Tag Archives: mallorca

You thought I was dead right?

Well not quite, although if North Korea have anything to say about that, I might be vaporised some time soon.

Firstly an apology.  In the 12 year history of this blog, I don’t think I have ever suffered a silence this long – almost two months !! So, as you might expect, I have plenty to rant about and as my connection is shit and I need to be quick, I need to type fast so don’t expect it in any kind of relevant order what so ever.

Skype – lets talk about them for a minute.  Couple of months ago, my Samsung auto updated overnight and gave me the all new Version 8 of Skype – what an abortion it turned out to be.  I also took the update on my iPhone to equal disappointment.  The android however, would let me roll back to V7 where it still comfortably sits until this day – making the android my extra special phone of choice again.

I would dearly like to hit the ‘New Skype’ team with a fully charged bolt of lightning – right up their ring holes.  They have turned what was a very unique and life saving application into some pre pubescent teenager dribble, forgetting that the majority of their user base is probably over the age of 30.  I keep checking in on the iTunes Store and also Google Play to see the hammering they are taking in the ratings but still they blindly plug on, forcing the shit that no-one wants on all of us.  What was once a 4*+ experience on the iTunes store has now dropped to just above 1*.

Of course, I have tried half a dozen other applications for communicating with friends and lovers but none of them do what Skype V7 does.  That got me thinking.  See those developers at New Skype must have thought ‘we need to do what everyone else is doing’ and that makes no sense.  If you have a product that is the same as 10 others , your market share is limited, people will choose which they use based on silly things, colour schemes, friends that use them etc.  If you have a product that is different and no-one else does anything to rival it – you have something that, I remember from my corporate days, is referred to as a USP or a unique selling point.  That alone will draw people in, away from those other 10 products in the market that don’t have your function. Sadly though, New Skype is giving its clients something they don’t want or didn’t ask for – a bit like ‘New Coke’ if you are old enough to remember that.  Sadly though, and unlike New Coke, I expect New Skype will not be withdrawn in favour of the old V7 masterpiece, even when customers leave in their hundreds of thousands to other platforms.

Either way, its a loss for the consumer – even more so when I asked Skype to refund me the credit that is on my Skype account and they said no.  For anyone like me who works away and likes to communicate long distance in relative simplicity – Skype was a godsend, now it is just a pile of shit.  All of this at a time where I was seriously considering a move away from apple completely and back to Microsoft – but now that’s on hold.  I hope I can eek out more life from my 7 year old mac.

The world is a changing place too, as I edge towards 50 I am feeling different.  I put some proper grunge on this morning, Soundgarden, no, I am not a fashionista that recently got into Soundgarden when their lead singer recently died – (quick divert here), why is it, that when someone dies, iTunes suddenly doubles the price of their music?  I can see it now, news breaks across the world and the iTunes admin staff go into overdrive to instantly hike up their prices, Chris Cornell was no exception, as were the Beastie Boys when Adam Yauch left us behind, even the mighty Bee Gees get the same treatment – it really pisses me off, these big fat corporations getting even bigger and fatter from other people’s misery.

I just mentioned to my second engineer, how about some real grunge?  I put on Screaming Life and jokingly said ‘this is probably older than you’ – turns out , it was. After the whole album was gone, I turned to a little bit of Green Day just to spice things up a bit.  then it hit me – these fuckers on here probably don’t even know Green Day, FFS.

The biggest frustration I have with the youngsters on board is their lack of caring and respect for the very vessel that keeps them safe and alive.  They crash around, bashing and slamming everything, leaving every electrical device turned on with no thought for their actions.  I have just had a frantic call from the chef about his freezers.  From the sound of his radio call, you would think his freezer was on fire when in fact all that had happened was he had shut something in the door and damaged the door seal.  Now call me a twat if you will but if you can close a walk in fridge door with two steel plates in the way that shouldn’t be there and NOT EVEN NOTICE – you shouldn’t be working at sea.  Go and join a Facebook group or something, complain all you like but please, fuck off and leave me alone.

