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Hello

I haven't posted on here in about three years. It seems to have changed a bit. I assume LiveJournal is probably owned by facebook or something now.

simply

My life is simple, compared to a lot of people's lives, but sometimes it just seems complicated.

I mean, there's the AT&T wireless bill that I can't pay online because the website tells me I have a business account, not a personal account.
My house has many maintenance issues which are getting gradually more urgent and they all need more time, money, and expertise than I really have.

I don't have adequate well-organized storage for anything, really. Stuff just piles up because I don't know where to put anything, then I don't know where to find things when I need them.

There are so many things I want to do, but the weeks, months, and years pass by and I achieve nothing because ... well why?
Just where the bloody hell is everyone?
An overly long nap in the afternoon, too much Yorkshire tea between then and bedtime, too much to worry about, raccoons opossums and noisy neighbours, the constant generator hum of the nearby methamphetamine laboratory, and and last but not least a nagging ache above and behind my right eye have all contributed to one of my (thankfully rare) insomniac nights.

I'm sorry about the bad punctuation.

The ants have been swarming again. There are winged ants which Missy always thinks are termites until I reassure her otherwise.

My jaw clenches involuntarily and I have to make a conscious effort to relax it, so I know I grind my teeth when I'm sleeping.

Livejournal has been around for such a long, long time.
Compare and contrast these two things:

In this video about the new Oakland Bay Bridge:

http://baybridgeinfo.org/media/video/inside-bay-bridge#.T0ExRBzU-_E

the presenter, Bart Ney, says

"...this is going to be a gem that will live for 150 years"

"...all of this rebar you see coming up through this wood falsework is for the column that sits underneath the structure, it's basically what supports all of this"

"...there's a tremendous amount of steel in our concrete bridges here in California"


Now in this:

http://www.npr.org/2012/02/17/147047553/concretes-role-as-a-building-block-in-history

NPR Science Friday interview Robert Courland, historian and author of "Concrete Planet: The Strange and Fascinating Story of the World's Most Common Manmade Material", says this:

"the steel that's in reinforced concrete, which gives it its tensile strength, also dooms the material to a very short lifespan. Steel-reinforced structures, particularly those exposed to the elements, like I say, for instance, a freeway bridge are - will eventually corrode. The rebar will eventually rust, and as it rusts, its diameter expands by something like four or five fold. And then it destroys the concrete around it while it is being destroyed by the rust. And so that's why concrete structures only last between, say, 50 and 125 years because of rebar corrosion"

"so we really need to stop building with steel reinforced concrete, because we just have to demolish and rebuild the structure every 75 - 100 years"

Best intentions

Oh dear.

It seems that, despite all my resolutions and promises, I can't get back into the habit of regularly posting on LIveJournal.

What has happened since last time I posted?

A work colleague, who was the same age as me, died quite suddenly.

And some other stuff, none of which seems important right now.

Our Christmas gift of a Roku player has unexpectedly given me access to much more Heavy Metal than I've been able to listen to in my day to day life, which improves my emotional well being a little.

Well, I can't think of anything worth writing about, I just wanted to post something.

The ants learn to swim.

A couple of years ago a friend of ours was dog-sitting for us. Our dog, Olive, often doesn't eat all her food at once. We have to be very careful of ants here, so our friend had the idea of putting Olive's food bowl in a larger bowl of water to stop the ants getting to it.

Today we observed a column of ants heading to the food bowl and assumed that, as sometimes happens, Olive had drunk the "moat" dry or left a piece of food outside her bowl.

When we looked closer we saw that the ants had learned to swim.

Burning

I had intended to be in bed early tonight, but once again I'm up late reading online comments and journalism about what's happening in England.

There needs to be a lot of discussion. Unfortunately those in a position to make any changes seem content with attending to the immediate solution of getting 'em all locked up.

I agree that people arrested for committing crimes need to be tried and sentenced accordingly, but that alone will not do!

What desperately needs to be addressed is the cause of the emotions behind this behaviour.

