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Category: Others

Looking at the rise of online activity in our lives…

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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My weight loss story…

I got fat. Not just jolly fat. I got fat. As those who know me in real life will know, I live alone, I work from home and I pretty much lived off of takeaways. This led to my weight slowly rising due to the fact I was eating terrible food and getting nigh on zero exercise as even my commute to work was from my bed to the PC (via the en suite) and that wasn’t the most taxing of walks.

It had reached the stage where I would walk to the supermarket and be drenched with sweat. Not just a bit of sweat on my brow but my t-shirt would be soaked through on the back and moistening up nicely on the front. I know, such a great look.

The top range of my BMI to be in the ‘ideal’ range is 12st 2lbs. I reached just over 14stone with my BMI hitting just north of 29, as those who follow these things will know that 30 is considered obese. I was on my way to being obese and I needed to get things under control.

A few years ago I got my BMI down to 22 from 27 in about a nine month period. Then I kinda reverted back to type and in the three years since I saw it rise from 22 to 29. Grim. So I needed to get it down once more so I made a few decisions. Firstly as some of you will know I was a caffeine addict. All I would drink was coca-cola which isn’t very good or either your teeth or your insides. For over a decade that is all I drank. In 2010 I changed this and would only have a cherry coke every so often and would instead drink squash. For four years now I have kept up with this. I can only imagine how my health and weight would be had I not made this change.

I bought an exercise bike and put it in my spare room and put a TV in there. The plan was I could watch something whilst riding the bike. I got it in December and it goes up to 32 levels. When I started I couldn’t even turn around the pedals around on level 32 and would be lain prostrate on the floor after 10-15 minutes on level 5 gasping for a drink to quench my raw throat and to stop the lactic acid that was pulsing through my veins. Slowly though I built up my leg muscles and my body stopped hurting and I could build up both the intensity of my workouts and the length of them. Six months ago 15 minutes at level 5 was hard work. Now 100 minutes on level 32 is how I roll.

That was however getting quite repetitive and I think my body was getting too used to it so I have started going out for long walks every so often. On Sunday I had a six to seven mile walk in the warm weather that I could really feel on Monday morning. A lot of that walk was uphill so I was using muscles that I don’t use as much as when I’m on the bike. This has been a problem – I have worked out nigh enough exclusively on the bike and really should be doing a variety of things to get many more muscles used.

Diet wise takeaway food was out but not much else has changed. I have started to cook my own food a bit more often but in general I still eat what I want to eat. In terms of snack food I can still destroy a six-pack of cherry bakewells without too much hesitation but when I do I know that those are the days I’ll work out the hardest.

So about six months on I am now south of 12 stone and my BMI has been in the ideal range for about three weeks now. Even at the end of the day I’m still in the ideal range (in general most people put on around two pounds a day just in food or water weight only to lose that weight overnight). I am proud of this. I’m still not to tip top shape – a long way from it – but yesterday I was walking back from getting the local rag and I noticed that I couldn’t see my belly protruding from my t-shirt and you couldn’t even notice the bump of it, that is quite a significant step.

I have no doubt that had I monitored what I ate more closely and had I been having a more balanced exercise regime that I would probably be at least half a stone lighter already. This is something I am going to work on over the next few months as I look to get down to south of 11 stone. I think 11 stone should be the northern point of my weight and that is what I’m aiming for. 11 stone would be a BMI of 22.7. So my aim is around there and hopefully this time around I won’t let it all slip.

Losing weight has many benefits but most of all it is the health issue. Yes I would love my body to look better but really that isn’t too big of an issue. The fact that I can sweat like anything just due to a light stroll was never ever a good thing. This was the primary issue to take on with this weight loss project and I can see that it is getting better (although still not exactly great).

Losing weight is not easy but if you have determination then it is eminently doable. I think my best advice to anyone reading this and wanting to lose weight is not to worry if you go through days or weeks of losing nothing or nearly nothing. I have had weeks where no weight has come off and found it disheartening but I’d look for reasons why and then try to sort out those issues. Another thing is you can do too much and eat too little. You need 1,500 calories a day inside of you so ensure you eat. I had days where I would hardly eat yet work out two hours on the bike and would wonder why I’d not lost any weight.

Discipline is important but isn’t essential. So you have a bad day and eat a packets of cookies and go to a BBQ and eat some burgers. Such is life. Just roll with it and carry on working out and your body will forgive you. If I can lose two stone in six months and still eat cherry bakewells and chocolate doughnuts by the bucket-load then anybody can lose weight.

