It's amazing that I've so far managed to ride out the era of the skinny fit trousers without resorting to shopping at Marks & Spencer, BHS and other oldie shops. For the last few years I've had an ongoing search for a nice pair of regular fit trousers and each time I've failed due to the of skinny fit trousers epidemic. Unlike my man Jay-Z, my knots will fit in a pair of skinny fit trousers, however having tried out a pair now and again I can never seriously imagine myself doing anything other than posing around in them. What about all the other stuff I'll need to do, like walking, sitting, driving and God forbid I eat some sadza at a Zimbabwean event?! Don't get me wrong I'm still lucky enough to be able to pull off slim fit trousers but the thought of trousers that constantly feel like a prostate examination is not appealing to me. Plus designers seem to skate closer to the skinny part of the name rather than the fit. You can of course find regular fit trousers in some of the 'fashionable' shops but normally as part of a suit, which I have enough of, but not enough court cases or funerals to wear them at. I would buy regular fit trousers at the aforementioned oldie shops but I'd need to get over my fear of things like, elasticated waist bands, coin pockets, non-stain materials, trouser lining and turn-ups. I know that I may be stuck in the past style-wise but I'm not yet at the stage of putting comfort above fashion. I want both and I know I used to get both four short years ago.
So the last few years I've mainly had to survive on my old trousers but I'm just not sure how long I can hang on before all my regular fit trousers are skinny-fit anyway (hint, hint, love-handles) or just worn through. In the end this might be a losing fight though because I remember that during the pointy shoes era, I eventually got a pair! I don't particularly hate skinny fit trousers but for me they fall into that category of trends that is just not worth following. Unfortunately if a trend sticks around long enough it will eventually take you in whether you like it or not. Case in point button-down cardigans. Nuff said!
I subscribed to the spoof startup blog Vooza the other day and duly received my first email today, which was a sketch about the overuse of Non-Disclosure Agreements in startup-land.
A couple of hours later I was on Facebook and I saw an appeal from a friend for an NDA template. Now being an entrepreneurial guy myself I confess I have previously thought that ideas are everything. So I commented as much and thought the gist of what I wrote was worth re-blogging.
As someone who has signed numerous NDAs and who has also made others sign my own NDAs, I get where he was coming from. No one does original ideas any more and especially not in the Zimbabwean business community with its multitude of hair salon and bar 'tycoons'. However, I have now learnt that ideas are never worth as much as the execution. The person who succeeds in business is always the one who executed the idea well. Therefore, an idea done well is better than any NDA because no one will copy it if they can't do it better than you.
I'm not too sure why everyone is getting worked up trying to explain to right-wing libertarians hell-bent on defending our 'freedoms' that 3D printing guns is a bad idea. I think all we need to do is point out to them that porn is responsible for popularising most major developments in technology and that 3D printing won't be any different. The only technology that was failed by the porn industry was the fax machine, but that's because faxes were notoriously slow at coming!
If conservative men's past form on attitudes towards sexual matters is anything to go by then their reaction to 3D printed porn would be fun to watch. I'm no expert but judging by the equal number of affairs and hypocrisy across the political spectrum, then even conservative women need gratification too; and too much time spent shooting guns and patrolling borders for defenceless Mexican economic migrants whilst the women are at home could really have nasty side (front, back and other) effects. The 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon has shown us many things about women that Mills & Boon only ever hinted at. And I'm betting that that demography includes a lot of conservative wives and their daughters. I can foresee a scenario where Daddy's plastic always runs out just when he needs new bullets and right around the same time a young lady gets a new blow-up boyfriend! That's before we even talk about men and what our collective penchant for vivid porn would do for 3D printing. Doubtless 3D printing is a cool idea, but restraint is due from everyone, whether they're in it for sexual freedom or the freedom to maim and kill. Let's stick to screw and nuts printing please. Hold the porn and easy on the guns.
I've just bought three different tools to help me fix a rattle in my car. After fiddling around for 10 minutes it was clear that none of the new tools was going to get the job done. So I reached out for an old wrench I had and used it to just wangle the pesky sheet of metal out without any mind to the screws meant to be holding it down.
It then occurred to me that this was an example of what the grammatically challenged Alanis Morissette
called irony. A mildly unfortunate incident. It's a good thing I'm not a musician otherwise this might have made it onto an album of some sort. But as this is the information age it will merely be an inane rambling that allows me to maintain my online existence. Ironic or not, content is king dear readers. If one has an album or a blog to fill the barrel will occasionally be scraped.
