Fantastico


You'll be able to guess by the fact that you're reading this, that I am now allowed back onto my own website. As dialogue continued with my hosting company, we concluded that the process where Plogger moves photos from the folder that they're uploaded to via FTP, to another folder within the program, was what was causing the server a lot of grief. It was not in fact, the number of photos that I was uploading, as they place "little to no actual restrictions on that." I was apparently causing a lot of grief to the server, so I'd assume, fucking with the up-time of everyone else who is using the same server. Kind of like electronic terrorism, but on a really, really small and unnoticable scale. However, having to send another email requesting it, they eventually unblocked my IP address from accessing my website and I was back in business. Though this was essentially under the condition that I no longer use that function of Plogger. Now unless I was willing to upload 1,000s of photos one-by-one, this essentially rendered Plogger useless to me, which, seeing as I had spent many hours previously uploading and labelling photos, was a little frustrating, but with seemingly no alternative. I had found some other annoyances with the programme, so I guess in the long-run, as long as I was able to set-up an adequate replacement, it might've been for the best. To save having the same situation occur however, I emailed back my hosting company to ask them for any ad-free and free to use programs that they could recommend. They replied again shortly (customer service is really good with this company. It never seems to take them longer than 10 minutes to reply to an email), and advised me to review the Fantastico area of my cPanel (control panel). Fantastico? Never heard of it. I had spent some time reviewing the options within the control panel when I initially signed up with this hosting company. But Fantastico was near the bottom under the heading 'Software/Services', and it was last in that section, so I think I'd just ignored it. Anyway, I click onto Fantastico, and I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

There is fuck-loads of open-source software, all automatically installed at just a click, including phpBB that I currently use for my forum and spent a while working out how to install manually; and it wasn't even the first forum I tried. As well as this, Wordpress is there, together with 2 other blogging options. Wordpress I mentioned in my early blogs, but essentially concluded it was too advanced for my level of computer knowledge to install. Here it was, all ready to be installed with one click. Along with these, and multiple other scripts under headings including content management, discussion boards, polls and surveys, site-builders etc., were 3 image galleries. So all of the time I spent searching for, and then researching, then working out how to install, Plogger, could've all been avoided had I just clicked on Fantastico. See what I mean, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Here in front of me were all I could want to create a website many times better than mine, it was like being a kid and discovering where all the candy was hidden. But at the same time, it was like the candy was hidden in a really obvious place. But not being able to find it, I'd been eating lettuce for the passed 8 months. I had all these tools available to me. Yet I had spent 8 months learning how to write and create a website. Now don't get me wrong, I'm glad I learnt things like HTML, and wrote a website using it. But Plogger had taken up an age of my time. So had installing the forum. Yet here were image galleries and discussion boards just a click away. I spent a little time researching the 3 choices of image galleries before settling on one. And in the passed day and a half up until this point, I have uploaded around 1,400 photos, with 250-300 still to go. But I now have to make up my mind, do I stick with the site I sweated over to build; days spent educating myself, and then writing the code to finish with what ultimately looks a very amateur website. Or do I utilise these new toys I've just realised are available to me? I think out of stubborness for what I've already done, I stick with what I have. Afterall, I wrote all the code to this site so understand its layout and what each piece of code means. And I like how amateur it looks as well. It exonerates what the site is about. It's not about wowing readers, but is here just to tell a story: The story of my travels. But at the same time, there is a part of me that thinks I should make use of these tools, and leave with a glossy, professional looking website that will give first-time viewers a good impression. I'm even tempted to make another website and compare them both, because it's hard to make a decision just on what I believe these tools will allow me to do in my head. But I already have the joyous job of labelling some 1,700 photos to look forward to, as well as updates to multiple other pages, do I really have the time to create a new website that I might not even use? I did incidentally spend some time in Waterstones yesterday looking over teach-yourself PHP books. I'd like to think I have the time to learn before I leave for Canada, but I somehow doubt it. After 2 paragraphs of speal, I think ultimately, apart from maybe a couple of tweaks, I'll stick with what I've got.

