Tag Archives: america

Whole Lotta Rosie

You have to ask – is there any hope?

I just appeared on the bridge at midnight – wait wait wait, there’s a verse there

twas on the bridge at midnight

His leg was all a quiver

he gave a cough, his leg fell off

and floated down the river

 

Anyway – I was on the bridge at midnight just letting the navigators know I was around when we got talking about stuff.  The two watchkeepers are of a younger generation than me you see.  We got chatting.  Now young Rosie, a youthful and energetic 18 year old from Australia seemed to think her generation were all ´fucked up´and of little hope.  We talked more about the politics of the current world, North Korea, Marine Le Pen, China and of course America (fuck yeah). I also expressed my admiration for a fella over in the states called Elon Musk, and that I hoped he would be our salvation an unlikely hero, not like John Connor!

Rosie immediately asked if Elon Musk was on YouTube as she didn´t know who he was.  Equally as quickly, she realised the irony of her two last statements and we chuckled about it.  Maybe there is hope yet?

I think there is – the other day, Rosie tipped me off about the young Aussie lass below – I was stunned !

Talent – she has it,  considerably more than my verse writing skills for sure.

So right now, about 5 hours out of Singapore which will most likely be my new home until late June.  I am a little excited I must admit. More on that soon.

I am also more than a little excited about my new squeeze.


A day in pictures

I didn’t feel like writing too much today so I thought I would add some pictures to help out.  Remember when you were at school and the teacher gave you a written assignment that had to be at least 1 full page of A4?  I used to space out my words a bit more.  Always got busted. I was never an A grade student but that was exactly the kind of cunning that made me the spectacular engineer that I am today.

 

Lets start on a happy note – recently grabbed a bargain on eBay – a pair of tyres for the mountain bike for less than £30 delivered. Sexy tread pattern, two tone black and grey.

New Tyre

Nice eh? and is that my very sexy Range Rover in the background ?  Oh what a shot !

 

The next three photos are all in the category of  ‘Is their any hope left for the human race?’

 

I snapped the first one on the train last week to Coventry.  A north bound train that had originated in London.  I got on and sat at a 4 seater table that had 3 spare seats – can you tell why?

Buy a Laptop

A full size iMac taking up most of the table.  I thought those London City slickers were supposed to be smart?  I was going to show him my laptop and suggest that there were more portable versions available now but then I thought no, he must be a banker.

 

Smokers outside the Hospital doors?

Smokers outside the Hospital doors

How fucking mental do you have to be to push your drip outside to have a smoke? Maybe that drip is full of brain cells?

 

Now finally, the most serious of them all.  A triple X rated fright – the scariest thing you will see in a long time, American politics.  I heard a political commentator today on TV suggesting that neither of the current candidates for American President are that popular but these two are particularly frightening – look at their faces, would you trust this pair?

Clinton & Kaine

Look at them for a minute – they look like they just finished licking clean the inside of the windows on their special bus and have now been let loose on the exterior.  Holy fuck I would be shitting myself if I were American.  If Trump wins, he will piss off half of the world, if Clinton wins she looks like she might try and eat the other half!  I wonder if Jeffrey Dahmer will be drafted in on her presidential election campaign? Kaine looks fucking mental !!!!

That by the way is a genuine screen grab from my phone I took while reading the BBC during this mornings dump.

The only real hope for America with this one is for the electorate to agree NOT to go and vote and Obama stay in office until a suitable challenger can be found. I suspect though, Bill would sneak out in the middle of the night and vote for Trump.

 

Los tiempos van cambiando


I’m not racist but……….

It’s time to get a little controversial again I am afraid, so expect a good long read.  Make a cup of tea and get back to your screen as quickly as possible.  This is gonna take at least 30 minutes of your time.

Then, put your feet up and watch this little video of an Australian comedian debating gun control.  It’s in two parts but don’t worry, part 2 is directly underneath part 1.  When you are done watching, come back here and finish reading

 

 

 

So that’s Jim – a very clever guy, funny as hell and absolutely spot on with his remarks.

You know why I posted it right?  Another attack in America with 20 reported deaths. I, like the vast majority of the civilised population will wonder for just how long this can go on – certainly after Obama leaves office, I think there will be little hope of  any form of gun control for generations to come.  It’s a sad form of politics where the most powerful man in his country is powerless to make meaningful change.

Which of course leads me nicely into Brexit.  A step too far?