I've always believed that art and music are universally liked by everyone. The only thing that differs in each of us is what type of art or music one likes.
Unlike music when you listen to art types who are part of the establishment you get the feeling that only they can acknowledge what is and isn't art and whether or not it's good. Music certainly has it's snobs but it does not feel like any one genre 'owns' music.
I've just been reading an article in the Guardian entitled 'Banksy: overated purveyor of art-lite'. I knew it was link bait just by reading the headline but thought I should read on to see what angle the author was coming from.
The impression I got was that Jonathan Jones thinks that art should be deep and evoke discussion and amongst the comments those who agreed shared the same sentiment. Personally I think being deep isn't quantifiable and that the quest for it is what has left the art world on the road to ir-relevance in the real world beyond whether or not a piece is a good investment. Too much meaningless art has been created and labelled abstract or deep whilst condescending those of us who don't get it. Add to that evoking discussion seems to be less desirable than for people to get the meaning of an art piece. However in my opinion an artist must be allowed to outline their quest, be it to get attention, to get paid, to highlight an issue or even to see what junk they can get away with by labelling it art.
Anyway, I leave you with the words of one of the commenters who manages to express it the way I see it.
Banksy's work has always been something you could take in as you fleetingly see it as you pass at 40 mph in a car.
I think that's a key point being missed here by Jonathan Jones.
Banksy's work is designed to function as you move past it quickly, walking or on the bus, on your way to somewhere else. It is, as someone else said, like a cartoon in a newspaper.
Street art has a similar impermanence; a throwaway comment to be read one day and replaced the next. It's not supposed to be stared at and poured over like a painting in a gallery. And that's why it works and that's why it's popular. Did Banksy ever intend it to be anything more? Personally I doubt it.
It's 12 minutes of normal time to go in a League Cup semi-final and Chelsea are playing away to Swansea. Given the direness of their performance up to this time, Chelsea are deservedly losing the tie though it is nil nil on the night and a couple of late goals could send it into extra -time with the chance of an unlikely victory. The ball goes out and the self-appointed king of the ball-boys faffes around delaying to give the ball back to Chelsea's young Belgian forward Eden Hazard. The ball drops to the floor with the ball-boy hitting the deck as fast as Didier Drogba hunting for a penalty, with Hazard still seeking the ball for there is the small matter of the game to get on with (which the ball boy is obliged to help with on account of his current employment). But no, he promptly manages to position himself over the ball like a flanker having broken free from a scrum to score a try with all at stake in the Rugby World Cup final. Hazard feels around for the ball using all his bedroom tactics for such unsighted foraging under heavy clothing and having felt the ball delivers a swift kick which loosens it from under the ball boy and delivers it on the other-side. Cue pandemonium.
What follows is a truly sad reflection on modern life.
The ballboy, who can be found on Twitter, has at the last count now accrued 90,000 followers! How sad do you have to be to want to follow the ballboy who comically feigned injury whilst deservedly having had a ball kicked from underneath him? Unfortunately twitter is full of such types despite anything that techies and journalists would like to tell you about it. Truly sad in a very amusing way.
Another week and yet another mass killing has happened in America, this time at an infant school in the small Connecticut town of Sandy Hook. The kind of town parents move to in order to bring their children up in the safest environment possible. As we have so sadly learnt from events in Norway, Finland, Dunblane and other places around the world these cowardly acts are not unique to America, but unfortunately the US is by far and away the country in which this most often happens.
Correlation never always equals to causation but it's difficult to come to a different answer on the subject of American mass killings and their citizen's right to bare arms. The Republicans are of course the party which has taken itself to the forefront of the defenders of this right. If Maslow was a Republican you can be sure that his hierarchy of needs would specifically mention weapons in the safety category. Ignoring the fact that arming one-self may result in added protection but will by nature indisputably introduce danger where none existed. So it is that a wise Republican politician Louie Gohmert has after not-so careful consideration come to the conclusion that that the mass slaughter would have gone differently if Sandy Hook school principal Dawn Hochsprung had been armed.
.., I wish to God she had had an m-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out ... and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids..
Ignoring the fact that most school principals do not have an inner Lara Croft in them to summon at will, I don't agree with this specific train of thought. Mainly because of cause once she would have heard the gunfire it probably means that someone is already dead. Prevention is better than cure and this solution is barely even a solution never mind being a cure. What I do believe however is that if everyone was armed it is probable that fewer mass killings would occur because they are by nature carried out by cowards who prey on society's collective trust in each other to do their evil deeds. Except that it is impossible to arm everyone so that idea is a non-starter. In fact I believe that from where we are it's easier to achieve a society with no civilian gun ownership than one with universal ownership.
