Friday, 15 March 2013

Mans Best friend is a Cat !

Times, they are a changing !

A Growing Trend?
Apparently mans best friend has four legs a tail that wags and will follow you to the ends of the earth and goes by the name of Dog..... That's all changed.

Creeping in from left field, using the Internet as a vehicle for world domination, the cat is usurping the dog. Men who like cats is a growing phenomenon. Obviously there is a section of the population with a particular dress code of track suits and baseball caps and constantly sore knuckles, where they drag  on the ground, who still seem to favor the canine companion. You know the group. Small stocky dogs of dubious heritage ,wearing over sized studded collars. Often found on a leash made of chain big enough to secure a factory gate. This could be a marketing ploy by the chain makers driven by the demise of British manufacturing. With the market gone for securing factory gates at the end of a shift clearly they needed a new customer base.

 There is still the Iconic British Bulldog, but, when was the last time you saw one that wasn't in an advert for insurance?

 Some of you may know the Bulldog  silhouette from an Antivirus program called Bullguard or the software developer Zynga. Other breeds engender other feelings of strength and power that no doubt will linger, the Alsatian  with its dodgy hips, the Border Collie for its loyalty and intelligence as a working dog.

 But mark my words we are entering the age of the Cat.

Early promotional attempts ...FAIL
 Men Who Like Cats would at one time have been a euphemism that alluded to sexuality, but no more. The companion cat is no longer the preserve of witches and spinsters. The cat is going mainstream. 

Comical, stealthy and sleek all at the same time our feline friends have started a campaign for world domination. Through clever, often self deprecating  memes cats are making themselves the curators of the Internet. Lets face it , it's not a dog that is the top land predator.

Cuteness abounds with cats. Over the years they have made several attempts to rise to ascendancy  Early attempts like the "Cat in the Hat" tried to target a younger audience with fun and silliness. It was not entirely successful even with the  respectful title of being created by a Dr.

Taking Cat love a little to far.

The cats have regrouped and embraced modern media.

When Florence Welch from Florence and the machine sang....

 "the dog days are over, the dog days are done"

she finished  with the wrong conclusion it's not the horses that are coming its the cats. 

You have been warned......

Thursday, 7 March 2013

I did say there would be cats.

Just to prove a point because I did warn you and reserve the right to post pictures of cute cats. Here is my current favorite.

I know its not new. I know its all over the internet on many different sites. But I like it so, " if  not for sits why is it made of warm", has a place here here too.
or perhaps in the words of the kitten...


If you hanker for the days when the geekiest thing was translating things to Klingon, you better stay off the Internet . The cats are taking over...

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Time For Change ?

Its time for a change.
My original intent for these pages was to find an audience for my writing but I realize that that was little more than an Ego trip. So where do I go now?
The simple answer is ...... whatever takes my fancy at the time.
So from now on anything goes.

Thoughts on Reef Keeping...........a little bit niche but hey I do love my  Reef Tank
Links to "Stuff" I found on the Internet.........I make no apologies for posting links to cute cats.
Product reviews....but only if I actually use them.
You have been warned. From now on anything goes.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Why Pygmy Warriors ?

Some of the more Internet Savvy amongst you may have noticed the web address of this Blog includes the phrase Pygmy Warriors. It would be remiss of me not to comment on why! Pygmy Warriors is a story I am working on which I will serialise and post here one chapter at a time.It is a fictionalised memoir of my childhood and the exploits of "Our Gang" that took place over a couple of Summers. It will, in my mind, be the most important and probably the longest piece that will exist on this Blog. Although, there is a SciFi novel, entitled, Galanden Core, I am working on that may find its way here). The first Part of Pygmy warriors will be posted very soon. I just need to find a way to get more people here to read it otherwise whats the point ?. So, please, if you have read anything here just leave a comment and let me, at least, know that someone read it.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

We Petition

We Petition

Interplan record #2347.

In accordance with the directive of the high council of Shinivar three, the planet known by its inhabitants as "Earth" will now have its  petition read for inclusion within the high councils jurisdiction. Pending a succesful submission access to the council and all the benefits inherent with that outcome will be summarily granted to Earth and its inhabitants who refer to themselves as " Humans".

