Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Cycling Advisory Group

Monday evening was the CAG meeting. Poorly attended by the nominated Members, and only 3 users there, and 3 Officers.
Hopefully the B'ham Cycling/Walking "definitive" map will be ready by Sept. Its been in the pipeline for a while, but I'd like to see it out as soon as possible so that we can start to get feedback (as no doubt there are errors and inaccuracies).
Have also raised the topic of BCC doing something for bikeweek 2006. Need to move this up the agenda.

Letter published!

For some reason 2000AD Megazine in its last issue (233) had a whole series of amusing captions refering to the Lib Dems. I thought, umm, how strange, its not known for being a hotbed of illiberalism. So fired off a quick response, with the punchline being something like "Judge Dredd - The ONLY Alternative".
Will dig out the full text.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Lib Dems English Council

Not quite sure what place English Council has within the Federal Party. It seems to exist as there is a need for some of its functions (ie candidate approval), and as a financial reporting unit.
Was horribly delayed by trains getting to London (just spotted new Virgin poster ads saying its only 90mins to London [weekdays], what it fails to mention is that it is close to 3hrs at the weekends currently).
But it was quite useful as an event to bring people together post the GE, and to catch up with friends such as Anders.

Eid Mela

Had a nice and chilled Sunday afternoon at Birmingham's Eid Mela. The weather was fantastic, and there was lots of things for people to do while there.
There were lots of familiar faces around the park (Asad M'd was the first to be spotted, a really hard worker during the General Election, he bought us an icecream, which continues his highly generous nature - boxes of chocolates would continually appear throughout the campaign).
And it was also a bit of a who's who of Birmingham asian politics, many of whom have got behind the LibDems now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Office Football

Latest results:
Friday lunch Office Academicals won a comfortable 5-0 victory. Played the last 10 minutes and spurned one 1/2 chance (scuffed shot). But played the most sublime dummy right at the death to queue the ball up for Jon Gilbert to belt home as he charged down the vacant left wing. Unfortunately he managed to almost lift it over the fence.
Friday evening's 11-a-side was a 3-0 victory against the self styled "Eventual Winners". Got on for the last 15 mins, and immediately caught offside...Didn't do much apart from run around and keep a defender occupied.
"Oasis" [the tuesday team] beat Summer Samba Allstars 5-2 (refereed the game, but nothing too contraversial. Need to work on the difference between direct & indirect free kicks.). W3D0L0
SSA turned out to be half of the team that we beat on Friday evening. Who had also been out playing all day in a tournament on Saturday (while we had a kick about for Rich Groves' stag do).

Unfortunately no up to date league tables to link to.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Currently watching

I don't get much time to watch TV, so I make do with DVD boxsets of favourite series. Currently stuck in the player is the West Wing series 5.
OK. Its not a great series, but you can see why Allison Janney has won her Emmy.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Ward Committee

A successful ward committee last night. I was "elected" chair by my two colleagues (Cllrs Dow and Wright). And ran the meeting better than I imagined I would with a tricky agenda, and a number of issues raised. Unfortunately we couldn't debate properly the environmental issues surrounding the new QE Hospital/Sainsbury's/Relief Rd developments across the Bourne Brook wildlife corridoor. This was due to a lack of the necessary Officers, but plenty of residents there to put their views across.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Bike week

Foiled by time and sense of direction.
My one organised activity for Bike Week failed due to lateness: I got delayed at work by a couple of minutes, and then on the cycle to Lancaster Circus failed to take the right turning at Masshouse. So I missed the organised ride by about a minute.
So undetered I set out on the towpath from Aston out to Spagetti Jct, along to Bromford Lane (nearly ended up going to Minworth...), back to Spagetti Jct and back into town via Digbeth, and Gas St basin and then out to Bournville.
Nice little journey of about 2hrs and 32kms. And some helpful fellow cyclists when I needed directions...

Monday, June 13, 2005

Garden Shed

What an absolute shower.
Turned up late, and they were already 2 goals down. And it didn't get any better. Eventually losing 4-1 to the MDC Allstars after a late consolation goal.
It was as if no one had woken up for the 1830hrs start, after getting used to playing after 8pm! Not sure even Simpson playing would have made the difference. But as he's in plaster ATM he wont be playing for a while so Shed are going to have to get their act together.

Kick about

Played my first football for well over a month since doing some minor damage to my right knee. Seem to have come through unscathed, but horribly unfit.
Managed to score a nice tap in on the half volley at the back post, and made some decent plays with the ball. Most of which surprised even me!
Hope to play a half of 11-a-side later this week if the knee holds together tonight.

Where are you cycling this week?