Just keep positive and you can do it. I did and I’m starting to feel much better for it both health wise and also mentally with my own body image.

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Cristina Odone, Johann Hari, the Catholic Herald and the lies about P45s…

Update 06/01/13: Cristina’s husband has e-mailed me to say that the quote in The Independent screen-capped below is incorrect and that she was not fired from the Catholic Herald. The story in The Independent has since the original writing of this blog been removed from their website. I see no reason not to take him at his word and therefore please disregard the premise of this post and take it that Cristina Odone was not fired from the Catholic Herald at any point.

I’ll leave the original post up as an example that you apparently can’t even trust a national newspaper.

This blog post was written in good faith using what appeared to be direct quotes from the same person that contradicted one another. If anyone felt any distress from this post then please accept my apologies.

Everyone is lumping on to Johann Hari and let’s not beat around the bush here a lot of it is very much fair as he has been a pretty shoddy journalist and a proven liar and you could even say a pretty shoddy person ethically and morally. However when Cristina Odone piled on in her column in The Telegraph today she opened herself to ridicule as in her attack on Mr Hari she wrote something that directly contradicted her own words nine years previously.

The following quote was taken from this piece in The Telegraph

Cristina Odone in the Telegraph
Cristina Odone today in The Telegraph

So yeah she wasn’t fired from her job at the Catholic Herald. In her own words it was a complete lie.

However in an interview with The Independent in 2002 she said…

Cristina Odone in The Independent
Cristina Odone in The Independent in 2002

So in her own words she was fired from that job when writing in 2002 but come 2011 she wasn’t fired and it was a complete lie. *scratches his beard*

It is all fair to lump on to Johann Hari at the moment but when in doing you prove that you are a liar yourself then you really aren’t doing yourself any favours…

Note: I am informed that she has denied this quote in The Independent from 2002. So take this blog for what it’s worth.

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Former MP Patricia Hewitt Spam e-mail…

I was just going through my spam folder and found the following e-mail allegedly from former MP Patricia Hewitt:

Dear Friend,


This might startle you a little as you might have seen or read about me but really don’t know me in person. Well, I am Rt. Hon Patricia Hewitt MP.

A British politician and Labor Party Member of Parliament for Banking. I was the first Minister for Children appointed in a newly created post with the Department for Education and Skills and presently Minister of State in the Department for culture, Media and Sport under Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom.

I got your contact info via your country’s national directory and intend introducing a project concerning charity in your country and maybe neighboring countries around you.

A few months ago, I was compelled to make an over estimation during a budget and set aside the sum of Six Million Three Hundred Thousand Great Britain Pounds (6, 300,000.00GBP) with the sole intention of channeling it all into charity which I am delegating you to executed on my behalf with complete supervision of my Attorney as he will also be the one in charge of securing these funds into your custody.

This transaction will result to you being paid a commission of 11% of the investment capital and the balance, distributed to charity organizations of your choice or reinvested and the net income, used for rehabilitating charity organization in and around your country through you/your agency annually for the period of five years or a little more. The last time I orchestrated this sort of Grant, the individual in Australia succeeded in successfully setting up three standard orphanage homes in less than a year.

I have never been so proud of such a noble individual. I hope we would have a reoccurrence in your case. If you are willing to execute this Humanitarian Project, You must understand that I desire absolute confidentiality and professionalism on this issue. For security reasons as regards my reputation, I will not be able to communicate regularly with you; but my Attorney will take up the processing on my behalf and get these funds processed and released to you without any delay.

I don’t plan on benefiting anything from this project, but will be absolutely fulfilled, if and only if you remain sincere to me on the handling of this project with utmost sincerity and confidentiality; and eventually utilize the funds for the purpose which I have explained to you above. Kindly respond urgently if you are interested as the fund have beentied down for too long, so I can equip you with the necessary details, along side my Attorney’s contact information, so as to commence the transaction properly; on the other hand, if you are not, please let your intentions be known or better still, Kindly relent from replying this email.

You could get personal info. on me via my official website, but do not try contacting me via any personal information you may lay your hands upon on the internet as almost all my contact info are connected to the British House of Parliament data base except the ones I personally sent to you; as I don’t want our effort and my reputation, jeopardized.



Would anyone ever believe this?

