Saturday, 24 October 2009

Free Speech - Who are your neighbours?

In the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British National Party seems to be a talking point of late, winning European election votes and being a hot topic in the news.

I suppose everyone's entitled to their own opinion in a country that promotes free speech (mostly), but their views are somewhat 'right wing', and a rather lot of people would argue racist.

I'm sure not all of the members are racist and have simply been duped by BNP propaganda, but the views of the party's leadership have been exposed as such, and some of the policies are... well, lets just say radical.

Now, whilst reading the blog Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry (in my opinion the best blog title ever!),  I noticed a post about the recently leaked BNP members list. This leak was a hot topic as the BNP claimed it would single it's members out as targets for hate crimes. Well I suppose if your party views are bigoted, that's what may happen.

I in no way condone any such attacks, and respect that different people can have different opinions in this country, as well as different people in this country can be of differing race and religion, because I'm a person who welcomes diversity. If you are a member of said political party, that's up to you and because of the country and society we live in, no one can stop you.

Anyway, I took a look at the leaked BNP members list and searched for the village I reside in and two members live on my street. One may actually live in the house that backs onto mine. *twitchy curtains*

Experimenting, I searched for the town I grew up in. Lots of hits. Another search for another town I also grew up in turned up the name of someone I used to know 20 odd years ago. Git! In fact he actually sent me a friends request on facebook the other day. Glad I ignored it.

Anyway, I'm not sure what my point is, but the list was an interesting thing to search over.

Edit: On closer inspection, there are even people on the list who will give you 'BNP home-schooling" *shiver*


The Random Within

Friday, 23 October 2009

Bad Film Prediction

All traces of the evil space virus have vanished, but I have to admit, my trip into town the other day didn't aid it's departure.

Anyway, I've been watching a lot of Comedy Central on TV to pass the time, and the fact that the prime time slots are sponsored by the film "The Men Who Stare At Goats", is rather forcefully shoved down you throat. The sponsorship consists of someone telling you of the fact with a random clip from the film.

Now, I may be going out on a limb here, but I'm going to predict that this film is going to be bad in that way that makes you want to rip your arm off just so you can throw something at the screen.

I've read the book and the clips seem to make up the sum of all that can be funny in the film, so I'm wondering what the other 90 minutes of screen time will consist of.

The problem is that I'm so convinced of this fact, that I'm going to have to go and see it to make sure, which I know is going to be painful.

I feel like I'm in a catch 22 situation (well, not quite but I'm sure you know what I'm getting at).

I shall report back soon either in pain from the experience, or eating humble pie.


The Random Within

Saturday, 17 October 2009

How Authentic?

10 or so years ago I noticed these authentic French/German travelling markets appearing every now and then, usually around Christmas.

They were nice and authentic, all sellers were from the named country and what was on sale was usually traditional and decorative, or good wholesome food from that country - yum!

More, and more of late these authentic foreign markets have been popping up everywhere, and not just around Christmas, and frankly, they are taking the piss calling themselves authentic.

The case in point is the "authentic traditional French market' that I stumbled across in town today. I went over and had a look. Now, I'm not French, so what do I really know about what is traditionally French, but I'm pretty sure that cheap plastic toys, second hand books (printed in English), paintings of the lake district, knitted hats, and knock off watches and jewellery etc.. do not fall into that category. Oh, and all the stalls seemed to be staffed by English people.

Anyway, after being more than a little disappointed by what made up that particular market, underneath several large French tricolours fluttering in the wind I spotted a food stall selling traditional French food, including massive pancakes! Well, it wasn't anywhere near lunchtime and I was still quite full from breakfast, but there's always room for pancakes!

So, spotting the opportunity to practice my French, I strode up to the counter:

"Une crêpe au citron et le sucre s'il vous plaît", I said with confidence.

A puzzled look was returned by the stocky man behind the counter, and I stood there looking a little embarrassed and thinking my French must need a great deal of practice.

After a few seconds he said, "I don't understand, could you speak English", in a traditional Scottish accent!

Authentic, traditional French market? Connerie!


The Random Within

Thursday, 15 October 2009


Evil space virus attacking me.

Not well.

Normal service to be resumed soon (if I live).


The Random Within

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Halifax Bank Charges a Potential 3,650,000 % Overdraft Interest Fee

If you haven't already guessed, I live in the UK and I have a bank current account with the Halifax Bank.

