Sunday, 28 August 2011

The holiday...

Some more detail...

We stayed in Windermere, in a lovely cottage in a little street just out of the main town area heading towards Bowness and the lake itself - ideal for us, meant we could pick to either walk into Windermere for shopping or to eat etc. or we could go down to Bowness.

The weather was excellent for the Lake District, it only rained part of one day, the Wednesday and a couple of light spits.  Given there were storm warnings out for our home area some days that was a bit bizarre really.

Sunday - we walked up to a viewpoint that looked over Windermere and then wandered about Bowness.  Son-of-Furtheron was determined to get us walking and so was planning what the guidebook we had (a Rough Guide) said was an "easy" hill walk.  This was the Fairfield Horseshoe, you climb out of Ambleside and over 8 peaks all over 500m.  Some advice was sought from a walking equipment shop owner as we bought a map we needed and he advised going in a particular direction, the weather looked good so that was Monday's plan.

However after we'd all suffered, my son hurt his knee and was in pain for some of it, I hurt my knee, my wife also ... the only one who didn't was my daughter but she nearly lost her shoe in a boggy bit!!!  Once down which was over 8 hours since we started we collapsed into a pub for much needed food, luckily they didn't care about our muddy boots.  My son subsequently looked up on a hill walking website and the walk is rated - Hard by them and is actually 17 miles with the up and down bits not the 11 in the rough guide!  It took me the rest of the holiday to recover!  Going downstairs was still painful several days later!

Tuesday therefore was shopping in Ambleside for new winter coats etc. via the Windermere steamer.  Best place about for any stuff like that.

Wednesday the weather wasn't so good so we headed to Kendle to look at the castle and around the shops then went back to Keswick for a typical Furtheron family afternoon tea!  We spend more time on holiday finding tea shops to get my 11am coffee and 3pm tea than anything else!

Thursday was a long trip to the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway, a narrow gauge (15") line similar to the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway but up some lovely valleys to a little hamlet called Boot.  We walked up the valley a bit then saw an old water mill there that still works.  Now here is a thought, the miller said that due to 21st century food standards it is not clean enough to make flour for human consumption.  That building has been a mill since 1578 - they have the list of all the millers up until the last one died in 1924.  Nearly 400 years and now they say it isn't safe?  Also you sometimes look at this stuff and wonder if our so called 20th and 21st century progress really is progress at all - this thing has produced flour to feed people for 400 years and produced absolutely no carbon emissions in all that time - totally renewable energy...

Friday we went for a sail on Ullswater to Pooley Bridge and had a couple of short walks (my knees were somewhat better now!).

Then the 300 something mile drive home which wasn't too bad until the nightmare that is the QE2 bridge!  I normally go M40 and round the southern M25 but the M40 was closed due to a crash as we got to the M42 junction on the M6 so decided to go M6, M1 etc.  Still we were home, car not unpacked but drinking a cup of tea before 4:30pm! :-)

Now back to work :-(  Still I start my new job, which I'm so excited about at the university in a month

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Back from hols

I will give a breakdown in due course but had a great time in the Lake District, did a ridiculous (for us) fell walk, went on lake steamers, etc.   Had a great time, beautiful part of the world and get this... whilst it was storm warnings and chucking with rain in the south we only had one day with a bit of rain... truly!  The Furtheron family lucked in clearly :-)

Friday, 19 August 2011

Curved balls and luck

I wrote on this here blog not 3 weeks ago about how I had landed a new job that was a similar commute to my old job (and current assignment) but was a perm job in one location without the hassle of a consultants "might be anywhere next month" concerns.  Well err.. I got offered another job this week.  I am so privileged.  I read, hear, see plenty on the news that this recession we are in is hard for people and unemployment is rising and many are really struggling to find any employment and here is me now with a job with a company that don't want me to leave but which I have a major lifestyle choice issue with, another company locally offering a really good job and now a really exciting opportunity in London!

I'm taking the London based one - firstly it is right in the centre and a few mins walk from a terminus with a regular service from my local station.  It is with a top university and is at ground zero today - i.e. they are transforming their IT function and have started to create the new one from the top down, I'm the next in at the management layer and have to define the shape, strategies, culture etc. of an entire new group.  Working with top notch researchers in many disciplines is going to be a challenge but also what a fantastic environment to be privileged to be in.

