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January 10, 2007

My blog has an abusive graffiti–ist

Follow-up to SeppWatch 2 from No I said DublIN marathon

Well it seems I have a secret admirer that finds it amusing to write abusive comments on my blog. Ho hum. After two deletions of the comments and the subsequent reposts, I’ve decided they can stay.

Well, Jimbob, congratulations, you’ve earned your own entry:

A new comment was posted on your entry: ‘Why I Hate: The Chip & Pin machines in University outlets Part Deux
I think your a fucking fag gay boy

A new comment was posted on your entry: ‘Why I Hate: The Chip & Pin machines in University outlets’
are you a fag

A new comment was posted on your entry: ‘SeppWatch 2’
Jimbob is not scared of you faggot

edit: Commenting privileges removed.

Why I Hate: The Chip & Pin machines in University outlets Part Deux

Follow-up to Why I Hate: The Chip & Pin machines in University outlets from No I said DublIN marathon

Gah, why do people insist on paying for a coffee with their debit card?



In Kaleidoslop earlier I ended up stuck in a massive queue because the three pricks undercrackers in front of me paid for their purchases (the most extravagant of which was a Bigger Brekkie + Coffee combo) with their cards. I nearly passed comment to the girl stood behind me but I spotted that she too was about to pay for a coffee on a card. Quite frankly I wish I had.

December 12, 2006

SeppWatch 2

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6171777.stm

Ok, perhaps the title of this entry is a little misleading as the guilty party isn’t HRH, God Almighty Sepp Blatter, but our very own Fun Sports Minister, Richard Caborn MP.

So Dickie C1 thinks that “social drugs” aren’t bad, mmmkay. That “social drugs” aren’t taken for “performance enhancement” and don’t do “harm to the athlete and harm to the sport.” Really? Is that what you think, Dickie C? Really?

Lets look at just one recent case, also making headlines:

Wendell Sailor (Australian Rugby Union/League star): Took cocaine recreationally, admitting that he “fell to the off-field temptation of a so-called ‘party drug’.” OK, so Wendell isn’t the first person to admit taking cocaine, but it is still a stimulant, causes acute and chronic health problems and the use by high profile sports stars and other celebrities promotes its’ use as acceptable to fans.
Sailor played in 5 of the Australian Rugby Union team’s 7 games in the RWC2003, and scored 13 tries in 37 tests as winger. In 2000 he was Player of the Tournament and top try scorer as Australia won the Rugby League World Cup. In no uncertain terms he was (and still is) a great player and an inspiration to many fans and players, but this is the problem. If you turn around and give him a telling-off then what sort of message does that send out. That drugs are bad, mmmkay, but some drugs are more badder than others? Salbutamol (aka Ventolin) is badder than cocaine, or ecstasy, as it has more of a performance enhancing effect?
Dickie C’s Score – 3/3

The message is pretty simple, and WADA are were on the right track with their hard-line: drugs are bad mmmkay.

And therein comes the next problem. Dickie P is a good guy. He’s a hardliner, and thats what WADA and all the international governing bodies need. If you cheat, you will be banned. And it’s not like the rules are there for shits and giggles. Drugs do all sorts of nasty things to your body. That’s why they are illegal. Anabolic steroids do lots of things from shrinking your nuts to giving you boobs if you are a man and from disrupting periods to giving you a beard if you are a woman – dangerous or not, that’s hardly something I’d sign up to. Recent research suggests ecstasy causes brain damage after just a few pills. So why are WADA considering relaxing the rules? It makes no sense to me – as soon as you start making exceptions, people will start using that to bend the rules. Cocaine use as a performance enhancing stimulant will probably increase, as you’ll just get a slap on the wrist from your NGB and a £770 fine from the cops.

Richard Caborn MP, with all due respect2, you are wrong

1 I’m refering to him as Dickie C to disambiguate him from Dick Pound (head of WADA), he of silly name.
2 Does anybody else find the modern usage of this phrase inappropriate as it implies respect for the position, but a complete lack of respect for the person in that position?