This needs to be addressed as soon as possible, because such deep and massive societal changes as are necessary will take decades to effect, and all the while it is put off the problem worsens and the more destruction will result. As long as the problem is ignored and swept under the rug people with nothing to lose and no vision of the future, who have never been given cause to learn how to be any other way, will continue to do whatever it takes to feel like they have some control over their lives and vent their frustrations, and in turn this will cause increasing anger, frustration, and ultimately violence from the victims of their actions.

If the government doesn't take this seriously and put some serious work into making a better country then the UK will continue to decline into something that I barely dare contemplate.

Horrified fascination.

Driving to work this morning I was brought to tears by the news reports of destruction, looting, and arson in dozens of locations in my home country, England.

This evening, watching videos of the crime spree online, I felt emotional again. I felt despair for the situation that, in hindsight, seems to have been growing for years. I felt sorrow for the people whose property was smashed, stolen, and burned down. I felt empathy for the angry people who felt let down by the government and the police forces, and who felt a need to take to the streets themselves to defend their community the same way people were doing over a thousand years ago. I felt pity for the perpetrators who are ostensibly violent amoral unthinking criminals.

These people, mostly teenagers but many adults, are doing things that should normally be socially unacceptable. Without excusing their criminal actions we must understand WHY they are violent amoral unthinking criminals.

I feel pity for them because there seems to have been some fault or omission in their education, their upbringing, and their understanding of their involvement with society.

Some quotes:

From this video by a brave reporter: http://youtu.be/sXcI-NL3Tro
"We're getting our taxes back" - from a girl who didn't sound old enough to have paid income tax.

From this BBC news video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14458424
"It was good though, it was good fun" "It's the government's fault" "Conservatives" "Yeah, whatever, whoever it is" "It's the rich people, the people that have got businesses and that's why all this has happened, because of the rich people, so we're just showing the rich people we can do what we want" - from two girls who had been drinking looted booze all night and were hopeful that it would continue the following night.

These people don't seem to understand that a lot of the people with businesses and wealth came from the same beginnings as themselves, and got where they are through hard work and dedication. How has this concept been lost to a whole generation and how can we come back from this?

It's late and I'm tired and there are more videos to watch in horrified fascination.

Sociologists must be having a whale of a time.

Peel and Ravenscroft

By the wonders of the internet I am listening to Tom Ravenscroft on BBC radio 6 from my living room in California, some length of time after his show was broadcast over the airwaves in the UK.

Ravenscroft was John Peel's actual last name, and Tom is his son.

I only recently realised that Tom has a radio show and was excited to listen to it, especially as I have particularly been missing his father recently.

For those unfortunate enough to be unaware, John Peel played music on BBC radio from before I was born until his death in 2004. He was renowned for playing a huge variety of music, championing new music with an unmatched enthusiasm, and having an extraordinarily charming, avuncular, yet gruff and curmudgeonly personality. I fell asleep listening to his late night show once or twice a week, every week, for years.

As one would expect of someone raised in a house filled with, probably, a greater range of music than could be found anywhere else in the world, Tom Ravenscroft seems to have inherited an enthusiasm for all kinds of music and it's really good to know that this sort of stuff can still be heard on national broadcast radio. I was worried, when John Peel died, that non-mainstream music would be nudged off the BBC one DJ at a time.

Listening to Tom speak is the strange part. Although I suppose it isn't outside the realms of possibility that he had been coached to be a lot like his Dad on the air, I doubt that anyone at the BBC would have gone to those lengths. More likely is that Tom, entirely naturally, has inherited a lot of his Dad's verbal mannerisms so I constantly hear echoes and ghosts of John Peel. The difference that makes it so strange to listen to, though, is that John Peel was much older than me and was, to much of his audience, a kind of uncle or grandpa figure. Tom Ravenscroft is somewhat younger than me and... ...I really don't know how to explain the strange experience of hearing those very particular and personally meaningful verbal mannerisms (remember I frequently fell asleep listening to John Peel with headphones in my dark bedroom late at night) spoken in such a youthful voice.

I haven't heard Tom play anything at the wrong speed yet though.