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

100215 Feeling the fear and doing it anyway

It’s all caught up with me today, almost exhausted after the moving, decorating, the underlying emotions of C moving, the work on the flat here and this evening, the yoga teaching. I didn’t have much ooomph for the class but I enjoyed teaching it once I was there. Beforehand, as each week, the flight response so strong, the wanting to cancel, to walk away, to not bother, to find any excuse. But each week I go through with it and despite the nerves it does ease something deep inside that has long been fearful. I was very much in touch with this shameful fear on the yoga teacher course, often listening to a small voice asking why are we doing this, not wanting to it, wanting to stay with mother, stay safe, and not mix with these outsiders. To this I listened, I accepted, I loved. And now I am doing something I never thought I would be able to, something I have run from my entire adult life and most of my childhood. It’s hard but there is nothing else for it. And I get to share the thing I love, the thing I have stuck with longest in this life: yoga. I have total respect for this ancient art.

Steps stepped: 6044

110214 Domesticity

Finally got everything put away in its right place. The bedroom is now a study as well:

The kneeling chair is C’s but she’s not using it so I get to have it for my desk. And the living room:

This area where the sofa is may become a day bed if I get the other memory foam mattress from the attic. But for now I like the sofa.

This is the most at home I’ve felt since I was a teenager. Moving the furniture around at the weekend felt just like back in Broughton Gifford where I would often spend Sunday afternoons rearranging things, to get that just right feeling. And then the novelty of going to bed that night everything tidy and facing a new direction, and forgetting where you are when waking up in the morning.

For a while researching running OSX on PC components. May sell the MacBook Pro and small TV and get a PC (for OSX), a large TV and an iPad 2 when it comes. A real domestic day, what with the supermarket run with the girls this evening. Yet I could give it all up no problem, fine with a bed and a book.

This morning’s yoga was a run through of tomorrow’s class. It feels a good one. I will further investigate the poses in the morning to learn some more subtleties to teach. Less of the standing poses tomorrow, with seated forward bends. Looking forward to using the Tibetan Singing Bowl for the first time too, to end savasana.

110206 The Move

I now live alone. Except when I don’t, like now when C is here for the evening and night. She’s all moved in to the Alresford place and it looks very cosy in her new room, with her desk, the cabinet with all the acupuncture equipment, the oriental rug and her plants. It felt good in the lounge too, really… normal. The big TV on, the same in all the other houses in the cul de sac, like that’s what we are supposed to be doing. The flat at Brockwood looks quite empty now, rug gone, paintings gone, much of the furniture gone, just some of my scruffy stuff which all needs tidying. A lot of the style of the flat came from C, and she has good taste. Now I can have my input as to how this place looks – some more reds, maybe an old desk and perhaps replacing the small sofa for a day bed. I was sad for a while today, us having done these major moves always together over the last 6 years and now C moving alone. I had a cry. We are still together, only doing things in our usual unconventional-but-feels-right way.

Plotted the yoga class for this Tuesday after we watched Top Gear and ate hearty vegetable stew.

110204 Retro Materialistic Delights

Another trip to the dentist, this time for the hygienist. What is it with Alresford Dental Care? Even the hygienist was happy and into her job. I was flossed, brushed, scraped and varnished into shape, and motherlyly told off for not flossing often enough. Actually, I am inspired to look after my teeth a little better and not count on my luck which has meant only one small filling in the last 20 years.

Another three day weekend coming up, with packing tomorrow morning of C’s things for Alresford, then decorating the room. Sunday will be the actual move and then Monday helping her to settle in. I can’t quite believe she is actually moving. It’s been so long coming that now it feels like it’s not quite real.

Really enjoying looking at this old Argos catalogue; a snapshot of 1985.

Sinclair Spectrum!

Vintage British Argos 1985 Catalogue

Game & Watch! Speak & Spell!

Vintage British Argos 1985 Catalogue

Crossfire! Tank Command!

Vintage British Argos 1985 Catalogue

Every page a retro materialistic delight.

Google have driven their Google Street View cars inside famous galleries, to bring you this: Google Art Project

I don’t know much about art but I like the idea of a virtual gallery.