November 27, 2006

SeppWatch 1

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/6187030.stm

In the first installment of SeppWatch, Sepp paves the way for:
a) Drafting
b) Play-offs

Stayed tuned for more senility from the man with the Big Ideas

November 16, 2006

Something fishy is going on here…

Follow-up to Power Email Outage from No I said DublIN marathon

Does anybody else spot a pattern here?

Thurs Nov 2nd Copper wire stolen from roadworks in north Coventry, causing major power outage across the area
Thurs Nov 9th Major power outage across Campus and Earlsdon
Thurs Nov 16th Copper wire stolen from electricity substation in Dudley, causing major power outage across the area

November 13, 2006

Power Email Outage

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/its/

It can’t have escaped many people’s notice that a power cut in the Coventry area last Thursday morning caused (amongst other things) the Uni’s mail servers to fall over. It appears that the UPSs that were meant to protect critical systems in just such an incident failed to do so. According to ITS the three AA batteries that they’d connected maintained power for 45 minutes as planned, but the hamster-wheel failed to kick in (apparently 1 hamster isn’t strong enough to maintain power for Group Shite-wise). This caused catastrophic failure to various Group Shite-wise Postboxes and (as it takes approximately 400 years for Group Shite-wise to back itself up), no back-up appears to be forthcoming/in existence.

I’m not going to lie and say I’m shocked, as the litany of IT (I’m being careful not to restrict this as being exclusively the fault of ITS) failures over the years, with Group Shite-wise being perhaps most memorable. However, I am appalled that in this day and age The Administration see it as in any way less than unacceptable for an institution such as ours to be without the ability to even send or receive email (let alone retrieve archived items). If this were a business, heads would have rolled long ago, and we wouldn’t be in a situation where 5 days on two thirds of staff/research student postboxes are at best described as being in a less than optimal condition.

Moreover I find it incomprehensible that ITS are in liaison with affeced departments to obtain lists of staff and research student user names. YOU WHAT? Surely it is in ITS remit to have at least a list of the accounts that it maintains has f*cked up? I was literally speechless when I heard this.

Finally, (partly for want of not going on and on and on, and partly as I wouldn’t want to post so much that yet more of ITS equipment falls over irretrievably), it would be nice for ITS to keep people informed about the situation. Their vague assertions that staff and research students will be informed about any changes don’t hold much truck when they can’t even keep their website updated with sufficient information (if it is up at all). Quite frankly there are three key questions that people want answering:

  1. When will I be able to send or receive email?
  2. When will I be able to access my old inbox?
  3. What the hell exactly is it you are doing about 1 and 2?

So far ITS have failed to answer any of the above satisfactorally!

October 13, 2006

Stupid Stupid Stupid

Follow-up to Lady Godiva Half–marathon route to take in Campus from No I said DublIN marathon

OK, that’s pretty harsh, but why does the Lady Godiva route go round the lakes , not between the two new Rootes blocks? Having run through there this week it is already pretty muddy down there and I’m sure 2000-odd runners aren’t going to help that. Plus it’s really narrow!

Rant over.

Why I Hate: Teaching in R0.34/55

Follow-up to Why I Hate: The Chip & Pin machines in University outlets from No I said DublIN marathon

Why is it when you are teaching a class in R0.34/55 (the computer rooms under the Library) you always get disturbed as cattle people wander in looking for computers? Don’t get me wrong, if I was looking for a computer, that’s where I’d look. However, they seem oblivious to the mahoosive sign on the door asking them not to enter. In fact most of them peer around the sign to see whether there are any free computers.

I’ve had several thoughts about why this is:

  • Information Overload – There are so many signs/adverts/notices/posters around campus that, as there simply isn’t sufficient time for the brain to process all the information it receives and needs to ignore most things anyway, such notices/adverts are subconsciously grouped with the “information” that is to be disregarded. This was my first thought and I kind of disregarded it but, thinking about it, it makes sense. This is why wankers advertising executives are paid a tonne of cash to flog products in a world that is super-saturated with information/adverts/products. It is also why Union elections aren’t necessarily won the best candidate, but usually by the candidate with the clever/simple-est campaign.
  • They are too close to the sign – The distance between the inner and outer door is so short that people can’t take the sign in before they are upon it. This probably contributes to an extent, in conjunction with the other factors.
  • The sign is crap – This is certainly a big factor. The sign is FAR too busy, there is far too much information on it. It’s an A3 poster, fair enough, but the sign reads “Tutorial In Progress. R0.34 Booked. This room has been booked for teaching, please do not enter unless you are a member of the class, and do not disturb the class by entering” (or words to that effect). There’s a helpful No Entry sign but it isn’t much use when it’s pretty small and on a red background.
  • They don’t care – This is true in some cases and there’s a large amount of Im more important than you-ism. The number of times I’ve heard “Oh can I just print such and such” or “But there are loads of computers free” – yes there are lots free but how am I supposed to keep track of people’s progress when half the people are checking Facebook or Hotmail.

