates that alcohol results in 2.5m deaths a year, more than AIDS or tuberculosis. In Russia and its former satellite states one in five male deaths is caused by drink.

via Daily chart: Global alcohol consumption: Drinking habits | The Economist.


Still feeling crappy. Major headache and weak, not wanting or really able to do anything very much. Spent the day in bed again, lots of sleeping and some Hackintosh research. Watched Dr Who this evening, the first full episode I have watched since… sometime in the 1980s. For the Mac build I think I will wait to see what happens with the new Sandy Bridge processors. This is Intel’s 2nd generation of the i5 and i7 so a major jump in performance, with the new i5 faster than the current i7 for not much more cost. I’ve learnt a lot about processors, motherboards, graphics cards. As long as you pick compatible components, you can hack Apple OSX to run on it. Major geekout opportunity.

That’s about it for today. I hope I feel better tomorrow.