Hedging their money on our food, distorting prices and starving people:

Food speculation: ‘People die from hunger while banks make a killing on food’

It’s not just bad harvests and climate change – it’s also speculators that are behind record prices. And it’s the planet’s poorest who pay

Food speculation graphic Illustration: Katie Edwards

Just under three years ago, people in the village of Gumbi in western Malawi went unexpectedly hungry. Not like Europeans do if they miss a meal or two, but that deep, gnawing hunger that prevents sleep and dulls the senses when there has been no food for weeks.

Oddly, there had been no drought, the usual cause of malnutrition and hunger in southern Africa, and there was plenty of food in the markets. For no obvious reason the price of staple foods such as maize and rice nearly doubled in a few months. Unusually, too, there was no evidence that the local merchants were hoarding food. It was the same story in 100 other developing countries. There were food riots in more than 20 countries and governments had to ban food exports and subsidise staples heavily.

The explanation offered by the UN and food experts was that a “perfect storm” of natural and human factors had combined to hyper-inflate prices. US farmers, UN agencies said, had taken millions of acres of land out of production to grow biofuels for vehicles, oil and fertiliser prices had risen steeply, the Chinese were shifting to meat-eating from a vegetarian diet, and climate-change linked droughts were affecting major crop-growing areas. The UN said that an extra 75m people became malnourished because of the price rises.

But a new theory is emerging among traders and economists. The same banks, hedge funds and financiers whose speculation on the global money markets caused the sub-prime mortgage crisis are thought to be causing food prices to yo-yo and inflate. The charge against them is that by taking advantage of the deregulation of global commodity markets they are making billions from speculating on food and causing misery around the world.

As food prices soar again to beyond 2008 levels, it becomes clear that everyone is now being affected. Food prices are now rising by up to 10% a year in Britain and Europe. What is more, says the UN, prices can be expected to rise at least 40% in the next decade.

My yoga practice has changed this week. I’ve just been getting on the mat and moving the way I feel I need to. No schedules, sequences, timings, guidance.

Steps stepped: 4282

30 Jan 2011

More driving practice for C with a run over to Harting Down. How delicious is it up there, especially with the sun out, blue skies, and the crisp morning air. We walked for a couple of hours over to Beacon Hill then down into the valleys to the south.

View of South Harting and beyond:

The climb ahead to Beacon Hill:

Views east along the downs:

Catkins in the sunshine:

If you used to watch LOST and are feeling a little incomplete, all you have to do is answer these questions to tidy it all up:

Polar Bears Status. Sad news of declines:

Don’t think global warming is real? Think the data is wrong? Think it’s a conspiracy to keep us in fear? Think it’s not man-made but a natural cycle? Regardless what you think, here are Met Office Observations Consistent with a Warming World:

And sea temperature anomalies data from eight different sources:

Favourite track at the moment is The Roots Feat. Joanna Newsom – Right On. Great merging of styles, bass line on the chorus and that live drumming ticking along. Newsom’s voice is really growing on me.

“Right On” by The Roots (feat. Joanna Newsom & STS) from Bigger Than Blogging on Vimeo.

Steps stepped: 8877

28 Jan 2011

Walked the loop past Black House Farm over towards Hinton, fast moving clouds allowing the morning sun through once or twice. Good to walk locally sometimes, each time getting more and more of a feel for Brockwood’s relationship with the landscape. After six years, the feeling still deepens of just where we live. I am so grateful to be able to live in the countryside, with open parkland, woods, fields and winding lanes. Views to the downs are just a shot walk away.

At midday I was in Alresford for a dental checkup, the first with Alresford Dental Care. What a difference to the St Cross Winchester practice where I was rushed in and out again in a few minutes. The new dentist obviously likes her job and is very professional. She was even enthusiastic in relaying how my teeth meet, what causes the sharpness I feel at the front, the fractures in one tooth that may need attention. Nothing needing doing.

This afternoon, C and I went to Gunwharf for a birthday meal and to see a film. C drove all the way in. Good on her! It went very well, and in the busiest and biggest city she’s ever driven in. We saw Barney’s Version. Hmmm, well, it’s one of those adult films – no, not that kind of adult film, but you know, adult issues, adult neurosis, adult fuck-ups. I suppose I was supposed to like the main character, or at least feel for his plight but I didn’t much. Most of the scenes worked well and the acting was good. It’s just that I didn’t care much. And it starts with a grumpy man and flashes back from there, so you know not much is going to change.

