Ravings From The Bog

July 16, 2009, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Blogging, Podcasts, Stress, Technology, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , ,

Recent frustrations with my wireless connection at home resulted in me getting not a little miffed and, after trying everything else, resetting my router. This had the effect of wiping out the settings for my connection and I have been unable to reset the wifi for the last two days.

This has had a number of impacts on my life:

  1. I find myself with “time” on my hands. No constant browsing, Twittering, or gazing at a screen has resulted in a startling realisation that I need to find something else to do, like read, or watch TV, or God forbid, exercise.
  2. I spent yesterday evening in the front (TV) room of the house from 1915 until 2230. This is unheard of. I was receiving strange looks from my wife and son who were unsettled, to say the least.
  3. Yesterday, I bought a Belkin router. Sadly, the CD within was only for Windows XP and older (!) Windows systems – thwarted! This evening, I’m typing this into Word to copy and paste onto WordPress when I finally get my wifi restored.  So this is like a computer fix….
  4. I also bought a T-Mobile laptop dongle thingy which cost £29 plus change – and it’s really crap and intermittent. I also unfortunately spent £30 on airtime, which I’ll use up before I bring the dongle back for a refund. Fucking useless piece of shit.
  5. I’m starting to run out of podcasts! I’m finally catching up with Fresh Air podcasts that I downloaded as far back as last year. This is good news but they’re a little out of sync when I’m listening to pundits etc talking about how they think Obama will fare when he’s finally inaugurated!
  6. Yesterday, I drove a 38 mile round trip to pick up my Macbook so I could use it in an internet café at lunch time to send an email and follow up on some tweets on Tweetdeck and get an internet fix – how sad am I?

So, tomorrow, on my day off, I’ll be visiting Carphone Warehouse to see what they can do to restore my sanity. If their broadband was all it is cracked up to be, I wouldn’t have had to reset the router etc, bastards! I think I’ll go a little postal on their asses!!!


NPR Hearing Voices Life-Affirming & Inspirational
January 27, 2009, 9:35 pm
Filed under: America, Apple Mac, Family, Life, Podcasts, Taboos, Technology, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Hearing VoicesI was lucky enough to catch a great podcast from NPR’s Hearing Voices series (available on iTunes) yesterday morning on my to work. Three separate stories, each of them inspirational in its own way, which gave me an insight into different aspects of strangers’ lives. Horrific and fascinating in equal measure, Steve Fugate’s story especially, drove home one man’s challenge to change things and help others following two particularly tragic events in his life. Really worth a listen! It’s called Happy Families.

Love life!

Buddy, can you spare a dime?

I listened to a fascinating podcast on This American Life yesterday evening while driving home. A joint investigative effort by TAL and NPR to explain the housing crisis. Why did banks make half-million dollar loans to people without jobs or incomes? Ever heard of a NINA? It’s a No-Income, No-Asset loan!!! The Great Pool of Money podcast is available on iTunes. It’s worth a listen.

I read somewhere yesterday that there has been a 36% increase in sales of plastic lunchboxes since the start of this much-hyped economic downturn. I have to assume that this is because many people feel that it is (much!) cheaper to prepare a sandwich or something similar at home, than pay Pret-A-Manger silly money for one of their concoctions and a cup of that muck that passes for coffee. In the same newspaper article, two other interesting statistics – 9152 houses have been repossessed this year so far in the UK, and there has been a 25% increase in sales of tents. A coincidence? I don’t think so!

One of the serious downsides of this situation is the 2000000 more McDonalds meals sold each month this year than last year in the UK. How many more children will be pushed indirectly towards early-onset obesity by the greed of the sub-prime mortgage idiots. Talking of idiots, only one British bank boss has lost his job over this farce. In fact, what is even more reprehensible is the $42M pay off to former Citigroup boss, Charles “Chuck” Prince, given the thousands of ex-home-owners who will face years of penury. It boggles the mind to start to imagine the number and range of impacts on every socio-economic group in every Western nation as a result of Wall St avarice.

As usual, we in the UK and Ireland are caught downwind of the stink that is American economic policy. Let’s get it over with and get registered as the fifty-first and second US states. The UK has been an US aircraft-carrier for years. Britain through the years has always existed in an illusion of independence from it’s younger progeny – we’re only fooling ourselves. If we’re going to be poor suddenly, perhaps we can join the 28 million Americans already receiving food-stamps!

Podcasts I Never Miss
August 4, 2008, 8:21 pm
Filed under: Culture, Entertainment, Fun, Life, Music, Podcasts, Technology, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

I’m a little obsessive about some things. I’ve never missed an episode of NYPD Blue, The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, Friends, etc, so you’ll understand when I say that I enjoy particular podcasts, I mean I save them up and savour them any chance I get. Unfortunately, (but fortunately in terms of the cost of petrol now) I no longer have the 46 mile round trip to work every day I have had for the last seven years or so, so I’m not in a position to listen to as many as I’d like to, on a regular basis. I live 1.7 miles from my workplace now, which has it’s benefits and drawbacks!

Anyhoo, my favourite podcasts are as follows:

This American Life – http://www.thislife.org – is an exercise in irony and clever wit, wrapped up in a skillfully put together one hour long podcast with Ira Glass whose voice, pitch and timing is perfect for this slice of Americana.

Selected Shorts – http://www.symphonyspace.org – is a real find for anyone who enjoys short stories of every type with deliveries from the host Isaiah Sheffer, and many theatre actors – a joy.

The Moth Podcast – http://www.themoth.org/podcast – true stories told to a live audience without notes. Some really excellent funny and sad stories, usually the best from their competitions. I listened to every current episode on a recent flight to NYC.

WNYC’s Radio Lab – http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/ – fantastic analytical science-based fun. The hosts are a match made in heaven and this podcast is suitable for almost all ages. Great sound effects too.

RTE Documentary On One – http://www.rte.ie/radio1/doconone – dozens of fascinating documentaries, really well put together and a great fix of Ireland if you’re away from home on holiday or for the many millions of emigrants!