The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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On the ending of The Newsroom…

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Oh man. A show with so much promise, some first rate actors, some interesting characters and a star writer, how on Earth could it end so limply? I loved the first season, I enjoyed the second season in the main and even season three started off well but the final three episodes just sucked.

Let me start at the killing of Charlie Skinner at the end of episode five of this season, why Sorkin, why? I know you’ve explained why but once more I ask, why Sorkin, why? The Newsroom revolved around Skinner and the acting masterclass that Sam Waterston put on. I loved him in Law & Order and loved him just as much as the bourbon drinking head honcho at ACN. He didn’t need to die and the way he killed him was just so mundane and didn’t give him the gravitas that he deserved if he was to meet his demise.

So the final episode explored some of the back stories that put the cast together, we’ve seen this before from Sorkin. At the start of season two of The West Wing we saw a wonderful two-parter (In the Shadow of Two Gunmen) that showed how everyone came together. This time though it didn’t set up a season, it ended a shows run and it didn’t actually add too much to the storyline. We knew Sloane was into Don before (‘You never asked me’) and we knew Mac was dealing with issues from Afghanistan. We find out that Jim has had a bad long-distance (45 mins away by car) relationship before (thus setting up the Jim/Maggie ending) and we find out that Charlie is a true gent who wants to do the news right (er…we knew this already) and that Will cares about ratings and what people thought about him (again we knew that already) so is all seriousness for all the flashbacks we learnt that Jim has had a bad history in semi long-distance relationships. So worth it.

This brings me on to the most disgraceful part of the episode, the return of Neal (seriously dude, spell your name right, like all good Neil’s). Neal missed most of the season hiding out in Venezuela after refusing to give up a source ad what does he get after his near two months on the run? It gets announced at Charlie’s wake that his plane has landed and he gets a cool shot at the ACN Digital guys but he gets zero interaction with the rest of the crew. No pats on the back, no-one asking him how he was, nothing. Now I’m guessing this has to do with actor Dev Patel working on other projects so they just tried to shoehorn him into the episode but come on, film at least one scene where people welcome him back for fucks sake. As much as the fact he spells his name with an a instead of an i pisses me off, I loved Neal nearly as much as I loved Charlie. He reminded me of me, if only I was better looking, had better morals, was smarter…well he doesn’t remind me of me as such but his name is similar and I liked him, ok?

Mac is pregnant. Who cares? Mac gets promoted to be President of ACN without even being asked, like, for reals? Any scene with Leona is great as Jane Fonda is great. Seriously someone create a spin-off show that is just Leona and Charlie (assuming he can be resurrected from the dead) drink bourbon and bitch about the world and I’d be all over that. As would everyone who watched The Newsroom.

So we get to the finale of the most painful romance in TV history, Jim and Maggie. Jim (with whom I actually do identify in many ways despite not even being remotely close to my name) realised that he was in love with Maggie still, despite going out with Hallie (who was wonderful, if you were to possibly draw up my ‘ideal’ woman in terms of the type of person with whom I think I’d fall for then it would be Hallie, ambitious, smart, beautiful, quick-witted, sorry I’m just imagining the make-up sex with her after a fight, I’m sensing it would be amazing but I digress). So Jim and Hallie end after he is a dick (see, I told you I could relate to him) but in part it is because deep down he’s remembered his feelings for Maggie. She is seeing someone else too but he’s super smart and realises very quickly that she is hung up on Jim.

This tawdry love affair reaches a climax on a plane where they share an albeit beautiful kiss, the head stroke and smile on Maggie’s face seemed genuine and lovely. At times I can at least see romance even if I’m seemingly incapable of portraying it in real life. She finally had the one she wanted. Fast forward three days and after three nights of sex, Jim recommends her for a field producers position in DC, meaning they would have to be in a LDR (see the flashbacks did have a very small point after all) but having overcome the lazy blonde stereotype that she was in season one and after the abomination of what they did to her character in season two, she had blossomed into what we saw, a confident, smart, young woman. Hurrah. Yet here we are with her all nervous about Jim trying to ship her out of town. They end this mini-fight with her asking why he was so sure that this LDR would work when the others hadn’t and he walks away saying, ‘because I wasn’t in love with them’ – nice. A good line finally. Sadly we all know that in reality Jim would be too much of a prick for it to last and Maggie would find someone better suited in DC but we can all pretend, right? This wasn’t Josh and Donna from TWW, that love story needed no coercion, it was natural and the audience could see it and yearned for it, this was just meh.

To round this all off we of course get to Will and Mac. Mac is Will’s one. Will doesn’t care about ratings and doesn’t care about being liked deep down, that is all a mask, all he cares about is Mac and how she sees him. Mac and Will were together before but she cheated on him and he couldn’t forgive her at that point and went into years of depression that his one could do that to him. She is brought back by Charlie because he knows that the only way to turn both the show and Will around is to make him care once more and the only way to do that is to bring her in. Fair enough. It works as a storyline and we saw Will’s evolution into the character we all loved. Mac however never truly developed and her happiness came from being with Will and making him into the best person he could be. Sweet yes, but again shows how Sorkin struggles with writing female characters.

Look, don’t get me wrong, overall I enjoyed the show and Charlie and Leona were insanely good characters. Will was developed well and all three actors (Waterston, Fonda, Daniels) were first rate. Sadly though for an ensemble cast, the rest of the characters were never truly developed and this held back the show from becoming what it could have been, the acting was great but the writing concentrated too much on the holier-than-thou attitude of Sorkin towards the media (which may or may not be unfair depending on your take of the current media output that we are subjected to) but that air of arrogance held back the development of the other characters and forced relationships that didn’t sit well with the audience. It could’ve been special and when they were given six more episodes to end things then everything was set up for an epic climax, instead we got an average episode then summed up the missed chance once more that this show was.

The Newsroom 2012-2014. Loved, then liked, then watched. Sadly it won’t be terribly missed.

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Written by neilmonnery

December 15th, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Posted in Random Stuff

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Anglia Engineering Solutions Ltd Spam Trojan Virus Warning

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This morning I received the e-mail below. Straight away I knew it was a virus of some sort but some googling has shown that by opening the file attached to the e-mail, it will attempt to download a binary trojan horse on to your computer. So if you get the following e-mail please delete straight away and do not open the attached file.

Dear ,

We are making a payment to you.

Please find attached a copy of our remittance advice, which will reach your bank account on 11/12/2014.

If you have any questions regarding the remittance please contact us using the details below.

Kind regards
Imelda Myers
Anglia Engineering Solutions Ltd
Tel: 01469 936919

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December 10th, 2014 at 11:21 am

Posted in Random Stuff

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How Green is your local council? All 352 councils are ranked

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The website today published the results from a national environmentally-conscious recycling and waste manage company who reviewed all the local recycling percentages from council to council across the United Kingdom. The results are based on the 2012-2013 financial year period.

Top of the list was Rochford Council, which is not a stones throw from where I am, however Southend itself was 87th on the list. I happen to think that Southend Council do a pretty good job in promoting recycling in the borough, I know it is cool to rag on local councils but my lot provide pink sacks for everything, collect the recycling all the time, recently they’ve provided food bins and yeah, they do a pretty decent job. Of course they could do more but a lot of it is now down to educating the public of what can and can’t be recycled.

One of the big surprises is the Green run council of Brighton & Hove was 327th with only 26.80% of all refuse being recycled, that is a shockingly low percentage for a council run by a party who has this on the forefront of their identity. That just doesn’t make much sense to me but I think the issues of that council have been well known for a while.

All councils can do better and the fact the difference between top and bottom is so stark shows that many councils do not take this issue seriously enough. It isn’t hard to recycle. Councils, certainly those nearer the bottom of the list, need to take a long hard look at themselves and get better.

So anyway here is the full list of councils along with how much refuse is recycled, reused or composted. So how did your council do…?