I did also spend a while looking over some teach-yourself Spanish books as well whilst I was in Waterstones. I truly realised the use of Spanish when I was in Mexico, and want to get myself to a much higher level with the next 15 months. I was toying with the idea of buying a 1-year course, then working through it all over the next 3 months, but I guess learning Spanish at 4-times the rate you're supposed to might be a little too much extra on my plate. I have been helped however, by the fact that I am writing this blog in the mid-afternoon, ie, I'm not at work. I called up the temping agency yesterday, and the work at the solicitors still has not arrived, and I am yet to hear from them today. So, I get today off. And unless I get a call in the next hour or 2, I may well have tomorrow off as well. My dream of a 1-day week is well and truly alive.

I had an email in my inbox this morning from Ticketmaster letting me know that tickets are now on sale for the Seahawks - Eagles game on November 2nd. I've been saying all along, that if everything worked out perfectly, I'd arrive in Canada about November 1st, have a week in Vancouver to get paper work like my social insurance number sorted, before heading to a resort to work about a week later. This would leave me a short bus journey from Seattle when the Hawks have a home game, so taking a massive punt, I bought a ticket this morning. I don't have a job yet, and if this job at Panorama that I had an interview for pans out, I don't know when they want me to start. I don't even remember when my visa starts or when I'm allowed into Canada. But through fear of missing out on a ticket, I've taken a punt and bought mine. Now we pray. Everything needs to work out how it is in my head, and I get to see the Hawks again. Not only that, I also have a ticket for the Chargers - Saints at Wembley the week before. So in the space of a week, I could be going to an NFL game in London, then an NFL game in Seattle, some 4,799 miles away (I looked). That has to be some kind of record. London to Seattle is further than any two cities in the US with football teams. So if I pull this off (and it is a big if), I am taking the claim as the record-holder for going to two regular season NFL games in consecutive weeks, the furthest distance away. (And seeing as this year, the Chargers (and Saints) have bye weeks the week after the Wembley game, there are not going to be any people going to Qualcomm Stadium the next week, which may be further. And Miami and New York are closer to Wembley than Seattle, so no fans from those teams last year would have gone further either. So that is my claim. If I make it to both games, I will hold the record for the furthest distance between to consecutive regular season games. Probably won't be able to go to one of them now.

Last night, I took my first body-fat percentage reading since before Mexico. 14.9% I came out at compared to 14.5% before I left (I don't trust the accuracy of any reading for an accurate assessment, however I do trust any changes to indicate a gain or loss of body-fat). Now I know that I gained a lot more than that in Mexico; 4 weeks of drinking, eating fast-food and not exercising changes your body to a much greater degree. I could see it when I looked in the mirror as well. Now it's been what? about 5 days now that I've straightened up my diet to a more disciplined level of eating the right foods, at the right time of day. That combined with appropriate gym work and regular exercise cycling anytime I leave the house, I can feel a difference on my body, and I can see a difference in the mirror. This isn't from starving myself, or taking any 'flavour of the month' diet. It's just from eating the right foods at the right times, and I guess in the right amounts, as well as some light exercising. Anyway, it got me thinking. Why do people insist on torturing themselves through starvation to lose weight, or spend hours doing useless exercising at the gym, when they could just spend maybe 2 hours of their life, sitting down and researching into appropriate diet practices and exercise, and they're going to see healthier results for a lot less pain. It just bemuses me. People are willing to go through forms of torture by going so hungry to lose weight. Yet they aren't willing to spend 2 hours reading a book, or looking at an appropriate Internet article, into what they should be eating to stay in shape. Now I'll admit that once upon a time that was me, starving myself to lose weight. But I was 17 or 18. I was an idiot then, as most 17/18 year olds are. But when I see people in their mid-twenties sacrificing their health becoming malnourished to lose weight, does it never occur to them, that maybe a little research could give them an easier way. And I don't mean Cosmopolitan, or Vogue, or any of the bullshit they come up with. Flavour of the month diets, or diets that'll have you from fat to thin in 3 days. That's all bullshit from some journalist trying to make a name for themself. But research into the basic science of how the body works and operates, knowing what the right kinds of foods are to eat, and when you're supposed to eat them. That's all it would take. 2 hours of your time. Yet for some reason, people are too lazy for this. I find it strange.