Back home, a present sent from Sweden, a Haglöfs ‘Tight’ medium daypack. It fits snugly to the back and is designed to move with your back. I still have a MacPac I bought over 15 years ago which I am fond of, but I will use the Haglöfs on longer walks.

First day of no yoga or sitting in four weeks. Tomorrow I may try some Dru yoga again.

26 Jan 2011

This is the last day of my 30s, or until 1530 tomorrow afternoon so I am not quite middle aged yet. What is middle aged is the amount of steps stepped today: 2961. One of my 40-something resolutions is to take a walk every day.

Yesterday I posted a quick facebook survey about toilet roll direction. The results:

Duncan Toms
Survey: Loo roll dispensing towards wall or away from wall?

Patricia H
away. definitely. I’ll even change it round if necessary. not that I’m OCD or anything…

Celeste C
Clearly explained: http://currentconfig.com/2005/02/22/essential-life-lesson-1-over-is-right-under-is-wrong/

Lucy H
Away, i too have to change it around…even if im in someone elses house!!!

Duncan Toms
I’ve changed two this week to away :) Celeste, I like the poster version:

Martin T
Away. Always.

Duncan Toms
Oops I’ve prejudiced my own survey!

Nicola B
Even your inevitably superior wisdom would not affect my response – AWAY!!

Sam B

Duncan Toms

Sorry, I mean to say thank you for filling out the survey today.

Sam B
I prefer unique, if you don’t mind. And I’ll be the person behind Trish putting it back the other way!

Seppo V
This is clearly one of those things that divides humanity into two distinct schools of thought. Having done filling loo roll dispensers over 9 years as a professional cleaner (next fall I’ll be entitled to a gold watch after 10 years of toilet cleaning service) I’ve always belonged to the “away” school. However, I have once changed the content of a dispenser facing the wall, after customer request. I can see the esthetic sense of it, too, as it minimizes unsightly flapping of the free end of the roll and naturally aligns it with the wall.

My experience is that “away” school predominates. Nevertheless, lets us remember that adherents of “towards” style of thinking, while being in minority, are human beings, too, and don’t deserve discrimination on the basis of their esthetic leaning. “Away” with prejudices! “Towards, or let it flap away, let everyone have their say” could be our motto here.

Duncan Toms
I am humbled

Douglas H
Away if a choice allows, but sometimes you have to put it on coming off towards the wall, because if you put it away from the wall it will trap itself.

An interesting one that for some reason attracted me to speak up. Yeah and there have been occaisions when I see the toilet paper coming off towards the wall and It can obviously roll off coming away from the wall, then I have been known to turn it arround to come off away from the wall. Thanks for this one Dun.

Douglas H
I’ve just noticed all these comments after posting mine, this is supprising. I would have thought it would have been a more balanced out come, because the choices arn’t so diversly different as the results of the survey are.

Coming up to middle aged but for me I am only a third of the way through. Things are pretty sorry for a lot of old folk who need care. In the Indie today are 10 ways we can turn that around:

Act One Support elderly people to stay in their own homes wherever possible

Everyone would rather stay in their own home than be institutionalised. There is a whole range of services that make this possible – from Meals on Wheels to home helps who are there to help an old man to shower in the morning and get into bed at night. We should be stepping them up, to keep anybody who possibly can free and independent. Instead, we are ruthlessly stripping them away. The local councils who provide these services are facing the largest cuts of any part of this cut-hungry government. As a direct result, Which? magazine reports that councils are “tightening their eligibility criteria, cutting services and putting up prices” on help for the elderly. All the charities for the elderly are warning frantically that many won’t be able to cope, and will end up falling over trying to shower themselves, or wasting away because they can’t cook for themselves. The result? Huge numbers of people who could have stayed at home with a little help are about to get knocked into the care system.

An article on Tara Stiles, a yoga teacher in NYC and self-confessed nerd, who doesn’t go the traditional yoga route. I like her, erm, style and damn she’s gorgeous:

“I feel like I’m standing up for yoga,” Ms. Stiles said. “People need yoga, not another religious leader. Quite often in New York, they want to be religious leaders, and it’s not useful.

“Here, people want to sit and talk about yoga; it’s very heady. It’s very stuck, very serious,” she continued. “I was never invited to the party anyway — so I started my own party.”

