It's all about the money

Adsense At the start of this week, I was pretty chuffed with my finances. I'd just worked a full 5-day week (I know!), all but 2 of my university books listed on Amazon had sold, and most importantly, the all-time advertising revenues for this website have recently doubled. To a whopping 2¢. So things were going pretty well.

Now with the recent financial turmoil, and the inability to afford large losses when travelling, I've been spreading my finances out around a growing numbers of bank accounts, so that when I'm travelling, should any one bank fall into difficulty, I can fall back onto the others that I have my money stored with. Currently that spread is over 4 different banks, with close to 40% of it currently in an Icesave ISA. It wasn't welcome news today therefore, when I logged onto the BBC website to find an article titled Icesave savers warned on accounts. Essentially it appears that Landsbanki, Icesave's parent bank, is about to be made insovent. From what I understand, I'll be able to claim this money back from the Icelandic authorities as they are responsible for the first 20,887 Euros of compensation. Failing that, the UK's Financial Services Compensation Scheme will cover up to £50,000. But I'm sure I'll have to go through a whole bureaucratic process to get anything back. What makes this even more frustrating, is when I try to withdraw money from this account, I am greeted with the message "We are not currently processing any deposits or any withdrawal requests through our Icesave internet accounts (don't they know that Internet should have a capital I?). We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause our customers. We hope to provide you with more information shortly." According to the BBC, an Icesave spokeswoman claims that the website is not operating "due to technical difficulties." Yeah right. The technical difficulties that you're about to go under and don't want everyone to be taking their money before you do. So although I'm at least semi-confident I'll be able to get this money back, it is making me a little nervy. My whole travel plans would be altered if I was to lose this much money. My main worry, is that I can get it back before I leave the country. Because I'm sure to claim money from over in Canada, would be a hell of a lot more difficult that to do it here.
Icesave not currently processing deposits or withdrawals

What are the fucking odds though... do I have a banking curse or something at the moment? I applied for this bank account about 6 weeks ago. But I only actually transferred the money over at the start of last week, and now they're insolvent. Similar story with Bradford & Bingley. It was just 5 days after the actual transfer of money, and they were toast as well. Despite the fact I'd actually applied for the account weeks earlier. And in between all that, HSBC had to cut 1,100 jobs. Between those 3 banks, I currently hold more than 90% of my travel savings. I'm beginning to think this trip is cursed. On top of all of that, the strength of the pound is still way down on where it has been in my previous trips to North America, so any money I actually manage to not lose do to failing banks, will be worth considerably less when I actually get abroad.

Speaking of this trip being cursed, if you read through to the end of the last blog that I wrote, you will have seen that just 2 days after booking a flight to Vancouver, BUNAC email me to tell me that I could save myself a lot of time and money, by just flying into Calgary. Great seeing as it's a non-refundable, non-transferable flight. To rub salt into the wound though, one thing I hadn't realised at the time I booked, was this flight operates with a touchdown in Calgary. So I am actually going to be on the ground, only about 3 hours from where I need to eventually end up. But instead of getting off the plane, I'm going to have to fly all the way to Vancouver, closer to 20 hours of land travel from where I need to be.

I can hear people thinking, well why the fuck don't you just get off the plane at Calgary then? Well firstly, I don't think people are getting off the plane here. I guess it's just to refuel or something. And secondly, if people are alighting, I could probably get off no problem. But for my bags to get offloaded, I would have to transfer my flight. My non-transferable flight. So basically buy another ticket. Otherwise, my bags will be in Vancouver, whilst I'll be in Calgary. I said we're touching down for fuel. I think the real reason we're stopping, is just for God to take a stab at me. Just to point and laugh. "Haha, we're in Calgary, and you can't get off here. Sucker." Fucking God. This is just karma because I was laughing at a fat person trying to run the other day to catch the bus. How the hell can you not laugh at that though? They were really, really fat. Fucking God.

And... even worse about travelling. Not only have I not yet found a place to live. But of all the people I've been talking to about accomodation, 2 people have so far found places. And they were the 2 chics, that according to my stalking on Facebook, were the only ones who were actually hot. So if I do ever sort out a place to live, right now, it's going to be with guys and ugly girls. This trip is cursed. I'm telling you!