I don't find it strange that people actually want to get into shape though. Apart from a sumo wrestler, offensive lineman, or a few other select professions, no one wants to be out of shape. If they say they're happy with the way they look... they're lying. They may be happy to not make the sacrifices to get in shape because they're too lazy, but are they happy? If you could offer them a Brad Pitt physique with no work, I don't think they'd turn you down. Here's why. I always put myself in the shoes of the opposite sex when I'm justifying to myself why it's important to be in good physical condition, what do I think comparing fat girls to fit girls etc. If, for example, you're an employer. You have one position available, and 2 candidates. A fat girl, and a thin girl. First off you're going to be saying to yourself, "I have to work with this person 40 hours a week, do I really want to have to look at that bulldog the whole time?" And secondly you're thinking, "no one would want to be in the physical condition that she's in, so she's obviously too damn weak-minded, and too damn lazy to lay off the junk food, and get to the gym." It's like an instant competitive advantage. Hot girls just get more stuff from guys that fat ones. It's just the way the world works, and no amount of retarded discrimination laws are going to change that. And it works the other way as well. I've spent parts of my life in shape, and parts, not. Which one do you think you get the most female attention with? You try asking the check-in girl at an airport for a window seat with extra leg-room when you're out of shape, they always seem to have already been alocated. Get in shape and give her a smile and there always seem to be just one seat left. It's just science. It's the way we're made. Hot people get more stuff, so if anyone ever tells you they're happy... they're lying. They're just too damn lazy to do anything about it.

I was watching a documentary about chavs last night, or to be politically correct, dirty chavs. And I love the state of disbelief among people saying there is nothing we can do about them. How they're stuck in a cycle of 'can't get a job because they're chavs, but can't become people because they can't get a job.' But there is a pretty damn obvious solution. Chavs become chavs because they're the extreme poor of society. Maybe you get some copycat chavs that for some reason model themselves on the poorest members of society, but essentially, chavs come from the extreme poor areas. So how do we stop the spread of the viral chav species? Well that's obvious. They're chavs because they're the extreme poor, and have no other direction to go in other than to commit crime to survive. But you cannot have an extreme poor, without having an extreme rich. If there was no extremity in wealth, then there would be no extremity in lack of wealth, as the money stockpiled by the rich, would be filtered down through society, and there would be no extreme poor. It's like I've said on numerous occasions before, the people with the money are the cause of the majority of societies problems. The chavs might be the ones executing the actual crimes, but they're not the reason behind it. Do police crack-down on drug users, or drug dealers? The dealers, because if there are no dealers, then there are no users. It's the same concept here. If the extreme rich, who continually take resources from society, put their wealth back into society, then it would filter back down and there would no longer be an extreme poor. No more chavs or ASBO's. The problem is, in this fucked up retarded world that we've created, money is power. And those with the power, are unwilling to relinquish it. So they'll continue to take and take, and the poor will just get poorer. Now I don't know that there's an easy solution, but if I was in power in todays world, surely a cap on wealth should be considered as one of the remedies to the joke we know as capitalism. I don't know how many hundreds of millions would be filtered into society if a cap of say, £100m was made on anybodies wealth. Either they have to spend the money, or it will be taken from them. Surely a measure such as that would eleviate some of the countries poorest people. Even just through the VAT on the billions of £££'s that would be spent, would be enough to lift many people into the civilised realms of society. It's never going to happen because of the mockery we know as our political system, but I put it to all of those people not knowing what to do... you cannot have an extreme poor without an extreme rich. If there was not such a divide, the chavs would not feel so isolated in society and would act more like people rather than chavs. A bit like a modern-day Robin Hood, you take from the rich, and you give to the poor, and there is no problem anymore.

On a similar topic, a couple of decades on, I have to question, and have been for a while, the logic behind privatisation. It's not a topic that I've done a lot of research in, but surely, any private company that invests in public services, will want a return on their investment. That is why they'd invest. Then surely it was obvious to Thatcher as she gleefully privatised every damn national industry in the country, that these profits would be taken out of the pockets of the people. British Gas, for example, just raised prices by 35%, claiming it was necessary. Then the next day, they announced profits of nearly £2bn. Divided by the 60 million population of the UK, that is around £33 taken out of the pocket of every person this year. Then if you think about the profits being made by water companies, train companies, bus companies, telecoms companies, and every other industry that was so hastily privatised, each year, every person in this country is essentially putting 100's, maybe 1,000's of £££'s in the pockets of business people whom clearly have enough already. Being a conservative government that did this, you have to wonder now, whether this was a ploy to have the rich get even richer. £2 to get a bus in London today. How is that in the interest of the consumer exactly? And it's good to see the competition commission doing its job. If companies in oligopolistic industries are making multi-billion pound profits, is it not obvious that there is some kind of collusion or price-fixing taking place. It might not even be a spoken agreement, but it seems pretty damn clear to me. And how did Thatcher get away with such idiocy? Oh that's right, democracy. Really fucking works great, doesn't it. Blair lied to the people, and illegally invaded Iraq, and still got re-elected. If your only competition is run by a bunch of retards, is it really democracy when you only have one choice?