Besides running the studio — which draws about 150 people to 40 classes a week that are called simply Strong, Relax and Stralax, a combination — Ms. Stiles posts a short video most weeks to YouTube. There, she has a channel with nearly 200 videos that have drawn about four million views. She stars in the yoga DVD that was part of the fitness set that Ms. Fonda issued in December (it sold out in Target, where it was first introduced). And “Slim Calm Sexy,” published last summer, was the No. 1 yoga book on Amazon.com until recently, she said.

None of this has made Ms. Stiles rich, but it has led to a certain celebrity. Last summer, Ms. Stiles released an iPhone app, Authentic Yoga, with Mr. Chopra, and the two recently completed a video in Joshua Tree National Park that will be released this year.

“We are both nonconformists who have incurred the wrath of traditional yogis,” Mr. Chopra said of Ms. Stiles, whom he now considers his personal instructor. “A lot of the criticism is resentment of her rapid success. I have been doing yoga for 30 years. I have had teachers of all kinds. Taking lessons from her has been more useful to me than taking yoga from anyone else.

“She is not a showoff,” he added. “She is ambitious, but there is a lack of ego.”

Bought a cover for my Kindle. Now it feels right. The Kindle itself is very slim and so a little awkward to hold after a while. I bought the aluminium shielded Proporta case:

25 Jan 2011

Steps I stepped: 4864. A walk around the supermarket this evening was 1300 steps. Step step step.

I’m so very tired now. If I write little bits of the blog during the day, that’s going to be easier.

Our new Outwell tent, porch, carpet and footprint arrived today. We haven’t opened up the bags but it’s looking like it’s very good quality. Little Danish flags on each bit of kit. I don’t like flags but on kit they say ‘good quality’, don’t they? Especially Scandinavian ones.

Nearly finished the yoga course. Today you are finally allowed to headstand after three weeks of preparation. Fair enough if you are new to it. The common mistake is headstand before one’s arms are strong enough, so too much weight comes through the head and neck. So this course builds up the muscles needed ahead of the short hold.

The foundations for the Pavilions project are proceeding. It’s really happening after some years of planning and permissions. Today there was a very long drill on site:

Who is the biggest polluter on the planet? The US Military. Not including all the contractors they contract, they are using up nearly a third of a million barrels of oil every single day. That’s preposterous.

Environmental journalist Johanna Peace reports that military activities will continue to be exempt based on an executive order signed by President Barack Obama that calls for other federal agencies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Peace states, “The military accounts for a full 80 percent of the federal government’s energy demand.”

As it stands, the Department of Defense is the largest polluter in the world, producing more hazardous waste than the five largest US chemical companies combined. Depleted uranium, petroleum, oil, pesticides, defoliant agents such as Agent Orange, and lead, along with vast amounts of radiation from weaponry produced, tested, and used, are just some of the pollutants with which the US military is contaminating the environment. Flounders identifies key examples:

– Depleted uranium: Tens of thousands of pounds of microparticles of radioactive and highly toxic waste contaminate the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Balkans.

– US-made land mines and cluster bombs spread over wide areas of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East continue to spread death and destruction even after wars have ceased.

– Thirty-five years after the Vietnam War, dioxin contamination is three hundred to four hundred times higher than “safe” levels, resulting in severe birth defects and cancers into the third generation of those affected.

– US military policies and wars in Iraq have created severe desertification of 90 percent of the land, changing Iraq from a food exporter into a country that imports 80 percent of its food.

– In the US, military bases top the Superfund list of the most polluted places, as perchlorate and trichloroethylene seep into the drinking water, aquifers, and soil.

– Nuclear weapons testing in the American Southwest and the South Pacific Islands has contaminated millions of acres of land and water with radiation, while uranium tailings defile Navajo reservations.

– Rusting barrels of chemicals and solvents and millions of rounds of ammunition are criminally abandoned by the Pentagon in bases around the world.

So Wikileaks are due to release the tax records of 2,000 fat cats, potentially exposing large scale illegal tax evasion and money laundering. The guy who handed Assange the data has been charged with breaking Swiss secrecy laws. No one is safe.

