When things go wrong

Computers are great. The Internet's great. Technology's great. Until it all goes wrong anyway. I've had a nightmare couple of days with this website.

It started a couple of days ago when I realised one of the photos in my Canada '05 photo album had been receiving spam comments for 2 or 3 weeks now. The number of comments had risen to nearly 500. I initially started deleting these manually, but realising how long this would take, I instead resorted to just deleting the photo entirely, and then resubmitting it. This all occurred however, with security in place to stop this being possible. I guess that it doesn't work. As things stand, the only additional secrity feature I can add, is to have people need to register before they can leave comments. But who the fuck is going to bother doing that? Exactly. So instead I have now suspended the ability to add comments on any photos indefinitely. Either until gallery is updated with improved security features. Or I have enough traffic on this website, that it will be worthwile setting up a system allowing people to register to comment on the photos. Somehow I can't see that happening any time soon.

So I figure that's the end of it. But when I get back from the gym yesterday morning and check my emails, I am greeted with a message from my hosting company titled: Emergency account move complete. What the fuck? The email goes on to say: " Your account was moved to a new server under emergency circumstances. Note that you will have a week from today to correct the issues on your site that resulted in us having to move your account." They then indicated that the area of "high usage," was the main gallery page. What the fuck does all this mean to me though? I've been moved to another server? I don't really know what that means. I definitely don't know how it affects me or what action I need to now take, so I've been in e-dialogue (is that a word?) with the company for the past 2 days now trying to get this resolved. For some reason, my photo gallery was making a shit-load of usage. I'm not sure if this is related to the spamming comments I was receiving. Did, for example, the bot that was spamming on my gallery go mental when it realised I'd disabled comments, and did that cause the problem? I don't know. But I've now been moved to a new server whatever that means. And I've had to disable comments in the photo gallery. And after 2 days of exchanging emails with my hosting company, I've enabled other security features, such as hotlink protection, which I now know stops other websites from linking to any of my photos, hosting them on their website, but using my bandwidth.

What a fucking hassle it's been. I still don't know if this server move will affect me, because they've said they'll keep my old account open for as long as possible. So I might suddenly find that things don't work. I also got a scare when the dates of the files uploaded onto this website all changed and new files appeared in the sites root folder. Though I now know that it was InMotion, my hosts, who made these changes. That has pretty much been what has occupied me for the past couple of days though. Fucking Internet geeks and their little spamming robots. Hopefully everything is all fixed up and working as it should be.

Seeing as I'm on the webite already, there are a couple of minor changes that I've had time to make on top of all these hassles. Firstly, I discovered Windows Media Encoder. I was having trouble hosting videos before, because they were taking so damn long to load, so I Googled for a solution, and this is what I came up with. I've now transferred all videos to .wmv files, so they should now play a lot more quickly (the video of deer that I took in Richmond Park was taking ½ an hour or more to load, so it really needed to be done. It's been reduced from 368mb, to just 57.1mb, so right now it's all gravy). Although I'm having a little trouble to get these videos to play within Internet Explorer (they work fine on Firefox). I'm working on that though. But I was so impressed with how helpful Windows Media Encoder was, I have now also added it to the downloads page.

You know, when I started teaching myself HTML back in January, I was thinking it ridiculous starting to build a website 10 months before I was leaving to travel. All I can say, is thank fuck I did. I've had to learn so much over the past 9 months now. Writing and hosting a website is quite a learning curve. And you think that I'd have time to sit around all day, solving problems with videos, or constantly emailing my hosts, when I'm travelling? I doubt it. Now I'm almost scared that I didn't start early enough. There's about 5 weeks until my flight to Canada now. I just hope I can have every problem ironed out by the time I leave. Because at the moment, learning about and fixing all this web stuff, it's pretty much a full-time job. It's almost a blessing that contact from the temping angency has tempered again.