The other week, one of the stewardesses came to me with a door handle in her hand.  She had slammed the handle down with such force that the shaft that runs through the door from one handle to the other had sheared completely.  That’s a lot of force.  Even better, I don’t think they know that door handles can also be used to close doors gently so that you don’t wake other people up.

Now of late, I have had more of a need to communicate while at sea than I have in recent years.  I am of an age where we didn’t have full time internet connections.  Transatlantic sailing was done from Mallorca to Antigua without any contact with the rest of the world, 16 or 17 days at a time. Now, everyone feels so privileged that they should have it all the time.  This in turn causes the boss to have internet anguish as I like to call it.  His speeds get so slow that he can hardly function.  In fairness to him, if I was paying 4 grand a month for an internet service, I would want all the bandwidth too but it is making my life extraordinarily hard.  On a work level, my boat computer gets shut down from the outside world.  That can be a real drag.  When the boss is on, I have to be very selective about what work I do, most of it is hugely invasive so it has to wait.  While it waits, I normally catch up with suppliers, theories, paper work or just hunt out solutions for current problems.  Cut me off from the outside world and it really hurts.  Most of my shopping is done with suppliers in America who are 12-18 hours behind.  Cut me off at the wrong time of day for a couple of hours and I can lose a whole day – not funny.

Then of course, there is the want and need to communicate with the squeeze. I am not talking about full on video conferencing here but just the need to send or receive simple messages or photos and that gets frustrating. Two days it took to download a recent video message the squeeze sent – as it happens it was a very important clip, a tearful squeeze explaining and sharing how she struggles with my absence – and it took me two days to see it.  Looking at it from her side, she has bared her soul, sent me a message and I haven’t even bothered to respond – or so it seems.  Knowing how things can spiral out of control, i get frustrated at the inability to communicate.  Let me put it into perspective.  When I am finished here today, I will click on the menu area at the top of my screen. i will then wait for around 30 seconds for the menu to appear with the ‘sign out option’.  Now imagine trying to load a whole page?  It ain’t pretty.

So change will come, change will happen, change is good – and if you oppose change there is always Facebook where you can say you protested your bit by joining a Facebook action group where once you have clicked ‘join’ no further action is taken.

So, change is good, unless you are the New Skype Team, in which case your product change was shit but nowhere near as shit as receiving your p45 when Bill Gates sees all the reviews people have left you.

 

Anyway – I want to leave you with a little grunge.  Not my all time fave track but one you are more likely to recognise.  As it happens, it’s not too bad either.  This song deserves your attention so stop what you are doing and take a moment to enjoy it.  Put your headphones in, turn up your speakers, lean back in your chair  – just take a moment.  Grunge is not dead – long live grunge

 


Fake News

Fake News

Lets get political ! OK, Olivia Newton-John sang about getting physical but the lyrics still fit the tune, try it !!

Fake news is a new watchword, all over the media. I can’t decide if it is deliberately fake news or just people embellishing stories, misreporting facts, not researching correctly of just trying to be seen as the first to publish something fashionably ahead of all the others. The latter being the reason they haven´t researched the subject properly.

Now, Donald J Trump uses the words fake news an awful lot and I want to analyse that a little. See, I think Trump is being quite clever about this. The media are well known for hashing up shit, misreporting or to be more accurate with that – selectively reporting what happens in the world

By selective reporting I mean that they leave relevant information out so that the facts they present, distort the truth to the point that they completely change the story.

Remember that TV advert for the Guardian Newspaper from a few years ago? Several different camera angles as a skin head ran towards a city slicker with his briefcase?

Guardian Ad

That is exactly what I mean, the skin head was saving the city slicker from a falling pallet of bricks but a different camera angle would have you believe he was trying to snatch his bag. Ironically, that advert itself was misrepresented too, with the final cinematic cut not being the same sequence as the other angle presented.