Well lets see.  At the head of the European Union sits an appointed board of governors.  This appointed board makes ALL of the decisions that affect all of Europe’s citizens, passes laws and membership requirements for all member states.  Below them in the heirachy are the MEP’s or Members of the European Parliament.  MEP’s are present from each country of the block and are voted for by each blocks citizens – but here is the cliff hanger – The MEP’s cannot propose, create or remove European law – that can only be done by the governors.

Tricky that, in a democracy! See, in whatever democratic society you live in, you have the option to vote in your representatives or equally vote out someone that has represented you badly.  So if someone taxes you too much – vote them out, if life is good, vote them in again.  But with the EU, there appears to be nothing you can do.  if you don’t like what they propose and enforce on you – there is nothing you can do to protest or show your distain.  That to me sounds more like a dictatorship than a democracy.

Now I have to admit that sometimes in a democracy, we need a little bit of a dictatorship.  See, all politicians, regardless of their colours want to get re-elected, they like the power and they certainly like the bigger pay packet that being in leadership provides. And this is where democracy fails us a little.  There are times when a government MUST, for the longer term good of their country, MUST make unpopular short term decisions with a view to a longer term win – but they rarely do. A single term in Parliament is not long enough to make good, future building changes for your public, it needs longer.  But who would re-elect a government that just increased taxes by say 2% to improve spending on healthcare or pensions?  Both in the long term good of the people but no one wants to pay for it.

So go back to the EU for a second, if they propose and implement something that 75% of the public dislike – nothing can be done to stop it – it becomes EU law and EU law MUST be complied with by ALL member states.

Some of this could be good too – we all drive cars now that have a standardised diagnostics socket on board so that not only main dealers can fix your car but also independents can too – they don’t have to buy one tool for Jaguar, one for Mercedes, one for Volvo etc – they all have to be the same.  But remember the oddities too – remember when cucumbers had to be grown straighter? or when they banned the UK from having different coloured fire extinguishers for different types of fires because they said it caused confusion?  Imagine that one – you are on holiday in Spain say, and there is a fire.  You have to read the extinguisher to see what type it is to make sure it is safe to use on that type of fire – BUT YOU DONT SPEAK SPANISH !

Nigel Farage once made a statement where he said something like –

‘If you think the EU is undemocratic, you have fundamentally misunderstood what the EU is about – It is Anti- Democratic’

Now that statement is absolutely cock on. He is 100% right.

Imagine for a minute, as individuals, we were not allowed to choose which bank we used, we were told which one we had to use, and the people that had the sole control on which bank we were forced to use,  were the bankers themselves.?

OK, so now you think I am a Brexit campaigner right?  Well understand my personal position.  Those of you that know what I am about, the essence of free movement around Europe has been the backbone of my existance for the last 11 years or so.  In those 11 years I have lived and worked in France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Portugal (lets exclude time in America and the Caribbean).  The schengen agreement has been very good for me – the single currency has been superb for me – I have often complained about needing the £ and €’s in my pocket but always been mindful that anyone who gave up the pound would be committing political suicide.

So I have several personal reasons for staying in.  A house in another EU country for one.  A job that requires me to travel extensively within Europe for another.  If the UK left, would I need a Schengen Visa to live and work around Europe for another 10 years? I currently have my car with me in Mallorca – will I still be able to do that? What would become of my house in Portugal – could I sell it and take the money out of the eurozone?

Moving around Europe has been fun, enlightening yet incredibly frustrating at times too.  One thing I will always say is that going back to the UK is going back to a country that works, has great healthcare, excellent customer service, shops that are open when you can use them, a great Police Force and minimal corruption.

Now before you disagree with any of those statements – Firstly ask yourself how much have you travelled and experienced things outside of the UK?  I have seen a lot over the last decade – let me assure you, of all of the countries I have seen, The UK has THE BEST answers – thats not to say they are perfect but they are certainly the best of all I have seen.  Secondly – if you believe the UK is not all that, why on earth do you think so many Non UK Nationals want to get there ????

The big question for me is – how much does the EU want to dissolve the UK’s identity?  Hollywood could make a film about it – the critics would call it a magnificent work of fiction, all the movie wankers in Cannes would quaff on about how good it was.

Imagine the UK getting absorbed into the EU to a point that our identity is lost for ever.  Way back in the 90’s I was completing a staff survey at one of the best companies I ever worked for, a company called LeasePlan.  They were conducting a survey of ethnic backgrounds for diversity.  Way back then, one thing that stuck with me was when they asked me for my nationality and there was no option for ‘British’.  I spoke to the H.R. director who was a very good friend of mine and of Indian descent and asked her where my option was and she told me I was now ‘European’.  I marked ‘other’ and sent it back.