Speaking of travel (see how this all flows together), well no surprise that I haven't got a house sorted yet. I'm pretty sure I'd have been happy enough that it would be the first thing mentioned if I had got one. But what I did do this week, was email Janessa, to find out if there was any chance I would still get a staff house. To quote her: "You are 7th on the wait list. I am hesitant to say whether it's a possibility or not. We could get more accomodation or people could drop out and we could have a whole bunch of spots, or we could have none!" I take from that, that there is a real possibility that I could still get staff accomodation. They could get more accomodation! I'm pretty sure that staff accomodation would be cheaper than renting myself, so there's a part of me saying gamble. Hold out and see what happens. More just for my entertainment and because I'm too lazy to actually get anything organised. But it's still a possibility.

But I suppose if I can get anything arranged myself, then I really should. So I've restarted communications with potential housemates, which had died down of late. And I got an email this morning from some completely random person, who isn't even working at Panorama, but she is also looking for a house. Fuck knows how she got my details! But, she has been to Panorama before, so seems to know the area, so I've messaged her back to see what turns up. Something will turn up I hope. My main motivation to get accomodation sorted, is not so much so I have accomodation. But rather what I do before arriving at Invermere, is somewhat dependent on having accomdation ready. What I mean, is if I don't have accom, I will probably bypass going to Whistler (which I really need, to learn how to ski), and go straight to Invermere. It will also impact how long I have in Vancouver, so until I have this sorted, I can't book my accomodation in Vancouver, I can't book my accomodation in Whistler, and I can't book my bus tickets. That is why I want to have things sorted asap. Other than that I don't really mind arriving somewhere without a place to stay. It adds a bit of excitement to the whole proceedings.

"Thank you Shaun" Shaun Alexander, Seattle Seahawks Speaking of Vancouver as I just was (see what I mean. It links together like a web! I don't even plan this.), I bit the bullet and bought a ticket for the Redskins game in Seattle on November 23rd (NFL). I did previously say that a precondition to buying this ticket, was that I had sold my ticket to the Eagles game 3 weeks earlier. But then Shaun Alexander signed for the Redskins on trade deadline day, and even if he probably won't get many, if any touches, I'd like to be in Seattle for the return of Shaun (and Zorn). This game just got too good for me to miss, seeing as I'd only be a short Greyhound journey away. And on top of that, I should be able to sell my Eagles ticket I think. I'll hopefully have it listed on eBay by the end of the day. I just want to speak to someone in the box office on the phone to confirm some things, and I should be good to sell. Now I'm just looking forward to being back at Qwest Field. My only other trip there wasn't a happy affair, losing to the 49ers in some of the worst rain I've ever seen. So it's time to make amends. And on top of that, I'll be at the NFL game at Wembley in just 10 days. There's not much that gets me excited in the world today. But I love my NFL. And on top of that, as a sort of going away present, my dad's bought me a ticket to Arsenal - Everton this weekend. We're going to lose, but it'll still be a chance to see Everton play one last time before I leave. So that's cool.

Now you may remember that I twice got rejected for an Abbey Zero credit card. You see, that's what happens when you tell the truth. Since then, my Bradford and Bingley account has been taken over by the Santander Group, so in a roundabout way, I'm almost an Abbey customer. Plus, I've actually had work since then. So I've gone for 3rd time lucky, and applied again. Only this time, my occupation is an office administrator (almost true. I've put things in envelopes), and my salary is £15,000 (which could be true if enough temp work came in. We just don't know). So I'm expecting to again get rejected for a credit card, but I thought it was worth a shot. I figure if I apply enough times, they're bound to give me a card eventually. Apart from anything else, every rejection they send me, they do so by post. That's costing them money. So eventually they'll surely realise that it's cheaper to give me a credit card than keep on rejecting me. We are essentially in a recession mind (even if not officially yet), so I can't see they'll be handing cards like candy. But if they reject me again, maybe next time I'll apply with a better job. Doctor or something. They probably won't check. I've also ordered a replacement of my other credit card, so the expiry date is as far away as possible, meaning it will be valid when abroad for as long as possible.