I am very very blessed at the moment.  Luckily as well this has all come through just before we head off to the Lakes for a family break together - so I can go into that relaxed that I have a future shape that fits me very well and will provide me with some unbelievable opportunities.

There is also a bit of irony around this for me.  I never went to uni myself, I flunked at A levels through starting the course late due to a daft idea to try and get a job at 16 which my Dad finally talked me out of, then I was only there until the big record contract was landed with the band, so too much time spent playing the guitar than working and finally I didn't really pick the right subjects for me.  But the one A level I did get got me into a training scheme with a local firm and a place on an HND course in Computer Studies... always been a bit of a chip on my shoulder that I'm not a graduate, and I know I've been rejected for jobs even now in my late 40s because of that.   And now here I am joining a leading university as part of the IT management team - I should lay that monkey totally to rest shouldn't I?  A dear friend and old boss of mine is similar - i.e. came from working class background and no university... he made it to VP in my old company and reports to the CIO in a worldwide respected very high profile organisation whose opinions are considered globally when given.  So anyone out there who knows someone who is struggling to find a placement after A levels - point them at us two, you can achieve without a degree you know. :-)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A couple of CD Reviews - Yes, Fly From Here and Journey Eclipse

I've had a big of an influx of new CDs lately so am going to do a few catch up reviews.

Yes - Fly From Here.

The first new Yes studio album since Magnification which was fully 10 years ago when that was released only the second Yes album to not feature Jon Anderson on lead vocals the first being Drama back in 1980 - which is now fully 31 years ago!

So what is the story then... Yes was restored to the "classic" line up of Jon Anderson vocals, Steve Howe guitar, Chris Squire bass, Rick Wakeman keyboards, Alan White drums back in 2002 when the embarked on a lengthy 35th anniversary tour - there is a good DVD available of a show from San Fransisco for anyone interested in that.   The group then took a break when they decided to get back together Jon Anderson was unable to commit due to some health issues with his throat.  Rick Wakeman was not prepared for big long tours and didn't want to have anything to do with it with out Jon Anderson... so he left to be replaced by his son Oliver whilst Yes recruited Benoit David to replace Anderson.  Benoit having been spotted in a Yes tribute band on Youtube.  So back on the road playing the old stuff to the faithful. 

Quick rewind... after the album Tormato in 78 Jon and Rick both left then saying that the band had lost direction and wasn't operating as a unit.  Then Yes recruited to many peoples surprise The Buggles, Geoff Downs and Trevor Horn to replace them and produced the Drama album.  To be honest I always thought that a much maligned album, it had some real highlights, I also saw them at Hammersmith on that tour and it wasn't the shambles I saw reported in some reviews.  Poor Trevor Horn took the main beating but he isn't Jon Anderson and was never trying to be - but a passionate Yes fan he has always been. Aftert the Drama tour they disbanded and Geoff and Steve went on to form Asia whose first album is still a fav of mine.  Chris and Alan teamed up with Trevor Rabin and started a band called Cinema but when Chris played Jon their demos Jon loved and joined with old keyboard man Tony Kaye and the 90125 album propelled Yes back into the limelight with the radio friendly single Owner of a Lonely Heart... who produced that album... Trevor Horn.  

Why all the history... it is in some ways relevant!!!

So put Fly From Here into the old CD player and... instant Yes, the interplay of Steve Howe with Chris Squires clangy bass is undeniably Yes from the get go.  Always surprises me that Steve Howe had two very distinct signature sounds one in Yes one in Asia a very very talented man.  Then to the vocals - hello that is different yet reminiscent of something.  We move on in the tracks... by now I'm scanning the lyrics and sleeve notes etc. 

So the line up for this album is Howe, Squire, White (of course) with David on vocals but the Wakeman family name has departed (except for Oliver having provided some additional keyboards on a smattering of tracks) to be replaced with Geoff Downs fresh from last years reunion of the original Asia line up with Howe.

Again it is tugging at me... then the penny drops.  This sounds more like Drama than other Yes albums.  Hang on who wrote some of this stuff... a name appears Horn who produced it... Horn.  Even the picture of the crusties (excluding the out of place youthful David!) has in the middle a grey haired Trevor Horn.