I must say though it shows a bit of smarts from spammers. Better than a Nigerian Army General one…

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Rule one in a successful career: Don’t shit on your own doorstep.

Whether I’m a success or not is for other people to decide. My career has stagnated in the past few years because I’ve branched out into something else. My journalism days might be behind me but I still dabble from time to time. One thing I have never done is left anywhere on bad terms. From working on FTT all the way through to my times with Fubra you take the best you can on and try not to burn any bridges. I had many ups and downs when I was Sports Editor over at Fubra but we left on good terms (or so I believe) and you move on.

Now yesterday I saw the most horrendous burning of bridges that I have ever seen. I saw a guy basically take a very public shot at the people who gave him a chance – not only that but also at the whole profession. Saying that bloggers are all bums basically and that proper journalism only happens in newspapers (no nod to the broadcast industry I notice which is total bull crap as they are fantastic journalists) so I thought I’d share it with you.

The man in question is a junior at Penn State university. You might wonder why I’m talking about some kid at a university in the USA and how I came across it. Well I love American Football. In the past five-six years I have got into the College game just as much (if not more so) than the NFL and my allegiances are with Penn State solely for the reason that they do things the right way and I have up most respect for their head coach.

Anyway the biggest PSU blog is called Black Shoe Diaries and is my first stop for Penn State news and opinion. It is a fine blog and has a big staff who don’t just blog opinion and news based off of what they’ve seen on TV and read in the newspapers – they also do quote/unquote ‘real journalism’. Now a couple of months ago the long time editor decided that he wanted to step down as he had plenty of other things on his plate and the big bosses decided on his replacement – and one member of his former staff was pissed that he got passed over. His name is Adam Bittner.

Now I don’t know him from Adam (see what I did there? Yep very lazy blogging with a terrible pun) but clearly he’s not too happy about being passed over for the position of top dog. He has used his position as an editor of the student newspaper The Dally Collegian to basically just slag off bloggers in their entirety and tell the world that proper journalism only happens in newspapers. Read his piece entitled New blog features all sports, all the time wow – just wow.

This has obviously not gone down well in blogging circles and the guy is getting crucified. The comments over at BSD on the fanshot entitled Fooge Finally Cracks says a lot but also a couple of well known bloggers have had their say on prominent blogs stateside Blogger Attacks Blogs In Announcement Of His New Blog and ATTN BROSEPHS AND BROSEPHINES OF BHGP both well worth reading.

The sad thing of this all is it didn’t have to go down like this. He was offered a good position under the new regime but turned it down and heck if he didn’t want to take a perceived step down he could have walked away with a hand shake and got on with things. Instead he decided to crush a profession which is thriving to defend a medium which is dying in the USA. If you think the newspaper industry is struggling over here it is nothing compared to what is going on across the pond.

For the rest of his career (thanks to google) he’ll be known as a guy who shit on a whole section of a profession that he is trying to get into just to satisfy his personal vendetta. That is not going to go down well. There is making a name for yourself a good way and then there is making a name for yourself a bad way. He has done it the bad way. He has put himself in a position where no blogger would ever hire him. He has also shown a shed load of disrespect not to mention disrespect to the newspaper for which he’s working. The publication is being rounded derided on the internet for allowing such a piece to each publication. You can’t use a position to take personal shots at people let alone a profession. Adam Bittner has done this.

It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out and what kind of career he has but his bile has spilled out very publicly and it is not going to be pretty. I have seen one or two big heads in my past (some may argue I’m a bit of a big head) but those I’ve seen who are happy to drop a media outlet because they perceive they have something better without even so much as a thank you or even acknowledgement to be blunt – suck. You always thank those who help you – that is a bare minimum. If you can’t do that then to be frank you aren’t a very good person and sadly there are too many of these types of people about.

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Tesco are evil.

I don’t know the author of this blog post entitled Stupidmarkets but she is from my old stomping ground and she does make an extremely valid point. Please read her blog post as it is well worth it but the short version is she was accused of shoplifting in front of 100s of people at her local Tesco Express dragged through to the back of the store where she was finally told that she stole some shampoo and put it in her bag.

Only problem being she hadn’t and they refused to show her the CCTV which they said proved that she stole it. The fact that she had just spent £200 odd on food there is neither here nor there apparently. She stole some shampoo but was happy to pay for all the other £200 odd of groceries she bought. Whoever said Security Guards were thick as two short ones?