You know the best thing about doing a business degree? It taught me about what I don't want to be a part of. To gain for yourself, you fuck over other people. Why did British Gas just raise prices by 35% despite £2bn in profits? We will see pensioners die this year because they cannot afford their heating, that is such a ridiculous rise. Why? Because British Gas wanted even greater profits. And that is corporate business. You fuck up others as best you can, whilst looking out for yourself. A business degree showed me that, and taught me valuable lessons in the direction I want to take my life. When you think about it though, it is obvious where all these problems spawn. We are living in a modern world, using systems designed hundreds of years ago. Our political system, for example, just doesn't work. Otherwise how could Blair have gone to war in Iraq, or how could Thatcher've privatised every damn industry. The justice system, is a system of locking people away when they do something wrong, that was developed hundreds, maybe thousands of years ago. Even money. Money was designed, so that instead of trading spoons, or any other goods you happened to have, you could hold wealth in the form of coins. You did not have to have all of your wealth in goods. But it was never intended that so much money would be stockpiled by individual people, or traded so frequently and in such high amounts. We live in a modern world, but we use ancient systems. It just doesn't work. And with globalisation in full swing, these systems are going to be in place the globe over, quite simply with no way out. That's the way I see the future anyway.

One last thing, because I have rambled on about absolute bullshit today, but does anyone else, in a really distant and perverse way, look forward to their death somewhat. Now I don't mean in a suicidal way or anything like that. I'm not about to kill myself, but in continuation from the crap I was spouting a couple of blogs ago about how not knowing my purpose of life, it really gets to me. Well I always think in one way or another, at the time you die, you aren't going to wonder anymore. You'll be at peace if you will. I don't believe in an Heaven, or an after-life or any of that kind of bollocks, but if there was a heaven, then as soon as you die, then it would finally be reveiled to you, why you were here this whole time. And if there is no after-life, then you'd be dead. So you wouldn't wonder anymore. Does anyone else kind of feel like that? Is it sick therefore, that whenever I'm on a plane, there is this tiny, tiny part of me, just hoping something goes wrong. The plane crashes or something. Not because I want to die in a big fire-ball or anything, but there is a part of me that's just curious. I just want to know what happens when I die. Is that weird? I think this all stems from, when I was younger, I was so damn petrified of death, that the way I would eventually die would play on my mind all the time. I was scared of it. But then eventually, thinking about it as much as I did, I just came to accept it, and in some way, started embracing it. Like any fear, you overcome it, and then it means nothing to you. And in my life, the only thing I've really ever been scared of, is dying. But I got over it a few years ago; it used to play on my mind in my teenage years. And now, because there is supposedly no worse fate than dying, what else is there in the world for me to be scared of. I think it's why I live somewhat fearlessly, taking risks where others won't. I have nothing left to be afraid of. It's like in the film 300, they laugh in the face of death. I feel like that. If someone held a gun to my head, I don't think my heartrate would alter, and if I was in a plane about to crash, I'd just smile and enjoy the ride. Is that weird? Because I don't really see other people like that.

One other thing I just thought of as I was writing that, is if Christians believe the when they die they will go to heaven, which is a place where all their fantasies become reality, why isn't there a spate of mass-Christian suicides? Just curious. You'd think it'd speed up the process a bit. Go and meet god and that. And surely, if you're there for eternity... which is a pretty long time, wouldn't you want to go whilst you're still young. Be the best-looking person in heaven. All the others are decrepid pensioners, while if you went up at 21, you'd be the life of the party. Just a thought.

I'm done. I've gone on about way too much.


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