The remit of the Interplan council had been laid down millennia ago when it had first formed to regulate membership: Seek any race or species who, in the opinion of the councils appointed representative, had achieved space flight and could utilise nuclear power sources. Inclusion within Interplan was of huge consequence to any new members. Once included they would be automatically granted access to the technology and resources of all other members. For many this level of technological advancement would have taken millenia if they had been left to their own development.

Today was the chance for Planet Earth. As the population of Earth went about their daily business all were oblivious to the petition being read on their behalf light years away on Shinivar Three. Should Earth be successful it would be the dawn of a new Era for Humankind.

Custodian Hilkar started the days proceedings.

"His eminence, Lord Chatol Emra of Tau Seti minor will now consider petition #2347 on behalf of the inhabitants of Earth."

"Never mind the formalities". Said Emra. He was impatient and irritable.His species were not known for a wealth of patience, today, however he seemed a little more lacking than usual. Emra squirmed uneasily in his seat.

" Please do continue I have other more pressing engagements. Surely this is a mere formality. Did these humans not master atomics and space flight some time ago? He Barked.
"Yes my lord". murmured custodian Hilkar shuffling his papers uneasily.
"They mastered atomics and space flight some thirty years ago my Lord"
"Then what has been the delay in bringing this petition to the council?" Lord Emra was becoming more impatient by the minute and looked ready to reconvene the council at another date.

Custodian Hilkar quickly stated the problems.

"It would appear my lord that there have been a few, shall we say, ummmm, discrepancies in the care of their home world."

Emra eased himself back into his chair with the feeling that he was not going to get out of the chambers any time soon,

"Pray do continue but please, spare me the details."

Custodian Hilkar called his first witness.

"Call interplan Scout Captain Hiraz". His voice echoed around the huge domed chamber.

Captain Hiraz was escorted in. Hiraz was  Arkanian, a species who had petitioned the high council some two centuries earlier. Snake like in form but possessing rudimentary limbs, the Arkanians had, over the last two centuries, become the foremost scouts of the Interplan council. Seeking life forms in the farthest reaches of the Galaxy.

Chatol Emra addressed Hiraz directly, foregoing the usual ceremony, in an attempt to hurry the proceedings.
"Just present your findings to the council ,Hiraz, so that we may conclude this session of the High Council."
Hiraz straigtened is already lengthy posture and began.
" Chairman Emra, esteemed members of the council, I must protest at your endeavours to hurry these proceedings. Under subsection #214 sub paragraph #6 I wish to invoke my right to provide the council with a full report of my findings."
Chairman Emra sat forward in his chair.
" I am fully aware of all the rulings regarding petition to the High Council , do not quote laws to me that I proposed and passed."
" My Lord Emra, I apologies, it was not my intention to insult either you or the other esteemed council members. I wish merely to present the petition in a complete and proper manner.
Reluctantly and with the realisation that he would not be leaving as soon as he wished , Emra replied.
"So be it present your report."
" Thank you my Lord. with the councils indulgence I will recount the events and findings from my time on Earth from my personal diary."
" Yes,Yes, just get on with it." Emra grew more and more agitated.

Captain Hiraz began the lengthy formal address to the high council including addressing each council member by their full title.
resigned to the fact that this would take a while, Chairman Chatol readjusted his position in his seat and began gazing round the council chamber in a vain hope of finding something to alleviate the boredom. Starting at the top of the domed ceiling his gaze slowly traversed the impressive arc of the dome. The chambers were resplendent in gold and red drapery interspersed with samples of Gemstones and jewellery of all member planets of Interplan. At the large ornate doors to the chamber stood a token guard. More a ceremonial formality than any real security need. Crime had long since ceased to exist within the Interplan homeworlds. Centuries of genetic manipulation, and a life of plenty for all, had eradication all but the most petty of offences.

The assembled collection of species which made up the council , all regailed in their ceremonial finery. listened intently to Captain Hiraz ..New Petitions were always an exciting event for the council.
Hiraz scanned the assembled dignitaries in an exaggerated manner before continuing.

"I approached planet Earth two partons ago and infiltrated their population and culture with the aid of a Memotech shape shifter. After several years I was able to amass sufficient data on the culture and technological abilities of the humans to allow this petition to be heard."