Speaking of the recession (again!), surely this is once again a consequence of the free market. Think about it. How did trade start? Back in 350 B.C. or whenever the fuck it was, rather than each person in a village making their own bread, farming their own crops etc, it made sense to specialise. So one person in the village bakes everyones bread. Another person in the village grows the crops. And then they exchange these goods, one for one. "I give you a days bread, and you give me a days veg." Simple. But what would happen, if the baker suddenly decided that he wanted 2 days veg, in exchange for 1 days bread? The farmer would say no, but if the baker was the village leader or something, he wouldn't have a choice. The baker would then have too much veg, and start freezing it in his caveman freezer, whilst the farmer would be going hungry. It wouldn't be a sustainable system, because the balance of trade is uneven.

Transfer this possibly true example, to today's world. Most of us have jobs (I say us... I mean you). From those jobs we earn veg, or in todays world, money. But the baker, or in today's world, Tescos, is still operating an uneven balance of trade. We are buying products from Tescos, that are not worth the veg that we are paying for them. This would be ok if Tescos spent this money elsewhere, as it would eventually filter down to us all. But they don't. They give it to shareholders, who in turn save it. Therefore, the farmers growing veg, us, are sharing less and less money, as the baker is gradually stockpiling it all. As we all have less money, we spend less money. And the less money there is going around, the more we fear we won't get any more, so we stop spending the little that we have. And because we're not spending money, Tescos aren't receiving money, so they spend even less of theirs to protect what they have, and eventually everyone just stops spending. That, in essence is a recession. Now that was not in the slightest the point I was aiming to make when I started writing this, however it's written now and I refuse to delete it. What I was trying to demonstrate, is that when people are making more money than they can spend, it is a failure of the money system. When they cannot spend it, money is leaving the system and just sitting there, meaning there is less going around. This is a failure of the market system, and an inevitable cause of why we're now in this situation. The profits that companies have been making, and individuals have been making, are causing the market to ground to a halt, and that is why we are in this mess. It is an absolute demonstration, that the greed of humankind combined with the workings of the capitalist market, can never be successful over the long term. It would only work if everyone was created equal. If everyone had the same ability and the same drive to make money, then we would all own the same amount of money, and would not be able to save. However, some people just care about it more than others. I like to blame these people for causing this uneveness. But they could retaliate by saying that it's everyone elses fault for being so shit at making money, that they are so rich. The bottom line is, that because we all differ in our ability and our drive to make money, fuck-ups like this in the system are an inevitability of capitalism. A free-market can never work. That's why Bush promoted it.

And now, because enough money has left the system, there is not enough bread to go round to everyone, so people go unemployed. And they only get their bread still as a result of the welfare system, which in itself is a demonstration that the free-market cannot work. This does not mean though, that people will not be losing their homes, whilst others are sitting on mountains of savings. It's a fucked up system. It's a really fucked up system. The whole foundation of capitalism, is to make profit. Yet from where I'm standing, a company making profit during a recession, is only worsening the crisis. They are taking money out of the system, and clealy abusing a position of power.