1 Rochford District Council 66.75%
2 South Oxfordshire District Council 65.32%
3 Vale of White Horse District Council 65.13%
4 Surrey Heath Borough Council 63.77%
5 Three Rivers District Council 61.96%
6 Stockport MBC 60.97%
7 Calderdale MBC 60.61%
8 Stratford-on-Avon District Council 60.28%
9 West Oxfordshire District Council 60.11%
10 Rutland County Council 59.83%
11 Oxfordshire County Council 59.79%
12 Epping Forest Borough Council 58.80%
13 Woking Borough Council 58.57%
14 Cotswold District Council 58.57%
15 North Somerset Council 58.43%
16 Lichfield District Council 57.84%
17 West Devon Borough Council 57.01%
18 Braintree District Council 56.86%
19 Harborough District Council 56.70%
20 Mole Valley District Council 56.69%
21 Suffolk Coastal District Council 56.66%
22 Warwick District Council 56.52%
23 Teignbridge District Council 56.38%
24 Cheshire West and Chester 56.10%
25 South Cambridgeshire District Council 55.97%
26 Huntingdonshire District Council 55.91%
27 Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council 55.55%
28 Uttlesford District Council 55.53%
29 Castle Point Borough Council 55.50%
30 Leicestershire County Council 55.46%
31 Cherwell District Council 54.85%
32 Devon County Council 54.82%
33 Bexley LB 54.30%
34 West Lindsey District Council 53.95%
35 Staffordshire Moorlands District Council 53.95%
36 East Riding of Yorkshire Council 53.91%
37 Cambridgeshire County Council 53.90%
38 South Hams District Council 53.85%
39 Cheshire East 53.78%
40 Staffordshire County Council 53.63%
41 East Lindsey District Council 53.57%
42 Milton Keynes Council 53.53%
43 Tewkesbury Borough Council 53.15%
44 East Staffordshire Borough Council 52.92%
45 Oadby and Wigston Borough Council 52.69%
46 Guildford Borough Council 52.51%
47 Horsham District Council 52.45%
48 Suffolk County Council 52.37%
49 Warwickshire County Council 52.34%
50 Stafford Borough Council 52.25%
51 Surrey County Council 52.13%
52 Essex County Council 52.05%
53 Ryedale District Council 51.97%
54 Cannock Chase Council 51.96%
55 Bradford City MDC (MBC) 51.85%
56 Basildon District Council 51.85%
57 Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council 51.73%
58 South Gloucestershire Council 51.42%
59 Lincolnshire County Council 51.35%
60 St Edmundsbury Borough Council 51.22%
61 Tamworth Borough Council 51.13%
62 Rushcliffe Borough Council 50.84%
63 North Kesteven District Council 50.79%
64 Central Bedfordshire 50.67%
65 Shropshire 50.60%
66 Waverley Borough Council 50.59%
67 Waveney District Council 50.46%
68 South Staffordshire Council 50.37%
69 Rugby Borough Council 50.35%
70 Dorset Waste Partnership 50.32%
71 Somerset County Council 50.31%
72 Elmbridge Borough Council 50.11%
73 West Berkshire District Council 50.06%
74 Blaby District Council 49.91%
75 Barnsley MBC 49.88%
76 Bournemouth Borough Council 49.72%
77 Daventry District Council 49.72%
78 Fenland District Council 49.45%
79 Bromley LB 49.07%
80 Brentwood Borough Council 49.05%
81 Wolverhampton MBC 48.99%
82 South Ribble Borough Council 48.88%
83 South Northamptonshire District Council 48.76%
84 Charnwood Borough Council 48.71%
85 Kingston-upon-Hull City Council 48.54%
86 Wigan MBC 48.52%
87 Southend-on-Sea Borough Council 48.42%
88 South Kesteven District Council 48.27%
89 Chorley Borough Council 48.14%
90 Gloucestershire County Council 48.07%
91 Peterborough City Council 48.01%
92 Sandwell MBC 47.95%
93 Trafford MBC 47.90%
94 Derbyshire Dales District Council 47.85%
95 Buckinghamshire County Council 47.61%
96 Lancashire County Council 47.58%
97 West Lancashire District Council 47.51%
98 Wyre Borough Council 47.47%
99 North Hertfordshire District Council 47.31%
100 Forest Heath District Council 47.01%
101 Maldon District Council 46.95%
102 Mid Devon District Council 46.85%
103 Dacorum Borough Council 46.84%
104 Forest of Dean District Council 46.71%
105 East Hertfordshire District Council 46.58%
106 North West Leicestershire District Council 46.55%
107 Harlow District Council 46.45%
108 Kettering Borough Council 46.33%
109 Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames 46.31%
110 Northamptonshire County Council 46.21%
111 Isle of Wight Council 46.21%
112 Chelmsford Borough Council 46.19%
113 East Northamptonshire Council 46.18%
114 Wiltshire 46.10%
115 East Devon District Council 46.05%
116 Epsom and Ewell Borough Council 46.03%
117 Richmond upon Thames LB 46.03%
118 Tunbridge Wells Borough Council 46.02%
119 York City Council 45.96%
120 Cumbria County Council 45.93%
121 Bath and North East Somerset Council 45.83%
122 Fylde Borough Council 45.83%
123 Shepway District Council 45.78%
124 Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council 45.70%
125 North Yorkshire County Council 45.68%
126 Hertfordshire County Council 45.55%
127 Reigate and Banstead Borough Council 45.51%
128 Derbyshire County Council 45.49%
129 Chiltern District Council 45.44%
130 Maidstone Borough Council 45.42%
131 Dover District Council 45.41%
132 Broadland District Council 45.41%
133 Derby City Council 45.39%
134 Bristol City Council 45.30%
135 Hambleton District Council 45.24%
136 Wychavon District Council 45.21%
137 Cheltenham Borough Council 45.20%
138 South Derbyshire District Council 45.20%
139 Taunton Deane Borough Council 45.08%
140 Sedgemoor District Council 45.03%
141 Rother District Council 45.00%
142 Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council 44.92%
143 Oxford City Council 44.83%
144 Corby Borough Council 44.77%
145 Harrow LB 44.75%
146 North East Derbyshire District Council 44.73%
147 Melton Borough Council 44.70%
148 Torbay Council 44.62%
149 Carlisle City Council 44.55%
150 Northampton Borough Council 44.34%
151 Swindon Borough Council 44.33%
152 Croydon LB 44.30%
153 North Devon District Council 44.24%
154 Eden District Council 44.21%
155 West Somerset District Council 44.08%
156 Lincoln City Council 44.08%
157 Norfolk County Council 43.98%
158 North Lincolnshire Council 43.93%
159 Solihull MBC 43.92%
160 Wealden District Council 43.90%
161 Welwyn Hatfield Council 43.82%
162 County Durham 43.56%
163 Worcestershire County Council 43.54%
164 Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council 43.42%
165 Craven District Council 43.38%
166 Runnymede Borough Council 43.33%
167 Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council 43.30%
168 Selby District Council 43.27%
169 Allerdale Borough Council 43.25%
170 Telford and Wrekin Council 43.16%
171 Hillingdon LB 43.04%
172 Bury MBC 43.03%
173 North Norfolk District Council 43.01%
174 High Peak Borough Council 42.98%
175 Torridge District Council 42.96%
176 Thurrock Council 42.96%
177 Tandridge District Council 42.96%
178 Warrington Borough Council 42.94%
179 South Somerset District Council 42.94%
180 Canterbury City Council 42.86%
181 Cambridge City Council 42.85%
182 Hartlepool Borough Council 42.79%
183 South Lakeland District Council 42.74%
184 Nottinghamshire County Council 42.69%
185 Spelthorne Borough Council 42.64%
186 West Sussex County Council 42.61%
187 Brent LB 42.50%
188 Greater Manchester WDA (MBC) 42.17%
189 St Albans City and District Council 41.63%
190 Richmondshire District Council 41.61%
191 Wellingborough Borough Council 41.57%
192 Rotherham MBC 41.47%
193 Bromsgrove District Council 41.47%
194 Leicester City Council 41.45%
195 Wokingham Council 41.31%
196 Broxtowe Borough Council 41.23%
197 Doncaster MBC 41.18%
198 Medway Borough Council 41.03%
199 Kent County Council 41.03%
200 Mid Suffolk District Council 40.97%
201 Mid Sussex District Council 40.96%
202 Bolsover District Council 40.95%
203 Scarborough Borough Council 40.89%
204 Mendip District Council 40.84%
205 Copeland Borough Council 40.84%
206 Lancaster City Council 40.81%
207 Ipswich Borough Council 40.77%
208 Ealing LB 40.57%
209 Hertsmere Borough Council 40.46%
210 Walsall MBC 40.45%
211 Chesterfield Borough Council 40.44%
212 Wirral MBC 40.43%
213 Colchester Borough Council 40.30%
214 Leeds City Council MBC 40.28%
215 Eastleigh Borough Council 40.23%
216 Poole Borough Council 40.18%
217 Northumberland 40.15%
218 West London Waste Authority 39.95%
219 Greenwich LB 39.94%
220 Erewash Borough Council 39.91%
221 Herefordshire Council 39.70%
222 Watford Borough Council 39.66%
223 Blackpool Borough Council 39.56%
224 Wakefield City MDC 39.54%
225 East Sussex County Council 39.20%
226 South Norfolk Council 39.17%
227 Bedford 39.12%
228 Wycombe District Council 39.07%
229 Sefton MBC 38.96%
230 Merton LB 38.86%
231 Enfield LB 38.81%
232 Hampshire County Council 38.68%
233 Bracknell Forest Borough Council 38.48%
234 Chichester District Council 38.47%
235 Gloucester City Council 37.95%
236 Hart District Council 37.95%
237 Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council 37.90%
238 Darlington Borough Council 37.78%
239 Aylesbury Vale District Council 37.78%
240 Halton Borough Council 37.36%
241 Worcester City Council 37.10%
242 Tameside MBC 37.04%
243 Norwich City Council 37.01%
244 Breckland Council 36.97%
245 Stevenage Borough Council 36.82%
246 Manchester City Council MBC 36.79%
247 Gateshead MBC 36.76%
248 Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council MBC 36.75%
249 Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council 36.70%
250 Fareham Borough Council 36.63%
251 Stoke-on-Trent City Council 36.63%
252 Ribble Valley Borough Council 36.59%
253 Arun District Council 36.57%
254 Sutton LB 36.53%
255 Gedling Borough Council 36.41%
256 City of London 36.41%
257 Coventry City Council 36.27%
258 Boston Borough Council 36.24%
259 Merseyside WDA (MBC) 36.22%
260 Reading Borough Council 36.09%
261 Mansfield District Council 36.08%
262 Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council 35.97%
263 Oldham MBC 35.96%
264 Pendle Borough Council 35.88%
265 Hyndburn Borough Council 35.77%
266 North Tyneside Council 35.58%
267 Winchester City Council 35.45%
268 Hounslow LB 35.05%
269 South Tyneside MBC 34.89%
270 Exeter City Council 34.85%
271 Dudley MBC 34.79%
272 Preston Borough Council 34.72%
273 Rossendale Borough Council 34.62%
274 Harrogate Borough Council 34.60%
275 Havering LB 34.60%
276 East Hampshire District Council 34.53%
277 Broxbourne Borough Council 34.26%
278 Worthing Borough Council 34.14%
279 Sunderland City Council 34.07%
280 Cornwall 33.88%
281 Ashfield District Council 33.85%
282 North Warwickshire Borough Council 33.69%
283 Luton Borough Council 33.61%
284 Test Valley Borough Council 33.56%
285 Rochdale MBC 33.37%
286 East Cambridgeshire District Council 33.37%
287 Adur District Council 33.25%
288 Barnet LB 33.03%
289 Plymouth City Council 32.85%
290 Eastbourne Borough Council 32.78%
291 Burnley Borough Council 32.68%
292 Kirklees MBC 32.57%
293 South Bucks District Council 32.43%
294 North East Lincolnshire Council 32.43%
295 Sevenoaks District Council 32.29%
296 Swale Borough Council 32.20%
297 Wyre Forest District Council 31.74%
298 North London Waste Authority 31.72%
299 Haringey LB 31.66%
300 Nottingham City Council 31.62%
301 Malvern Hills District Council 31.43%
302 Islington LB 31.43%
303 Knowsley MBC 30.91%
304 Camden LB 30.91%
305 Waltham Forest LB 30.79%
306 Bolton MBC 30.72%
307 Southwark LB 30.38%
308 Birmingham City Council 30.38%
309 Havant Borough Council 30.30%
310 South Holland District Council 30.06%
311 Slough Borough Council 29.93%
312 New Forest District Council 29.67%
313 Redbridge LB 29.44%
314 St Helens MBC 29.32%
315 Redditch Borough Council 29.26%
316 Salford City Council MBC 29.23%
317 Stroud District Council 28.92%
318 Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council 28.91%
319 Tendring District Council 28.69%
320 Amber Valley Borough Council 27.99%
321 Sheffield City Council 27.72%
322 Tower Hamlets LB 27.65%
323 East London Waste Authority 27.57%
324 Dartford Borough Council 27.01%
325 Barking and Dagenham LB 26.84%
326 Great Yarmouth Borough Council 26.84%
327 Brighton and Hove Council 26.80%
328 Thanet District Council 26.78%
329 Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea 26.44%
330 Crawley Borough Council 26.11%
331 Rushmoor Borough Council 25.78%
332 Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council 25.23%
333 Liverpool City Council 24.70%
334 Western Riverside Waste Authority 24.60%
335 Gravesham Borough Council 24.47%
336 Newark and Sherwood District Council 24.46%
337 Hackney LB 24.32%
338 Gosport Borough Council 24.14%
339 Southampton City Council 23.86%
340 Hastings Borough Council 23.68%
341 Wandsworth LB 23.45%
342 Portsmouth City Council 22.80%
343 Lambeth LB 22.76%
344 Hammersmith and Fulham LB 22.66%
345 Bassetlaw District Council 22.48%
346 Lewes District Council 22.32%
347 Westminster City Council 21.70%
348 Middlesbrough Borough Council 21.55%
349 Newham LB 21.04%
350 Lewisham LB 20.03%
351 Council of the Isles of Scilly 17.70%
352 Ashford Borough Council 11.88%