The main "track" is Fly From Here - it was written by Horn and Downs in the Drama sessions but never made the cut for the album but was in the subsequent tour - if that line up had done a follow up album it'd been on it.  Well in essence that is what you have here - the 30 years later follow up to Drama just with David doing a Horn impersonation not an Anderson one.  The way the lyrics/vocal lines scan are very reminiscent of the Drama material.  There are some additional tracks on including a nice solo acoustic signature piece by Mr Howe again.

If you like Yes and thought the Drama album was good/ok then this is a great followup.  If you were in the Buggles haters stay away.  Is it Yes... without a doubt the sound is Yes but with a different take - a bit like having a coffee with a shot of some flavour added to it... the same but with a different aftertaste.  If you like other prog like early Genesis etc. at least give it a listen - I still feel that bands like this knock the socks of much of the rest of stuff about despite their aging looks...

I like it quiet a lot but as I say I wasn't disappointed with the Drama album - Tempus Fugit is a great song.  Geoff Downs is a really good keyboard player as his work in Asia subsequently showed. 

I got the version with the DVD which then goes into some depth explaining the decision largely between Chris Squire and Trevor Horn to dig out Fly From Here and give it a real big prog polish up.

Journey - Eclipse

So from one band that replaced their singer with one from a tribute band... to another!  Wasn't this trend started by Judas Priest some years back if I remember rightly.

I bought this as it was the only thing I could afford in Harrods the other week!  Well not totally true I'd heard the lead track City of Hope on Planet Rock a few times and one other track and was impressed enough to think - once I see it going well under a tenner I'll get it.  And I'm glad I did.

This is a very very good if very very classic Journey album.  Honestly you almost listen to the first few tracks and wonder what old albums they were on - a bit Journey derivative then?  Possibly but then if you have a signature sound why not use it.  City of Hope is an excellent starter - the drum sound is for me well worthy of mention - top notch driving beat. Edge of the Moment, Tantra and Resonate also stand out.

Arnel Pineda sounds so like Steve Perry at times it is scary!  Really it is!  Funny the one difference in these two album reviews that stands out is that Beniot David is not trying to be Jon Anderson at all on the Yes album - as I say he sounds more like Trevor Horn but here Arnel really is Steve Perry reincarnate.  What the hell does that mater with an album as good as this - I do feel a bit of sadness for Steve Augeri who was ousted to make way but then he return to Tall Stories with my friend on drums and made a bloody good 20 years later followup album Skyscraper... that is worth checking out too.

Neal Schon gets some stick around the internet etc. as a bit of a megalomaniac etc. but his playing on this album is a complete a - z lesson in stadium rock.  He doesn't put a finger wrong and has great tone throughout - he is using PRS single cuts and Blackstar 100W amps I believe mostly at the moment... trust me on the evidence of this I'm inclined to mortgage my kids to get the same set up!

Monday, 15 August 2011

An Oasis of beauty

In all the horrible stuff of the past few days which continue - I had to switch off the radio again on the way to work this morning as whilst I do care about the issues relating to the riots I have recognise my own limits on this stuff so Rodrigo y Gabriela Live in Paris went on the CD player... much more nourishing for my soul.  (Reminds me I owe the readers of this august blog a whole bunch of CD reviews).  So that was the first thing but more majorly I went to a wedding yesterday and it was lovely in all kinds of way.

Firstly the wedding was an old friend of ours, a second marriage for both parties both with families from the previous one.  The great spirit in which you could see these two families joining as one was fantastic.  The love between the bride and groom was palpable throughout the day.  The setting was fantastic, a lovely country hotel just outside Bristol in the South Gloustershire countryside, the weather was gorgeous.  Sadly earlier this year my friends mother passed away and there was a great poignancy to part of the day that she wasn't there - that took my back to 1985 when my wife and I married, in a similar setting, country hotel setting for the reception etc.  My Dad sadly had died in the October the year before and there was a great feeling of someone not being there that should have been but knowing in spirit he was.

As we slogged back up the M4, M25 etc. last night I was thinking that that is what life is all about.  The ups and downs of it, the set backs and the leaps forward but in all yesterday was totally about love.  The grooms two sons in their early 20s did a joint speech at the reception which reflected their Dad's character in great comic style but with such love.