The Memotech corporation had developed the shape shifting equipment in conjunction with the council specifically for the purpose of infiltrating other cultures pre partition. The device, no bigger than a large button was easily hidden but allowed the user to mimic the molecular structure of the species they wished to investigate.

Sensing Emra's growing impatience , with only a short pause for dramatic effect Hiraz continued:

"is it the wish of the council that I present all the information, the humans are a fascinating species?"

Chairman Emra nearly missed his opportunity to interject as he was still gazing around the room at the assembled throng.
" Just give us the main details concerning space capabilities, atomic power generation, and the control of their natural resources."
"So be it my Lord." said Hiraz with a dejected tone in his voice.
Emra quickly scanned the room to see if anyone would object to his appeal for brevity. Only the representative from Cygnus Alpha seemed ready to voice descent but quickly decided against it when faced with the steely stare from Emra.

Hiraz began his report, delivering it with an almost comical theatrical style.

" The Earth calender reference my Lords was August 5 1993, I arrived on the planet undetected by the planets defence mechanisms. I timed my arrival to coincide with a localised eclipse of the satelite planet they refer to as 'moon' 
Chatol interupted.
Captain Hiraz, spare us the background information, we are all aware of the procedures involved."
Hiraz gave a disgruntled stare around the  chamber hoping one of the members would allow him his Ego trip. None were forthcoming.

"Perhaps my lord it would be more prudent if you were to question me on the details of the information you require."

"So be it. Tell us of efforts to cut down the atmospheric pollution."
Hiraz reluctantly replied; "Little has been achieved my Lord on a Global scale, Earth has yet to unify its people with a central government. This has made progress slow, however most industrialised countries are taking steps to limit the output of pollutants. Global warming has now been recognised as a threat to a delicate ecosystem."

"Splendid" said Chatol, "And what of the deforestation you informed us of in your interim report? Have any efforts been made to curb this ?"

"Alas no my Lord they are as yet unaware of the scale of the damage to the atmosphere that the lack of oxygen production by the indigenous plants will cause."

"How very short sighted of them. Do you believe that a program of education would correct this myopic view after we initiate technology sharing?"

" It would seem a viable option my Lord. They are not totally against change."
Chatol looked across the chamber and addressed Daltun Kaln the chief planetologist to the council.

" Kaln, have you had chance to study the reports sent back regarding deforestation and the oxygen requirements of the ecosystem?"

Deltun Kaln had held the post of chief planetologist to the council for several Partons. Many within the council felt it was time he retired from the post. His work had become unreliable since the accident on Barnards Star. He was a quiet shy type believed to be descended from a Mixonian noble man who had since proved to be of questionable heritage.

" I have not yet fully digested the reports sent to my department my Lord, but the initial impression is one of optimism."
Murmers broke out among the other council members, some deliberately audible and all derogatory to the inefficiencies of Kaln."

Chatol ignored the disturbance and indicated that Hiraz could continue.

On the subject of space flight my Lord, progress has been rapid. In fact in just fifty of their years they have progressed from being virtually planet bound to building reusable space craft. This is itself a very noteworthy achievment.

Thank you Hiraz, I think the council have enough information to vote on the petition to instigate first contact."

Hiraz seated himself at the edge of the chamber feeling a little disappointed that he had not been allowed to present his report in full.