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

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Written by neilmonnery

December 9th, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Posted in Politics

Tagged with

On reminiscing about my school cricket days…

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So last night I was in bed watching an episode of Bad Education, as you do, and the episode was about the school football team and it got me thinking about the three years I actually played for my school. In Year 6 at Meadowlands and then Years 7 & 8 at Oaklands before we moved to the Isle of Wight and I attended Carisbrooke High and there was no cricket team there, boo. Hampshire and England spinner Danny Briggs went to Carisbrooke, I wonder if they had actually formed a team by the time he got there, they still hadn’t by the time I left but they might have sorted themselves out in the years since.

I laid back in bed thinking about all the games I played and you’d be surprised just how good of a recollection I have. At Meadowlands Middle they had never had a team before but the team was made up of both Year 6 and Year 7 pupils. Our first game was away at Denmead and despite being the youngest player on the team I took the bowl for the first over as no-one else had the guts to (or maybe I was our best bowler, one of the two) and my first over was dot, dot, dot, 2, wicket, dot. That isn’t a bad way to start. The wicket was clean bowled middle stump. Something I’d get used to.

You see I wasn’t a pacey bowler and at best I was military medium, however I knew exactly what I was doing and could move it off the seam both ways at will. At that age those types of bowlers weren’t the norm, guys with control who could bowl wicket to wicket and everyone thought they could slog me to all parts and no-one ever could. I would take wickets bowled constantly throughout my time. I think I had one caught behind and maybe an LBW but everything else was bails clattering to the floor.

