House Style

I've been trying to get to grips with CSS - the formatting language behind this very blog. I'm thinking of using it to periodically change the look of the blog to reflect seasons, months, or whatever looks interesting at the time. I've made a few small changes already, in honour of my favourite medical drama.

Tony Blair is trying to look green. He addressed an international business conference, saying global climate change will become catastrophic and irreversible "in our lifetime". This is his guarded, understated way of saying the catastrophe has probably already started, and is only going to get worse.

He also said "we" have to find ways to reduce carbon emissions - which presumably means investing in wind and wave farms, while finding places to dump smog and sewage in places that aren't the sky or sea. Though he didn't say so. He also didn't say anything about developing technology to cope with the effects of climate change - only trying to reduce future contributions to it.

This is a bit like talking about how you ought to eat less rat poison, instead of calling a doctor.

I knew about the speech a week in advance - not because I've developed precognitive abilities, but because the local newspaper ran a small article about "yesterday's speech" a week before it happened. So either their journalists can see the future, or the press release was sent out early, and the story run in error.

So has Blair decided to save the world to make up for ordering mass murder? Or is he just making sure Labour keep pace with the Conservatives, who've been making vaguely green noises for the last few months? Surely not.

We powerless ordinary citizens are doing what little we can. There's a public meeting/forum on Wednesday, and a demo called on Saturday.

I have a friend. That is to say, I have someone who I was friends with ten years ago, who regards me as their only friend, but who bores and irritates me to distraction.

He's lonely, depressed, and desperate for affection. He spent two hours around here yesterday, having nothing to say but feeling the need to chat - so I made painful conversation. He then phoned me half an hour after leaving because he still wanted to talk. Seemingly because no one else talks with him anymore - everyone he used to know has drifted away.

And he needs constant reassurance that he's not boring me, and that I really do enjoy his company. Well, he is, and I don't. I can say this to the entire world (at least that part of it that surfs blogs), but I can't say it to him.

Most of the time, when a friend becomes a burden, they eventually realise and find other people to be with. But this one is both not very bright, just very...well, needy. He's not a bad person, at all - actually he's sympathetic and kind. Which may (or may not) be why I can't work up the courage to tell him to go away.

I watched episode 3 of Torchwood, in which an alien artifact enables people to see crimes of the past and tragedies of the near future - which, of course, turn out to occur through attempts to avenge the crimes. A story about how you can't afford to be obsessed with making up for past mistakes, and you're better off living in hope because the future is unknown.

It was also what C described as "A vapid pile of crap". I'd say it's a big disappointment, a missed opportunity, a very silly kids show disguised as dark adult sci-fi...and a vapid pile of crap.

Do you remember when Tom and Jerry was revived in the 1980s, showing the cat and mouse as best friends? Or the muppets cartoon spinoff The Muppet Babies? I've a feeling the revived Doctor Who and the spinoff Torchwood will feel like those in years to come - embarrassing footnotes that completely missed the point of the original it fed off.

I'm applying for a job as "Assistant Technician" at a concert hall, run by Fareham Borough Council. They've sent me their mission statement with the application form. Here's how the statement begins:

A Five Year Vision

Corporate Vision, Values, Objectives and Action Plan

Vision Statement

Fareham - the prosperous, safe and attractive place to be

Driven by Vision

I think I can guess what their favourite word is, but what is this five year plan vision? Well, it continues:

This vision is guided by a set of values:

* Preserving people's dignity and focusing on what residents want;
* Enhancing prosperity and conserving all that is good;
* Being efficient and effective and providing value for money;
* Leading our community and achieving beneficial change;

And so on for another four pages. After which I learn a few things about working in Fareham - no smoking except in the smoking rooms, 9 hour working days, no parking unless you can prove you really really need it, there is a "prestigious arts and entertainment hall" I've never heard of and 28 OAP homes, plus there's a Leisure center with "easy access by road, rail and bus". Each employee is provided with their very own uniform, and serves a 26 week "probationary period" during which they have no rights.

But don't worry, because "We oppose all forms of discrimination or unfair treatment on the grounds of gender, race or ethnic origin, marital status, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, HIV status or religion" and "We require our managers to exercise leadership in this field by discouraging prejudice and by role-modelling appropriate behavior".

And the actual job? It involves setting up microphones and amplifiers for such events as:
* An Evening with Barry Norman ("...and why not")
* "The Best Musical Ever!", performed by The Westenders
* A Drifters tribute band
* A Queen tribute band
* A Beatles tribute band
* An Abba tribute band

The form asks me to list my qualifications, but not the awarding bodies that could confirm them. They also want two referees and a list of all my criminal convictions. And my written assurance that I know one end of a microphone from the other.

Pay? They don't specify.


  1. That is a photo I would somehow expect you would make public... Why? I'm not so sure.

    Tony Blair?! Who's that guy?

    That guy may be a friend of yours, but your words say you're not his friend. That may be honest, but it's not nice.

    As to that Vision blind thing, can you now write «behavior» in the UK? Or did they just copy & paste from an American original?
    All the rest is beyond belief... No comments...
    Pay?! What do you want money for if you're to spend your whole waking time there?! Or do you need money to sleep as well?

  2. Everyone needs a mission statement, and everyone should employ a team of hugely expensive media study graduates to write them one.

  3. Hey, I am a media studies graduate. That's what the MA is about. Maybe I should offer to rewrite their mission so it isn't crap? Or is that a contradiction in terms?

  4. I love your posts. Think what good could have been done with all that money we spent bombing Iraq.

  5. I'm focusing on one thing in your post but oh well...

    You didn't like Muppet Babies? I love that show! I used to have the tune play whenever I started Windows. (I cycled it with Tiny Toons, Doug, Inspector Gadget, and Rugrats.)

    I can't believe someone doesn't like that show. :-( *stamps foot*

  6. David:
    Not only that, I don't like He-Man, She-Ra, Transformers, Inspector Gadget or Spongbob Squarepants. Or Pokemon, American Dad, Pac-Man, Thundercats or Godzilla. Ha!

    Though I confess a fondness for Dangermouse, The Jetsons, Hong Kong Phooey, and the almost-forgotten Sentinels. And I watched Penelepe Pitstop, Dastardly and Mutley, and Scooby Doo till Scrappy came along and ruined it.

    Oh alright, and the Hair Bear Bunch, Battle of the Planets, and The Anamaniacs. But that's positively all.