By the way, if you miss me....

I’m a bit more active over here these days:

Okay, Charles Stross said it better, read him instead

You don’t have to agree with his decision (although it seems my own views are not far from his), but I love his closing paragraph and wish I’d written it last night:

But if you’re voting in this election, I would like you to read not only the main party manifestos, but also to look at the party’s backgrounds and the philosophical values that inform them: and then to question your own values, and look a little deeper into the matter than simply asking whether you like Gordon Brown’s face or David Cameron’s wife. It’s okay to vote against people you wouldn’t mind sharing a bottle of wine with if you think their policies are short-sighted. The political is not personal on this scale, whatever the tabloid newspapers would like you to think.

Source: Charlie’s Diary

It’s General Election week

I don’t normally blog about politics. In fact I don’t normally discuss it that much, at least in public, sober – sometimes I argue drunkenly about it in private! It’s just a topic that people can be (naturally) quite dogmatic about and so it tends to be contentious/argumentative and I hate that, and so avoid it.

But, I am having troubles with my vote this year, and am really quite torn between a couple of choices. I thought I would blog about politics for once and give away at least something about how I will vote if only to remind you all that is a fantastic resource if you want to know more about your options. They have a nice comparison based on a (too short but interesting) list of questions at and they have all the usual juicy detail about what your local MP has been up to. The one thing it really helped me do is eliminate one choice very quickly and easily just based on some topics which are important to me:

My local MP is (was) Jim Fitzpatrick for Labour and based on:

  • Voted very strongly for introducing ID cards
  • Voted very strongly for replacing Trident
  • Voted very strongly for the Iraq war
  • Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war

It’s very easy for me to decide that this guy has got to go. Obviously this is my local MP but these are national issues which are important to me, as are the economy and the environment. I guess this is a time when we all have to weigh up what’s really important to us. To be honest I don’t think about it often enough but I sure have lately.

So that means as you can see I will be voting for a change of government on Thursday (as the polls suggest a lot of others will too). Have a look, whatever your beliefs, theyworkforyou is a useful tool.

So I have one choice left to make, and there are a lot of variables which don’t make it easy.  I only partially agree with either of the other big parties on various topics of importance including Europe, immigration, taxation and let’s not forget our broken electoral system adding concerns over possible hung parliament/minority government, the relative strengths of the local candidates, etc..

I’m trying not to be too specific because I don’t want to necessarily invite anyone to disagree with me – this isn’t a politics blog – of course you are welcome to privately disagree with me because different things are important to each of us, this is why arguing about politics, rather than about specific issues, is generally something I avoid :)

But anyway, I think I am almost decided now. Please vote on Thursday, if you can!

Happy holidays all!

I still need to blog about my Dubai trip – just got back this week. Was really cool as you can see from the pictures but I have been a bit busy with last minute xmas prep (bad time to go on holiday from that perspective) so I haven’t written up the trip yet. I have lots to share though!

Also I just got confirmation through for my place in the  London 2010 Marathon. Woot! More details on that to follow.

In the mean time, I wish you all a very happy holiday. I will be spending the next couple of days with my family so will see you on the flip side.

Back from New York

Back home. Can’t sleep from jet lag right now, so thought I would post something…

It was a good work trip – very productive and I got a lot done which I needed to. Unfortunately it was somewhat more frustrating on the personal side, didn’t really get to do what I wanted to do while I was there, work stuff kind of took over instead. So on this basis I was somewhat happy to just get home to rest up this weekend.

Especially as I seem to have picked up a cold, probably from the plane – which is also contributing to my inability to sleep I’m sure!

Off on my travels again

IMG_0100_hdr.jpg I shall be off to New York shortly for a couple of weeks. It’s a business trip but I have at least one weekend to myself while I’m there, so I should be able to find something entertaining to do :) The first week is going to be a normal work week in Jersey City, with a few all day workshops. Second week I am spending a couple of days at an offsite in Mohonk – which should be very nice.

It’s going to be cold there. I remember NY in November from last year. I am not prepared for this! :)

These daily lifestream updates…

Toying with ditching them. They are a bit verbose!

Breaking in the new flat

Well I’m almost unpacked. 2 more boxes then maybe I’ll share some flat photos with you all… It’s been a busy few weeks getting settled in, but I’m 99% there and feeling good.