We would lose at Denmead comfortably and lose again at Purbrook Park before our only win at Barncroft. This game was on an INSET day so we went into school in the afternoon just for the game. We smashed them but the biggest story from that game personally is that I hit my only boundary of my school cricket career and it wasn’t a four, oh no, it was a six. You see I was (and would still be) and genuine #11 but I hit one six at Barncroft (it cleared the boundary by inches at best) and that was my best performance batting wise.

So on to secondary school and I tried out for the team and made it. Again unsurprisingly I made it solely based on my bowling talent. We actually had a pretty good team and in Year 7 you’d play a lot of the schools locally before being split into A and B leagues from Year 8 onwards and we would go on to play in the A league.

In the last practice before our first game (at home against Horndean) I was bowling superbly and our teacher said that I’d be in the team and would be part of our bowling quartet. Good times. However when it came down to it whilst I did make the team, I didn’t bowl. Crazy. This isn’t me being big headed but more to do with the fact that there was no point me ever being in the team unless I was bowling as I couldn’t bat and with my dodgy arm and leg, I was never a great fielder. Having said that though I did take a stunning catch in the cover against Crookhorn I think it was, a cover drive creamed off of the bowling of Baker and I stuck out my right mitt and plucked it out of the air when it was destined for the boundary with maybe only one or two bounces.

Anyway we won both those games and then we’d do enough in Year 7 to make the A league in Year 8 (we lost at Warblington but were unbeaten elsewhere). I’d play every game and after that opening game I would mostly bowl out my overs nice and economically. Our set up was very simple. 20/20 games and Bennett and Baker would bowl the first ten and Harding and myself would bowl the second ten.

In Year 8 we got given the opportunity to go to Portsmouth Grammar School for a friendly as we’d impressed in Year 7. We lost at Warblington badly (just like we had done in Year 7 – clearly our bogey team). We were skittled out for 58 or so and we couldn’t defend it. In this game I got to bowl one over and gave up three runs and was given the hook because I was giving up too many runs. I distinctly recall how pissed off I was about this as I was our most economical bowler that day and that game would lead to a change, they decided to bring up a Year 7 bowler to the team to replace me in the bowling attack, I still played but again didn’t bowl, like there was any point in that but still.

The previous week we’d had our best victory, we went to City Boys and tore them apart. Bennett got five wickets and they were so arrogant they weren’t even watching their team bat, instead they were practising in their Sports Hall and batters weren’t ready to come out and bat because we were taking wickets so frequently. Baker took one, Harding took two in two overs and I took two in 1.5 overs to end things as we limited them to just 56. We would squeak home in a game we should’ve romped home with four wickets to spare.

We played PGS away and I played didn’t bowl. Again not amused because mainly there was no point me being in the team if I wasn’t to bowl and you know what, I was one of the best bowlers in the team and my record backs them up. Across middle and secondary school I’d average a wicket every 11 balls and my economy rate would’ve been well below three. That is a fine record. Although of note on the PGS game was the tea we got, seriously good food. Also the person who was doing the scoring was doing it as a detention punishment, I found that amusing.

Anyway we played Horndean again in the cup in Year 8 and I didn’t play, I was off school that day and we put in our worst bowling performance of the season, giving up well over 100 runs in the 20 overs but coupled with our worst bowling performance was our best batting performance. Champkin, Moss and Connolly all scored highly and we’d go on to play St. John’s College in the semi-final. That day had been wet and we all suspected the game was postponed but we heard nothing so went to the minibus at the end of the school day and waited, and we waited, and we waited. Our teacher didn’t come so after 15-20 mins or so a couple of us went to find him, the game was somehow on and we got in the minibus and went down to St. John’s playing fields.

When we got there, we saw no minibus and thought again the game was off because we were seriously late, yet a few minutes later Mr Marron came back and said they were on their way and we went into the clubhouse and got changed. Again the Year 7 kid was in the side (Sutherland) so again I was in the team only to bat (lols) and field. It was the perfect wicket for me to bowl, it was wet and I bowled it wicket to wicket nibbling off the seams, I’d have torn through that team but I digress (can you tell it still bugs me?)

We batted first and scrambled to 80 odd, which wasn’t a great score but defendable. We bowled well and had them nine down going into the final over and they needed four to tie and five to win. A tie would mean they would qualify for the final as we were all out in our 20 overs (I was out first ball, stupidly batting at #10, the fact someone was deemed worse than me at batting is quite something but I missed a full, fast straight one and off stump disappeared behind me).

Baker would bowl the final over and it went one, one, dot, one, dot. So the final ball and they needed one to tie and two to win. Full pitched delivery, dug out but straight back to Baker, he had time to turn and run at the non striking end and take off the bails but instead he turned and threw at the stumps and missed and we had no-one backing up and they scrambled through for the tie and we went out based on having lost more wickets. Gutting.

My last game and we went out to a posh school having been so close. On a personal level too going out having not bowled was just as gutting. Still wait, what is this? I’d suit one once more? So yes, the cricket teachers/coaches of Years 8, 9, 10 and 11 were asked to select the best players for the Staff v Students match and Year 8 got two players and I was selected along with Baker. So I was deemed one of the best two players despite not being called upon to bowl in many matches, yeah that made sense.

The staff v students game was on the last Saturday of the school year and it was a 20/20 game but the rules were slightly different, every player bowled two overs (bar the wicketkeeper) so I came in and bowled my first over, neat and tidy and then came my second over – and this one would be my last ever in a competitive match. I started dot, dot, dot and with three balls left in my career I took a wicket, nick behind. In came the headmaster, now the rules of this game were that first ball you couldn’t be out, so you could come in and have a big slog for a ball, so first ball to him, I hit middle and off and everyone cheered but of course he wasn’t out due to that rule, I just turned and trudged back to my mark (not that I had a mark, I just arbitrarily decided where I would run in from on a ball-by-ball basis – I never had the pace to worry about no balls, I was always way behind the line). My final ball I chugged in and pitched one up, he dug it out but it went low and hard to mid on where Baker was fielding, it was tough, it was low, but it was catchable and he got both hands to it but couldn’t hold on. I was that close to ending my career with a hat-trick and the headmaster too. Damn.

Somehow I was inked in to come in and #8 in this game and I actually scratched around and scored eight off of about 15 balls and it was a relief when I got out as we were in a run chase and we needed someone better than me batting. We went on to lose by one run. Gutting. The game though was changed somewhat when the headmaster was given out LBW but said that he wasn’t out and refused to go, he’d go on to score 50 odd when he given out for something like ten.

So yeah, a blog that no-one will read and no-one will care about but it was fun to write. That win at City Boys will always stick out because we as a bowling unit tore them apart. I’ll always be miffed that I was underutilised as a bowler in the team and that game at St. John’s…we should’ve been in the final. It is weird that I can pretty much remember the whole team despite having maybe only spoken to one of them in the past ten years. I moved school and my cricketing days were in my rear-view mirror. I wonder how the guys did in subsequent seasons and whether Sutherland kept playing for both his year and our year. Also it scares me just how much of this all I can very clearly remember.

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Written by neilmonnery

December 5th, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Posted in Personal

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On the banning of certain sex acts in UK pornography…

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Oh boy. Where do I start? Some of you will no doubt have read the story in the Independent today where it lists the new sexual acts that are banned in UK pornography. If you haven’t then you’ll be interested to know the following acts are not allowed to be shot in porn shoots here in the UK any more:

Aggressive whipping
Penetration by any object “associated with violence”
Physical or verbal abuse (regardless of if consensual)
Urolagnia (known as “water sports”)
Female ejaculation

The theme here is clearly violence but what about consensual violence? No-one knows what goes on behind closed doors and the amount of people who enjoy consensual violence is far higher than most people imagine. Porn shoots will often have acts of domination and that often goes hand in hand with consensual acts of violence. The thing that is also clear though is this list seems to lean heavily towards acts from which women derive the most pleasure and the FemDom porn industry is going to be hurt substantially by this.