It's national Bike Week! You would barely know it was in Birmingham.
But then Birmingham is not the most cycle friendly city in the country. I believe that is largely to do with drivers here not actually being used to having cyclists sharing the road with them.
My own riding style is quite aggressive/defensive; I position myself in a lane so that cars have to move out to overtake. But aggressively fast, so getting stuck behind me is no worse than being caught behind a tractor (in fact I'm probably faster).
Hopefully I'll be biking to work everyday (back to normal), and also going on an afterwork 2hr ride around the city & canals with members of the Cycling Advisory Group, organised by Officers from the Walking/Cycling team in Transportation.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Sin City

I saw a trailer for this before Star Wars, but it didn't really jump out at me. I've not seen the comics before so was completely unprepared for the violence, visualisation and darkness of the stories. Fortunately there are redeeming characters, few and far between though (Dwight, played by Clive Owen). The use of b&w in film is great to see, and the vivid splashes of colour pop out at you (The Yellow Bastard vignette in particular).
This is definitely one comic come film that has worked. I enjoyed Hellboy, but it was SFX heavy. Judge Dredd was a Stallone film. Batman films have never lived up to the characters darkness, and focused on the enemy. Spiderman took the comics style to the big screen.
I'd like to see Preacher adapted, although I'm not sure that audiences are quite ready for this story of a fun loving, gun toting Southern preacher, a vampire and the catholic church (along the lines of the Da Vinci code)...
2000AD characters I'd like to see adapted: Sinister Dexter would be a lot of fun, and Nikolai Dante would push the boundaries of taste. Another Dredd film taking the Total War story would be interesting (much of Judge Dredd is actually a reflection of current affairs but in the Dredd universe. Total War takes the theme of terrorism, cells and nuclear bombs and runs).

Current reading/listening

Pollen by Jeff Noon.
During the election I just about managed to read an Ian Rankin novel (A Question of Blood). I can rattle through his novels and didn't want anything too challenging or thought provoking, and a bog standard Scottish crime thriller fitted the bill.
Jeff Noon is a different kettle of fish. It helps if you've ever lived in Manchester as many of his near future SF novels are set there, and you can visualise the roads, places and locations. His stuff is usually challenging and you have to get your head around the morphology of his characters everytime, even if some of the underlying concepts are the same (Vurt).
I'm also about to order a whole set of Sin City graphic novels from Amazon after seeing Sin City the film last night.

Currently listening to:
At this instant Linkin Park - Meteora.
But this is a reminder to self to return the 20+ CDs that have accumulated by my PC during the last 3 months. Not sure what the most listened to are, but suspect that its Foo Fighters - One by One, Doves - Some Cities, Feeder - Pushing the Senses and Snow Patrol - Final Straw.
Recent additions include Kasabian, NIN - [With Teeth] and Fountains of Wayne - Welcome Interstate Managers. Seem to have lost my Joy Division - Permanent CD, unless its hiding in an as yet unsearched pile of papers.

central park skyline

central park skyline
Originally uploaded by Radders.
One of my favourite windows backgrounds.
Taken from the north bank of the Jackie Onasis lake in Central Park NY on a warm easter Saturday in 2004.
I like it because of the way this huge city is caught between the calmness of the lake, and the vivid blues in the sky.


In the process of setting up a Flickr acct so that I can actually post some photos.
Will see what the results are like soon...

Test of w.blogger

Have downloaded w.bloggar. Need to test this on the laptop to see what its like for writing offline, and posting.
So far seems a nice interface for creating posts.
Now just need to find a useful RSS feed reader. Sort of thing Outlook Express ought to be able to do...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Election Expenses

I hate elections.
Everyone else can relax after an election. All except for the Election Agent who has to complete the election expenses.
I've learnt my lesson and now realise that I must record everything as I buy it in the future. Trying to remember everything is a nightmare.
But I've not had to resought to "Misc" categories yet.

Summer Festival of Football

The Office Academicals came through a relatively easy group stage yesterday, winning 3 games and a walkover.
Today they won their last 32 and last 16 games, but appear to have lost the quarter final on pens. Not sure who missed...
This is the best we've done yet, being top 8 of over 100 sides is a credit to the team, especially as our average age is over 5 yrs greater than most of the student teams.

Maiden Speech

Made my maiden speech in Full Council today.
Wasn't intending to, but then realised that I could make a contribution to the members motion on Elections and Postal Voting. Tied in my experiences from International Election monitoring in Ukraine, and how elections are run in developing democracies, compared to how they operate in old democracies.
In the UK we seem to be going backwards in terms of absentee voting. In most new democracies absentee voting is the source of most fraud, so they rarely allow it, except under highly controlled circumstances.
Speech went down well, and got some polite applause. Didn't pre-empt it either by saying "this is my maiden speech, go easy on me..."