Sorry to go all sloppy on here but I really did feel overwhelmed with it all yesterday and did feel that too often the bad and the ugly is the emphasis in daily life rather than the good and the love.  Silly little aside postscript to exemplify what I mean, England have trounced the Indians in the test series and rightly are now at the head of the Test rankings table - we won the 20:20 world cup (shortest form of the game) and are now kingpins in the longest form as well.  Already within a day or so the English media is saying "how can England stay on top?"  - see negative instantly it isn't pressworthy if it isn't.  It can be demoralising - I think I should turn the radio off more, listen to more music more and look for the positivity in the world not the negativity.   I think it is fantastic England are the top of the test table - bring on the last Indian test (at the Oval in London this coming Thursday through to next Monday), let us hope it is another game England win in emphatic style inside 4 days like the last two.

Friday, 12 August 2011

equilibrium restored...

I have to be honest my equilibrium was a bit awry at the beginning of the week.  I know some of this was due to the riots - it really did affect me emotionally, I was frankly scared, I don't think for my own personal safety/wellbeing but for my countries, my communities etc.  I still feel that there is much much more to be learnt from all this.  Sadly there was a protest at the start of this that may have had something political, something about social inequality and about how we communicate with groups and society.  But the vast majority of what has been shown is just wanton looting, theft, violence and causing damage for damage sake.  Then to try to justify this people talk about the lack of opportunity and that they were trying to take from the rich.  Lost on that argument - why were you attacking shops owned by people in your own communities then?  Even attacking the large conglomerates makes no sense in that argument as the people who will suffer are the store managers and employees if that company decides that they'd rather not suffer the inevitable insurance price hikes, increased cost of security etc... so they close and people in your community are out of work.  Baffled by it all.  I think there is a point about how society today glorifies possessions and greed and consumerism and that young people without work feel victimised.  However the list of people being convicted includes many with adequate jobs.  Times are hard for people but everyone has a choice to make?  Do this and harm people or don't and don't harm people.   Maybe some better education about love and respect is due - and please don't make that a compulsory flipping GCSE with target grades for various areas - that isn't what is needed at all!

So anyways - I feel a bit better about it all - somewhat as I've now analysed what I can and come to my opinions on the matter and also realise I can do this and that but generally little else to help - I can't don a superman outfit and fix it all which is what I'd have love to have done the other night as I watched the reports of the spread of it coming in.

So the good things in life... England doing so well in the cricket, the Radio4 long wave commentary of the cricket, I'm off to a friends wedding this weekend, knowing where my kids were on the nights in question and that they weren't involved at all, whatever may happen in the country I'm still a darn sight better off here than in much of the rest of the world, being sober, having opportunities, having love in my life, ... in all my life is good at the moment ... and I'm back on a more level keel... :-)

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Great recovery post

Fantastic post on recovery I'd recommend it to anyone who has an addiction problem esp. alcohol or anyone who comes into contact with addicts/alcoholics.   Short, to the point and very eloquently written...

http://infactorium.blogspot.com/2011/08/program-benefits.html

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

England's week of shame

I've been debating whether to blog on the riots but given it is occupying more of my headspace than I'd like it to I clearly should.

I've not been in anyway as yet directly affected by it.  There was small scale disturbances near to us Monday night with some cars and bins burnt but our local police pinned the blame on a group who had travelled into our towns deliberately and had arrested what they reported to be the majority of them.

So how do I feel about the riots?  Angry?  Yes. Sad? Yes. Confused?  Most definitely.

My vision of it is that this is not about the shooting in Tottenham but what has happened is that the police's inability to deal with that and the looting and mayhem that ensued there has led others to realise that this is a great way to commit crime with I believe they think little chance of being caught.  The police should have dealt better with it earlier - I don't underestimate the difficulty of that but it spread since they were seen as ineffectual.  I hear some say this is about race?  I don't see that at all - it could well be about inequality, a society where the glamorous and mega-rich are paraded in front of people daily in the press, the magazines the "reality TV shows", etc.   Many kids see high unemployment, services that hit them being cut and no interest from the politicians.  The local council cut a scheme for 10/11 year old kids near us, my daughter now 15 had been on that and was incensed.  She wrote a well written critical email and sent it to our ward councillor who also is our MP.  Guess what?  He never even acknowledged it's receipt or replied - she hasn't the vote for the next 3 years and statistically is unlikely to vote once 18 anyway so presumably she isn't worthy of his time.  Then politicians stand up on TV and say, we need to understand why these kids are disaffected...   LISTEN TO THEM!!! TALK TO THEM!!!