I have written before abut how we need to be more open as a society with our viewpoints towards sex and sexuality. Just because something isn’t someone’s cup of tea, they shouldn’t judge that others and we certainly shouldn’t be banning it and making it harder for people to explore their erotic desires.

This isn’t the time or place to talk openly about my views towards sex and sexuality but if you know me well then you’ll know that I’m pretty open and liberal sexually (despite my distinct lack of actual first hand knowledge). I think what happens between two (or more) consenting adults is all fair game and heck, life is hard enough without being judged for what we may or may not like in bed. I look at that list and I can only see one thing listed that I wouldn’t try (not including female ejaculation obviously, because you know, genetically I’d probably struggle with that). I can say that I have watched porn that includes all ten of the newly banned things on that list. I’m happy to admit that. Some of what I’ve watched has been extremely exciting and interesting and I’d watch more and I’d be involved in many of those scenarios, in both positions.

The problem is some people in grey suits have decided that because someone might enjoy watching people be spanked or being verbally abused or degraded that it is a ‘slippery slope’ to those people going out and committing crimes to fulfil their fantasies. I would love to see the evidence of this. I really would. Also banning it would surely drive some of these people to find new ways to get their rocks off so to speak? Pushing sexual things underground only goes to pushing a problem under the carpet, out of sight, out of mind and all that but here’s the thing – their isn’t a problem.

There is a beautiful comment on that story in the Independent, ‘As a hard working taxpayer I feel I have the right to unwind in the evening and watch a woman being strangled while she urinates with someone’s fist up her arse.

Who is in charge of this madness?

You’ve got to chuckle by he/she is right. I know people who like to be strangled. I know people who like to be strangled so much they lose control of their bladder. I know people who like being fisted. I know people who would like to watch such an encounter. Why shouldn’t the people who enjoy it not be able to be filmed and paid for such a shoot and why should people not be allowed to purchase said video? It is just an example of a government overstepping their remit and trying to impose their sense of moral judgement on those who might have more open morals. It isn’t governments place to tell us what is good and what is bad.

I believe strongly in individual freedom for people to live their lives how they see fit as long as they aren’t harming anyone else. If people want to sell and buy sex freely then so be it. I have long been for the legalisation of prostitution for people who freely want to sell and buy sex. The same is true of pornography. If the people involved are consenting and they are adults then who has the right to tell these people that they shouldn’t be allowed to do it? No-one.

Also what the hell is wrong with seeing a female ejaculate? I mean c’mon. What is wrong with facesitting? What is wrong with water sports? What is wrong with spanking? I could go on but you get the picture.

Yes you’ll see a tiny fraction of people watch violence towards women or men and become obsessed and want to find harder core stuff and eventually get to a place where they could go on to do something nasty in the real world with without consent. However you can’t legislate for the tiny minority. At some point you need to take a step back and allow humans to live their lives how they see fit as long as they don’t hurt others. This change to the 2003 Communications Act has gone beyond that and are treating humans as creatures that quite simply cannot be trusted.

It is moves like this that instead of protecting potential victims down the road actually does the opposite. If you starve a person of something they won’t just forget about it and move on, they’ll become more active in seeking what they want and if they can’t find it by their usual means of porn then they may take things into their own hands. So it falls down on two points. It hurts on the fact that government are legislating against adults having free will in the porn they wish to create or watch and it also will probably cause more issues down the road as fewer people will be open and will try to suppress their sexual desires until they explode.

Bravo government. Bravo.

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Written by neilmonnery

December 2nd, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Politics

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Looking at the rise of online activity in our lives…

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Every so often we collaborate with partners on articles and today is one of those occasions. Here is a piece about the modern day world and how the internet plays an important part in our lives. It kinda hits home. I hope you enjoy…

I’m not the most social of people, let’s get that one out of the way. While I enjoy the company of others, I’m most certainly not averse to my own company – and without the internet, I must admit, I might have gotten all to used to my own company.

It is my lifeline to friends, the framework for me to work closer to understanding exactly what I want in life, and the canvas on which this blog sits; it is an incredibly important part of my life, as it is with everyone’s, but why? What has changed since the internet came into being, in people, that made it so instrumentally important? I think it’s largely to do with sociability.

Studies such as the one linked above suggest that people are becoming, in some cases, less sociable as a result of the internet. I counter this, with the thought that maybe what it means to be sociable has changed. Let’s have a look at what the internet offers in these terms.

The obvious candidates for increased sociability are the Facebooks, WhatsApps and skypes of the world, that reach over oceans and country borders, giving voices to millions of people who might not have had it before. The reach is outstanding. But these we know about. What about other kinds of interactivity?

The ever-increasing, exponential popularity of online, interactive games is a particularly illuminating facet of this new-social phenomenon. With the arrival of online gaming sites such as, social consciousness makes a very deliberate move from the literal world to this internet world, taking part in a shared interactive experience and ultimately socially benefiting from it, without tangible communication! There is a community, and you are voicelessly interacting within that community, sharing experiences not with language or communication but by a sort of interweb-osmosis.

What I mean to say is that with the advent of the internet and this new kind of social interactivity, the way we go about sociability in the first place is fundamentally altered. In some cases dsciability is mapped closer to the act of watching a film in a cinema than the conversations before or after: shared experience without necessary communication! Of course, this is a small drop in a big ocean of ultra-tangible communication, and not the complete and utter truth – indeed the world would be a lot sadder if it was the absolute case. But the mistake made when discussing our relationship with the internet, beyond our extended communicative reach to friends and family around the world thanks to Skype and Facebook, is the assumption that we are becoming more lonely, more introverted. And it couldn’t be further from the truth.

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Written by Ian Pope

December 2nd, 2014 at 11:14 am

Posted in Others

On my top ten Masterchef Australia contestants…

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So season six is in the can for the UK audience after Brent lifted the trophy last Friday night. It was a welcome return for the show after a rather disappointing season five, where the producers casted based on personality over food and that led to a bunch of being average chefs getting on to the show.

So for fun (and for maybe the two people I know who watch MCA) – here is my list of my top ten favourite contestants, this isn’t to say the ten best contestants, but my personal ten favourites chefs based both on personality and cooking ability.

10) Andy Allen – Winner of season four. He was an average contestant, who could easily have gone early doors in week five when he and Sam were in the bottom two but the judges decided to send home neither in the elimination challenge in Tasmania. Was part of the Ben/Andy Bromance and his cooking about three to four weeks from the end really kicked on and in the final two weeks he won near enough every challenge. Nice guy and I was happy to see him win.

9) Hayden Quinn – Sixth in season three. Hayden was without a doubt one of the most popular contestants of all time on the show. The lifeguard from NSW was one of the first six through to the top 24 and he won the first challenge and backed that up with an immunity pin victory. Eminently likeable with a natural flair for cooking, he was always going to do well and fell just before finals week. Unsurprisingly was brought back for MCA All-Stars.

8) Brent Owens – Winner of season six. Brent, a bit like Andy was a journey contestant whose progression was clear to see as the competition went on. It looked unlikely he’d win at any point but as we whittled it down it was clear he had a chance. Arguably only Emelia was a better cook than him in this season but Brent was pretty sensational at Service Challenges and rarely got flustered. Another flat out likeable guy. Seems to be a pattern emerging but…

7) Claire Winton Burn – Third place in season two. Cold. If you were to describe her in one word, that would have been it. However she could really cook and seemed to take criticism well and learned from it. We have seen several ‘cold’ candidates in the show, Julia from S4, Emelia from S6, but I learned to root for all three as the show went on but Claire I liked from a long way out. I thought she was a fantastic cook who dished up some wonderful dishes.