Today I finally have broadband – this is a huge milestone! It’s crap broadband, but that’s a long story for another day. I will detail my trials and tribulations getting decent connectivity out of the Poplar exchange in due course…

Anyway, Saturday I will have Sky, so then I’ll be all set. Things are looking good! The flat is nice. Not big, but it’s mine, and it feels good. I also have room to hang all my shirts up and have some of my favourite things back out of storage and I can’t tell you what a morale booster that is!

This week I’ve been breaking in the kitchen – it’s been great having my kitchen stuff out of storage and I got a bit carried away using it all, but as you can see I’m eating well :-)

Bread making! Steak cooking!

The steak I ate tonight was guilt-free, as I did an hour and a half in the gym today, running, rowing and cycling. Nice to eat and drink whatever you like :) There’s still time to sponsor me for my 10k run you know – it’s this Sunday!

Summer catch-up

During my long hiatus from the interwebs, I have been up to various things. Some of them are marginally interesting! Over time I will try to catch up a bit. Let’s start with this summer, because it’s been a pretty good one! Let’s see, what have I been up to?!

SanFran 2009

San Francisco and Vegas - 16th May

16th May - San Francisco and Vegas

This was a great fun trip to Vegas for a week for Colm’s birthday. I flew via San Francisco and took the opportunity to stay there one day and night to explore. I really love SanFran! As you can see I took quite a few pictures there, more than I did in Vegas. I spent a lot of time at the pool and at blackjack/poker tables in Vegas and taking photos in those places is generally frowned upon :)


  • Turning $300 into $2300 at a $10 blackjack table over the course of 2 hours
  • Sitting at the same poker table as Steph and the most annoying British poker brat I have ever met - they really went at each other and Steph gave as good as she got :)
  • Pulling an all nighter playing blackjack with the group (there were like 12 of us there!), then going for a full Irish Breakfast at an Irish Pub off the strip, run by a Scotsman, watching an Irish Rugby match at 10am local time, quite drunk.
  • Endless mornings by the pool drinking Strawberry Daiquiris!


  • Losing my $2000 winnings on a $100 blackjack table in 5 minutes flat :o
  • Dropping a full Gin and Tonic into my own lap at Parasol Down in the Wynn. Much to everyone else’s amusement!

Glastonbury 2009

Glastonbury 2009 - 23rd June

23rd June - Glastonbury.

Ah, Glastonbury, always a pleasure. This was my second time - with the same crew as last year. I don’t think anything can live up to the religious moment I had at Glastonbury 2008 watching Leonard Cohen performing a legendary set with the sun setting behind him, but this was also a good year. Great weather (bar the odd little shower here and there), a good line-up, and once again we had a good camping spot and no major drama or incidents :)

Favourite moment? Probably Friday night when I was a little tired and emotional and pouring my heart out to Colm and Steph :) I think Neil Young was playing at the time? Or maybe hiding out in a tunnel in Shangri-la during a sudden and tremendous downpour - rain water coming through the ceiling and dripping down my neck - comedy!

London pride and madonna

London Pride then a Madonna concert - 4th July

4th July - London Pride and then a Madonna concert

I remember calling this my super gay summer day :) It was a really fun day. London Pride is always entertaining and this time we got to see One Star (Denise Pearson of the former band Five Star) singing. I even took some video of her and she is standing the test of time quite well as you can see.

Madonna was just brilliant. I was not expecting her to be that amazing. High energy, perfect choreography, great singing, and a tribute to MJ that was quite touching and nicely done. If only MJ hadn’t died, I could have seen both my childhood music heroes live this summer :( A somewhat selfish way of looking at it I know, but I think that’s how we all handle death isn’t it? How it affects us?

After London Pride, we took the Thames Clipper to the O2 for Madonna. This was a really nice jaunt on the river and as a Londoner I must remember to do this more often!


U2 concert in Dublin - 25th July

25th July - U2 concert in Dublin.

Chance to see U2 live in Dublin? Not to be missed. Having not seen them live before (somehow), I was thrilled to see this show - it was epic, and to the home crowd! Sunday Bloody Sunday was amazing, I could barely hear the band over the crowd!

