Thursday, November 30, 2006

Scars on the landscape..

The world in which we live is ever changing, and humans have been responsible for huge changes in the way things look. The Bucket Wheel Extractor is used on open cast mining operations and can move vast amouts of material per day. These machines may be impressive in size and ability, but so are the scars they leave impressive in size. The companies involved make promises to fill the chasms left by these machines, but with what?

Deep mining can lead to surface collapses, and the waste brought out is piled high. In the case of coal waste, the heaps can be very dangerous, as seen in the Aberfan, North Wales disaster of 1966 ( They can plant what they like on these heaps in a bid to hold them together, make them look green, and try to pass them off as 'been like this for centuries', but you have to wonder about the rain that soaks through these heaps and how it affects the area around. Lead waste is even worse. In general, mines are back filled when the usefulness is gone, but not always.

If the company that owned the mine goes 'bust', who then takes responsibility for the back filling or pumping out of water? In some cases, nobody does, and the resultant pollution is hidden from public eyes. You might also not want to know that 'vitrified' nuclear waste is dumped in some deep mines too.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A tragedy turned around..

A few years ago, I made a service call to a school to fix the computer system. The head girl of the school was assigned to me for the day as she knew about the problems and was seen to be the best to give me a run down on what had been not working as it should. She was a tallish girl, long wavy hair, and looked good. I saw that she had a scar on her face, quite noticeable up close, and throughout the morning, she kept her face turned away from me so as not to let it show. Come lunchtime, she offered to bring me something to eat, and I asked if she would join me. She agreed.

We chatted generally for a few minutes, and then I decided to ask if she had a boyfriend, at which point she almost looked up at me, but told me 'no' and turned away again. It was really quite tragic that she acted this way, because the scar was not so bad. For sure it was obvious, but almost cute in its way. Sure enough, the reason she gave for her plight was the scar on her face, that it had always bothered her, left her feeling inadequate in some way. I asked her to look at me directly, and I told her that she was one of the prettiest girls I had seen. For the rest of the day, she did seem to gain more confidence, and by the time the work was finished, she actually looked up and smiled at me.

When the next service call came, I was not available, being busy with another client. The day after the call, the colleague of mine (a dashing hot-out-of-university graduate) who had been in attendance could do nothing but talk about the girl. He even told me that he had asked her for a date and was a little upset because she turned him down. She told him that she had a boyfriend and was very happy with her choice. I never returned to the school, so never met up with her again, but I would like to think that I averted two tragedies that day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Perceptions - Part Two

Skillfully crafted, sometimes engraved, a purposeful appearance, in some instances the perfect blend of wood and metal, elegant, sleek, empowering, the hand weapon is indeed an object of beauty.

History paints a different picture.

Perceptions - Part One

The person seen to be walking quickly is looking for an 'exit'. The person seen to be walking slowly is making an 'entrance'.

Monday, November 27, 2006


I have oft looked skyward and wished that I could fly like a bird, to have full freedom to the three dimensional world without the encumberance of some contraption around me. Now, I am no professional bird watcher, but I have made the following observations.

I have noticed how the majority of birds fly in straight lines, using branches or whatever is available to briefly stop before changing direction. There are notable exceptions in the Swallow, Swift and House Martin. They can turn in flight, but the turning ability is restricted by the speed of flight. They appear to be more manoeuvrable than they are. Eagles and hawks can turn in flight, but the arc is wide. Even during a hover, if they want to change position, they fly a wide arc to get there. When attacking, they are fast and can ‘roll’ to make in flight adjustments in direction, but they are limited changes, and they rely almost totally on speed, accurate distance assessment, and surprise to catch their prey.

Enter the gulls. The wing has very low drag characteristics, with good lift qualities. They can hover in almost zero wind without flapping constantly, they can rotate in a hover, make very tight turns in flight, roll into a dive very quickly, and pull up from a dive that for most birds would be their last. All of this is done effortlessly, with very little adjustment of the wing structure or feathers required.

Having caught a fish in the water, very often almost the same size as themselves, they fly at relatively low level towards the base of the cliff, then 'rotate' very sharply using the up draught of air on the surface of the cliff face to give them a push to their nesting sites. Gulls, and seabirds are among the most skilled fliers, if not the most skilled, it seems to me.

However, for all of their abilities, there is one thing that they can’t do, other than perch in trees. Their wing structure almost makes them the ‘helicopter’ of the bird world, and if there is one thing that a helicopter can’t do, it is to fly really fast. Read the book that is listed in my profile. I can't say as much as I want here because of space limitations, but I would like to draw your attention to a book that could very well change your outlook on life as you have lived it.