In a carefully choreographed handover in central London, Rudolf Elmer, formerly a senior executive at the Swiss bank Julius Baer, based in the Cayman islands, said he was handing the data to WikiLeaks as part of an attempt “to educate society” about the amount of potential tax revenues lost thanks to offshore schemes and money-laundering.

“As banker, I have the right to stand up if something is wrong,” he said. “I am against the system. I know how the system works and I know the day-to-day business. I want to let society know how this system works because it’s damaging our society,” he said.

Today’s Watsky video. He kind of reminds me of Mike D.

24 Jan 2011

I walked 4063 steps today.

I need to rest.

The two sentences above are not related.

25 Tons of Bombs Wipe Afghan Town Off Map

An American-led military unit pulverized an Afghan village in Kandahar’s Arghandab River Valley in October, after it became overrun with Taliban insurgents. It’s hard to understand how turning an entire village into dust fits into America’s counterinsurgency strategy — which supposedly prizes the local people’s loyalty above all else.

But it’s the latest indication that Gen. David Petraeus, the counterinsurgency icon, is prosecuting a frustrating war with surprising levels of violence. Some observers already fear a backlash brewing in the area.

…because obviously every single person in the town was a baddie.

Night night.

23 Jan 2011

What’s going on? Two days without going out. Well, one trip out to the bathroom, down to Room 7 while the new tiles set in ours. Just four days left of the yoga course, day 23’s practice, focussing on leg poses, on getting up around 10. So quite a bit of reading, watching, listening and browsing today, along with sleeps whenever I’ve needed to.

24 years later, a video continuation of Fight for Your Right to Party starring Frodo and Seth Rogan. For real. Coming soon.

Got a spare hour and twelve minutes? Of course you haven’t. But if you have, this is a good watch, if just for the guided meditation at 20:00. He’s even talking about choiceless awareness at one stage. So many good lines in this speech by Jon Kabat-Zinn, talking at Google HQ no less. I have a lot of respect for the Mindfulness bunch. They always have the assumption of a witness, an entity beyond or above all this ‘small self’ stuff, but as far as it goes, this is excellent.

Came across George Watsky’s work. Rapper, poet, actor as far as I can tell. The rap stuff is kind of Geek Rap but not quite, and it’s very listenable. For sure not your average kind of rapper. “The ghost of Gandhi loves me”

He sure can rap fast (while stroking a cat):

Cities going bust:

$2tn debt crisis threatens to bring down 100 US cities

Overdrawn American cities could face financial collapse in 2011, defaulting on hundreds of billions of dollars of borrowings and derailing the US economic recovery. Nor are European cities safe – Florence, Barcelona, Madrid, Venice: all are in trouble

And a little old Frenchman writing about resisting the system that’s causing this mess, is breaking publishing records with his little red book:

Take a book of just 13 pages, written by a relatively obscure 93-year-old man, which contains no sex, no jokes, no fine writing and no startlingly original message. A publishing disaster? No, a publishing phenomenon.

Indignez vous! (Cry out!), a slim pamphlet by a wartime French resistance hero, Stéphane Hessel, is smashing all publishing records in France. The book urges the French, and everyone else, to recapture the wartime spirit of resistance to the Nazis by rejecting the “insolent, selfish” power of money and markets and by defending the social “values of modern democracy”.

The book, which costs €3, has sold 600,000 copies in three months and another 200,000 have just been printed. Its original print run was 8,000. In the run-up to Christmas, Mr Hessel’s call for a “peaceful insurrection” not only topped the French bestsellers list, it sold eight times more copies than the second most popular book, a Goncourt prize-winning novel by Michel Houellebecq.

If you like presidents and hams, look no further. This is indeed proof that Obama is NOT a muslim.


How about this? 33 Classic album covers redesigned by artists:


And these are just the credits… imagine what the film is like… Enter the Void (at your own risk)

And finally did you know salads make you happy? They sure do. No joke.

21 Jan 2011

The plan was to drive to Selborne, bus to Alton and walk part of the Hangers Way back to Selborne for 10 miles or so. It was so cold, grey, misty when we were waiting for the bus that we quickly decided not to do a long walk, instead scooting up the 250 year old Zig Zag Path to Selborne Common. It’s always a little spooky up there with the old trees, mosses, twisting parasite plants and enclosed feeling, and the mist only heightened that. Still, it was pleasant to walk for an hour, remembering our very first walk together in Rishikesh, nearly twelve years ago. That time and this, C got a thorn in her foot.