Now I’ve never been accused of this but I can fully imagine how this lady feels. Anyone with an once of common sense knows that someone doesn’t spend £200 odd at the till but steals a couple of quids worth of shampoo. That y’know doesn’t happen. You’d have to be immensely stupid, or a security guard, or best yet a security guard from Havant (I can say that as I was born in Portsmouth and raised in Waterlooville) to think that a person would do this.

Now the bull about Data Protection on the CCTV. Yes they can say that but you are fully entitled to be shown whatever data any company has about you if you ask. Therefore Tesco has to (as far as I’m aware with my limited knowledge of facts) show her said CCTV as long as they isolate just her on the tape, which they must have been able to do as they saw her put shampoo in her bag (but oh wait – she didn’t – the security people are morons of the highest degree – did they go to Purbrook Park by any chance?)

Also Tesco’s actions since have been appalling to say the least. Man up Tesco. Say your staff were eejits and useless morons (well maybe they went to Crookhorn) apologise profusely and do something in good faith. Don’t just hide behind a wall of being a big corporate entity who is in fact evil.

As an aside we’ve all probably been followed around HMV or similar in our teens but I was followed round Waitrose just a couple of years back by their security guard. I was 26 FFS. However the stupid fool was so blatant that I noticed him so I started playing a game and just walking round the store endlessly and then hiding at the end of the aisles where he couldn’t see me so I could wait for him to rush down the aisle to see what I was doing. Such fun. When I finally went to the till to buy what I went in there for I turned to him as he strode past and said ‘well that was a waste of time wasn’t it – did you see me nick anything?’ with that he scowled and everyone in the queue looked at me like I was scum. Well I was a young male wearing a hoodie in Waitrose, I suspect they were just pleased I didn’t have a knife. I have written about how I’m treated in M&S before right?

Young males wearing hoodies are all evil apparently. Just not as evil as Tesco. They are proper evil. Fact. End. Innit. Mush.

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Jail for refusing to fill in a Census form in English?

Principles are an important thing. We should all have them. Some of us don’t but heck those people are losers and will always be losers. That is just the way it is. However it should also be noted that some people have such unhinged principles that they are willing to go to jail for and on this step forward 63 year-old Iain Turnbull

For those too lazy to click on the link Mr Turnbull is a 63 year-oid Englishman who is living on a remote Scottish island and is willing to go to jail for not filling in the Census form because he wants to fill it in using the Welsh language. Seems reasonable enough but it should be pointed out that he speaks perfectly fluent English and can therefore fill in the form fine. However he now sees this as a matter of principle and is making it out like he is doing some good against the evil government and not what he is really doing and that is being a stubborn fool.

Look I can see his point – to a degree – but is it really that important of an issue? Is being allowed to fill in a form in what isn’t his native language really the same as fighting for the vote or for equality or is it just someone being a tit?

I know what I think. I’m all for being as liberal as possible and in a perfect world he should be able to fill the form in using whatever language he chooses but when it comes down to it is isn’t a matter of principle it is just someone being stubborn for no apparent reason other that to inflate his own feeling of self-importance.

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He’s got a pineapple on his head…

Ok so things in the Death Penalty post have become quite heated not here but elsewhere. You know where. So whilst I’m waiting for my mate to turn up (who is very late but it is chucking it down so he may well have been delayed) I thought I’d go old school and put a couple of videos from the great Fantasy Football League.

Jason Lee and Frank Clark. Those were the days and this was 90s comedy…

Relax and enjoy.

More on the death penalty I’m sure in the coming days.

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Rebecca Black’s New Single – My Moment Video

Following on from her debut single ‘Friday’, Rebecca Black is releasing her second single entitled ‘My Moment’ in the near future and the video has been put on YouTube. I have to admit that I was partial to Friday and I actually don’t mind this tune. I feel a lot for her and the stick that she has got around the world but heck she’s fighting and with over 400,000 twitter followers she is certainly taking her chance to make a career for herself.

So please listen to the single and watch the video for her new single. It’s not bad. It’s not great but it’s not bad and that I think is a result for Miss Rebecca Black.

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‘Is calling someone a bitch sexist?’ – Discuss.