But move on to Trump. This is where I think he is being very clever and ultimately very brave. He is using a media stream to communicate with 20 million followers. In that stream, he can give exactly the information he wants you to see, that only he can edit, no media slant, misrepresentation, no so-called experts opinions, just his own voice.

There is also a down side to that. He can write whatever he likes, admittedly he will have some self censorship but ultimately if he wanted to tweet ‘Hilary is a Lazy old cow’ he could. So for his own gain, he could also deliberately mislead 20 million followers with no-one able to call him to task on it before it hits the outside world.

I am still curious about Trump. In a year of big political upsets, where the establishment is being challenged, it brings a little bit of hope. I am tired of weak and woolly politicians speaking without actually saying anything meaningful. Many of them too scared to say what they really think or what their electorate want them to bring into the public forum. Nigel Farage was not like that – he generally said what he thought and also what many of the voters were thinking too. Not afraid to say what he thought might just need saying.  I am so curious about the enigma that is Mr. Trump that I opened a twitter account purely to follow him – show me another politician that has grabbed my interest so much that I did similar!

Now, a few of you might think that I have gone a little mental right? Donald Trump, Nigel Farage but let me throw a few more names at you – Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders and a name soon to vanish into the political archives Angela Merkel

Merkel is about to pay the ultimate political price for not listening to the concerns of her voters, a trip to the political wilderness is all hers – she will get hammered in this years elections.

Geert Wilders is even more interesting. All the opinion poles are suggesting that he will get support but not enough to form a government – opinion poles, remember how wrong they have been in recent history? I think old Geert just might surprise a few people.

Marine Le Pen – not this time is my prediction, but next time yes. France is not ready just yet but her time will come. François Hollande will be walking off to the wilderness hand in hand with Merkel

Wow, you might think, what on earth has rattled my cage today?

 

The Bloody BBC !!!

 

I hate this. I have for many years been proud of the BBC – an establishment that can be trusted, to report fairly and fully. Respected around the globe for its neutral stance on delivering accurate information – but it’s been on a slide.

Being out of the UK a lot, my first choice for news is the BBC. I see spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, factual mistakes in their news now. There used to be a time where they had a website to report these errors. Send them a note with a link to the page and they would deal with it. Not any more. I can only assume they got tired with the amount of corrections that they shut down the site to tell them about errors rather than address the real issue.

You have seen it too right? A reporter is looking at Facebook or some other web site and using that as their single point of research on a story. They claim a ‘social media outcry’ on a topic and post 3 examples. In a country of around 60 million people – 3 comments from internet warriors is hardly a social media outcry in my book.

You may have noticed too that the BBC also use google maps to add photos to their stories. Lets say Alfred Hitchcock was shot dead in Wankalot Street, Greater Manchester. Do they investigate further or just type wankalot street into google maps and screen grab a picture of that street? It is assumed that Google has listed the map & street correctly then published all over the BBC.

Lets not forget inaccurate reporting too. Ever read a story where they say something like ‘more than 12 cars were damaged’. What – you can only count to 12????? Investigate, give us facts because 1000 cars is more than 12 and 1000 suggests more of an incident than 13 doesn’t it?

The BBC is under threat of extinction and it would be a real shame and completely irreversible if it were lost just momentarily. If nothing is done to stop the nonsense it is starting to spout its demise is just around the corner.

I just read an article on Scottish Independence. I see Nicola Sturgeon is now wanting another independence referendum. I say give it to them and we can bury her political career next to Alex Salmond. The article in question is linked below. I just don’t know why these people hate the English with such a passion but let them get on with it – I am sure the Scots have more sense than Sturgeon credits them with.

The article headlines with ‘Scottish Independence support at highest ever level’.  Later into the story it writes this paragraph.