I’d be very surprised if it was just one of, or even exclusively these factors – any thoughts?

Oh, and finally, to the male member of staff that marched through the room and indignently retorted “I work here – I’m a member of staff”: Get over yourself. Your colleagues managed to come through without disturbing the session and even then apologised for coming through, why couldn’t you? Yes you work there and needed to get through but a little bit of common courtesy might be nice. You never know, I might have even carried on being polite.

October 09, 2006

I lied…

Follow-up to Someone must read my blog… from No I said DublIN marathon

...clearly no other bugger reads my blog ...

October 05, 2006

Straight Outta Cov'try

Writing about web page http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWd6Xd7uJzM&mode=related&search=%20

Rap, from Coventry. No “Peace to the Unis” though…

September 30, 2006

Am I missing something???

Follow-up to Well I was close from No I said DublIN marathon

Right, please tell me there’s something important I’ve forgotten/forgotten to do. Either that or someone is taking the piss.

2 years ago “to the day” it was 5am, this morning it was 6am. Stupid withheld numbers…

September 29, 2006

Kaleidoslop's Price Hike

Writing about web page http://www.coventry.gov.uk/ccm/cms-service/stream/asset?asset_id=14740054

Well it’s the start of a new Acedmic Year and Hostility have gone for the double-whammy of hiking the prices in Kaleidoslop, and giving you less for your buck.

For example they’ve done away with the popular “Bigger Breakfast” (2x sausages, 2x egg, 2x hash-brown, 1x bacon, beans/tomato) replacing it with the 7-Item Breakfast. This not only gives you 1 less item, but is 7% more expensive to boot. An identical breakfast is now over 30% more expensive.

That’s not as bad as the hike on confectionary, where a chocolate bar is nearly 40% more expensive than it was last week. They’ve also done away with the All-Day Baguetee Saver, which at £2.50 for a coffee and bacon/sausage baguette was pretty good value. I asked one of the members of staff and they said that they’d withdrawn the offer, and that they didn’t know any more either.

How can the University justify a 40% increase in the cost of items? Why change the meals at all? I can only assume that this is to homogenise with Rootes Restaurant. In which case surely we should be given proper plates and cutlery? Now don;t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Kaleidy’s cheap-and-chearful cutlery and crockery, but surely it’s in fact got to be cheaper in the long-run to do the washing up instead of producing vast quantities of waste plastic. Perhaps the University with it’s purported Green Drive should look at actually doing something about this new-fangled Recycling thing and put recycling bins in for the vast quanitites of plastic and cans thrown out each day.

Perhaps the price-hike is in fact to cover the work they are going to have to do should do to improve their standards if Coventry City Council’s recent inspection is anything to go by. Rootes Restaurant scored one star out of a possible three in the “Hygeine & Safety” category which indicates that there are “Some major non-compliances, [and an] improvement in standards [is] required.”

September 26, 2006

The Separation Agency

Writing about web page http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/09/24/wendit24.xml

This is brilliant. A man in Berlin has set up a “Separation Agency” in which, for a fee, he will inform your boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, husband, wife or goat that the relationship is over.

I like the Deluxe Package, in which a 6ft undertaker-type turns up at your door and says “Good day, my name is Bernd Dressler from the Separation Agency and I have been asked by your partner to inform you that he or she wishes to end your relationship.”