Scenes on Selbourne Common:

Two Tone Tree

Fallen Tree

View from the Zig Zag Path

Misty Selborne Common

Then we piled down the A3 to good old Pompey for some shopping and cinema. The big sports shop is closing down. We picked up a couple of camping mattresses for £7, a foot pump for £3. A solar pedometer for £5 and some camping cutlery for a quid.

Saw a film: The Kings Speech. It’s a good one, especially for anyone who, like me, is afraid of public speaking. Poor guy, muddling along as a mere Lord and next minute he’s the bloody King thanks to his love-stricken brother (who due to odd casting is way to young to be his older brother). The speech therapist comes across well, a healthy dose of irreverence to position and tradition within a kind heart, with real ability to help. The overall feeling is that despite privilege and power, these people are just like the rest of us. I also enjoyed seeing Helena in a non-weirded-out rol.

This was a great scene, where Lionel the therapist has been found out not to be an actual doctor, and due to appearances the King is dismissing him:

King George VI: [Logue is sitting on the coronation throne] Get up! Y-you can’t sit there! GET UP!
Lionel Logue: Why not? It’s a chair.
King George VI: T-that… that is Saint Edward’s chair.
Lionel Logue: People have carved their names on it.
King George VI: L-listen to me… listen to me!
Lionel Logue: Why should I waste my time listening to you?
King George VI: Because I have a voice!
Lionel Logue: …yes, you do.

and this:

Lionel Logue: [as George “Bertie” is lighting up a cigarette] Please don’t do that.
King George VI: I’m sorry?
Lionel Logue: I believe sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you.
King George VI: My physicians say it relaxes the throat.
Lionel Logue: They’re idiots.
King George VI: They’ve all been knighted.
Lionel Logue: Makes it official then.

(See clip below)

But my favourite thing dear old Lionel said was:

“You don’t need to be afraid of the things you were afraid of when you were five years old.” How very true, yet here we are, children in adult’s bodies.

We left Portsmouth at sunset:

18 Jan 2011

The wind in the night woke me by opening and clunking the bathroom door. Awake at 0230 after a first and only cycle of sleep. Had a little browsing session. How about this for ultimate rock & roll? Perhaps the least rock performance one can imagine. One robot even smiles at one point:

How about this for a temple? I’ve never seen anything like it.

I’ve been reading on the new Kindle 3 for a few hours in total. Generally I am liking it a lot, comfortable to hold, adjustable font sizes. What I am missing right now is to be able to look at the book cover, something I do when taking a little break from the reading. I also like to be able to check ahead to see how far it is to the end of a chapter, to see if I want to pause now or later, or when deciding whether to start a new chapter. I also don’t like the fact that Kindle files are DRM, so I am going to check out this script to see if I can’t remove the rights. I also want to look into converting them to a non-hardware-specific format. I read that the iPad 2 will have four times the resolution of the current iPad. This makes it more tempting as an ebook reader. But how is it for long reads? I know my laptop screen makes my eyes a little sore after a while.

At work: collecting texts for Ray to edit a new book. In the afternoon as usual working on a transcript, discussions with Brockwood staff in 1976: “Intelligence is perception and action, no ideation.”

Baked potatoes in the over; the room smells delicious. And just as I write ‘delicious’ the timer buzzed, so… spud break!

We received the invite to J & M’s wedding in May. I’m going to be an usher, with J’s brother. The wedding itself is on HMS Warrior at Portsmouth Harbour. This means no confetti, balloons or other corny crap. They used one of C’s images for the invites:

Later, watched more episodes of Everest ER

17 Jan 2010

Awoke from deep within a dream of a yoga course within a music festival, a warped Kripalu within an even warpier Glastonbury. Feeling sleepy all day, trying to wake up by taking the outdoors cleaning job for our weekly clean at work this morning, breaking boxes for recycling. Heavy rain this morning and tonight. C drove CC and I to the supermarket this eve. CC reminded me of this company http://www.laptoprepairslondon.co.uk/ in London who repaired C’s laptop and a friend’s. So when a student’s Mac notebook failed, we both recommended letting them repair it. But instead of repairing it they switched out some of the components for lesser parts – hard drive, RAM, not sure what else. And then gave it back saying it couldn’t be repaired. So this is a review of Laptop Repairs Fulham: don’t trust them.