My thoughts are that America needs comprehensive restrictions on gun ownership. At least to severely lessen the number of people who grow up around guns and become so familiar with them that one frustrated day after leading unremarkable crime-free adult lives they are not able to turn to their legally gotten weapons and kill defenceless people en masse. Restrictions would certainly limit the type of mass killings in which the killers want to feel the power over another human which they think is expressed by these executions. It is almost certainly a feeling that is nurtured in a person who handles guns but has never fired at anything other than a cardboard cutout which is when they might wonder how much more destruction it can do to a live person. Sick thoughts no doubt, but then you would have to have sick thoughts to be a mass-killer.
However there is another type of killer who I've noticed as the younger kind of mass-killer. The guys who even record YouTube videos to justify their actions. These guys I think just want to be remembered in a maccabre glorious way. For those cowards my bet is that they know that their names will be remembered (even if it's in a bad way) long after they are gone. There will be no shortage of media organisations covering their background, their motivation and their actions in a fruitless attempt to provide insight. I don't know about you, but I never want to know who the killers were. Well I do, but it's information I could live without because I already know that they are evil. Furthermore at that exact moment another young would-be killer is probably watching that news program and thinking that they have stumbled onto the surest way to get their 15 minutes of fame, even if they will die to achieve it.
The only answer is therefore for all media to never tell us the names of these psychos. We should let them die in the ignominy of the gore forums which they and their like hang out on, whilst the rest of us remember the real people who we ought to remember, the victims.
I've just seen a review on Venturebeat about a photo sharing and discovery website called Fancy. It's sort of like Pinterest but with the inbuilt ability to purchase items in the picture or book hotels and flights to the places depicted. The nugget is that it all seems to have been done in a non-intrusive way which still puts the user experience first and the commerce distinctly in the background.
For some reason the author of the Venturebeat article doesn't like this and he thinks they should have done the classic start-up move of concentrating on the users and finding a business model later. To be honest I never believe it when start-ups like Twitter et al pull this move. To me it just means that either they've got a cool but useless technology which no one will pay to use or that they will put ads on their app, but only after fooling 10 million people that they won't ever pimp them to the highest bidder.
Fancy haven't done anything new but they've obviously looked at similar apps and wondered if it all could have been done better. That's something which I've mentioned on this blog as one of the hallmarks of a solid business idea. I personally don't really use photo discovery apps apart from the odd time I stumble onto a great Flickr stream which I'll fully explore. But if I did I wouldn't mind if Fancy offered me the option to buy the stuff in the photo in a very discreet way that doesn't take away from the experience. I'm not talking Google text ads here people!
I think they may be onto something which Facebook, Google and Flickr would love to have done. Now look out for the Fancy guys to pimp themselves to one of those companies and get a decent bag of money for their start-up; which is entirely fine by me as long as they don't pimp me around. Check them out.
The recent revelation that another underwear bomb plot was foiled was great news for all. Like most people I'm heartened by humanity's response to the threat posed by terrorists. The change in world affairs over the last decade has been largely directed by the acts of terrorism a lot of people have suffered. It is great to know that the security services and people in general are constantly on the tails of the extremists who want to spoil life for all.
So after all the congratulating was done I figured I didn't need to know any more about the how and when this plot got foiled. But to my surprise the information kept coming. Drip, drip, drip. Five days on and it's a miracle we don't yet know what the underwear of choice for these idiots is. Are they still under the influence of Calvin Klein's Marky Mark campaign or have they succumbed to David Beckham's inspiration that has been brought to life by H & M? Y-Fronts or no Y-fronts. That is the question. After all there is no better selling point for underwear than the ability to feel comfortable with a bomb in them.
For those of you with a sense of humour by-pass, the above is not to take lightly the serious consequences of terrorism. It is merely to highlight the unnecessary risk posed by the chest-thumping officials who leaked the details that the 'bomber' was a plant. A British born guy no less, of the kind that poses most danger in the western world with their ability to be inconspicuous. On the list of special agents, the transformation skills requirement is much less than Martin Lawrence's in Big Mama.