 

Asked to choose between independence, devolution and not having any kind of Scottish Parliament at all, 46% of the 1237 people surveyed between July & December of last year now back independence.

 

I have two issues with this. Such a small sample of people to make, what is, a huge statement from is wrong, but pollsters, you can’t tell them anything right?

More importantly, I seem to remember the last Independence vote Scotland took ended 45% Independent to 55% stay in the Union. So why such a dramatic headline for Independence support when in fact only a 1% increase has happened and that 1% was from less than 1300 people in a country where 4.5 million voted last time .

By the time that headline has been regurgitated a dozen times on social media it will be 70% in favour of independence – and you wonder where fake news comes from ?

Don’t blame Zuckerberg and Facebook, blame the cannon fodder that blindly hit the share and like buttons.  Don’t take my word for it though, research it yourself here

 

BBC Report

 

Phew – rant over. Holiday time is just a few days away. I will be back in Europe from 22nd March until 24th April and there are some key people I really would like to see.

 

Sister, Parents & Uncle at the top of the list of course, then there are others – Connor, it’s about time I took you for a coffee after all of your avid reading. Faggot pants Clifton might also get a visit while I am in Cornwall visiting Maria Moore. There is also the real possibilities of Portugal, I hear the very lush yank from Salt Lake City is back in town, Zenia-June and of course Mallorca to meet with Jones the Prick who is about to become a father for the first time. If I am in Mallorca, I have to meet with Belahendro and Bomber too – the list is endless but does also include John and Mon or the future in -laws if I can just get Lynsey to say yes !

 

Flying on the 21st, back on the ground and on my UK number from 06:30 on 22nd – send me some love


Spending Quality Time with the Family

I have been away for a while, for that I apologise.  Nothing spectacular has happened to bring me back to my blog, I just thought I should swing by and say hello.  A bit more of a photo story today – that’s good for those of you that don’t like to read.

I stopped by the coffee shop the other week with Jean-Claude, our chef.  We were waiting for the supermarket to open and had time for a coffee when I saw the family at the table opposite fully engaged with each other.  I like the idea of family holidays, it’s a time when you can all get together from your busy schedules and spend time with each other and just catch up – you know what I mean?  A good old chin wag and a joke, pulling faces and making laughter as you chat and interact endlessly until the sunset ???

A good old fashioned chin wag

A good old fashioned chin wag

Alternatively – find a café with free wifi and behave just like you are at home in Germany while you text your friends telling them what a wild time you are having in Mallorca.

 

I have mentioned Jean-Claude before, the magical chef with more than his fair share of Parkinson’s.  Here he is, a sharp old boy who just can’t control the movement of his body as he would like.  To the unknowing onlooker, you might just think he was pissed at 8 o’clock in the morning.

IMG_0292

 

But this old boy is one sharp cookie.  We were recently talking in the crew mess, JC with a glass of red in one hand, a knob of cheese in the other (yup – stereotypical french man, probably had garlic in his pockets too) when he said something in french to me that I roughly translated as,

When I die, I want to come back as a shower in an all girls school

In my mind, I was questioning if I got the translation right.  Let’s be fair, it’s not in your every day phrase book unless perhaps you are on the Monty Python payroll.  As quickly as the questioning look appeared on my face, a little wry smile appeared on JC’s – it seemed I had nailed the translation perfectly !  I laughed immediately and then had to translate for Matt the deck hand as he had no idea why we were both laughing so hard.

Moving on – I have been treating myself to an hour on the beach at the weekends.  There are some benefits of my job, small perks that one must really take advantage of in order to maximise your time away from home.  I found a quiet secluded spot, with not too much going on, took a book and a bottle of water and relaxed for an hour.

IMG_0307 IMG_0322

 

Something of a distraction so early on a Saturday morning !

But talking of treats – there is a place here in Palma called ‘Cappuchinos’.  This place sells what is by far the best carrot cake I have ever eaten so as a small treat this weekend, I also headed there.

