Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog

February 2008

PhotographyTuesday, February 26th, 2008, (1:57 pm)

This is a great picture! It wasn’t taken by me but by a guy whom I only know as ‘Michi.P’ from Flickr.

Michi.P took the photograph as the plane he was in approached Frankfurt on a flight from his hometown of Vienna. He posted the picture on his Flikr site in October last year.

Michi.P’s Flikr
In Flight (Part 1)
Waving at planes
One such moment
The beauty of a storm
It’s seven thirty

GeneralMonday, February 25th, 2008, (4:32 pm)

Earlier this month a Christian political pressure group created a controversial billboard that read “Gay aim: Abolish the family.” With that in mind I wondered if a billboard I saw the other day might have been a direct response to that, it read “Some people are gay. Get over it.”


It turns out that the billboard isn’t a response to nutty Christians, but is instead part of a nationwide campaign in schools by charity Stonewall. The campaign which started back in November 2007 has distributed posters, stickers and postcards to all 5,000 high schools across England.

According to Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive, “Homophobia is almost endemic in our schools and blights the lives of people throughout society. It makes sense that this zero-tolerance message should be extended to the wider public. Across urban and rural Britain, this plain-speaking slogan will remind people that discrimination against gay men and lesbians is no longer acceptable.”

There are two of these billboard close to where I live, one of which is ironically positioned on the other side of the road to the ‘Bebington Christian Life centre.’ Unlike the “Gay aim” billboard, Stonewall’s “Get over it” billboard raised no objections or complaints.

billboardUnsurprisingly at least one of the 600 billboard that have appeared around the country as been defaced.

George Haworth, secretary of the 4 Health Group, which supports lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, said. “It’s 2008 now and people are still obviously not happy with a poster saying get real and get with the reality of today.” He continued. “There are a variety of reasons why people write such offensive things: sometimes it’s hate, sometimes it’s religiously orientated, but it’s all ignorant.”

As a side, note I still haven’t received a reply to the email I sent to Kensington Temple’s Pastor Colin Dye about the “Gay aim” billboard. Dye is a co-founder of the CCTV, the group that ran that billboard, but he has thus far ignored the email in which I challenged the CCTV’s wisdom in being so openly aggressive toward a section of society. You can see the email in the comments on that particular post.

Gay aim : Are you offended?

GeneralSaturday, February 23rd, 2008, (5:40 pm)

I know I am a little late to this particular party, but I’ve just discovered the PicooZ mini remote control helicopter, and I haven’t stopped goofing around with it since i got it!

A friend of mine introduced me to the PicooZ (known in America as a ‘Air Hogs Havoc Heli’) and after goofing around on their for the best part of an entire evening I went and got myself one. Not bad for just £17 (33.18) from Asda.

It weighs just 10g and is just 6.5inches ling making it the worlds smallest remote control helicopter. Best of all it’s suitable for indoor use and is virtually indestructable – trust me I’ve had some awful crashes! It takes just a few minutes to charge up then you can get about 5-10 mins flying (crashing) time.

The novelty will wear off soon enough I suspect, but let me just say to the guys who read my blog, you gotta get one of these little things! They’re just so much fun. Almost makes me wish I was a kid again so I could sneak it into school and fly it in the gym hall while trying to avoid getting busted!


GeneralMonday, February 18th, 2008, (6:43 pm)

Continuing my ‘Game on’ series of posts how about this old classic – Pacman!

Sorry, you will need the <a href="" target="_blank">Flash Player</a> to play Pac-Man.

You can’t really talk about retro computer games and not mention Pacman. Now I have to confess that Pacman wasn’t a favorite of mine, but Karen mentioned she loved this game, or at the very least wasted a lot of time playing it years ago, so how could I not post this web version of the game?

Have a play and see what high score you can reach, but remember to mute this if you’re in work – you don’t want to get busted now do you!?

I’ve improved my Space Invaders score since posting the game last week. Though one person who will remain nameless has mentioned to me that she has achieved a high score of 56440 so far – that’s pretty impressive, if a little on the OCD side of things.

Work can wait, take a little ‘you time’ and play Pacman. I won’t tell if you don’t!

Game on : Space Invaders
Game on : Pong
Game on : Simon
[Video] Pacman live on the street of New York City
[Video] Students play live Pacman in college library

Found on the webThursday, February 14th, 2008, (11:58 pm)

As another Valentines day draws to a close I thought I’d ask you to recall the craziest thing ‘love’ has ever made you do? Whatever it is, I bet the woman in the video below has got you beat.