You see, a man/woman must know his/her limitations if the ultimate goal is to be reached. The $64000 dollar question is this. Where is the line really drawn? The only way to find out is to approach it. OK, still feeling safe? You should be because you are still within your self-imposed safety zone. If you think you are on the line, stop for a second. Now take another step. If you are still with me, you have a problem in that the $64000 question still exists. Where is the line really drawn?

Loyalty - The Dead Hero

There are monuments to loyalty everywhere. Small stones, cenotaphs, neatly carved, neatly placed, and all in commemoration of a person or persons lost to loyalty. We are told that the names are of those who gave their lives for freedom.

There is not one person whose name is on a stone who 'wanted' to give up their freedom for others, and it would be churlish of us to honestly believe that. We exalt these persons in the hope that it will free us from guilt, the guilt of having been responsible for sending them to their untimely deaths.

For sure, they are freed from the pain and suffering of the battlefield, but they are also freed of the desire to be back home in the arms of loved ones, the safety of their own home, watching their children grow, and somehow I don't think that they wanted to give those three conditions up so easily. The pain and suffering doesn't end either. It is merely tranferred to those who are left.

We make the decision to go to war with whatever foe, and if we can make that decision, then we can stop it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Tell me your sign..

You don't believe in all of that stuff, do you. Mystic Mabel's daily predictions are inevitably vague in their wording, and could not possibly apply to so many people at one time. Yet if you read yours, and it has good stuff in it, tell me that part of you doesn't secretly hope that it comes true. It is only phooey if it doesn't promise much, right?

How many times have you told somebody you see reading a horoscope that you don't believe in it, and then felt left out because they didn't read yours to you?

Astrological character descriptions bear closer scrutiny as they are way more 'up close and personal'. Again, you have to ask yourself how accurate they can be for what must be a huge amount of people born between two dates on the calendar.

Being close to or on the 'cusp' is a useful 'get out clause' as it enables many more characteristics to be factored into your overall profile, essentially covering more exits. All very convenient, isn't it. There are some who say that the 'believer' tries to emulate his/her astrological profile, but would anybody go out of their way to act the negative aspects? I don't think so.

Do I live my life by daily predictions? Is there any truth in them?

Absolutely not!

I can tell you this much. I am practical, prudent, ambitious, disciplined, patient, careful, humorous, and reserved. My positive elements are tempered by slightly more negative aspects, those being that I can be pessimistic, fatalistic, miserly and grudging. People who know me well would tell you that I have always embodied all of the above since I was knee high to a grasshopper. I don't try, and have never tried, to emulate any star sign.

I am what I am, and make no apologies for being so. Draw a line exactly centre through my star sign, and that is where you will find me, and not a 'cusp get out' in sight.

I am Capricorn

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Is there always a light at the end? Common sense dictates that there always is. There are, however, reasons why we can't always see it.
Two scenarios that hold some kind of hope are..
  1. The tunnel is long and the light is presently beyond our visual range..
  2. There is a curve or gradual change of elevation in the tunnel of which we are blissfully unaware..

Not being able to see a light presents us with other possibilities of a more negative nature..

  1. Whoever or whatever we seek at the other end has turned the light off..
  2. We have mistakenly entered a cave..

Endurance, a key factor when negotiating tunnels, can be tempered by many things, the most important being the joy of reaching what we hope will turn out to be a perceptible gain at the other end.

I find myself in a tunnel presently, endurance and faith (yes, we need this too) are not in short supply, and I know that there is a light at the end.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tangle free?

The reality of 'tangle free' cords never quite matches the description on the packaging. Remember the five metre 'tangle free' telephone cord you bought? If it is anything like mine, it is down to an effective length of a metre and a half, and all you have done is picked up the phone a few times.

The guy in the hardware store promised me that the rope by which I am hanging (by my feet) was good quality 'tangle free' stuff. So how is it that I find myself gently rotating? I must look down to the ground below me or I will suffer motion sickness. If I look up, I can see mountains, and the river, a couple of houses over yonder, and fields. Well look at that, horses prancing and running in one of the fields. Isn't that something? And now I see sleepy white clouds drifting over the mountains, their reflections on the river's surface. Wow, how cool is this?

Look back just one time ...............

This is the view backwards, and isn't pretty. The bridge you just crossed is burned out. There is no return presently, but look on the bright side. Actions and decisions that ended in the bridge looking the way it is right now are all on the other side. They can't follow. That is not to say that you can't recreate previous scenarios on this side, but why would you want to do that?

The 'Marseille' Tarot image of the Hanged Man (the picture in my profile) is not as dumb as it might first appear. Essentially, he is giving himself some time to consider the world around him, and the act of hanging by his feet gives him a different perspective from the world as it looked when crossing the bridge and subsequently setting it alight.