10 most visited websites...

This image has nothing whatsoever to do with the following post...

Where do you go? Aside from Julie's blog here's are my ten most visited sites. (In no particular order and kind of off the top of my head rather than based on any serious analysis of my history folder!)

  1. BBC news (and BBC radio)
  2. Guardian unlimited
  3. Amazon
  4. Wikipedia
  5. Slugger O'Toole
  6. 43 folders
  7. Slate magazine
  8. You tube
  9. Google
  10. imdb
Not sure what this list says about me - easyjet, xe.com, hotmail, g-mail, yahoo mail, the wonderful flickr and dreams unlocked are also up there - as I've said this was more of a spur of the moment...what sites do I visit regularly... rather than a rigorously researched experiment.

If you've got any recommendations let me know - nothing dodgy mind this is family viewing!

cursed or jinxed?

Once again I found myself stranded in London. This time it was the worst storm for nearly 20 years that caused my unexpected overnighter. Don't get me wrong I enjoy going to london, I just like having a change of clothes and those other little essentials when I stay over. Thankfully I wasn't stranded at the airport this time and ended up having a meal out with my good friend Duncan and a pleasant wander around the Tower bridge area of London. I shouldn't complain - I encountered a number of people yesterday who were watching their weekend break rapidly disappearing before their eyes.

I was chatting to my mum this evening, telling her about my experience. I suggested I was cursed or at least my successful transition through Standsted airport was cursed - she preferred jinxed.

Big Brother hysteria continues - apparently Jade has just been evicted, but for her safety no baying crowds will 'greet' her exit. I have two observations about the BB racism furore: Firstly, I find it odd that a number of commentators are suggesting that class is the issue and not race. If your anger or rudeness towards another pivots on race how is that not racism? Secondly, I think it's really interesting how people have really been getting the knives out for Jade Goody. I'm no fan and have always found her post-BB "achievements" strange. But some of those who have championed her as some sort of people's princess, a sort of English inversion of the american dream (i.e. no talent, no work ethic and fame for breathtaking stupidity = a few million in the bank) are leading the call for Jade to be hung, drawn and quartered. Oh Jade - it appears the party is over.

Damon Albarn (Blur and Gorillaz) has done it again. Apparently the eponymous debut from the oddly named The Good, the Bad and the Queen is a minor triumph. I'm also pretty anxious to get my hands on Bloc Party's new album, A Weekend in the City which comes out on 5th Feb - this one will take them higher and higher.

With you always

Thanks to Sara C for pointing me in the direction of the With you Always website - the 'artwork' above, entitled executive comes from the site. I love how Jesus is sitting meekly in the corner as the executive looks like he's saying, a la The Apprentice, "you're fired!" There are a number of other pictures such as welder, student, barber, golfer and my personal favourite truck driver -

I'm not sure exactly what the Jesus figure is supposed to be doing here - in the mind of the artist he's probably keeping the old mac truck on the straight and narrow. In my twisted mind Jesus looks like he has kidnapped the poor fellow and is forcing him to drive south of the border!

An oscar for Beckham?

Never mind the increases to our interest rates or more troops to Iraq - the big news today has been the announcement that David Beckham is heading west. After finishing up with the Spanish - he's hitting the major league and the LA Galaxy. It's been interesting to see the reaction amongst pundits and fans - of course everyone has an opinion - David tells us he's up for a new challenge, but no one wants to hear something as predictable and safe as that. Your average English football fan cannot comprehend why somone would foresake the wonders of Manchester for LA! I think he's going to try and break into movies personally - £128 million over 5 years for the footy, a few acting classes on the side, some movie business buddies...David Beckham...coming to a multiplex near you - it will happen.

The whole Beckham phenomenon is so interesting - A google image search for 'David Beckham' provides a fascinating range of pictures - most of which have nothing to do with football. But I guess he's not lacking in the looks dept. His story is an interesting insight into the world of sport, celebrity and everything that lies in between . Anyway - good luck to you David, you appear to be relatively unaffected by it all so perhaps you are a pretty decent actor.

return of the the mazda

Our car finally emerged from the garage today - it has taken so long for the repairs I was expecting a brand new vehicle, but there she/he/it was. My pockets are a little lighter, but I'm glad I didn't take the earlier advice of our mechanic and head straight to the junk yard.

The guy who worked on the car was classic - oil and grease all over his face, he looked like he'd just been doing battle with an oil soaked enemy. As he passed the keys over he took a sideways glance at the mazda and shook his head adding, "that one was a heartbreaker." Much as that sounds like a compliment I think it translates to "I hate you and your crappy car."

rain stops play...