Not everything I've said here may be entirely acurate. I've never claimed to be a master, a good, or even an average economist. In fact my knowledge is very basic. But looking in from the outside, this is what I see when I look at the market system. It can only ever be successful in spurts. But as soon as one person of contortium of people start taking the lifeblood of the economy, money, out of the system, then it will begin to fail because there isn't enough to go round. It's like if you took oxygen out of the atmosphere (like we are doing). Say there was only enough oxygen to sustain 5 billion people on earth. One billion would have to be removed to maintain human life. And by removed, I mean they would die. In the economy, the oxygen is money. As money is removed by companies making and keeping profits, there is less room in the economy, so people get removed from the system. They lose their job and they lose their home, and they no longer remain a part of the economy. They are merely outsiders looking in. The homeless. This is why I always condemn anyone who stockpiles more money in savings than they need. Why the fuck should some people in this country have more money than they can or will ever spend, whilst others live with none? They have no right to it. They were just lucky enough to be born into a system that they were naturally willing to manipulate. It is for these reasons that I despise big companies. And I despise those people who stockpile millions in wealth. Though I don't blame them. They are playing the game of capitalism. It is not something that I would do personally, but they are just playing to the rules of the game. The problem, is the rules need to be changed. Capitalism creates winners at the expense of others, and not always fairly. A new system needs to be in place, so no matter how much people win, no one can lose entirely. At the moment, if you have no money, you have very little. Free healthcare. That's about it. For capitalism to work, essentials need to be made available to all, regardless of status. Shelter, fuel, food and water, need to be available to everyone, but still keep people incentivised to work. That way, no matter how much money people stockpile, no one will be left with nothing. There will be no one dropping out of the economy. The rich would have to fund this of course. They would still get their perks of having so much wealth. But with everyone remaining in the economy, and no sufficient funds being taken out as it would be regained in taxes to pay for welfare, money would continue to flow in the economy. The market needs to be regulated. The problem with this as I just eluded to, is you need to keep people incentivised to work. If things are too good for the unemployed, then there would be no economy all together. But to me, if you can solve this dilemma, then this is the only way that a capitalist economy can actually work. It needs regulation, and it need government intervention. Of course if the rich weren't so greedy, and gave some of their money to the needy, then ultimately, that would have the same outcome. But the rich are greedy. They are capitalists. It's the only way that they know. As I've said before though, the mentality and the greed of the rich is the cause of the majority of problems in our society. You eliminate the rich, and there are no problems.

GBP - CAD exchange rate On the positive side of the economy, the GBP - CAD has been favourable this week, and the pound is now worth over 2 CAD again. To be exact, it is currently at $2.04570, which is awesome. I'm getting richer and richer for when I go away. I got so excited when I first realised it had gone over this threshold, that I even took a picture of it. Isn't it beautiful!

Speaking of beautiful (again!), I'm determined to get a good picture of a sunset. It's proving to be quite a challenge though. I missed one when I was away at the weekend. And a couple of days ago when I came out of the supermarket, I looked over my shoulder as I was cycling home, and the sun was sat in a perfect place for a picture. I cycled up Richmond Hill as fast as my little legs could go, but by the time I'd got there, I had nearly missed it. I'd definitely missed the best of it. So everyday at the moment, I'm trying to get a picture of a decent sunset. I will get one! I will get one!

Anyway, here's the best couple that I could muster from this effort:

Sunset from Richmond Hill
Sunset from Richmond Hill

Until I get a good sunset, my new nickname is the sunset chaser. Jro... The sunset chaser. Sounds like a superhero!

Now if you've read pretty much any of these blogs in the past, you'll know I'm big on the enviroment. Climate change to me, is the single biggest problem the world faces. Far outweiging any other issue or problem. I spent ages banging on about the environment in the last blog I wrote, so I'm not going to do it again. But what I will do, is link to this article. Europe is split on whether to abandon their climate change targets amid the financial crisis. I don't need to say where I stand on this issue. However I'll hold off having any real say until this story develops a little further. That article was published less than 3 hours ago at the time of writing, so if you're reading this soon after I wrote it, then it's worth a look. See where you stand. If you've read these blogs before, then you already know my view.