Think it is still unrealistic?  Ask your parents who voted in the 70’s for joining what was then the common market.  Back then it was just a trade agreement – already now, Brussels pushes laws and regulations at the UK.

I am often left with the feeling that the Eurocrats view the Brits as a troublesome bunch that just won’t come quietly.  I know they fear us though too.  Imagine, if the UK votes to leave, they will be shitting in their overpaid pants, waiting for the next country to call a referendum too.  As I travel, I talk to locals.  Where ever I am, the same fears apply.  When the euro came in, prices went up, salaries went down – everyone is worried about immigration – EVERYONE.

If the UK leaves, it will survive.  It is the 5th largest economy in the world. I don’t doubt that things will be a little tougher for a couple of years while deals are thrashed out, but it will survive.  When other countries see this too  – they will want out.  Sure, economists are predicting doom and gloom but remember, these are the same economists that FAILED to see the banking crisis in 2008.  It will be a step into the unknown to leave but also remaining will be an unknown step too – a step of not knowing how much control Central Europe will take away from this plucky little island.  And remember, once it’s gone, there is no way of getting it back.

Greece is not in the headlines too much anymore – but it is still there – absorbing huge amounts of EU money on a daily basis.

I spent a lot of time in Brussels over the last 5 years or so.  One thing that struck me was the sheer amount of EU money that is lavished there.  Diplomatic cars, special parking places, houses rented to EU workers, lunch allowances, drinks after work – all paid for out of EU funds.

Consider this for a moment.  Lets say Brexit happens, the EU throws its toys out of the pram and sets about making an example of the UK.  Will all of the ex-pats in Spain and Portugal have to return home?  If they did, it would kill those economies stone dead.  Would the UK in return then kick out all of the europeans on a tit for tat basis?  Maybe – but that would relieve the housing shortage right?  Doctors waiting times would plummet and maybe you could then get an operation within a few days of diagnosis.

So the EU stops all trade with the UK.  Something like 40% of our goods are imported from Europe.  Could they sustain such a  loss in sales?  of course not.  There would need to be a trade deal made – a deal that helped both parties, a mutually beneficial agreement.  How long would that take?  Well we know the EU is a big beurocratic machine that rumbles along slower than a snails pace but while their economies are suffering, it would also be in their best interests to strike a deal.

Will people stop flying to Europe?  Of course not.  Every time I fly into Nice or Palma my passport is checked anyway – EVERY TIME so what difference would it make to me?  Every time someone lands in the UK – their passport is checked – no difference there either.  If I have to get a visa, its not the end of the world.  I have a visa for America – it was relatively inexpensive and simple enough to get, fits nicely in my passport along with an expired Russian Visa.

If the UK had intelligence of a terrorist attack in Paris, would they withold that information – of course not.  Would the Germans warn the UK of an impending attack – Of course they would.

Politicians now need to give facts to the public instead of scare mongering or ‘Project Fear’ as it has been called many times. The Leave campaign needs to accurately publish the NET cost of EU membership rather than that all encompassing larger figure that they like to band around.  The public need to trust their instincts when listening to the tripe that falls out of many politicians mouths and learn to dismiss comments that are clearly unsubstantiated nonsense.

There is a lot of wiffle waffle being spoken and it is damn easy to spot.  Apply a little bit of common sense and you can easily work things out for yourself.

Personally, I am better off in but if you prefer to have a democratic, self governing land of opportunity you have to vote out.  Merkel’s career is done – her people are vastly annoyed with her open door policy on immigration and as for Hollande, well, it wouldn’t be the first time the French have laid down at the feet of the Germans would it?

And just because you voice a concern about immigration – IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU A RACIST.  Remember the story about the boy who cried wolf?  If people continue to misuse the ‘racist’ card it will be come so devalued that when it is genuinely need, it will be ignored by the masses – and that would be a very sad situation.  People have a genuine concern about the physical load exerted by huge immigration on services within their countries.  Let them voice their opinions and be heard.  Immigration is not a bad thing – uncontrolled immigration is.

 

Phew – rant over

 

And Finally

 

If you really didn’t think Big Brother is watching you – something very suspicious happened to me today……Apple.

So we have all heard the rumours that your smart phone microphone can listen to your conversations covertly and then target web & app adverts specifically from the conversations it has eaves dropped on?  Well, this is true.   A myth buster style trial took place a couple of months ago and it took some tech nerds just 3 days to build an app with readily available software that could do just that.