6) Beau Cook – Eighth place in season four. When I was sorting out my list he wasn’t in it and then I sat here (or actually lay there, I was mentally doing this in bed last night) and I realised that there had not been a more fun contestant in the six years of the show. His dry wit was fantastic to see, although the way both he and Ben tried to throw themselves on the fire for Emma did bug me.

5) Peter Vickery – Ninth in season three. In the first episode of top 50, the judges gave dishes of the day to Kate, Michael, Alana and Peter. Even in the first episode, they may have found the four best cooks in the competition. Sadly for Peter his lack of self-confidence held him back at times and in his final elimination he was up against Kate tasked with making an apple pie. He had no chance although he did run her close. Great guy who I rooted for hard and when he was him v Kate I was so torn as they were my two favourites from that season.

4) Kylie Millar – Sixth in season four. Who couldn’t love Kylie? She was just flat out loveable and in the task when they were asked to cook with love and passion and it came out that she’d yet to be in a relationship, so hadn’t felt these emotions my heart broke just that little bit, I mean what on earth were the young men of NSW doing? Her pudding in the Masterchef magazine challenge was one of the most pornographic cakes that I have ever seen. She was just fantastic.

3) Marion Grasby – Ninth in season two. The biggest shock in MCA history. Marion quite simply was the best amateur chef ever to walk into the MCA kitchen. Not only was she a fantastic cook but also a great person, fun, always smiling. Like Hayden she was brought back for All-Stars like the top two in this list were. She also formed quite the double act with one other contestant who is still to appear on this list.

2) Kate Bracks – Winner of season three. I called Kate to win from the first episode. It may have had something to do with the fact she was attractive and ginger but also she served up a flatbread kofta that the judges raved about. In the first challenge in the top 24 she made a coffee cake that the judges were stunned by and she was terrific all the way through. Liked Kate a lot and she is still the only person I’ve tipped to win from top 24 who has done so.

1) Jonathan Daddia – Eighth place in season two. Quite simply…The Eliminator. The producers seemed to play up to Jonno as the bad boy of the bunch but he was very much hit or miss, he was great or he was terrible but most of all he was entertaining to watch. Eight times he survived elimination and it showed that when he was on, he could flat out cook. He and Marion were a fine double act, certainly in All Stars and there is on doubt whatsoever that Marion saying, ‘Jonno’ is etched on my memory.

I know no-one from S1 or S5 made this list, the reason is that Chris and Justine were in the mix but I wasn’t a huge fan of season one. Season five was just shocking and only Lynton and Rishi deserved really to even be thought about. Others who were in my thoughts for this list included from S2 Callum, from S3, Kumar, Ellie, Arena, Alana, from S4, Ben, Alice, Tregan and from S6, Emelia, Sarah and Kira.

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Written by neilmonnery

November 26th, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Posted in Media

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On the UKIP civil war in Southend…

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What do you get when you have a well known local political face gets beaten in an internal vote by a man who no-one has heard of and is clearly playing at politics? You get fall out. That is what you get. Some hurt feelings maybe but maybe just some wounds to let heal but no, oh no, this isn’t what has happened here in Southend and the local UKIP party and it is all out civil war.

Recently I have been sitting back on the political scene, certainly locally. I didn’t expect to still be living here by the time of the next election so thought it was a good time to just sit back and watch. Due to the slowdown in the housing market though, my landlord looks unlikely to sell so I may be around for a few months yet before I ride off into the sunset. Who knows what will happen in the intermeaning months but I might as well raise my head above the parapet on this issue because it is quite amusing.

Labour blogger Matthew Dent has blogged extensively on the matter both here and here. The long and the short of it though is UKIP had a clear candidate who they should have selected if they were serious about making a run at actually winning Rochford & Southend East next May, that man was James Moyies. He is the only UKIP councillor in Southend who has any real background in politics and is the leader of the UKIP group on the council. He stood in 2010 and it seemed a no brainer that he would be selected again. However UKIP decided to get their gun out and shoot themselves in the foot and Floyd Waterworth got the nod.

Mr. Waterworth is a councillor for Blenheim Park ward and from the rumblings that reach me (from all sides of the political spectrum) he’s a pretty lacklustre councillor. I’m not saying this as a knock on UKIP, all parties have better and shall we say less good councillors, that is human nature, but he doesn’t seem to take the job of councillor seriously. Fellow Blenheim Park councillor James Courtenay wrote on his blog about Cllr. Waterworth:

This hasn’t been too much of a problem for the people of Blenheim Park, since electing Floyd Waterworth in May… He’s barely been seen, failing to attend two out of the three meetings of the (full) Council and not attending the only opportunity he has had to review the decisions of the new Administration (scrutiny committee). He hasn’t attended a Neighbourhood Action Panel meeting – important to set the policing priorities in Blenheim- since being elected either. Still at least Blenheim Park still has me and Graham Longley to represent them. We may disagree, but at least we turn up to ensure Blenheim is kept on the map!

Not exactly a ringing endorsement is it? I know many say it is all politics but the more you get involved in politics, the more you see that many people from all sides of the political spectrum genuinely do care about what they do and doing the best they can for their residents. They may well disagree on what that is but they aren’t just playing at politics and doing it for the money or the cachet. If you are going to be a councillor then at least do what you were elected to do and what you are continue to be being paid to do – represent your constituents.

The fact this guy got the nod over Cllr. Moyies for the Rochford & Southend East seat means either one of two things, either lots of UKIP members locally really dislike Mr Moyies and are disappointed that he only led UKIP to several seats in May or something fishy is going on. I don’t profess to have any inside knowledge but if you were to push me, I know which of the two possibilities is more likely.

Yesterday’s Echo had the story Ukip sensationally suspends its own group leader on the issue and I suspect there is plenty more to come out on this subject. The long and short of it though is that internally in Southend, UKIP are an absolute mess. Whether the voters care or not is another matter entirely as the UKIP surge isn’t because of good local politics, its all about the national picture and this won’t effect their campaign too much I suspect. What it will do though is give other parties something to attack on UKIP, I mean if they are too busy fighting between themselves then how can they fight for their constituents? For many they won’t care but some will and those people might be the difference for UKIP.

I may be old school and believe you put your best people in the most winnable seats. That just seems sensible politics for me. Instead UKIP members have decided to go the opposite route and all hell has broken loose. Some would say they are a party of egomaniacs who are all about what they can get for themselves and not what they can do for the people they represent, some would say that, they really would…

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Written by neilmonnery

November 21st, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Politics

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On having a type INTJ personality…

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So today out of curiosity I decided to take the Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test that was laid out by Carl G. Jung’s theory of psychological types. It came out that I was a type INTJ personality. So I toddled off to read up all about it and boy, you know what, it isn’t inaccurate in many, many ways.

An introduction to this personality type is below:

It’s lonely at the top, and being one of the rarest and most strategically capable personality types, INTJs know this all too well. INTJs form just two percent of the population, and women of this personality type are especially rare, forming just 0.8% of the population – it is often a challenge for them to find like-minded individuals who are able to keep up with their relentless intellectualism and chess-like manoeuvring. People with the INTJ personality type are imaginative yet decisive, ambitious yet private, amazingly curious, but they do not squander their energy.

So people of my personality type form just 2% of the population. I am apparently imaginative yet decisive, I think we can check that. I have many thoughts and I consider them greatly but when I make a decision on something, I progress. I’m ambitious but a very private individual. People may think that doesn’t add up because I write so openly at times but I only write what I don’t mind people knowing. There is so much that I don’t say – and I won’t say – because I quite simply do not want to. Curious. Well I think I can safely tick that box and I don’t waste energy on projects that I don’t believe are worth my time. When I think something is then boy I’ll attack it and give it my all and we’ll get to that later…

A paradox to most observers, INTJs are able to live by glaring contradictions that nonetheless make perfect sense – at least from a purely rational perspective. For example, INTJs are simultaneously the most starry-eyed idealists and the bitterest of cynics, a seemingly impossible conflict. But this is because INTJ types tend to believe that with effort, intelligence and consideration, nothing is impossible, while at the same time they believe that people are too lazy, short-sighted or self-serving to actually achieve those fantastic results. Yet that cynical view of reality is unlikely to stop an interested INTJ from achieving a result they believe to be relevant.