Sometimes living in Ireland, north or south is a real pain! Forget the wonderful green fields and pints of Guinness - it just rains all the time! The mazda is still in the car hospital and while we've enjoyed walking and using public transport, sometimes you sort of need a car. Last night we set out on the walk to church, but after a few minutes we realised we'd end up sitting through the service in a puddle of our own creation - surely sinful! Now when I say puddle of your own creation I don't mean...well you know...what I mean is that we'd be sitting there soaked. Anyway, I know it sounds soft, but we turned back and went home to make chili. I know this makes us sound like terrible examples of the faithful - but at least I'm being honest. And the chili was good!

stop the traffik


Been preparing a presentation on Human Traffiking today - depressing stuff. As some of you will know 2007 is the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. This year there will lots of commemorations and a great deal of talk about William Wilberforce and the achievements of the abolitionists. There's even a movie coming out called Amazing Grace (Nth American release date is 23 Feb apparently). A lot of charities and NGO's are using the commemoration to highlight the plight of those who have been traffiked.

If you're interested in doing something with your church, youth group or friends visit: stop the traffik for loads of information and suggestions of ways you could join the campaign.

Friday already?

Short week this week - not starting work until Wednesday does that! Only days into the new year and my resolution to have a TVless month is under threat - Julie is watching Ugly Betty which started tonight on Channel 4 - apparently it's really funny! I'm tempted but remain committed, however, it may turn out to be a long month! I'm not even sure exactly why I've opted to skip TV, I think I just wanted to read a bit more - but as yesterday's confession demonstrates I'm not claiming that my reading material is always particularly challenging!

Besides reading I'm keen to explore the radio a bit more. The internet has opened a whole world of possible radio listening, but I'm still staying close to the familiar shorelines of the good old bbc - mind you they have a pretty incredible range of stations. Recently they've started broadcasting Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour on BBC6- yes Dylan as Dj - he's fantastic, sounds a bit like someone doing an impersonation of Bob Dylan, but it's a really great show and well worth a listen. Incredible mix of music and much interesting chat from the man himself. Themes include: weather, cars, food and sleep - xfm has the full list of songs and playlists.

Two great pieces in today's guardian: Firstly a news blog story about various acts of heroism in New York City - and secondly, do you have an ipod or have you ever used a mac? Did you think it looked cool? Then read all about the man behind the design, the elusive Jonathan Ive.

Finally I should mention julie's great post - she's blogged one of the best youtube vids i've ever seen - not like you haven't already paid her a visit today, but just in case...go watch it and think about beauty...

What's your guilty pleasure?

I asked this question at a dinner party recently and it caused a few raised eyebrows and an awkward silence. But the question is not intended to encourage a salacious response! Please...keep it clean. A guilty pleasure is that past-time, food, book or trashy TV show that you really love, but keep secret from friends, family and colleagues for fear that they will think badly of you. Asking the question actually brought about some hilarious revelations that provided new and interesting insights into the lives of our friends. I recommend the question for your next dinner party - just be careful who you ask!

What's my GP I hear you ask? Easy! Crime fiction - in particular the Harry Bosch series of novels by Michael Connelly, but if I'm honest I'm fairly indiscriminate in my love of Crime Fiction.

According to a survey reported in the guardian book section Stephen 'scary novels' King tops the list of books that people consider 'guilty pleasures'. Say no to guilt - Happy reading, watching, eating...

friends, resolutions and rain

Andi and Demitri left yesterday. Their departure was the final nail in the coffin of our holidays. Like two unhappy school kids Julie and I sloped back to work. Well it wasn't that bad, but we did experience the post-holiday blues for a while. It also poured down today - big fat rain drops bouncing off the street - Julie got soaked on her way home and turned up on the front door looking like the proverbial drowned rat!

Talk of New Year's resolutions has been in the air during the past couple of days - I am avoiding TV for at least the month of Jan (movies on dvd and trips to the cinema are, of course, permitted), blogging with greater frequency and hoping to do a triathlon in 2007.

It was great to spend time with A and D - we also had dinner with a dear friend of mine from St Andrews, Andrew and his wife Nice - I think one of the major downsides of how modern life allows us to stretch our wings and briefly live anywhere we want is the friendships we make and then can only maintain (sometimes badly) from afar. Like many people I went 'away' to university and now I've got all these great friends who I rarely get to see. Added to this is the Canadian-Irish dimension of our life and it's enough to make a grown man cry, or at least feel sort of sad! I was feeling pretty down about this, thinking of all the people who have been part of my life over the past few years and how I'd love to see them more often. But I was reminded of how life is richer because of those friendships and I felt a little happier. Happy New Year friends - wherever you are

the treadmill dance

A great music video by a band called ok dance, (the song is called 'here it goes again.') They clearly spent a long time working out the routine - the result is fantastic. For those of you who are on a new year health kick be warned: Don't try this at your local gym!

Happy New Year!

Happy new Year - welcome to 2007 - we have andi and demi staying with us and today we spent the day at the north coast, including a walk at the Giant's Causeway and ice-cream in Portstewart. It was pretty cold and a little wet, but we had fun and enjoyed the day!