Friday, 28 September 2012

Slam Cartel Rock!

I took a trip down memory lane last night and went and saw a live rock band.  Back in the 80's I used to listen to the likes of Guns N' Roses, Def Leppard, Billy Idol, Poison, Red Hot Chili Peppers Run-D.M.C etc etc.  I could go on... Then life took over, had a couple of kids so on so on.  Then the internet came and I found my vocation.  Thanks to facebook you can see what old friends are up too.  So when I saw my old friend Adam Lee was traveling around in a rock band Slam Cartel I decided as soon as they were up my way I was determined to go see them live.  And that's what I did last night. They played at the Road House in Birmingham. It is a small intimate venue but they certainly put on a great show.  I was generally impressed which is rare for me. I am no musicial critic but they sounded fab to me and listening to their album on the way home really blew me away.  I have a feeling they will be a house hold name one day. They are all lovely lads and I hope that doesn't change.  It was great to see my old mate again.

Check them out yourself:

Buy the hard copy here: Handful of Dreams - Slam Cartel
Buy on Itunes: Handful of Dreams - Slam Cartel

Handful of Dreams





Thursday, 20 September 2012

Threats Against Seals

Hundreds of common seals, also known as harbour seals and grey seals are rescued from UK shores each year. Some seal pups become separated from their mothers and injured during storms but others, both pups and adults, have injuries that we humans have caused and that could have been prevented.

Depending on the type of seal, killer whales, sharks and polar bears are all predators of the seal but it is human seal hunters who have been the most dangerous predator in history.
With the banning of the commercial seal trade you would hope that humans were no longer a danger to seals but sadly that's not the case... Though hunting and poaching is not a wide-spread problem any more, particularly to seals in the UK, human activity is still a major threat to seals.

Low Fish Numbers:

Seals around the world eat a wide variety of fish including herring, cod, whiting, flatfish, sand eels as well as shrimps and squid with seals in the UK eating large quantities of cod and sand eels. Whilst low fish numbers may be due to changes in the water quality or toxins and diseases it is most likely to be due to over-fishing. Sand eels are caught for use in fish meal that is used primarily in diets of domestic animals whilst cod is commercially caught for human consumption.


Toxins and Pollution:

Waste oil, chemicals, and other liquid pollutants released into the water whether accidentally or or purpose can contaminate the oceans and be toxic to seals and other marine wildlife whether the seals themselves inhale the toxins or it is introduced to them through the food chain. Oil spills are the most damaging to seals as the oil sticks to the seals fur and when they try to remove it the oil gets into their stomachs and accumulates in their bodies eventually killing them.


Litter:

Plastics are the major threat that seals must deal with as it's non-biodegradable. Humans release plastic rubbish into the oceans daily whether a plastic bag is accidentally left at the beach which then gets swept into the sea or rubbish is dumped out into the ocean. Seals are inquisitive and become entangled in plastic debris, whether rope, fishing net or plastic packaging, getting it wrapped around their necks which can strangle them and/or cause them to starve. Entanglement is not a quick death it is slow and painful – and it could be prevented. Seals will often eat plastics too, thinking it is food and the increase in seals having swallowed fishing hooks is a growing concern.

Thanks to Seal Sanctuaries around the UK including the Cornish Seal Sanctuary and the Oban Sea Life Sanctuary many injured seals, particularly pups, are able to be rescued, rehabilitated and then released back into the wild.
Along with rescuing seals the sanctuaries are also able to educate kids and adults about the dangers that seals face – While as an individual there's not much that you can do about pollution from industries and overfishing you can help to keep our beaches clean and prevent a seal from being strangled to death.




To help support the threats against seals, visit the Oban Seal Sanctuary where you can buy seal sanctuary Oban vouchers.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Web developers playing God drives me mad

Throughout my career I have come across many web developers playing GOD with websites. It is not on and people should be aware...

When you have a website you need two things.  You need a domain ( the www.mywebsite.com ).  And you need hosting which is where the files are stored.   You also have to pay for hosting (this space) each year.  The domain will have a control panel which you will have access too. Now when you use a hosting company you should be given the login details, these are known as the FTP details.  FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol.  It is basically the access to the servers where your website is stored.  This is what you are paying hosting for so YOU should have access.  It is unheard of that you pay for this hosting space without being given access to it.

Now you might have used a web developer who offered to host the website for you.  Sounds great.. They build the site, upload the files and your site is live.  But what happens one day when you need to access the server?  Now a legitimate hosting company will already have given you access to the space YOU are paying for.  If you haven't been given these details its like buying a car and not getting the keys.

If your web developer is playing GOD with your website, you need to gain control on your site and let a company or someone who has your best interests at heart look after it.  You should always have access to your domain and website files.  This is what you have paid for.   I for one would never play GOD with a website.  I tell my clients the truth at all times. I have nothing to hide and believe in being ethical at all times.  This must be why I have never had to chase work.



 


A sweet lesson on patience

 
Photo: A sweet lesson on patience.

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'

'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive
through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly..

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice..'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired.Let's go now'.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Take a look at the photograph above and read below.  I came across it on facebook and it brought tears to my eyes. I have read it several times now and each time it brings a lump to my throat.
 
Enjoy......

A sweet lesson on patience.

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but inst
ead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'

'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive
through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly..

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice..'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired.Let's go now'.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.