Yoga day 17, postures specifically for back strength and flexibility. Work ordering the priority for the audio production project, plus pulling a few transcripts on morning meeting for a school staff member. In the afternoon, researching DVD/TV combis for the Centre, to replace the current VHS combis in the viewing booths. While verifying the transcripts, I often tweet bite size Krishnamurti quotes here.

This evening watched a little of the most stressful show on earth: Grand Designs, and a little Everest ER from 2007. I also saw the trailer to the third Zeitgeist movie, Moving Forward, seemingly focussing on the capitalist system gone too far:

14 Jan 2011

If I torque my arm far enough, I can break my forearm bones.

Like bending a two-by-four held in a table vise, I can just bow my entire goddamn arm until it snaps in two!

Holy Christ, Aron, that’s it, that’s it. THAT’S FUCKING IT!

There is no hesitation. I barely realize what I’m about to do. I unclip from the anchor webbing, crouching until my buttocks are almost touching the stones on the canyon floor. I put my left hand under the boulder and push hard, harder, HARDER! to put a maximum downward force on my radius bone. As I slowly bend my arm down to the left, a POW! reverberates like a muted cap-gun shot.

The above is from an extract of Aron Ralston’s book Between a Rock and a Hard Place, the story on which 127 Hours is based. It’s such a great story, and so simple, so real. It captivates me, both the film and reading about it. I’m also reading my second book on the 1996 Everest ‘disaster’, the first by Jon Krakauer called Into Thin Air, and The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev, a Russian guide with the ill-fated Mountain Madness team. What is it about these on-edge stories that I like? The simplicity, the stripping away of the trappings of modern life and post-modern concerns to the basics of survival. The fact that they have all chosen to be there takes away the tiresome necessity for sympathy even. Man and nature.

Cleared up a lot at work, in the two days before the weekend. A two-day work week – I can live with that. This evening, watched the Relocation guy doing a programme in Australia. I’ve always thought New Zealand would be preferable if I were to move anywhere. Australia seems a little… bland.

OK, back to Everest.

BTW, has facebook been down today? The couple of times I have tried it has frozen on loading…

13 January 2011

“I desire therefore I am” would be more accurate than “I think therefore I am.”

David Bohm

Read an article with highlighted quotes from a Pilger-Assange interview:

And despite the pressure the website has been under, reports of trouble at WikiLeaks are greatly exaggerated, he claims.

“There is no ‘fall’. We have never published as much as we are now. WikiLeaks is now mirrored on more than 2,000 websites. I can’t keep track of the spin-off sites – those who are doing their own WikiLeaks . . . If something happens to me or to WikiLeaks, ‘insurance’ files will be released.”

The contents of these files are unknown, but, according to Assange, “They speak more of the same truth to power.” It is not just government that should be worried about the content of these files, however. “There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organisation and there are cables on Murdoch and News Corp,” he says.

The attempts by Washington to indict him should worry the mainstream press, he adds.

“I think what’s emerging in the mainstream media is the awareness that if I can be indicted, other journalists can, too,” Assange says. “Even the New York Times is worried. This used not to be the case. If a whistleblower was prosecuted, publishers and reporters were protected by the First Amendment, which journalists took for granted. That’s being lost.”

Read an article about the late surfer Andy Irons’ hectic life:

Whatever treatment Andy received, John Irons says it helped. “Did it change his life? Yes. He was amped to get back on the tour. He was refocused and ready to go.”

Kelly Slater recalls a conversation with Irons from around 2007. “A couple of years ago, he had an awakening in his life about things,” says Slater. “We had one real deep talk. He said how excited he was to be feeling everything—to be feeling his emotions and understanding them. For him, that was a new lease on his life.”

BUT IF IRONS WAS ON an uptick in 2007, it didn’t last. His erratic behavior returned in September 2008, when he went missing during a World Tour contest in France. He surfed badly in one heat and then failed to show up for the next. He finished the year 13th overall but decided not to compete in 2009. “We encouraged Andy to take a year off,” says Billa­bong’s Naude, “because he had lost the desire to be on the tour.”