Now with all my savings seemingly evaporating, I couldn't really say no to the opportunity of work tomorrow. Unfortunately though, the job offer I've got, is back at EB Consulting, which is the second place that I was working in the last blog I wrote. That's right, tomorrow morning I'm going to have to get suited and booted, to sit in a dull, gray, office, and put things in envelopes for 8 hours. Again. Fucking great. I am just praying... literally praying, that I'm not stuck with Radio 4 again. God's sitting up in space, having a great laugh that I'm going to be stopping in Calgary. That I'm going to be living with ugly people. And that I'm going to have no money. That's fine. I can take a joke. If you put me back in that room for 8 fucking hours with Radio 4... oh that is beyond funny God you son of a bitch. I'm regretting taking this placement and I don't even start for more than 18 hours. All I'm asking for, is to be in that room with either someone fun, or someone hot. It doesn't even have to be both. Just either something nice to look at, or something that will pass the time. Just not Radio 4. Or the old German woman. I'd even accept the hairy chest right now.

Still on money (see... it's all about the money. Bet the title doesn't seem so shit now!), you'd think that with everything else going on, if I was given free money, then I'd be careful with it. Right? Well I'm not exactly overrun with time right now. So with this $35 that partypoker gave me, I figured fuck it, and blew $33 of it on a sit-and-go tournament. The problem with that, is that to play poker, you need patience, and you need time. Essentially, to play poker, you need to have no life. That's why I played online a lot at uni. It passed the time before I had to go to the pub. But right now I'm overrun with things to do. I think I only got to level 3 yesterday, until I got bored and went all-in with a king and a jack. Needless to say, I went out. And needless to say, once again, party poker has been uninstalled. Hopefully they'll feel sorry for me and give me some free money. Maybe if I play the "I lost all my savings in the financial crisis" card, then they'll feel sorry for me and give me some free money. If things carry on like this, I won't be able to afford to travel, so I'll have plenty of time to actually play poker properly. Rather that just going all-in because I'm bored. Seriously though. What a boring fucking game poker is. I guess I must have been really bored at uni when I actually enjoyed playing.

If you also read the last blog, then you might have noticed some differences to this site, compared to when the last blog entry was published. Mainly because one of those changes is a "Recent site updates" section on the homepage. So that one change will, from now on, tell you about all the other changes on this website. There's a new travel blog, it'll say it there. There's new photos, it'll say it there. There's new videos, it'll say it there. There's a new hostel reviewed, or my 'Where I've been' map is updated, or there's new money saving advice, it'll say it there. It's so people will no longer have to search manually to find out about any developments on this website. They can just look there and save themselves the trouble. I came up with the idea when I was at the gym the other day. It might be a little bit of an annoyance on my part, having to manually update the homepage anytime I do anything else. But shit happens. If I didn't own this site, then I wouldn't fucking bother checking every section each time I was here to see what had been updated. My main problem is that it's making writing a travel blog more hassle than it needs to be. Soon, after I write every blog entry, not only will I have to upload that blog. But I will also have to email everyone who has subscribed, I will have to update the sitemap, and I will now have to update the homepage. It's not the end of the world, but I definitely don't want to get to a point where writing a blog is more hassle that it's worth. Especially once I start travelling and I'm short of time. Though for now I think everything serves a purpose. Hopefully I won't have any more ideas that will create more work for me.

Now if you've been onto this website over the last week or two, you may have noticed that the homepage was really slow to load. This was a result having 79 photos in the homepage slideshow that would preload, causing the rest of the page to wait until 79 photos had been loaded. This was unacceptable to me, so I've reduced this slideshow from 79 photos, to 9. I'd like to have more, but not at the cost of the website not functioning properly. I have kept all of the other photos uploaded however, so it will be very easy to change around the 9 photos at anytime.

The next change to this site, is that after a long time, I've managed to solve the technical issues I was having with uploading my photos from Dalhousie in 06/07. Basically, I was able to get the photos to show, but the thumbnails were not displaying, so the only way to view these photos was to look at each one individually, without seeing any kind of preview. I know I certainly wouldn't do that on someone else's website. That took some help from the gallery forum, but for the time being at least, I've solved that problem. I still haven't had the time to completely upload the pictures from the Christmas break yet, let alone anything else, so this is most definitely a work in progress still. But now things are working properly, if I can find the time, it shouldn't be long until I have a good selection of recovered photos from my time at Dal uploaded. One thing that might be worth noting, is that when captioning the pictures, I have taken into account that Google has been listing a lot of my photos. Hence if you read a caption that might seem a little long-winded or strange, it might have Google in mind. For example, in many pictures I've been quite exact with the location, so that these pictures will feature highly when someone searches for an image of that exact location, hopefully generating a little more traffic for this website over the long run. If some of the photos do seem to be named a little strangely, then that will probably be why. Or I was just being retarded.

