G-Unit v K-Dog Nintendo Wii Boxing

Nintendo Wii is the highly successful new kid on the gaming machine block. While Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s Play Station slug it out with nearly identical machines Nintendo have taken a revolutionary approach with a controller that allows a much more physical interaction with the console.

I took this video of Graham, on the left using a style reminiscent of early Cassius Clay swing and sting approach and Kelvin, using a less conventional Steven Segal on LSD.

Who wins this battle of the combat styles? There is only one way to find out –

Freecycling rocks

Rachel is a freecycler (not a freegan) which means that she loves to give stuff to other freecyclers and get stuff in return from them. They even have a freecycler website big meetings where they all go to give stuff away. This is a fantastic idea that started in Arazona with the idea to divert reusable good from landfills.

Today she took a load of our old books up to a freecycle meeting in an afluent area of London called Hampstead. There were some really amazing ‘gifts’ being freecycled like coffee machines. Against all odd she managed to beat all of the other freecyclers to this stunning piece of art that not lives above our dining room table.

Freecycled painting

We are planning to take it back to Sydney with us so it can hang on the wall of her “yoga room”.

I am officially part of the paparazzi!

My office in London is right next to the Holborn police station. Last Friday we had a fire drill and while outside we noticed that there were around 100 media types with expensive digital cameras crowding around the entrance to the “cop shop”? behind temporary barriers. A small amount of questioning later revealed that Amy Winehouse was due to make an appearance at 3pm for allegedly assaulting a person in a nightclub.

Well after 5pm she finally turned up and I was able to snap this picture of her entering the police station from an office on the 7th floor.

Amy Winehouse at Holborn Station

Considering how much interests there is in her tormented and drug addled life at the moment I am offering this photo to the highest bidder. I suggest a good starting price would be around ?10,000.

ANZAC DAWN SERVICE IN LONDON

This morning I got up at 4am and rode to Hyde Park Corner to participate in the Australian and New Zealand Army Core dawn service to commemorate the Aussie and Kiwi soldiers who have gone to war for their countries. The service starts at dawn to match the time that the ANZACs first hit Gallipoli beach in Turkey 93 years ago. Eight months of bitter military stalemate later 2721 New Zealand, 8709 Australian, 33,072 British, 10,000 French and 87,000 Turkish soldiers were dead.

New Zealand has had worse days while fighting for King and country but the Gallipoli campaign was the first.

In 1914, New Zealand’s population was just over one million. When the war began 124,211 men joined up and 100,444 went overseas. This was a staggering 10 percent of NZ’s population. 40% of all men aged between 18 and 45 signed up. Per capita New Zealand made the largest contribution to World War 1.

The last ANZAC dawn service I attended in London was on a hungover Saturday morning in 1998 just after I first arrived in London. That service was at an Australian memorial in Battersea Park and only a few dozen people turned up to hear legendary Australian orator Clive James speak. From memory he talked about how modern historian’s views about the Gallipoli campaign had changed and as he was saying what they had changed to a slow low flying plane flew over and I missed it all.

Today’s service at the new New Zealand memorial on Hyde Park Corner was attended by a much larger crowd as ANZAC commemorations seem to be undergoing something of a global revival. This service was a much more religious affair with lots of prayers and songs to Jesus the so called “prince of peace” etc. I guess it’s hard to tell young men to run towards machine guns if they don’t believe they will go to a better place when it inevitable goes badly wrong for them.

ANZAC Dawn Service Hyde Park Corner 2008

None of my Aussie/Kiwi mates who said they would come actually made the early start. Excuses included: sleeping, over-sleeping laziness trumping patriotism and just getting back from Nam.

Wireless router upgrade

I have a shitty old Linksys router that acts as a wireless connection for our whole flat. It often crashes when it gets too busy.

A while ago I saw this article on lifehacker about upgrading the rubbish firmware on my router with opensource software from Tomato.