With just a card table, two mics, a camera and a sign that reads “Interviews 50c.” NPR’s Alex Chadwick sits and waits to see what stories will come his way. This one has to be one of the more bizarre ones.

A 36 year old female lawyer from Dallas feels that her “biological clock” is ticking and that her hopes to start a family lie in personal ads. After conversing with a guy in Florida “a couple of times” said woman gives up her job, packs up her life, and drives to Florida to meet her Mr Right to maybe start a family. “I’m catholic, and I want to have a lot of kids.” She tells Chadwick.

She makes arrangements to meet her love-to-be in a restaurant in Key West, but along the way she is delayed visiting friends in Pensacola.

Her love-to-be sits in the restaurant and waits for her, but she doesn’t show up. Two days later she arrives at the restaurant, but surprise surprise he is not there. So, with her friend Anita, crazy Texas lady revisits the restuarant at the same time every night in the hope to meet her ‘Mr Right’.

Chadwick doesn’t mince his words. “Is this true?” “Yes of course,” Asserts the woman “Who could make up a story like this?” She continues. Who indeed!

Married five times

Photography and TravelTuesday, February 12th, 2008, (8:57 pm)

This past weekend I was in the big smoke, otherwise known as London, at a Chinese New Year dinner party thrown by my friend Jeffrey. I decided to take the opportunity to visit my favorite place to do a spot of shopping, Camden Market. The dinner party was great fun but unfortunately my plans to go shopping on Sunday at Camden Market came undone when it burned to the ground while we were letting off fireworks nearby!

No, the fireworks that were set off in the garden at our New Years party were not the cause of the fire at Camden Market, or at least not as far as we know, though the timing of our little firework display did coincide exactly with the start of the fire that conclusively gutted the famous market.

Actually our celebrations were a couple of days late. The Chinese Year new year (year of the rat) began on Thursday Feb 7th and, though little did we know it, we were seeing in the year 4706. One of these days I should like to be in China for the Chinese New Year, I imagine that might be a lot of fun, though I have to say that I have some serious issues with the thought of traveling to a country that so outrageously abuses human right and freedom as China does.

Jeffrey, with the help of David, prepared a Chinese style feast which consisted of many courses all of which I enjoyed but would be hard pushed to describe in any great detail. The wine was flowing freely and I’ll confess that I might have had a glass or two more than I might otherwise partake in. But no matter, nobody was counting.

We stayed up drinking and chatting well into Sunday morning, blissfully unaware that not far away over 100 firefighters were battling 40 foot high flames that were engulfing the famous market at Camden Lock.

I had planned to visit Camden Market on Sunday before I jumped on the train and headed back to Liverpool. As I went to bed on Saturday night I check the BBC news website and saw the headline ‘Blaze ravages London market area.’

The next day I ventured just two stops on the underground line to Camden Town to see if maybe the damage wasn’t as bad as it looked on the news. Unfortunately the damage to the market was so extensive that roads were still blocked and you couldn’t even get anywhere near the lockside area to see.

I first discovered Camden Market back when I was in my late teens. I’d head down there with a student nurse friend of mine who used to set up a little streetside stall braiding peoples hair with her friend. They made pretty damn good money as I recall.

Despite my own long hair I wasn’t really the kind of guy who would braid hair, but it was cool just to hang out there on the lockside in the sun listening to the booming bass of music emanating from any of the many nearby market stalls. Occasionally a bobby would move us along in which case we’d stop in for a couple of drinks at Dingwalls bar before venturing out again.

Camden Market will be rebuilt, it has to be! It is completely unique place that has a style and vibrancy all of it’s own. It’s a colorful cultural explosion where you can really find some interesting artifacts and which are only outnumbered by the interesting explosion.

Sunday was a bright February day with a clear blue sky that made the perfect backdrop for a little photography. I didn’t stay for long though. Only the stores on the road leading up to the market were open and as interesting as they might be I didn’t feel a pressing need to buy union jack underwear of pink fluffy high heels.

When they re-open the market I’ll return. Last year, when Missy was visiting, we spent a day at Camden Market and I did all my Christmas shopping in one go.

Despite the fire it was still a great weekend. A trip to London on the train is so much more enjoyable than driving there, and I was traveling on a complimentary first class ticket so it had that added sweetness you can only get with things like complimentary tickets and free upgrades.

Camden Market
Camden Market burns down
2007 Trip to Camden Market in 2007
The Big Smoke
Billy Joel – We didn’t start the fire

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