Imagine my surprise today when I pulled my phone out of my pocket to see a web page displayed.  Ok, sometimes I may forget to screen lock it, we have all ‘butt dialled’ someone right ?  But what I saw today was beyond spooky.  Yesterday I received a photo on my phone of some paperwork for my rowing machine.  Within that paperwork were the operators instructions and other stuff including the original sales receipt.  I zoomed in on the receipt to get the invoice date and displayed above that date was the suppliers name, Fitness Superstore.  Well bugger me, if the web page being displayed wasn’t for the same company.

Now, the receipt was a year and a half old, my phone is only a month old, I didn’t even know the name of the store I bought it from but could there be a spy in my software that scans my photos and directs me to those web pages?


G.S.D.

Did anyone watch the Kasabian gig last night on the iTunes festival?………….man alive, did they rock!  Not to late to watch it if you missed it, but what were you thinking?

Today, I had a hair cut, courtesy of a local Cuban barber – did a damn fine job too I think. So impressed was I, I left him a $4 tip – and if you read my recent post on tipping in the states you will fully understand that this is a good haircut.

New bike is on the way and on Thursday evening, I also managed to take over 2 minutes out of my 16k time round Fort Lauderdale.  I actually think that as autumn comes in and things cool down some more, I can get even more time out of it too.  For those Runkeeper chums – keep an eye on your activities, don’t be falling behind too far – you may never catch up again.

Trip to Boulder in Colorado is now firmly on the cards, flights booked with Delta Airlines.  Let me tell you about Delta Airlines, for a while now, they have been my favourite American Airline but I think they may fall foul soon.  So I found a ticket, $280 return – not too shabby.  I could upgrade to first class for a total of $700 – I decided against it then started reserving my seats with extra leg room because I am a lanky twat. An additional $200 – Crikey, I thought – might just have been better going for the first class ticket after all.  I clicked on purchase, and the web did just that.  When my confirmation came in, seems I managed to purchase my ticket WITHOUT hold baggage – that’s another $25 each way.  So I am within $150 of the first class ticket that would have given me the baggage, priority boarding, free food and drinks and maybe other benefits too.  Problem is, they never told me about the hold luggage at all – the sneaky fuckers.

I hate that – very short sighted.  Lets talk rental cars in Boulder.  Hertz & Avis quote includes full insurance, go to Enterprise and you can only spec the full insurance at collection so you can’t compare prices fully.  So I backed away from Enterprise immediately.  That said, Avis price was almost half of Hertz – what’s going on there?

Either way – I just looked at the weather for Boulder & Colorado in general – first snowfall usually starts in September – might be pretty chilly by the time I get there at the end of October – Might need some warmer gear – something different than the Floridian shirt and shorts. Ooops!

 

Christmas is just around the corner

 


Stand out from the crowd

Ok, after some weeks of silence, it’s time to write again. Lets talk about Americuh for a second.

Last night I went out with some of the crew in Fort Lauderdale.  We went to a bar that charges $11 per drink, that is a small beer, maybe 200ml, less than a standard bottle in the normal world.  So not cheap right?  We got moved on from one table because it was reserved for diners, then sat at another table and ordered a basket of chips to keep the table police off our backs. 6 drinks later (there were four of us) the bill came for $83.  My friend Oscar paid it and I left a $5 tip in the sleeve.  The girl on returning the credit card to Oscar took the sleeve and started to walk away.  She returned seconds later and asked where we were all from.  Oscar told her, and then she said – here in America you have to tip more.  The cheeky bitch was unhappy with the $5 tip I left and had the nerve to tell us we needed to give more.  This obviously wound us all up so I took out  the $5 bill and swapped it with a $1 bill instead.  We promptly left and Oscar hid around the corner so he could watch her pick up the sleeve and check the tip again.  Priceless!

Went for a paddle board session this afternoon, only the second time I have tried it – I plan to try more next weekend.

Photo competition is drawing to a close – finally!  Only about a month later than expected due to the slow responses. Take a look at the photo album ‘ Magnificent 7’ and leave a comment on your favourite photo.  The owner of the photo with the most comments wins a very special prize to be announced next week.

I am still missing entries from a certain Mr. Westwood, Mrs. George and Mrs. Smith – I will give you all until Friday 22nd August to get them over to me.

 

No More Excuses

 

GSD


Beardy Twats

Happily cycling along the coast road the other week between Monaco and Italy when I got overtaken by a group of 4 riders on road bikes.  Before you start munching off saying how I have been overtaken, remember, those road bikes are significantly more efficient than a dual suspension mountain bike on knobbly tyres and active suspension.  Never the less, I managed to pass these ‘cyclists’ on 3 occasions.  Sure, they might have been a little faster than me, but they kept stopping for a chat so I would pass them again.  No stamina these youngsters – but they did have fooking great big beards and were fully clad in road race lycra.  I doubt any of them were over 25 years old and they had beards thicker than the hair on my head – the beardy, lycra clad twats !