Sadly the last few days will have changed England for a long time to come, possibly for ever.  People are calling for more robust policing - good idea perhaps, but remember the G20 and the criticism of their actions then and the "kettling" of student protesters.  When we have protests on the streets again on a matter of great national debate will we be calling for robust policing them?  But how can the police quickly decide between the two?  I'm glad I'm not a policeman today I can tell you that.

There is no simple sound bite answer to all of this but I do feel that the avaricious, wealth, celebrity focused society we have now is one of the major faults.  We need kids to believe again - now cutting out of school activities since the politicians, who remember were not so long ago widely exposed to be feathering their own nests with the expenses scandal, tell them the country needs to save money when the debts are so mind bogglingly big makes no sense to them. We need to stop teach kids to GCSE grade targets and teach them about life, living, caring, love, community etc.

I am very impressed by the broom wielding people who have got out and helped clear up - shame that isn't the front page rather than the looted shops and burnt out cars. 

Monday, 8 August 2011

Gig Review - Iron Maiden The O2 5-Aug-2011

One of Son-of-Futheron's 21st birthday "treats" was for us to both go and see Iron Maiden live at The O2.  Fortunately over the last few years they seem to have either toured very close to his birthday or Christmas making some of the present buying simple!

For once this was quiet a straight forward set from the boys, in that there were a few tracks off the latest album and then a bunch of classics thrown in - given other tours have seen them playing "Only tracks from the first four albums", "One tracks from the last four albums", The Powerslave tour set, the entire A Matter of Life and Death album etc.

Anyway - as ever Maiden didn't disapoint with a big grand space ship style set and from the word go it was classic Maiden.  Steve Harris in front of the monitors thumping away on his bass, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith in usual poses - i.e. Dave with flowing hair and solos a plenty and Adrian with his odd little robot like feet action... of course stage right as you looked at them Janick Gers was straight into his demented marrionet mode - how he moves like that and plays a guitar is beyond me!  Nicko kept perfect time from behind the enormous kit and lord of the stage Bruce was in fine voice and running about like a nutter as well.

Interesting fact...  Dave Murray has a sig model available from Fender but he doesn't use it at all and in fact in this set used a Les Paul for several numbers - Adrian Smith used his signature Jackson on a few but predominantly his battered old Les Paul Deluxe goldtop... Mr Gers stuck to his usual brace of battered Strats.. and he is the only one of the group not honoured with a Fender signature model, hardly seems fair seeing he has apparently more loyalty to the big F than the others - well except Steve Harris who used his Precision complete with West Ham logo throughout.

Highlights... 'strewth too many to mention... El Dorado off the new album was really good, 2 minutes to midnight, Fear of the Dark, Wicker Man and The Trooper but frankly wholes thing still shows that Maiden continue at the top of their game.  Long may they continue to as well!

Busy times

I was off work for two whole days to celebrate my sons 21st birthday.  Thursday we went to the cabinet war rooms in London.  Very interesting place, actually the huge museum on Churchill's life was the biggest interest for me.  How can one man have done so much in his life?  He was instrumental in the introduction of some of major social reforms in this country - namely national insurance, state pensions and labour exchanges.  Then of course all the first world war stuff and of course the second world war... what an utterly amazing man.

Lunch was at The Hard Rock Cafe... the original in London.  I was defeated by the huge portion that was piled on the plate!  We ended the day getting throughly ripped off by having a cup of tea/coffee in Harrods.  Mrs F is still mumbling about the £20 bill for the four of us.  We declined having scones which were over £8 each!!!

Friday the crack decorating team of Mrs F and Son-of-Furtheron who had completed all the painting of Daughter-of-Furtheron's revamped bedroom called in yours truly to complete the wallpapering... it all looks really good I can't wait to see her reaction when she gets back from Turkey early tomorrow morning.

Saturday was a shopping day and then Sunday we went to Brands Hatch to watch the British Superbikes which was a really good day out too with Son-of-Furtheron trying out the new camera we had bought him for his birthday.  I know little about these things but it has 18megapixles... which sounds like a lot and the quality of the stuff he showed me last night was brilliant.

