26 Oct 2009

Parkin

Bonfire night approaches... here's a parkin recipe:



Courtesy of Woman's Weekly circa 1982. In the 'International' section at the back of the book, it had such exotic fare as Chinese Spare Ribs, Fondue, Chicken Maryland and you're feeling really dangerous, Lasagne.

Bear in mind that if you want the parkin in time for the 5th of November, you should probably get cracking, as the recipe recommends leaving the cake in foil for a week prior to eating.

Lush. I love parkin.

23 Oct 2009

Wrong Guy To Ask

A chap wrote to me about a scheme to obtain 'free Microsoft software'. After many many drafts, I settled on this answer that shouldn't get me into too much trouble:

Dear XXX,

Thank you for your enquiry.

The web pages of the XXX do mention the MSDN programme, and further information can be found at:

[link]

Or by contacting them directly at:

[email address]

MSDN stands for the Microsoft Developers Network. It is not a source of truly free software as Microsoft is a proprietary software company and consequently do not offer their operating systems free of charge. Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software, and proprietary software does not offer this. Further information can be found by doing a web search for 'free and open source software'. There are also operating systems available that are both free and non-proprietary.

Best wishes,


Obviously I couldn't go into too much of a rant, but I though this seemed reasonably balanced.

22 Oct 2009

Words And Phrases I've Used In Meetings This Week And Then, Following Impressed Looks, Admitted I Was Taking The Piss

"Stakeholder"
"Atomisation"
"Conceptual Hinterland"
"Service Expectation Enhancements"
"Clear-focussed" <truly meaningless
"Self-monitored"

I'm sure there were more.

15 Oct 2009

How To Make Friends and Confuse People

Lots of cyclists in my fair city wear these vests:



They have a point, but they grated on me somewhat, and I don't think they're particularly helpful. In the spirit of satire however, I created my own, and wore it today:

10 Oct 2009

Spider Spider Burning Bright


Its big by UK standards.


I don't know what sort it is though.

9 Oct 2009

First Bus

They've never been good.

Bus drivers have recently been denied a cost of living increase despite the company making a profit of £134m - a record for the company.

Some fiery words from Graham Stevenson from Unite:

‘The bonus culture is alive and well in First's boardroom. At the beginning of 2009, First management confirmed a 15 per cent bonanza for shareholders for each of the last five years, funding this by slashing jobs, wages and terms and conditions.’

8 Oct 2009

Social Centre Moves... And Moves Again

The Sheffield Social Centre, in almost no time at all, has received the attention of University lawyers, and forced an eviction. The Sheffield Star takes the story here, with their fine journalistic standards.

"We regret the fact that at a time of cost savings, valuable university funds were required to take legal measures to address such actions."

Hmm.

Anyway, now 10 Northumberland Road has been occupied. But... by about 4.30, once again the notices have been served. Not surprising considering its owned by the local NHS trust, whom I'm informed have the same legal people as the University. It might be wise to pick another part of the city where:

-There's a greater number of disused buildings
-The locals are more likely to support it

We shall see.

7 Oct 2009

Adbusters

Adbusters have been trying their 'anti-advert' adverts again, and not surprisingly have been knocked back by US networks:

"COMMERCIAL BREAKERS – Rejected by FOX

We're continuing our campaign for media democracy with a series of subvertisements aimed at disrupting the promotion of overconsumption and attacking the legitimacy of advertising. We want the right to broadcast these subverts and we're willing to pay, but the major networks aren't willing to air them. So far FOX has officially rejected our first spot, COMMERCIAL BREAKERS, and MTV has cut off communication entirely.

The idea behind COMMERCIAL BREAKERS is simply to sabotage the meaning of advertising and undermine the power of brands. The average TV ad presents the consumer with a crisis, be it a crisis of identity, a crisis of hunger, a messy floor, an unsightly blemish or erectile disfunction. The crisis is always a crisis of choice, but there is only one choice: the product being advertised. Each ad expresses an individual brand's vision of utopia; a perfect world constructed around a singular message: if you buy the product being advertised, you will be happy and content ... if only for a moment.

This consumer utopia – beamed into our consciousness 24/7 – is a distraction from our real crisis, be it existential, spiritual, environmental, economic or political. And so rather than interpret advertising as a choice between colas or a choice between brands, we seek to reinterpret it as a choice is between the real and the artificial. It's not Pepsi vs. Coke, it's Cool Diet Cola vs. Climate Doom.

After a string of legal victories against Canadian television networks, we are now determined to take on NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX and MTV in American courts. In order to make this happen in the near future, we need our legal war chest filled. It's a tough and expensive game going head to head with these giant corporations in court, but we refuse to back down.

How else can you help? Agitate FOX and MTV and help us spread COMMERCIAL BREAKERS on the web. If you're a twitter user, throw a #fuckfox hash tag on your tweets. Make your own viral subvertisements, memes or mindbombs and launch them anywhere and everywhere you see fit."

From Adbusters

3 Oct 2009

Saturday


By the river Porter.

1 Oct 2009

Sheffield Social Centre Opens

Its the 1st of October and the Sheffield Social Centre opens. I was expecting a disused warehouse in the city centre or perhaps out Don Valley way, but no! Its actually in Broomhill next to the experimental gardens, and it looks a luscious property.

Sheffield Indymedia has photos of the site available here. I can imagine that the Broomhill Neighbourhood Action Group are elated by the news, and the autonomous social space will no doubt receive a care package shortly. Both the property itself and the neighbouring experimental gardens are owned by the University of Sheffield, so that's 2 occupations in one year - hurrah!