I did quit my job the other week so I have been off for a week now.  Heading to the States on Monday 5th May, and from there, sailing down to Rio de Janeiro for the world cup.  Once I get there, I swap out with the other engineer and get another month off.  The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice I said ‘sailing down to Rio’ – I am hugely pleased to announce that I am getting back on a sailing boat and plan never to return to a motor boat ever in my life again.  In fact, if you see me taking a job on a motor boat in the future, feel free to bend me over and give me a jolly good and rigorous fisting.

Today something really weird happened.  I was out yogging (that’s how posh people say Jogging!) in the forest.  The forest has really come to life since the last time I was here at the end of March.  The trees are full of leaves, the shrubbery is covering the forest floor again, it’s a real ‘thicket’ of activity.  I entered the forest, yogging at my normal pace, noticing the greenery on the trees and the pine and twigs on the ground. I had my music on but not too loud so I could still hear the background noises, the birds tweeting, twigs snapping under foot, rapists breathing heavily from the bushes, when a song came on.  Have you ever seen the film ‘Apocalypse Now?’.  I had just entered the forest when the Doors started singing ‘The End’.  It was a surreal moment that put me on full gook alert, checking trees for snipers, under bushes for tunnels, behind fallen trees for rows of punji sticks that might catch me out and leave me to bleed to death.  Not to worry, I had a full clip and only two clicks to yomp.

Staying with music for a moment, I had my phone playing music randomly the other day.  Well, I thought it was random, but it soon became apparent that it was scrolling through alphabetically by artist.  I can now officially confirm that I have 7 slightly different versions of Sonique’s ‘It feels so good’ in my iTunes library.  Not a bad running track as a single play item – after the 7th, I was ready to hang myself from a tree.

The Rangie has just cost me 500€ to have an oil leak fixed.  Here’s the thing, the seal itself was just 7€ but by the time the gearbox oil was drained, filters and gaskets replaced, it was a tad more expensive.  I never have liked parting with cash, especially when it is something I have the ability to fix for myself, albeit lacking the equipment to do so – but when I got seated and fired her up, I knew with was a love affair that won’t be ended easily – and certainly not over a 500€ garage bill.  In stark comparison, I just went to the local store for some milk and 2 bottles of Chimay Blue.  3ltrs of milk and 2 Chimays, a tad over 7€ – now that is something I can live with.  Beer, the same price as milk – no wait, let me re-phrase, top quality beer the same price as milk!

My new job awaits, a 46m sloop called ‘Pink Gin’.  I am looking forward to getting on board and getting stuck in.  We did a deal that gives me a minimum of 8 months work a year, the rest of the time is all mine.

And that’s about all I wish to share with you right now – I did negotiate christmas off this year so expect me to be around – annoying the crap out of you all.

 

Charlie Doesn’t Surf !!!!!

 

 

 


Road Trippin

That was a tough weekend. A 5k run on saturday morning followed by a 20 something k ride around Cannock Chase on sunday, I was completely worn out.  Worst of all, I posted my slowest 5k time on saturday and had a few moments on sunday where I couldn’t be arsed to keep ahead of poopie pants and steve-o. I think at 44, I am now officially getting old.

I do have some advice for you though.  When road tripping through Belgium and Luxemburg, don’t throw your litter out of the car window.  France is the next country you will pass though – throw it out there, they thoroughly deserve it !

I still got to thinking about the people of Luxemburg and what they are collectively called but it escapes me. Italy is full of Italians, The good people of Germany are Germans, Ireland Irish, Americans a pain in the arse etc etc but what about Luxemburg?  I really need to know, if you can help in any way – please do.

My new job started today, I arrived in Genoa, Italy at 09:30 this morning in the most torrential thunder storm I have seen in ages, even the Italians were slowing down in their cars because of poor visibility.  After a monster 12 hour + drive down from Burssels, I am now completely shattered.  Had a little walk around the old docks this evening to see what has changed since the last time I was here – not much if I am honest.  I was impressed with one of the local sculptures though, it looks like a colaboration of body parts form several of the Saw movies all stitched together in the wrong order.

I also managed to kurb one of my wheels in the downpour, happy now that I never had them painted when I bought it.

thats enough for now – more exploring tomorrow

 

 

 


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