September 22, 2006

Wanted: Boar Hacks

Writing about web page /warwickboar/entry/wanted_legal_advisor/

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

The Boar is looking for a legal advisor hacks to assist in checking the produce the shite output of we’ve come to expect from Warwick’s student news toliet paper. This is a paid an unpaid position but you’ll do it in the expectation of getting paid later on when you write for The Mail or some other rag and involves reading through the entire local newspaper(s) each week, misquoting interviewees, breaching the Union’s Staff-Student Protocol, and providing advice according to infringing British media law. The ideal candidate would have legal little or no training, a thorough knowledge of disregard for media law and would be available at short notice during weekends and unavailable when you have something you’d like to let people know about.

For further enquiries, please email editor@warwickboar.co.uk

September 14, 2006

Work on Car Park 8a

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/warwicksport/news/car_park_8a/

And so the mystery is solved and the work being done on Car Park 8a has a reason. As predicted and as will have become apparent to anybody that has been past in the last couple of days, the University are putting a barrier in to charge people to park there.

The sentiment is a good one:

improve the availability of short-stay parking on central campus ? especially for sports centre-users

However, the application seems barmy with access available “only” to:

University Parking Permit holders and members of Warwick Sport

How many members of Warwick Sport are there? I’d guess somewhere in the region 2500-3000 plus external members. Add onto this Parking Permit holders and you’ve got a huge number of people, a lot of whom will park in the Sports Centre all day. Yes it’ll be easier to find a space as an external user come 5-6pm, but I don’t think it’ll solve that much of a problem.

But what if that was really the problem? What if the University wanted to control parking there:

1. Allowing Security staff to tell when the car park is full and then direct drivers to other car parks, and,
2. Preventing people leaving their cars in the car park overnight or indefinitely

There we go, that’s the real reason. Plus there’s the added bonus of knowing whose cars are in the car park, making tracking down people to fine more easy, oh and parking there is no longer free…

The University is wroking on the “development and implementation of a Green Transport Policy” with a whole host of measures to make it harder to park on campus easier to use public transport. What irks me is that this has been implemented within a revenue-generating framework:

The University has made a commitment to incrementally eliminate free car parking spaces on campus

Yes, this revenue is used to support various safety projects around campus, but over 500 car parking spaces are charged for during the day to stiff staff and students alike, before making them free after hours for visitors to the Arts Centre.

Even if the scheme has the desired effect and it becomes easier to park in Car Park 8a the University could well end up losing out on a significant amount of revenue. Faced with a choice of paying £30 for Warwick Sport membership (which many people will have anyway) or £140 for a parking permit, what do you expect people to do?

Job done

Follow-up to Someone must read my blog… from No I said DublIN marathon

Well that wasn’t so bad after all…

Sunday was the Experian Robin Hood Half-marathon in Nottingham and Nick Seagrave and I took part as part of Mixed Hockey’s fund-rasing for Ovarian Cancer Action (phew, that’s a lot of links). My task was to haul Nick’s scrawny arse around the course in under 1hr 45mins (Chip Time, not Gun Time) – 8 minute miling. Considering Nick was originally aiming for sub-2.00 this was going to be a tough-ish ask, but he’d cruised around the Godiva Harriers Autumn 5 in a little over 38mins (7min 38sec miling) the week before so eights were on the cards.

We lined up slap bang in the middle of the 1hr 40-50 block and set off at a reasonable pace, perhaps a little fast, but the hills at 2M and 4M made sure we weren’t too far ahead of the game and miles 6-10 were bang on the money. Nick was finding miles 11 and 12 a little tough going and I was a little alarmed when I heard my watch beep 10 seconds before we’d hit the mile marker. We kicked for home as I was concerned we’d have to pick up the pace about 30s/M and little goals of catching people seemed to spur him on as we overtook over 100 people in the last mile. As we hit the finishing straight (why do they insist on finishing road races on grass?) I put the foot down and squeezed through a closing gap between two runners to leave him for dead (which he later “thanked” me for) and we both got in before the clock got to the 1hr 45 mark – 1hr 43mins 7s and 9s respectively by Chip Time.

Considering I’ve done bugger all distance work recently (more speed stuff) I was quite pleased, but I suspect I’m going to have to get some “hard miles” under my belt if I want to get sub 1hr 25 for the Lady Godiva.