I have a £2,500 overdraft that every now and then I'll dip; probably only a few pounds. Usually it's something like I didn't plan my finances correctly and my standing order into my savings account moved £10 more than I actually had. It's easier to leave the account overdrawn by a few pounds until pay day, rather than correct the balance. With the old charges, this probably cost me 2 pence so you can see that I wasn't that bothered.

Now to the point: I received a letter from The Halifax yesterday and was surprised to see that they were no longer going to give me interest on my balance (I didn't like that), and was shocked to see that they have changed their overdraft charges. If I go overdrawn outside of my limit I will be charged £5 per day, which is fine, BUT for every day that I use me agreed overdraft facility, I will be charged £1.

Now most people with a Halifax account probably won’t even read the letter (I nearly didn't), and a lot won’t see that as a problem, and nor do I really (I can afford it), but this is a rip off and it’s the principal of the thing. Think of it like this:

If my account goes overdrawn by 1 pence (£0.01), and I leave it like that all year, I will be charged £365. That’s 3,650,000%!!! Yes! Three million, six hundred and fifty thousand percent!

Now, I know if people go overdrawn it will probably be by more than 1 pence, but still, even if you keep your account £100 overdrawn, it is still 100%. That aside, for me this is potentially going to cost me more.

I know exactly what they’re doing; they’re trying to get everyone to upgrade to their pay for current account, but I’m not budging. Actually that’s not true. I have been waiting for an excuse to move banks as the online service provided by The Halifax is quite basic. I think this is the excuse I need.

Next week I shall move my account to another bank.

Now I suppose this is the point where you all tell me I have my maths wrong :)

The Random Within

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Tagged: A musical Exercise

I don't usually go in for these blog thinggies where you get 'tagged' to do a task, but this one sounded like a challenge.

By reading this you are also tagged, and you must answer all the questions below using song names from one artist/group. You are not allowed to use the artist/group I have chosen.

Post a blog link to your attempt in the comments section.

Pick your artist: Dire Straits

Are you a male or a female? Calling Elvis
Describe yourself: Solid Rock
How do you feel? So Far Away
Describe where you currently live: Telegraph Road
If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Tunnel of Love
Your favourite form of transportation? Single-Handed Sailor (boat?)
Your best friend is? Lady Writer
What's the weather like? It Never Rains
Favourite time of the day? My Parties
If your life was a TV show, what would it be called? Private Investigations
What is life to you? Once Upon A Time In The West
Your fear? Walk Of Life
What advice is the best advice you have to give? Love Over Gold
Thought for the day? The Man's Too Strong
How would you like to die? Twisting By The Pool
My soul's current condition? Fade To Black
My motto? Why Worry

Okay, there you go.

Now it's your turn.


The Ransom Within

PS I've found posting every day is hard work. I may switch to every other day if I find it tough to keep up this pace.

Monday, 12 October 2009

The Future: Twitter gets Government Bailout?

Everyone who spends more than a small amount of time on the Internet must have heard of Twitter.

Well it seems they are still searching for a business model, however it's value is said to be around $1 billion! How you can be worth that without a way of doing business or a sound plan as to how you are going to do business is beyond me. They must be using up money like it is going out of fashion.

Microsoft and Google may be coming twitter's rescue as they want to fold tweets into their web search results. Why on earth I would want to search over tweets about what people had for dinner, or where they simply say "goodnight" (aparantly one of the most tweeted words), is beyond me.

Industry experts have now started saying that Twitter is now too big to be left to fold if it can't come up with a business model, and would be worthy of a government rescue. It is claimed that many companies rely heavily on Twitter and the like to deliver customer service and to promote their product. Then there are all the entertainment outlets and celebrities that pump out tweets. It is even cited that Twitter was vital in organising the Iranian protesters after their disputed election.

As a result the government should cough up the cash if they can't make the business work.

I say "What business!?!?!"

Seriously, it isn't a business at all. If you want to give it a label, I would call it a rather large scale, expensive hobby that some web geek had. Harsh, but fair. There's nothing wrong with it, in fact I use it under another name, but a business? No.

And if a business relies on it for their means of customer service and product promotion... well I'm afraid their business model isn't much better than Twitter's.

I'll give the owners a bit of advice: Sell while people still think it's worth money!

Oooh, that turned into a bit of a rant didn't it.


The Random Within