I umed an ahed about it for months because if something went wrong then we would be disconnected from the internet. Which would not only be a personal tragedy but also would mean I had to have actual real life conversations with my flatmates. More than likely conversations about why I broke the internet. And how I work in IT so I should be able to fix it.

Today I build up the courage to make the firmware upgrade and it took about 2 minutes.

If you have a Linksys router that is causing you problems then I fully recommend upgrading to Tomato.

The subtlety of advertising

On British television at the moment, ASDA, one of the major supermarket chains has an advertisement where they claim that an independent price checker http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/ say that they have loads more cheap products than a cut-price supermarket rival, Tesco.

This is a sample of one of the ads.

The thing that caught my attention is that the music from the ad is the theme tune from a classic British comedy called Dad’s Arrmy. Everybody in Britain would know that the main line of the song is “Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler?”

Is this a really subtle way for for one British supermarket to call another British supermarket Nazis?

MONEY FOR NOTHING

Today at lunch I was attempting to change the pin on a Barclays Visa (unsuccessfully) and as guy in front of me left and I stepped up the ATM the machine it issues me with around two hundred pounds in COLD HARD CASH CASH!

Naturally I grabbed the money and tracked down the guy who had just gone into the bank. He took the money without saying a word so I hope I got the right person.

My thoughts

If I got the wrong person he is now telling his mates that he went to the bank and as he left a complete stranger gave him ?200!

When did cash machines start issuing cash AFTER the card had been returned? I thought that had stopped years ago because people were much more likely to leave without their card than without their cash.

Cam completed the London Marathon

I am not sure how I have lived in London for over 10 years and have never taken any notice of the London Marathon. This year a good friend ran so we were forced to sit up and take notice. It was an awesome day that was well worth getting off the couch for :)

One of the things that really impressed me is the large number of people who run in costume. Some do it because it is fun but I suspect most do it as part of their sponsorship arrangements. Like the guy dressed as Borat in the photo below.

Borat runs the London Marathon

Through the miracle of public transport we managed to see Cam in three different places during the run, at the Cutty Sark, Canark Wharf and finally at Tower Hill. Every time we saw him we yelled and screamed support and offered beer.

Cam at The Tower of London - looking strong at mile 22

One of the other things that really surprised me was that a lot of runners put their names on the front of their shirts and a lot of spectators yelled support to runner they didn’t know if they though they looked like they needed a boost. That was something that was very cool about the marathon, how people reached out to complete strangers when they were really suffering.

Cam finished his first marathon without stopping to walk once in 4 hours and 13 minutes and he raised ?3600 for prostate cancer. An awesome effort.

Cunning Torch Organisers

This is one of the buses in the Olympic Torch procession through London. The were very clever by choosing to play very loud music to drown out the booing and chanting by the protesters. To distract us further the next vehicle to pass was full of dancing girls!

Protests at the Olympic torch run in London

Rachel and I went down to Russell Square to see the Olympic Torch march and associated protests. Hundreds of protesters turned up to make their voices heard.

The police line near Russell Square

Naturally the police were out in force to make sure the torch reached it’s goal and to stop any trouble.

Large numbers of police surrounded the torch at every stage of the run

What really surprised me was the large number of pro-Chinese people there.

China had loads of supporters too

Many of the China supporters were very vocal and more than happy to argue their case. Their arguments came down to a few main points:

  • Sport and politics should be separate
  • Tibetans kill Chinese people you can see it on Youtube
  • You haven’t been to China so you can’t have an opinion

These seriously were the points made by many seemingly educated young Chinese men and women as a justification for the recent violent actions of the Chinese government. The irony of engaging in vigorous debate to support a regime that violently suppresses all dissenting views was lost on them.

Personally I think we are all lucky to be living in a country where people can have a vigorous and heated debate on the side of the road.

This is my favourite photo of the day. It makes me wonder if the huge number of police present are part of the Chinese dream.

Share the dream indeed

It’s going to be an interesting year for all involved and sadly I don’t think we have seen the end of the blood.