So last night I was watching The Apprentice as I usually do at around midnight. I’m out on Wednesday’s you see and watch Around the Horn and PTI at 11/11:30 before catching up with the Sky+ed episode of Lord Sir Alan’s latest offerings. I usually tweet throughout my own personal broadcast about how I’m feeling about the show. Last night I was just crushing Melody and Natasha endlessly because they were both horrible and down right awful. Natasha not even understanding the task was truly wretched but then when she won but blamed everything on Susan showed that without a doubt she had bitchy tendencies. However apparently me calling her out on this was both sexist and deeply misogynist. Please read the following (identity of tweeter who interacted with me has been protected)

The image that was here is broken and I can’t find the original – apologies

Now I’m not down on etiquette of what terminology you can use and what you can’t but I think calling her out for being a bitch is fair game. Webster’s defines bitchy as thus, ‘characterised by malicious, spiteful, or arrogant behaviour’ does that describe Melody and more importantly Natasha in last nights episode of The Apprentice? Yes I think it does. She was malicious, spiteful and arrogant towards Susan throughout the task and belittled her constantly because she thought she was better than her. The fact she sat on her arse all day and did nothing (according to both the editing and what people said in the boardroom) proves my point. If you could have any gripe with my tweet is that I called her evil which is probably not strictly accurate but still.

So anyway on to the tweet itself – is calling someone a bitch lazy? No. No it is not. It is a term used in every day conversation. I have read in many places across the interweb this morning that the term for a male acting in a familar manner is ‘asshole’ and if you are to call someone a bitch then you should be prepared to use the term asshole as well. I do. Brilliant. I shall do some more research. Look at me go – I can use the interweb. The Urban Dictionary has many descriptions for the term bitch but here are a few:

‘Word used to describe the act of whining excessively.’

‘Annoying and whining female’

‘A woman who would say things that if she were a man, she would be confronted or assaulted. (using her position as a woman as a shield)’

‘to complain’

‘a women with a bad attitude’

Do most if not all of these describe Natasha’s attitude during yesterday’s episode of the show? Personally I think so.

So on to whether the term is outdated. It is not because the term has actually moved on. The term bitch is now not associated (in my view anyway) with women solely but with an attitude. Men can act bitchy and be called a bitch. Some prefer the term asshole apparently but acting like an asshole and bitchy are seemingly similar to a lot of people. So I wouldn’t say the term is outdated but some people’s perceptions are stuck in the past. Bitch doesn’t just mean woman. It means a certain type of person with a certain type of attitude. That is how I see it anyways.

As for ‘deeply misogynist’ – well I have to be honest. I didn’t know that term but I had a stab in the dark at it before I googled it and was’t too far wrong. So calling someone a bitch means that you hate women. I don’t know where to start with this one. If there is a person over the age of say ten in the world who speaks fluent English hadn’t called someone a bitch in their lives then I would be genuinely flabberghasted. Therefore according to this tweet every single person (both male and female) in the English speaking world hates women. Bad times for the female of the species clearly.

I just think that is crazy talk but maybe it is just me.

As for my defence that it was nearly one in the morning and it is twitter I think is a fair one. I’m not going to be overly thoughtful as I lay in bed tweeting from my iPhone as I’m watching TV. I’m going to be concise and I think that I was. I thought the way Natasha (and to an only slightly lesser extent Melody) acted was bitchy to the extreme using the Webster’s definition that I gave earlier and therefore they could be justifyably described as a bitch.

However to follow through with my assertation that I would be more rounded with my terminology if I wrote a blog post…Natasha’s behaviour on the episode of The Apprentice last night reeked of someone woefully out of their depth. Her performance showed that first of all she didn’t have the brain to understand the basic premise of the task and that having stock left over wouldn’t be a problem as the stock would be added to their total and whatever price they paid for it. She was unwilling to listen to her teammates and was rigidly stuck on her path – which was the wrong one – but would not listen to reason from Susan (to whom she acted like Susan was a piece of shit on her shoe) nor Jim who kept banging on about the same thing – which he was right to do so. Natasha’s performance showed why she has as much chance of winning the show and the £250k investment from old Amstrad boy as I do of waking up with Sophie Ellis Bextor looking longingly into my eyes. Natasha both acted like a spoilt brat who wanted to do things her way – and her way only and like someone who didn’t have a clue how to manage either the task or the people she was in charge of during the task. All in all she showed that she is both a terrific candidate for the money and a less than spectacular human being on that showing.

There we go. However I still think when you have a 140 character limit calling her a ‘bitch’ is fine.

But heck my English skills are not the best and I have probably missed the point entirely. If you want to weigh in then send me a comment. I’d be happy to hear from you telling me that I’m right or that I’ve missed the point entirely.

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