Next weekend Mrs F and I are off to a friends wedding near Bristol.  Then the weekend after that the Furtheron family jaunt to the Lake District will be under way!!  Busy, busy, busy

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Something about guitars!!!

You know that despite the august title of this blog there has been previous little about guitars on here lately.  Actually I've consider starting a new blog with the title "None the bloody wiser frankly" given that is often how I feel as I get older.

Anyway - some guitar stuff...

I was reading this months copy of Guitarist.  They had a review of some new Yamaha Pacifica models - namely the Pacifica 611HFM, the 510V and the 311H.   Now the 611 and 311 are very similar just the 611 has Semour Duncan pickups, better h/w and a flame maple veneer top.  I've played one or two Pacifica's over the years and always been impressed with them, also I'm a Yamaha steel string acoustic nut owning currently three different models!  I'd love an old SG as well (don't start Colin I know yours is for sale but just because I'd love to buy your beauty doens't mean I can justify it either to myself or the wealth distribution management oversight committee of Mrs F and Daugther-of-Furtheron who always have conflicting priorities).

What I like about these models is that they are a bit different from the norm.  611 is fixed bridge with a tapped humbucker in the bridge and a P90 at the neck.  Cool.  I did have a Les Paul Special for a while with P90s having determined I needed a P90 loaded guitar but found I never settled with it and it went when the PRS joined the stable.

However the 510v that I really like the look of.  Single humbucker stratalike shape with a vibrato... hmm remind you of the 80s?  Indeed but the pickup is the very cleaver Semour Duncan p-rails one which attempts (quite well by all accounts) to capture a humbucker, single coil and P90 sound all in one humbucker sized unit.  Yamaha claim in the review that they have exclusive OEM rights to the trembucker sized variant of this now - i.e. the pole pieces are in the right place for Fender like trem string spacing at the bridge position.

Here's a very seductive picture of one in a little red number... they have a nice looking all black number available too...




Also in review was the new Fret King Jerry Donahue signature guitar.  A Tele derivative obviously but with some interesting electrics, slightly modified shape on the bottom and the top horn and clever Trev Wilkinson hardware, just look at those bridge saddles - neat.  I read the review of this and wasn't surprised that the guitar came out well I've played some Fret Kings and been impressed and JD wouldn't put his name on any old tat.  However I assumed this would be in the expensive Fret King range, you know £1,200plus, competing with Fender Standards and Deluxes from the USA.  But... £600!!! WHAT!  Bargain surely - ok it is Korean assembled but I think today we can all dismiss those fears and ESPs ltd series which are throughly superb guitars are Korean made but now appearing around the £1000 mark.





It got me thinking... I have a collection of axes but it has in it ... a Strat, A Les Paul, a PRS CE22 - all a bit bloody predicatble isn't it.  Ok the Peter Cook is out in the left field and the Gordon Smith is slightly pushing against the norm a little... although it is the single cut varient - trust me when I say that search started with the intention of buying a double cut "classic" GS shape but when I played the "60" I now own I feel in love - even my wife who suffered that buying expedition said she knew in seconds of me noddling on it that I'd buy that one.  Makes me wonder if I shouldn't try out something like these guys and dispense with the obvious options.

the debt ceiling... or stop the world I want to get off

Finally the USA government have raised the debt ceiling - I have no idea if that is a good or a bad idea, frankly because I can't even get my head around the numbers.  It was raised by $2.4tn... tn?  Yes not m (million) not bn (billion) but a trillion.  What is a trillion?  It is 12 zeros.  12 zeros!!!  Let us write out that number long hand then...

$2,400,000,000,000 

The mind boggles I can't really cope with that the number is in my simple brains terms stonkingly big.  Oh note that was the incremental rise, i.e. that was how much extra they wanted to borrow.  Go to your bank and ask to raise your overdraft by that amount!!!  The new USA federal government debt is therefore now $16.7tn.  The mind boggles.  Frankly what the hell do they spend it on?  Trying to visualise this in my head led me to think the opposite about small things - say an atom.  (Dubious research note here - I got a lot of this info off Yahoo Answers).  250,000,000 atoms all lined up is apparently 1 inch so 16.7tn atoms is 66,800 inches which is just over a mile.  Given you or I have never seen an atom with our naked eye that is amazing!

The whole thing is completely funny money.  I have worked for large companies before one of which once completed a take over of a rival for somewhere north of $60bn which is a number I can't compute in my head. But $16.7tn -

$16,700,000,000,000

sorry brain overload point.