A starry-eyed idealist and a bitter cynic. Ding, ding, ding. That is something that I could have etched on my tombstone should I never have one (which I won’t). Be it in my personal life or in my views about how we can get to a Utopian society, I have idealism flowing through my veins but also I am a realist and very cynical about whether we can as a society ever get there. Nothing is impossible, many, many things are improbable but finding things that are impossible is hard.

Strengths of an INTJ type personality:

Quick, Imaginative and Strategic Mind
High Self-Confidence
Independent and Decisive
Hard-working and Determined

Interesting. I don’t tick all these boxes with a complete tick but there is a lot of ink next to all of them. I am surprisingly quick and imaginative. My mind is extremely strategic. I have high self-confidence with regards to what I believe and what I do for a living. I’m good at what I do. In my personal life I don’t have these traits but apparently not all INTJ’s do, in fact there is more to come on this later. I’m extremely (to the point of fiercely) independent and if I reach out for help or advice that either I truly value someone’s opinion and/or I’m in a bad place where I genuinely am lost at to what is the best course of action.

I can be very hard-working when something piques my interest. For example many moons ago I did American West in GCSE history. It interested me so I read all about it and obliterated the exam. When I was a Sports Editor I cared passionately about it and would often work many hours at home outside of office hours. Open-Minded…yeah I don’t think that needs any further comment, do you? As for Jack-of-all-Trades, that means that I can turn my hand to many things and I think I quite possibly could. When I took my current position I was no expert but I have developed the skills I need to a good standard.

Weaknesses of an INTJ type personality:

Overly analytical
Loathe highly structured environments
Clueless in romance

Looking at the top two and it hurts a wee bit and I question whether they are accurate but you know what, maybe, just maybe they are. Here is the full breakdown of the Arrogant situation:

INTJs are perfectly capable of carrying their confidence too far, falsely believing that they’ve resolved all the pertinent issues of a matter and closing themselves off to the opinions of those they believe to be intellectually inferior. Combined with their irreverence for social conventions, INTJs can be brutally insensitive in making their opinions of others all too clear.

Really interesting. I suppose at times I do come across as insensitive. I like to think that I take the opinions of others to heart and don’t close myself off to them but looking back I can easily see multiple instances where I was (and still am) so cock-sure that I was right and other people were wrong. As for being judgemental, I like to think of myself as one of the least judgemental people around but there are certain lines where I will judge people. Those who are intolerant of others differences whether they be sexual, racial, gender etc. just doesn’t sit well with me at all. As an example, If you are someone who genuinely believes that British people have more right to live and work here than people from other countries then I’m not going to like that and I’m going to struggle mightily to like those people.

Overly analytical, loathe highly structured environments, clueless in romance. Well yeah I think it is safe to say the boxes next to those three are completely ticked. I analyse everything to the nth degree and at times I hate myself for doing that but I do. I not like highly structured environments, I have written before about how creativity and individualism is something to nurture and cherish and is the lifeblood of a successful society. I have also been that way in work environments, my opinion is you hire me to do a job so let me do the job, nudge me in one direction or another but don’t micromanage, it stifles me and frustrates me immensely. The good bosses I’ve had have let me have my head and they’ve been rewarded with good results. Clueless in romance. Lets delve into that one further…

This antipathy to rules and tendency to over-analyse and be judgemental, even arrogant, all adds up to a personality type that is often clueless in dating. Having a new relationship last long enough for INTJs to apply the full force of their analysis on their potential partner’s thought processes and behaviours can be challenging. Trying harder in the ways that INTJs know best can only make things worse, and it’s unfortunately common for them to simply give up the search. Ironically, this is when they’re at their best, and most likely to attract a partner.

*looks at the screen, shrugs and smiles*

INTJs are defined by their confidence, logic, and exceptional decision-making, but all of this hides a turbulent underbelly – their emotions. People with the INTJ personality type take pride in remaining rational and logical at all times, considering honesty and straightforward information to be paramount to euphemisms and platitudes in almost all circumstances. In many ways though, these qualities of coolness and detachment aren’t the weapons of truth that they appear to be, but are instead shields designed to protect the inner emotions that INTJs feel. In fact, because their emotions are such an underdeveloped tool, INTJs often feel them more strongly than many overtly emotional types because they simply haven’t learned how to control them effectively.

This is genuinely one of the most interesting paragraphs that I have read today on this issue. A shield to protect our inner emotions and the fact emotions are so underdeveloped that at times we feel them more strongly than many other people because we haven’t learned to control them effectively. I gotta be honest and this has hit the nail on my own head rather spectacularly. I am so unemotional it is scary but when I feel, whether it be positive or negative feelings then I feel them so hard and I struggle to deal with them. They overwhelm me to some degree.

INTJs are brilliantly intellectual, developing a world in their heads that is more perfect than reality. People entering this world need to fit this fantasy, and it can be incredibly difficult for INTJs to find someone up to the task. Needless to say, finding a compatible partner is the most significant challenge most INTJs will face in life.

Now you tell me world. Now you tell me. I am however enjoying reading about how intellectual I apparently am. reading all this analysis that I am it really bangs on about it. I am educated to a good degree but have never been academic. I was one of those straight B without doing any work students unless I found something interesting and then I went all out on it. I remember once I decided to answer a question that we weren’t taught in an exam – one of those ‘either answer question 3 or question 4′ type essay questions and we were taught the ecosystems sections of the syllabus but I decided I knew more about renewable energy as it had interested me personally so I took that question instead. I got an A. I once resat two module exams where I got high B’s as I thought I could do better, the teachers actually backed me, I repaid their faith with a 97% and a 98%. So yes I can be smart when I try and I have never failed an exam, at any level. I even got 76% in a three-hour Journalism law exam that I finished within 25 minutes. I read through the paper and my answers and walked out just after the half hour mark. Everyone thought I’d just spectacularly failed but I knew I’d done well. I had actually got full marks on every important question.

On the romantic notion of finding a compatible partner being one of the, if not the, most significant challenges that I will face in my lifetime then that doesn’t shock me. If I’m being brutally honest (and lets be real here – apparently that is what I do) then I could count the amount of people where I’ve genuinely thought I was naturally compatible with them on all levels on one hand and I wouldn’t need all of the digits. Those people I would’ve done nearly anything for. I truly would’ve done.

INTJs seek strong, deep relationships, and trust their knowledge and logic to ensure that their partner is satisfied, both intellectually and physically.

Yep. I think that is extremely fair.

INTJs will keep up with just a few good friends, eschewing larger circles of acquaintances in favour of depth and quality.

I can see this. I don’t – and never have – had a large circle of friends. Those I choose to have friendships with I will trust vehemently and would do most things for. In my dark times I have a handful of people that I will turn to. In dark times there are a handful of people I know will turn to me. I am one of those people that can keep a friendship close and heartfelt even if we don’t see or talk to each other in a long time. There are people for example from high school where I’d still drop everything if they needed me because I trusted and valued them then and despite time apart, they’ve never done anything for that trust and value to have eroded. I might not go to them with my problems any more but if they came to me with them I’d be receptive. In short those I value, I value extremely highly but it takes a long time for me in usual circumstances to value and trust someone but once I do, they have it all.

When they are in their comfort zone though, among people they know and respect, INTJs have no trouble relaxing and enjoying themselves. Their sarcasm and dark humour are not for the faint of heart, nor for those who struggle to read between the lines, but they make for fantastic story-telling among those who can keep up. This more or less limits their pool of friends to fellow Analysts (NT) and Diplomat (NF) types, as Observant (S) types’ preference for more straightforward communication often simply leaves both parties frustrated.