Irons told friends that he’d almost been dropped by Billabong. According to Mike Reola, a friend and co-founder of the clothing company Lost, Irons said that “everyone at Billabong wanted me gone when I was off tour” and that “Paul Naude was the only one who fought for me.” Irons also told friends that he took a substantial pay cut.

His wife has blocked the release of the toxicology report for six months.

Back to work after a week in the Lake District. Wading through a thick inbox this morning, and this afternoon finishing off the last of the K/Bohm dialogues from 1975. This final conversation is about desire being the root of the self, and how we desire to be free of desire once we see the relentless problems it causes.

The introduction of the shoulder stand on day 13 of the 28-day yoga course. Put a shoulder stand in a yoga sequence and it will change everything. A very subtle yet powerful effect. I look forward to practising more. I’m coming back to full health now.

C found a place to live in Alresford, looks like. It’s sharing, but with someone who is working in London weekdays. We enjoyed a snooping session on Google Maps, looking for the house numbers on dustbins, ahead of a real visit on Saturday.

The WordPress postaday2011 topic for today is: What are you looking forward to this year?

– a bit of surfing
– a lot of yoga
– some long walks
– space
– skiing?
– reorganising the flat
– a new bathroom
– healthy health
– My brother’s wedding

9 Jan 2011

Each year during the staff week we have a day for hiking then go out for a meal in the evening. After some thought, Gary decided it was too dangerous to take us up the the snow and ice, as we don’t have the safety equipment and experience. Instead we walked on the lower fells and valleys, from 0930 until 1600, with occasional breaks and a lunch sheltering from the wind on the low fells. The sun came out:

I’m not exactly sure of the route we took, for once happy to be guided and not be consulting the map to choose directions. We started directly from Yewfield because of black ice, James and I enjoyed slides on the driveway while people got ready. Do groups ever manage to leave on time? I don’t think I have ever experienced it. This time people coming down at the leaving time then fussing over laces and gaiters. From Tarn Hows we headed to Holme Fell (I think it was):

Fine views to Weatherlam and The Langdales and east towards Hellvelyn where someone died this week:

We passed by these camouflaged hairy friends:

And Colwith Force:

Then back over High Arnside and to Yewfield before dusk:

Here are all the hikers, near the start of the walk. About two thirds of the staff who came to Yewfield hiked:

This evening we went to Zeffirellis in Ambleside – for me mushrooms then vegetarian rissoles. Why do restaurants feel the need to put sugar in almost everything? The bread with the mushrooms was too sweet and so was the tomato sauce with the rissoles. Sugar is good for no one. But the company was good, sitting with Christine, Adrian, Mark, Mo and Fran.

8 Jan 2011

Review day on the yoga course, so 14 different postures with variations to work through. Somewhat rushed as the alarm woke me from deep dreams and I couldn’t quite get up. Another night of great energy and not very much sleepiness until late.

Quiet meeting for half an hour, watching the dawn from the window, and the fire. DVD about listening and relationship to the students and is there any if we have images/can’t listen.

Another great walk, from Tarn Hows down to Coniston Water, climbing back up the valley.

Some very icy conditions, making me slightly concerned about the high level walk tomorrow. Not for myself but for those less steady and without good boots.

Tired all day, and I was much more relaxed during a fairly quiet dialogue this afternoon

7 Jan 2011

My point in the dialogue this afternoon is this: do we need to spend quite so much time on teaching curriculum subjects? A lot of effort goes into teaching a multitude of subjects and yet we state academics are not really the main focus of the school, but rather to bring about a different human being, one free from fear, who is able to question. So, couldn’t and shouldn’t some of the time that is given to studying the world in all the subjects be handed over to the radical inquiry of the human condition?

Instead of a hike quite a few of us went into Ambleside for the hiking gear sales. It’s a small town but there must be at least twenty outdoor equipment shops, most with sales on. I got a merino wool base layer top to replace the synthetic one I was given a few years ago. It’s made by Red Ram. ‘Base Layer’ = posh name for thermal underwear. I wanted to get some Teko socks – organic merino wool, recycled plastics, made in a wind-powered factory – but they didn’t have any of my size. On the way to Ambleside the minibus slid on the icy road and we skidded into the verge. Luckily we were able to push it back to road.

It’s warmer in the house now, and very cosy sitting by the open fire.