The biggest change I've made to this website since I last wrote though, has been a total revamp of the way that videos are played. Previously I just had links to videos so people could watch them on their pc with no problem, bypassing browser differentials. I wanted to have the videos embedded within the website though. So now when you go to the videos page, the look of the page is still as it was. Only, now when you click on a link, you get taken to another page, where this video is embedded and should auto-start. It also has an option to be taken directly to the video, because multimedia is something that browsers really don't seem to agree on. I have 2 types of videos. Windows media video files (WMV) and video clips (AVI). From testing the videos myself, the WMV files play in Firefox, but not in Internet Explorer, where as the AVI videos play perfectly in Internet Explorer, but not in Firefox. Why the browsers just can't agree on a standard format I'm not sure. But it is due to this inconsitency that I have also linked directly to the videos for when people have problems. Most of the videos that I will be uploading will be AVI, so over the long-run, it appears that Internet Explorer will be the preferrable browser when it comes to playing videos. Although both Firefox and Internet Explorer struggles when loading the approx. 7 minute deer video that I took. It took fucking ages. Hopefully it was just a bad connection or something and the problem has sorted itself out, because if I had to wait that long for a video on any other site... well let's just say, it could make the videos page fairly obsolete if that continues.

Those are all the changes that I've made to the website since I last wrote a blog. But I got a bit of a laugh when looking through my webmaster tools the other day, at the top search queeries at which this website appeared in the results. Most were fairly standard, but a couple of them made me laugh. The 5th most seached query in which this site appeared in the results was 'hansom guy'. Well it's good to see Google has good taste. According to Google, I finish 12th in the hansom guy stakes. The 10th most seached query for which this site appeared, was 'i eat pussy', although way down in 266th for these results. I don't think I've once mentioned eating pussy on this website. Maybe Google can just tell what goes on in my head. Down in 19th, I not only have to ask, why the hell did this site appear in this results list, but also, why the hell would anyone type into Google, 'island of the blue dolphins shoebox'? Am I missing something here?

By far and away, my favourite of the top 20 queries that this website appears in though, has to be 'kill myself'. I actually clicked through on this, and there really is people going onto forums, asking for advice on how to kill themselves. And people give it. And if you want to kill yourself, well apparently Jro's World is the 164th best resource to do it. Probably because you'll die of boredom if you've got this far into a blog. How awesome is that though? This website is the 164th best resource on the Internet for people wanting to kill themself. I'm actually pretty chuffed. I might frame that list! This is God making up for taking all my money.

Now before I finish off for today, I just want to delve into US politics for a bit. In 2000, I never imagined that the most powerful country in the world could contain a majority of people that were so dumb, that they would elect George Bush. I was proved wrong. Having had Bush for a full term, I never imagined that 4 years later, the majority of US citizens would be mindnumbingly stupid enough to reelect Bush for a second term. Once again I had overestimated the intelligence of the US public. So here we are again, 27 days until the next US election. And by now, I've given up in having faith in the intelligence of the US public, because seemingly, they don't have any. Now don't get me wrong, I don't like McCain, but although I don't agree with his policies, that doesn't mean he isn't at least a somewhat intelligent person. At least in relation to George Bush. This time the republican retard is the running-mate, Palin. John McCain is 72. He's old. And old people die... it's just what they do. There is probably therefore, more importance on the vice-presidential candidate, than there normally would be, because with no disrespect to old people, you keep on dying. If McCain's elected, there's a higher chance than normal that the vice-president, Palin, would have to take over. And my god, I thought Bush was dumb... let's just take a look at Palin.

Here are some videos from Youtube:

The woman who would be a heartbeat from becoming the most powerful person in the world, cannot name a newspaper. She also seem to believe that Alaska is a microcosm of America.

"Our next door neighbours are foreign countries." Are you kidding me. Her foreign policy experience, is that Alaska has 2 foreign countries as next door neighbours. She could be running the world!

I don't think it even needs an explanation.

I wouldn't have thought it necessary to go into detail about why this woman should not be a heatbeat from the White House. Then I wouldn't have thought it necessary in 2004 either. Maybe the third time will be a charm for America. Is it giving them too much credit to think they will have learn from past mistakes. To answer that, let's take a look at some of my favourite videos from the Chasers war on everything, also from Youtube:

We're all doomed.

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