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Last Updated: Sunday 13 March 2005 From London

 

Hi folks

 

It's been a long time between updates .... life was very hectic last year with work, work and ... errr ... more work.  Consequently, not much time for updating the website.  Still, I did manage to get myself back on the scoreboard career wise, put an eFX system into production to the (somewhat muted) applause of it's users and get a promotion.

 

Work has quietened down a little and I'm finding life exceedingly boring at the moment.  Sometimes I think it's the whole mundane life of going to work, getting home, occasionally going out and creeping along till advanced decrepitude.  Other times, I just think it's the end of winter and I've mentally had enough of the lack of sunlight and warmth. 

 

Thankfully, the weather is improving and with it my thoughts turn to to what to do with the most important thing in my life at the moment - my annual leave of 23 days (sigh!). 

 

With better weather comes the chance to take the bike out of the garage and go pursue some cheap high octane thrills.  Dan and I have been kicking around a few motorcycle tours for the year over drinks.  First up is riding around Wales on the May Bank Holiday weekend.  Second is ten days riding around Sweden.  Should be good although I am having trouble confirming the Sweden trip with work as my project heats up around then.  Damn this work thing!

 

Other trips on the horizon are six days driving a rental car around Belgium with a friend over the Easter break.  Belgium doesn't sound like the most exciting holiday destination ... when does Belgium ever sound exciting?  But it could be good for a road trip .  Not knowing where you are going to end up that night does make things a lot more exciting.  And then there's the added bonus of driving one of the best handling cars in the world - an Avis rental car.

 

After Belgium, it's off to Iran for 17 days in late May visas and flights permitting .  Am looking forward to that one with a sense of excitement and trepidation.  It is definitely a road less travelled and I have no idea of what I'm going to encounter travelling by myself in this country full of ancient ruins, ayatollahs and most recently ... 'peaceful' nuclear research facilities.  I have already got a few books to read on the country and the few people I met in my travels said that Iranians were some of the most hospitable people you're ever likely to meet.  Hopefully, I will get there before the Americans and Israelis bomb it. 

 

Anyway that's it for the moment.  Enjoy the new content.

 

Simon

 

PS: if anyone has been to Iran and has got some tips, please drop me an email at the address above.

 

 

Photos from my France Motorcycle Trip in May 2004 (yes ... I am  a year or two behind)

Here are the photos of the 'running in' long weekend that I took my new Honda VFR800 VTEC ABS on.  Dan and and I spent 3 fun filled days touring through the French country side surrounding The Somme, Verdun and Champagne. It was all good  ... but I don't recommend doing a Champagne House visit on a motorcycle ... or loading said motorcycle up with so much champagne that it throws out the handling!

 

 

What I've been reading lately

All The Shahs Men - An American Coup And The Roots of Middle East Terror - Interesting book on how the British and Americans toppled a democratic regime in 1953.  The Iranian coup became the blueprint for later American actions to kill or depose many foreign leaders in the context of the larger war against communism.  I will definitely be referring to the book the next time I'm contemplating a coup d'tat and need to organise some mobs both for and against the government to sow confusion.

 

Salt - A World History - I read Mark Kurlansky's earlier book, Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World and really enjoyed it after having toured through the old cod fishing villages of Norway's Lofoten Islands.  This one has been interesting as well.  Wars were fought over salt, salt was used as currency and as well being used to preserve cod, butter and cheese, was a key ingredient in ... salad.  Worth reading.

 

Starship Troopers - I loved the movie, have watched it six times and have had many a long argument with people along the lines of "It's a spoof" and "It's crap".  The book by Robert A. Heinlein is  vastly different and poses some interesting philosophical questions.  How much do you value democracy? Would you pay a price to vote?  If not, why? Don't you think a vote is worth anything? You may not like Heinlein's politics but he does make a compelling argument for a more socially responsible society that, in this case, sacrifices automatic personal freedoms for earned responsibilities.

 

Next on the reading list are a few books that have been on the shelves for a while (I'm a compulsive orderer of books who never gets around to reading them).  Pompeii By Robert Harris, The World From Islam by George Negus and The Carpet Wars by Christopher Kremmer. 

 

 

What've I've been watching and listening to
The Night Of the Iguana - I first saw a colourised version of this on a Qantas flight and finally managed to get a copy on DVD (Region 1) via Ebay.

Starring Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr and Sue Lyon, the Night Of The Iguana is a gripping drama about a defrocked American Minister and the three emotional women entangled with him.  All good.  And Sue Lyon is particularly hot if you're into those '60s screen goddesses. She also starred in Stanley Kubrick's 1962 version of Lolita (mmmm).

 

Hot Fuss - The Killers - Definitely my album of the year.  Bought it for the 'Somebody Told Me' single and ended up liking the whole album. Has definitely supplanted the Modena City Ramblers in my gym music listening collection.  Hell, I even play when I get home ... well I did until Anka borrowed it.

 

The Libertines - The Libertines - Have been curious about this band for a long time and particularly so with all of that publicity about their drug addled former lead singer.  It's good ... but it had the unfortunate luck to be bought at the same time as the Hot Fuss CD described above.  Que lastima!

 

 

Websites that have absorbed my interest and too much of my time lately

Ebay - I can see why this site is addictive.  I've ordered a heap of hard to find DVDs including Night Of The Iguana, The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane Rock And Roll Detective, The Siege Of Firebase Gloria, etc, etc.

 

Albino Black Sheep - Initially, I was looking for songs about llamas and found a flash movie entitled Llama Song. Further exploration yielded such gems as Elvis Lives In Flash and the not so French but very Scottish French Erotic Film

 

Toilet Roll Conspiracy Theory - Stumbled across this page whilst trying to convert my Sony DVD Player to region free.  Naturally, I failed miserably for technical reasons and will probably have to bribe the techies on the 4th floor to do it for me.  Anyway, I found this Toilet Roll Conspiracy Theory page and immediately ran to the toilet to check out the serial numbers on the toilet rolls.

 

Wikipedia - This is a free online encyclopaedia that I found whilst researching something or another.  It seems to have articles to everything.  It's amazing how you can tangentially crawl across history just by clicking on all the in text links.  It even comes in Polish. Tak. Pravda.

 

 

Gay Penguins

One thing that fascinated me in February last year was an article from the New York Times - Love That Dare Not Squeak Its Name.  The article talks about a pair of penguins in New York Zoo who were extremely devoted to each other, had sex and even raised an egg together as surrogate parents. 

 

It took me days to get my mind around the whole concept, even though I have no problem with what consenting penguins get up to in their fake ice flow pens.  Gay penguins just blew my mind (and only my mind). 

 

 Now I read in Metro recently that the penguins in the Bremmerhaven Zoo are at it as well.  And the dolphins in the wild are up for some man dolphin on man dolphin action as well.

 

I never thought that the 'Dolphins Are Gay Sharks' t-shirt I bought from Public Grief Junkie would have a ring of truth to it.  Now I know.  The truth is out there.  Dolphins really are gay sharks.  My world is rocked.

 

Forth coming content (one of these days)

  • Brazil, Argentina and Patagonia

  • South East Asia

  • Krakow Weekend

  • Motorcycling In Eastern Europe

  • Motorcycling In Spain

  • Northern Chile Short Trip

Previous Editions:

July 2004, October 2003, July 2003, November 2002, Mid April 2002, April 2002, December 2001, April 2001, December 2000, November 2000