One other thing that has really got to me in the past couple of days, is Madonna and Guy Ritchie announcing they're to divorce. We are in the midst of a financial crisis. The US election is less than 3 weeks away. Yet, this makes the news. Who gives a fuck? Is knowing about Guy Ritchie and that fucking granny in a leotard Madonna going to make any difference to anyones life? It was the main story on Sky news. That's fair enough, because I don't expect much Ugly Madonna from Sky news. It is news for retards. But the BBC ran the story on the 10 O'clock news last night. I've had my beef with the BBC on occasions in the past, but in general, I agree with the way they broadcast. But I would love to find out why Madonna and Guy Ritchie is a headline story, but they neglected to have anything on the Thailand - Cambodia border dispute. It's a fucking joke. Celebrity news, is just news for people too dumb and retarded to understand real news. That's why it was Sky news's headline story. But I expect better from the BBC. What next, did Britney go out without any make-up on this morning? Or perhaps Kate Moss has gained 3lbs. That's headline news!!! I mean fuck me. I'm supposed to be paying a TV license. I expect more for my money. Celebrity politics is just news for people too damn dumb, with lives too damn empty, to have anything in their own life to occupy them. The same kind of people who watch the X-Factor or Big Brother. They don't server any purpose in society. They're just dormant chavs. I cannot believe that was headline news on the BBC. If I'd actually ever paid for a TV license, then I'd have a good mind to complain.

I said in the last blog, that on the 22nd of this month, I was going to be changing my lifestyle, as a last-gasp effort to get into shape before I left the country. Well the Jro's get my abs back before I go to Canada program is in full swing. I haven't actually started it yet. But my fridge looks completely different to how it did last time I wrote. And I've come up with a fool-proof plan. To lose weight, you obviously need to be running a calorie deficit, and cutting down on carbs and fats. And to maintain the muscle that you have, you need a high-protein diet. On top of that, I'm really tight. So, I am now stocking up on disgusting tasting, high protein, Tesco Value foods. They are high protein, low carb and low fat, and they taste disgusting. They contain what I need, they are cheap, and the fact that they taste so bad means that I'm not going to want to eat any more than I have to, so it will be easy to run a calorie deficit. It's a fool-proof plan.

The reason I'm saying this now though, rather than when I've started my plan, is because this is going to put me in a pretty bad mood, pretty-much all the time. Being hungry, low on energy, and eating shit food. It's what you have to do to lose weight quickly, but it's never fun. Normally I would try and write a blog with a smile on my face, because I think I write better when I'm happy. However from next Wednesday until when I leave for Canada, I'm going to be in a constant bad mood because of this diet. So this is kind of a warning, that I won't be writing happy blogs for a while. I will be writing angry blogs. So don't expect blogs with pixies and fairies in or anything until I get to Canada. From next Wednesday onwards, I am not going to be a happy bunny.

Boobs, cleavage Just finally, I think I've got my very own stalker! You know how sometimes you get added by random people on Facebook? I've even had them because they say they always wanted a friend called Jethro. Well normally I reject these. I'll always check if I know someone or not before rejecting them though. Anyway, I have this girl add me. I don't know her, so I message her to see if she's someone I knew from my past. I don't, but she seems quite fun, so I add her anyway. I'd normally reject them, but this was her profile picture, so it tipped the boat. As far as I can remember, she's the only person I've ever added on Facebook whom I don't actually know. So there's a lesson there. Show me your boobs. I hadn't spoke to her in ages; I don't think I ever got round to replying to her message last time. So she messages me yesterday, so I message her back. Then she messages me again last night. I haven't got round to replying to her yet, and she's sent me another message. And a poke. And has taken my email off my profile and emailed me. And in the email, said "u seriuly have a HUGE................... number of pics!" and gone on to comment about one, that is 37 pages deep into my photos. She looked through 37 pages of pictures of me! And she's just deleted 200 Facebook friends, so I'm one of her 200 closest people in the world. It's awesome. I've always wanted my own hot stalker. I only ever normally get ugly ones. I've never met her and today she's messaged me twice, emailed me and poked me without reply. I hope this turns into a real stalker, because I don't think it counts just on that. I stalk people worse than that. It's awesome. My very own hot stalker. I just hope she doesn't see I've written this.

That's me done. I need to chase sunsets and reply to my very own stalker. Does it still count if you reply to them?

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