Emra  stood, "Esteemed members of the council unless anyone has any questions regarding the suitability of planet Earth as a provisionary member of Interplan, we will now vote. May I remind you that once we have voted ,should you decide not to accept planet "Earth" then the petition will be suspended for two centuries. Think carefully gentleman you have all had chance to study the reports sent by Captain Hiraz."
A general hum of discussion spread around the chamber. Standing in the middle of the growing noise was Daltun Kaln.
"My Lords..." his call went unheeded, he tried again a little louder. " My Lords has anybody studied.." Kaln was being ignored. Emra noticed Kaln standing and called the council to order. 
"Gentlemen please, may I remind you that Deltun Kaln is a member of this council and that until he stands down from his position he has the right to be heard.
The hum of noise quickly quiented down.
Emra instructed Kaln to continue.
My Lords, I feel that I must raise an objection to this Petition." Several delegates called out from the back. " Just use your vote Kaln"
Kaln ignored them and addressed Emra directly.
" My Lord Emra it has not been made clear in any of the reports that I have received how the problem of radiation has been overcome on the satelite called "moon"
The room fell silent and listened intently. Kaln continued:" I feel that unless these problems have been resolved you should invoke the chairmans right to vetoe the petition request and declare it denied."
Emra reminded Kaln that although as he correctly stated, he had the power to waive the vote, it had never been used in the entire council history.
Chairman Emra turned to face HIraz.
"Captain Hiraz I assume that radiation problems from atomic testing and energy production have been overcome.?  Or will I be setting a precedent today ?" Emras tone was sarcastic and directed at Kaln.
Hiraz shuffled his papers nervously, A deadly silence fell across the chamber.
" My lords there is no radiation on the satelite called "moon", all nuclear testing was carried out on the homeworld."
Emra stood, rage written all over his face. "on the homeworld, on the home world! Petition denied!"

Well hope you like it. As promised in my earlier post here is the link to the original piece written by none other than Isaac Asimov. As already stated their is no intent to plagiarise. Indeed Asimov is a Grand master of the genre and was a prolific writer. His ideas and carefully crafted work is something I can only aspire to.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Coming next " We Petition"

We petition is a short story I wrote based on my memory of another short story I read about 30 years ago. It was written without re-reading the original as I felt that I would be unduly influenced by it. If anyone reading this recognises the source of the original idea I applauded you. I will post my version first and then comment further and provide a link to the original as I have no intention of plagiarising the original other than to use its underlying theme and message. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

How to be immortal

I used to be indestructible. Well so I thought. What happened ? There was a time when I could stay up all night, drink what I wanted, eat what I wanted when I wanted. How I remember those days. Its not age creeping up on me even though I have just moved up a category in every bodies "click the age bracket that describes you best". This in itself is depressing enough. I thought I would live forever. I drank,smoked,ate all the wrong foods and nothing seemed to affect me. Until now nothing did. But it was not the food ,fags or booze that has caused my demise.

The symptoms are subtle and seemingly unrelated. Just the other day I realised that I had developed a fear of heights. Now when I say developed its not something I have been working on. I have not adjusted and adapted my irrational thoughts until they blind side me when I least expect . I was standing at the top of spiral staircase, or more accurately I found myself taking a step back from the precipice that lay before me. I used to go climbing for Gods sake! I used to work on ladders and think nothing of running along the ridge tiles of a roof while looking down and enjoying the view.

When driving there were only two settings in any car, FAST and stop and to be honest stop is highly overrated.I would speed around avoiding the speed trap cameras certain in the knowledge that my own reaction time and indestructibility would save me from all scenarios. Yeah right, man and machine in perfect harmony. Well me and an underpowered rust box on wheels with about 2BSP (Brake squirrel power) because a single horse power would have pulled the car to pieces.

Not any more, now I think about fuel consumption, no claims bonus and what would happen if I got a puncture at 70MPH. The height thing has got out of hand too. If I watch someone look over the edge of a balcony I get that Butterfly feeling in the pit of my stomach.

With the recognition of my fear of heights came my realisation that I had lost my super powers.

Its not age or the fact that my health is deteriorating, yes smoking really does catch up with you eventually. Neither is it my new found ability to worry about money. I have never had much money and its never bothered me. Looking back I can see the root cause of all my problems is a parasitic infection. I never caught it myself but my wife did. Those little parasites that grow into big parasite, bleed you dry of any money you ever amass and raid the fridge at stupid o'clock.

Our parasites of course think we do not know what we are talking about, and will remain convinced of this until they have parasites of there own that think they don't.

So there it is , everything you do is to protect them, provide for them and make sure they fair better than you. You must stay alive to help them. The risk taking is gone , the fun is gone the money and the contents of the fridge have certainly gone.

Kids! Now they think I am superman just when I realise I am not.

It would have been all right "if it weren't for those pesky kids"
The famous Tag line from Scooby Doo. Did the villains have it right ? Is the best advice the same as found on a box of matches ?
                                                             "keep away from children"
 possibly if you follow it you will live forever.

Or do what I did, infect your chosen host and gain vicarious immortality.