In addition it also turns out that the bomb was an 'evolution' of a prior device probably made by the Calvin Klein of bombs and modified to the extent that it was undetectable by airport security scanners. Again information that you or I don't need to know. Unless you or I are planning on bombing aeroplanes. Unlikely as it is you'd think that would be a basic assumption of all security agents. Otherwise why do we all now have to take our shoes off and subjected to digital stripping before boarding an aeroplane? But no. It turns out that if you put a security agent in front of a newspaper reporter they'll squeal faster than an Al-Qaeda operative being water boarded on a rendition in Libya. The reporter, himself not being able to keep a lid on anything apart from their sources, promptly did what their job title says. They reported. Now at this point I'll hear you suggesting that the aforementioned title of idiots which I applied to the terrorists must be applied to the security agent and the reporter. You are of course right. In fact we should strip the prefix of security from that agent too. This is utter madness of the highest level and I'm sure that I don't need to explain why, except for the fact that this post's purpose is just to rant and rave in the hope that the parties involved somehow stumble upon this article and post their regret in the comments section below.
With all the leaked information it's apparent to anyone how 'improvements' can be made into any future devices from this brand of bombs. I know that the trend nowadays is for an open and transparent world, but I am still firmly in the camp that says I don't need to know everything that happens if it doesn't directly affect me. This is a simplistic statement which I can justify with another rant of it's own so please don't call me out on it lest we get distracted from the rant at hand.
I have no idea what motivated the leaks and their reporting, but if I was to guess I would say it was the desire to say 'hey look at how competent we all are'. Which the reporter instantly one-upped by trying to show his or her own peers how reliable their sources are. All this ignored the reality of the world we live in, to the possible detriment of future security operations. Some things are best not said dear reader. Transparency and openness are generally great but not when they serve no purpose in the public interest as we have seen with celebrity culture or when they unwittingly enable the few bad people in the world to ruin life for all the rest. The ego of a reporter and his source the security agent is no reason to ignore that reality.
I'm going to cut straight to the chase and say to all men out there, if you have a pot belly, are starting to get a one or think you're a prime candidate for a beer belly some day; my advice to you is to never ever stroke it.
In the interests of research I've observed that guys who stroke their beer bellies have a look of contentedness and acceptance which pretty much says that this belly isn't going anywhere. Your lady might have just fed you the most delicious meal and dessert is around the corner but please avoid caressing your belly as if it was your premature daughter. Dude, you've just had a meal in which your belly did nothing but store the hard work your woman's done. Any caressing should be for her, not the belly. The same applies if man is in a heavy drinking session and somehow feels the need to show how gentle their hands can be. I believe that all Bellymen must stroke the shoulder of the person who bought them the beer or if they bought it themselves then the barman will have to do. It might look a bit gay now but once it's accepted practise it will be infinitely better for a man's health if their belly never felt loved enough to stick around for life.
No man's hand possesses a midas-like ability to generate life-long affection through touch; otherwise grown men would be queuing up at film premiers just so they could touch the hand of the latest hot thing knowing that the rudeness would be forgiven once she's fallen for him. The problem is in the familiarity that comes with the stroking action and the comfort it generates. I'm guessing that one can be so familiar with their beer belly that in one stroke they could tell if it doesn't feel quite as tightly stretched as it normally does. The temptation then would probably be to feed it some more or to think that there's obviously still room for more and.... feed it. Something like a real world simultaneous equation. The variables are plenty but they all lead to the same thing.
Don't get me wrong, I think beer bellies are amazing, but not the kind of amazing that deserves a loving stroke as if it will show its approval by secreting a love hormone that will make you irresistible to the fairer sex. Bellies are amazing in the way that rat population statistics are amazing. The beer belly's ability to stretch is in my view bigger than that of a woman's hips during child birth. And child birth is meant to be up there. This is just one more thing that shows it isn't but I'll stick to the matter at hand. Bellies also have an amazing relationship with energy. The organs in them are meant to be a main component in the body's processing of food into energy, yet they sometimes end up not releasing it in any efficient manner which means they end up storing it about themselves, thus making them bigger and in turn meaning the body requires even more energy just to carry them around. It's amazing; almost like a self inflicted parasite.
That's before we even talk about the skin, where does all that skin come from? And even as the pot belly grows at no point is there not enough skin to cover it. Okay maybe I should rant at the skin here because apparently it is its own organ. Complete with amazing statistics and all (it weighs up to 20 pounds making it the bodies largest and heaviest organ!) I'll still take it all out on the pot belly though because lets face it whenever you think of a belly you don't think of one with no skin. It's all belly to me. The navel, the hair, the skin; all belly and all one needlessly-big thing stopping you from hugging people comfortably but still getting gentle strokes from some men for doing what it should do..... badly.
I'm obviously not speaking from personal experience and my facts are merely of the observational scientist variety, but don't say I didn't warn you. No beer belly goes away once it's been stroked.