Here's the next funny thing with it.  Who is this money owed to?  Some commercial banks... but hang on who bailed them all out a couple of years ago.  So the government borrows money from the banks to prop the banks up?  Well in some ways... er... yes.  But some is owed to other countries, i.e. China is owed 6% of the USA debt.  So if the USA didn't pay up could the Chinese send in the bailiff to ask for "goods and property to the value of"?  I think that means they can have Rhode Island and Minnesota (give or take)!

But now here's the best bit I heard on the radio that over 50% of this debt is owed to the pension funds since they want a fair chunk of their money in rock solid investments that will only go up not down and which the debtor has the highest credit rating you could hope for.  So who owns the pension funds?  Surely it is the people as the money is for them and deposited by them or on their behalf by the company they work for.  So the government really owes all this money to the people - the people that they are taxing to pay back the debt.  Confused?!

What an utter mess.  How the hell will they ever ever be able to pay it all back but if they say "you know what we can't pay this" then modern society meltdown.  Although part of me wonders if that wouldn't be a bad thing and we all just stop and look at how we are using the greatest technological age of man to date and stand back from it all.  People again dying in Africa - we pour more food in there for the timebeing but is the answer to invest in a new agriculture model there... or is the answer to strip down the artificial national boundaries created by Europe's land grabbing greed in the past and allow them to go back to a truly nomadic life without boundaries?  People dying in Syria to get the right to write a blog like this, but the rest of the world decides this one isn't our issue - why is this different from Libya?  Blah blah blah you could go on all day.

Luckily today I don't have to worry about it.  I'm alright, my daughter is in Turkey having a great time, her room is being decorated by a crack team of decorators (Mrs F and Son-of-Furtheron), I have my own money in the bank so I don't owe anyone, anywhere a single penny at the moment - funny that was how my Dad brought me up - shame the politicians parents didn't instil the same discipline in them :-)  Tomorrow is Son-of-Furtheron's 21st birthday - 21!!! where have the years gone?  And we're off to London for a day out I believe.... Friday I go to see Iron Maiden with my son ... and life is bloody great really.  What is a few trillion dollars between friends after all?

Monday, 1 August 2011

Moving on

Bad Company - first album, Moving On one of my favourite tracks of theirs however that isn't the point of this post...

I can reveal that the life changing event alluded a post of two back is actually not that interesting... I've got a new job that is all. Just couldn't post that on here until those that needed to be told were told, not that any of them have probably any clue about this blog but I just thought that people needed to be told confidentially first. Anyways all sorted now...

I've landed a local - well as local as my old long term job and current assignment - i.e. about 40 mile commute - IT project manager role with a well known and respected company. It'll remove the stress of wondering where the next assignment will be and no longer have to face any weekly or long term working away from home.

It isn't that there is any problem with my current employer, nice company, lovely people and interesting work for the most part but I just hated the being away from home when required. However looks like the new company has a much stricter policy on acceptable use of the web and browsing blogs at lunchtime may be off the menu.

Other stuff in the Furtheron household has been that we have had the pleasure of Son-of-Furtheron's girlfriend staying the last week. S-of-F was giving her the tourist trip around our neck of the woods, Whitstable, Canterbury, Rochester then up to London for a day - I think the girl will be glad to have a break away from his breakneck tourism :-)

Daughter-of-Furtheron returned from Spain with new skills under her belt, I need to buy a boat apparently as she is an expert sailor now she reckons and one day as a snorkeling session finished the options were to walk back over a load of rocks or swim open water about 1500m across the bay directly back to the town.  She was the only one who took the second option and beat them all back and one of the instructors admitted to being mighty impressed.  Anyway she is off to the other end of the Med today to Turkey on the holiday with her friends family.

We had a big family BBQ in the garden on Saturday for S-o-F's impending 21st.  It had to be this weekend rather than next which would be closer as D-of-F will be in Turkey!  Great time, many laughs and great food etc and the weather was good for us as well so it was an afternoon in the sun for us all.

Mrs F and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary quietly as well this week, that was a day!  Anniversary, I picked up a new car I'd bought, told the client that I was leaving in September, D-of-F arrived home from Spain... and... well something else might have happened that day, all a bit of a blur!