I had a great time, and sang myself hoarse, along with everyone else :)

August was very hectic indeed - check it out:

All Points West, 2009

All Points West in New York - 1st August

1st August - All Points West in New York

When a work trip lined up with the APW weekend I couldn’t believe my luck, nor turn down the chance to attend. What a line-up! Jay-Z, Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Tool, MGMT, Elbow, Echo and the Bunnymen, Gaslight Anthem and Coldplay! Oh my!

Festivals in the US are funny - especially this one, with bizarre and annoying rules about a) how much alcohol you can drink and b) which areas of the site you can drink it in. Most of the weekend was spent finding creative ways around these rules :)

Amsterdam, 2009

Amsterdam Weekend - 7th August

7th August - Amsterdam Weekend.

I’d never been to Amsterdam, so when Rick and Colm suggested it (primarily as a means to get air miles and tier points with BA via a discounted business class return), I couldn’t say no!

It was a weekend in Amsterdam, so about what you’d expect really! i.e. lots of museums, culture, and canals, of course (what did you think I meant?!)

We stayed in a 3 bed private room in the Bulldog hotel (hostel really) - good location and atmosphere. Good value too - recommended.

U2 in Wembley, 2009

U2 in Wembley - 15th August

15th August - U2 in Wembley.

They were so good in Dublin, I couldn’t resist seeing them again in Wembley. Amazing concert - in Wembley it was fully a 360 degrees layout (unlike Croke park in Dublin where it was about 270 for safety reasons). This was the 360 tour so I’m glad I got to see that :)

Cannes and Monaco

Cannes and Monaco weekend - 21st August

21st August - Cannes and Monaco weekend

Summer drawing to a close - must go somewhere hot and beachy stat!! Managed it. Cannes was beautiful, I spent the whole weekend on the beach sunbathing, eating and drinking :) Popped into Monaco for lunch on Sunday “on the way” back to Nice airport.

Reading festival, 2009

Reading festival - 28th August

28th August - Reading festival

I really needed a weekend at home at this point - what a month! But what the hell, it was Reading festival and I’d not been to that before. Rick scored me a ticket and even got there early to score a good spot for me so all was set for a great weekend :)

Reading had an incredible line-up this year. Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party, Vampire Weekend, Yeah yeah yeahs, The living end, Gossip, Glasvegas, Gaslight Anthem,The Maccabees, Florence and the Machine, Faith no More, Prodigy, Radiohead, among others!

That said it wasn’t all roses. I must say having been to Glasto twice Reading was a shock. A much younger, more hectic, rude and “nasty” crowd. Some scary moments of pushing in dense crowds, people throwing stuff into crowds at gigs, and the absolute craziness of the last night….

It was like ‘nam - I’m telling you man, it was crazy! You weren’t there man, you weren’t there!!

…breathe. Okay, so anyway, picture a campsite at 2am on the last night. Groups of young kids roaming the site looking for trouble like something out of Lord of the Flies.. Flares and fireworks going off horizontally (occasionally hitting tents). Mushroom clouds on the horizon from kids throwing camping gas canisters and aerosol cans onto bonfires (!) Fire engines hurtling around… Crazy!

I’m not going to reading next year. (Unless the line-up is awesome again…)

Anyway - that was my summer. Not a bad one eh? How were yours?!

Back from Ireland

Back from my weekend in Dublin – was most enjoyable – couple of really nice meals and a good long cliff walk along the coast. Also maybe a few too many drinks on Friday :) Pictures to follow, I have had a bit of a hectic day and not got to uploading them yet.

The day was hectic as I picked up the keys for my new flat today, and spent my evening shuffling things around from storage, picking up some missing essentials etc. Will be a few more days before I’m anywhere close to settled in there but already I have a bit more space for my things which is nice.

Checking in

I am in the middle of writing a big catch-up post detailing my adventures this summer, but it’s not ready yet. In preparation for it I am uploading a million images to my flickr stream which I seem to be a bit behind on. It’s taking a while, so the post will have to wait a bit. After such a long silence I’m sure you won’t mind a few days?

In the meantime, I’m off to Dublin this weekend, then I’m back on Sunday to move into my new flat!!

Resurrecting the blog

It’s been a while, I know. It’s complicated. I will explain soon :)