September 07, 2006

Someone must read my blog…

Follow-up to Lady Godiva Half–marathon route to take in Campus from No I said DublIN marathon

... cause the University have nicked my post title.

Not looking forward to Nottingham , although it will be my largest race to date with over 12000 entrants (including the full marathon. Not sure I’ve got the distance in my legs, but I guess there’s only one way to find out…

September 01, 2006

Autumn Five (1) – Dave (0)

Writing about web page http://www.coventry-godiva-harriers.org.uk

Urgh – This evening I have mostly been sick in the Memorial Park!!!

I ran in the Godiva Harriers’ Autumn Five in and around the Memorial Park with Seagrave along with about 200 other Club runners, “Fun” runners and Walkers. I was aiming for 30 mins, i.e. 6 minute miling (30/5=6) which was always going to be non-trivial, but I had done it on a flat treadmill in the past*.

Having done my usual trick of missing the first mile marker I hit 2 miles in 11:20, a full 20 s/lap under target. Figuring I was going to pay for this later I slowed down and hit Mile 3 bang on 6 mins later. By now I was blowing hard and desperately in need of a dump, and had to almost stop, to prevent myself “doing a Hurrell.” Mile 4 was not a lot of fun and by this point the blind runner and his mate that I had overtaken at Mile 2.5 or so overtook me again. This spurred me on and I kicked on for home. As I apporached the turn for the home-straight I began to gag like a trooper. Made the turn and got to about 100 yds from the finish before blowing chunks all over the path, and then jogging it in to the end in 30:34…

  • This is not an accurate reflection of running in the real world and a 2% incline is a bit nearer the truth.

August 29, 2006

Lady Godiva Half–marathon route to take in Campus

Writing about web page http://www.ladygodiva-halfmarathon.co.uk/images/New%20Route%20Map.pdf

Once again I've not blogged for what seems like an age. In fact my last entry was way back in June, and was just to say that I was broken after a very unsuccessful Edinburgh Marathon. However I'm back in the running game and am looking forward to running the second Lady Godiva Half-marathon on October 22nd. As preparation for this and as I'm a bit soft in the head I'm running the Experian Robin Hood Half-marathon in Nottingham as a birthday present to myself on September 10th. I'm also running in the Godiva Harriers' Autumn 5 in the Memorial Park this Friday.

I'm not the only one that's a bit soft in the head and a large–ish group of Mixed Hockey members will be running the Coventry 1/2M in aid of Ovarian Cancer Action – please support us as we look to raise over £1000 for this charity which funds research into the disease, provides support to sufferers, and attempts to raise the disease's profile to ensure earlier diagnosis.

I'm particularly looking forward to the race this year as it takes in a large part of Coventry that I'm familiar with, and in particular, that I'm used to running. The route was recently published and is much changed from last year's a) dull, b) less than enjoyable and c) traffic–chaos–inducing jaunt around the Ring Road and up the Radford Road and back. Starting off by the Police Station, the route travels past the Butts Arena, up the Allesley Old Road, past the end of my road to the A45, through Eastern Green and up to Tile Hill, then in to Canley and down Charter Ave, to Westwood. Through Westwood, down past Vandelinde Uni House, past the Sports Centre, down Health Centre Road, up Gibbet Hill, and then down the Kenilworth Road to the Memorial park and the finish back by the Police Station. Running through campus is a great idea to me, as the roads are relatively quiet, particularly on a Sunday morning, and there's a captive audience so hopefully there'll be more support on the route. There are a couple of less than friendly hills this year – the most notable being Gibbet Hill, but also the Allesley Old Road is less than flat and there's a bit of a hill as you come of of Eastern Green – however I'm not convinced that they are any worse than last year, where you seemed to be running uphill both ways along the Radford Road and the finish is relatively flat, with a downhill final mile.

June 12, 2006

Not 3hrs is clearly the answer

Follow-up to 3hrs or not 3hrs, that is the question… from No I said DublIN marathon

I am so broken, so disappointed, I can't blog on this now. 3hrs 39mins of Hell. Technically 2hrs 10 mins of hell as the first 1hr 29 mins to half way seemed to be so good.