 

IMG_0327

 

Then I took the next photo.  Later that night I noticed the timings on the photos were just 3 minutes apart

 

IMG_0328

 

The treats have been fast and furious this week mainly because due to an injury, I have had to completely refrain from any exercise.  A little bit of knee pain last week after a quick 10k run up the hill seemed to have a lasting effect.  I went to the hospital to see the doctor, they took a few X-rays and told me I needed to rest for a while to let the damage to my joints recover.  It is amazing in Mallorca, the health care is really good and the X-Rays show great detail.

 

IMG_0036

 

All said and done, I am in good shape and will live to fight another day.  When I have something of interest to share, you will be the first to know – until then

 

 

 

Float like a butterfly

Sting like a bee

His hands can’t hit

What his eyes can’t see

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Balearic Bill

I had an hour on the beach today – very pleasant indeed, I might try and do it again next weekend. I don’t really have anything else interesting to tell you today but if anyone ever tells you there is no drugs problem in the Balearics, please direct them to the video below.

I saw this ‘guy’ today at a major junction on the Passeo Maritimo – the main road along the seafront from one side of Palma to another.  I couldn’t resist grabbing my phone from the cradle and filming him.  Sorry its only short but it took me a few seconds to realise what was going on.

So here he is, Balearic Bill – enjoy !!

 


Ready Steady Cook

Ok, so the Stoner Dude was funny !!

It is time however – to hit the ground with a thud, and start running again – race day is fast approaching.  I say fast approaching but I still have two months.  I did start this week in earnest though and plan a big half marathon distance up that bloody mountain on Sunday morning – that is going to be a slog and a record breaker.  Highest elevation climb and quite possibly longest distance too at around 22.5kms.  It is also a potential ankle breaker on the way back down – that route is tough on my bike.  I am expecting a time of around 2:30.  If it rains, I will stay in bed.

90kgs this evening, with a target race weight of just 88kgs so it really is ‘Game On’ now.  That said, I have just arranged a Sunday afternoon pizza fest at Diablito’s later this month with a few chums and Mr & Mrs. Cooper are ‘on island’ at the moment, I may even treat them to the best carrot cake ever !!

Or maybe I will just eat all of it myself.


Up in Smoke

Bored in Mallorca and just found the funniest stoner on YouTube courtesy of Jerry Springer.  It’s a long clip, so sit back and relax for a while.

In all of my life, I have never met an aggressive stoner – this guy is funny as hell so long as you can forget the context of his faux pas

 


Explore your nether regions

I wanted to write something snappy and witty but instead opted for the drudgery of mediocre boredom – shit, did I just say that ?  Well, one more week in the South of France and then we depart for Mallorca.  Not a moment too soon if you ask me, 6 months in France is enough for anyone.  John Thaw may have managed a ‘Year in Provence’ but he was a highly paid TV actor. The reality is it is all too fashionably anal for me.

Last weekend I managed to disappoint myself.  A parkrun with the aim of setting a new PB but missing it by 10 seconds.  That is harsh, I can remember a couple of occasions when my concentration slipped.  When that happens, you slow down.  I reckon I would have had it if I kept my concentration – maybe next time?

Also gave the mountain bike some love this last week.  Overdue some head bearings, pedal bearings, bottom bracket, front brake pads and new handlebar grips – they were all pretty worn out.  I also fitted a damn fine second-hand back tyre that I sponged off of The Yates who was upgrading so I am on a flying machine again.  I am going to try to squeeze a 44T on the front again though – that 42 just doesn’t unleash my legs.

3 months until the Great North 10k – and I am fully intending to set a new record there.  For those of you with Runkeeper, you will be able to track me again in real-time as I race against those Gurkhas one more time.  My last run, I managed to catch and pass two of them even though they had a 3 minute head start – I was impressed with that even if you weren’t.

But for now I have nothing more to say.

 

Gunk my old friend – we will meet again.


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