It’s not easy to become good friends with INTJs. Rather than traditional rules of social conduct or shared routine, INTJs have exacting expectations for intellectual prowess, uncompromising honesty and a mutual desire to grow and learn as sovereign individuals. INTJs are gifted, bright and development-oriented, and expect and encourage their friends to share this attitude. Anyone meeting these expectations will appreciate them of their own accord, forming a powerful and stimulating friendship that will stand the test of time.

True facts folks. Sarcastic, dark humour, I can tell a fantastic story and genuinely I am a very good storyteller. It is hard to become good friends with me, the amount of good friends that I consider myself to have is extremely limited. Yet I think I can say – hand on heart – that I don’t think I’ve ever fallen out with someone whom I consider a close friend. Obviously I have drifted from some of these people as life takes over but I have never fallen out with one.

I can also say that I can perfectly see why many people who are acquaintances or that I wouldn’t consider myself to be that close to end up not liking me. I am extremely easy-going but I get immensely frustrated at social conventions and bitchiness. I am pretty straight talking and if I like you then you’ll know and if I don’t then you’ll probably know that too. A couple of weeks back I was out and pointed out someone to who I was with and said, ‘see that girl over there, she fucking hates my guts and I have no idea why’. The person in question was someone I knew but not that well and then one day she slagged me off like anything and literally would walk out of any room I walked into with disdain. The person I was with said, ‘that seems to happen a lot with you’ and you know what, it does seem to. Reading all this personality guff maybe there are reasons behind it. Maybe I just wear on those who aren’t in tune with how I think.

Though they may be surprised to hear it, INTJs make natural leaders, and this shows in their management style. INTJs value innovation and effectiveness more than just about any other quality, and they will gladly cast aside hierarchy, protocol and even their own beliefs if they are presented with rational arguments about why things should change. INTJs promote freedom and flexibility in the workplace, preferring to engage their subordinates as equals, respecting and rewarding initiative and adopting an attitude of “to the best mind go the responsibilities”, directing strategy while more capable hands manage the day-to-day tactics.

Can’t argue with any of that. There is a time for structure but on many more occasions you have to gives people their heads and allow them to put forward their ideas and allow people the opportunity to get passionate about something. Many workplaces are too structured and in a structured environment you’ll always stand put or take small incremental steps forward. If you allow innovation and give opportunity to try other ideas or ways to work then you could see quantum leap steps. You have to have belief in those you employ are capable to do the job that you employed them for. I know that I have struggled when my ideas and creativity gets stifled and if you can’t take ownership of your work then you don’t care as much and therefore you won’t work as hard. If a manager gives you your head then you’ll care more, work harder and the likelihood of success and positive steps are far greater.

Few personality types are as mysterious and controversial as INTJs. Possessing intellect and strategic thinking that allow them to overcome many challenging obstacles, INTJs have the ability to both develop and implement a plan for everything, including their own personal growth.

Yet INTJs can be easily tripped up in areas where careful and rational thinking is more of a liability than an asset. Whether it is finding (or keeping) a partner, making friends, reaching dazzling heights on the career ladder or adapting to the unpredictable, INTJs need to put in a conscious effort to develop their weaker traits and additional skills.

This has been a tremendous exercise for me. I feel like I understand myself more now than I did when I woke up this morning and I will continue to read up more on this subject in the coming days, weeks and months. I have often wondered why certain things happen the way they do and maybe in large part it is quite simply down to my personality traits. Maybe as the conclusion above recommends I need to work on my weaker traits and not just think they’ll come good because maybe they just won’t come good because I want them to. Maybe I have to actually work on being a better person. If you are close to me then you’ll probably think I’m a worthwhile presence in your life but if you aren’t then the opposite is quite possibly true. There are reasons my circle of friends is so few, there are reasons my forays into romance haven’t always been so fruitful, there are reasons I work from home and am more productive in doing so.

All in all though I feel as though I can understand myself better today than what I did yesterday and that is part of the journey of life, always striving to understand more and having that unquenchable thirst for knowledge, both of the world and about ourselves.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

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Written by neilmonnery

November 11th, 2014 at 2:42 pm

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On Norman Baker and a sensible discussion on drugs

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I suppose I should open this blog post with posting my personal knowledge on drugs. I have never taken them, no politicians answer of ‘I had a toke once but I never inhaled’ – I have just never done drugs. It has never interested me. So take my views with that knowledge out there.

Sensible debate is something that isn’t conducive to politics in democracies. It is often about who can shout the loudest and who are are voting against and not for. It is one of the large drawbacks of politics and it saddens me deeply. Listening to opposing viewpoints and evidence and coming to your own conclusion is one of the best things about being human. I don’t surround myself with people who agree with me as that would be boring. I enjoy actually talking with people who have differing points of view.

One of the big discussions that is starting to once more makes waves is how to deal with drugs. Following a fierce internal battle, Norman Baker the report Drugs: International Comparators published and if you don’t have the time to read the whole thing, here is a snapshot of the conclusion – our drug policy doesn’t work and hasn’t worked for decades. This is not the biggest surprise in the world but it is good to see a study actually state this.

The man who fought to get this published was Norman Baker, who resigned yesterday in essence because his boss Teresa May wanted a Conservative Home Office and not a coalition one. He said this last week:

The Liberal Democrats believe drugs policy should be based on evidence, not dogma or the desire to sound tough. If you are anti-drugs you should be pro-reform.

For too long successive governments have been unwilling to look at the evidence. This comprehensive report shows that other ways of tackling drug addiction and supply can save lives and cut crime.

It’s time for a radical change in British drugs policy. The fact is we should spend more time and effort cracking down on the Mr Bigs’ and criminal gangs who traffic drugs than users and addicts who should be helped to recover, not put behind bars.

It is immensely hard to read the report and Baker’s words and with an open mind actually disagree with him. Polls on the subject are relatively mixed but whilst the overall numbers are split down the middle on how to deal with the drug issues, the problem is the majority of those who vote are still in favour of a hard line on drugs. As long as this is the case then politicians whose primary objective is power will pander to these people.

Political parties in general want to get into power to carry out their agenda, however it is hard to get into power and to do so you have to not appeal to the widest possible electorate but the widest possible electorate…who vote and therein lies the biggest problem. Not everyone votes. In fact those who are least likely to vote are often the most disenfranchised and the unhappiest believing that their views aren’t taken aboard by politicians and they are right – because they don’t vote and the circle is complete.

To have a sensible discussion on real subjects in this day and age is always going to hard. We live in a 24/7 rolling news cycle world and the broadcasters and other media outlets want to attract viewers and readers and you don’t do that by opening up to actual discussion. You do that by shouting the loudest or sounding the toughest. Tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime goes down well with those who don’t actually want to see the real world for what it is. This is why I admire Norman Baker so much for trying to get this discussion out there and trying to engage with people on this important topic.

I want to live in a country where politicians make decisions based on evidence and not rhetoric. This is the dream. I won’t sit here and say I know exactly what we should do on drugs but I do know that what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working. I also firmly believe that adults should be free to make their own decisions on how they live their lives as long as it isn’t at the direct detriment of others. I would maybe hark back to education and educating people on drugs and if they still use to use then that is their decision.

One thing though is very clear to me. Those who are addicted and want to get off should be helped and not treated as criminals. We all make mistakes in life, some more serious than others I grant you, but everyone deserves help if they reach out for it. We shouldn’t give up on members of society just for making mistakes. Rehabilitation is by far the best way to fight addiction and until the moment a government sees this then I doubt we’ll see any significant progress.

The Lib Dems have made a step on this and are talking very loudly and proudly on this matter and I praise them for that. It is just a shame that many won’t listen because they’ve already made their minds up about the party because of past issues and that shows that many vote because of emotions and not because of policy but that is a story for another day. For now the Lib Dems are trying to bring real topics to the forefront of the discussion and for that we should all be grateful. I just hope people actually engage and not just dismiss because of emotions.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

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Written by neilmonnery

November 4th, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Politics

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