Monthly Archives: April 2009

iPhone apps and warcrimes

iPhone apps are clearly “all the rage”, as Maureen Lipman would have said, because even BBC World News did an item on them. I sincerely hope they’re right because I’m waiting for our next iPhone app to be approved by Apple. It could be worth many pennies!

Laughing at Republicans is still my favourite hobby at the moment – they are so funny! Obviously, if they weren’t fictional characters they’d be terrifying; can you imagine if real people actually believed that insane nuttery ?
OK, we’re all annoyed with Obama at the moment: the left are annoyed that he’s not going to take the torturers to court; the right is annoyed because he’s ignoring all of the wonderful benefits that torture has brought us all, and seems to think it was a bad thing! Well personally I disagree with both sides of this argument because it seems that torture is the key to solving this disagreement. What we need to do is water-board W, Rove, Rumsfeld and all of the other psychotic frothy-mouthed nutjobs who genuinely believe torture is a good thing. If, after they’ve been through it, they still think it’s a good thing then we put them in a mental institution, if not then we send them to prison. Either way, we’re all happy.

Pirates and teabags

You’re probably already aware of my opinions on copyright law, but if not I’ll summarise them after this post. But regardless of anyone’s opinions, the guys from “” getting sent down is shocking because THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE! The amount of pressure placed on the Swedish court must have been unimaginable.

The news coverage has had me laughing hard, as the official news sources quote the only official sources they can find, who are, obviously, industry shills. The BPI have been very vocal in their support of the courts decision…well they would wouldn’t they ? They paid for a chunk of it after all. If you’re in doubt about the moral issues here, ask yourself who pays the BPI, RIAA, MPAA etc etc. Do they really exist to help the struggling artists ? Or do they exist to keep themselves in business ? How much do they earn ? How can you find out ? Do they earn more than the artists ?
If you know where to find the answers to these questions then please contact me (see “contact me” below).

The news programmes, guided by their usual paymasters, have been asking lame rhetorical questions such as “does this mean the end of illegal downloads ?”
The answer is, of course, “no, you’ve just made it worse you fucking, fucking idiots.” You’ve also made it easier for the morons who’d never even heard of bit-torrents before. Well done. Why not just fire yourselves from your jobs now. In fact, kill yourselves now so you don’t have to spend your retirement in agonising frustration watching the world become fairer and your old colleagues getting put out of a job.

Meanwhile, the only people on the planet with less clue than the copyright enforcers have been pilloried extensively: the nutty right in the flyover states. They demonstrated their lack of knowledge of history, current politics, and popular culture in one simple (and I mean that in every sense of the word) move: encouraging teabagging. Here, for the benefit of our dimwitted Republican friends is why they should feel embarrassed by their public flaunting of their credulity:

  1. The Boston tea-party was a rejection of “taxation without representation”; in particular the king of England taking your taxes and you getting nothing back in return.
  2. On the day you performed this hopelessly pathetic protest, not only did you receive a tax-cut, but you were protesting against the tax money being spent on public projects (roads, schools, and other public services)…so what would you prefer it spent on ? Bankers ?
  3. No-one noticed the actual protests, they just noticed that you called it “teabagging”
  4. Teabagging, as everyone who has even the most tenuous link with current culture knows, is a slang term for draping ones bollocks over someone’s face or putting them in their mouth. Ha ha. But also, we pity you.
  5. The “without representation” part of the Boston tea-party’s aim refers to democracy. Obama was elected using this democracy. And he didn’t even need to cheat like W, because he is genuinely more popular.

If you are a Republican and have been affected by the issues raised here, get in touch. We can help you.

Easter egg

Easter came by last week. I know because people said so. Unlike the UK, the US still maintains a healthy secular defiance of the Christian doctrine when it comes to public holidays. So, that meant there was not a single hour off work and we even had to give up a chunk of the weekend indulging family peccadillos.
We drove up through New Jersey to the new McMansion of one of Michele’s uncles. The day turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable; not only was the food and drink plentiful and of quality, but we had a few good laughs. Michele was given a Bill O’Reilly book by her uncle and I was given a bunch of computers to fix by other relatives. Michele’s aunt and cousin even brought their laptops along specially because they knew I’d be there. Flattering really. They were quite frank about their Republican [in the American sense of the word] views, but I congratulated them; after all, the first step towards a cure is acknowledging your problem. I told them that I’d happily run a course to help them out of their pit of political wrongness. Michele’s book wasn’t as offensive as we’d imagined, mainly because it was more autobiographical than one if his usual malarial-level insane rants. However, we have now decided on the gift to send back. We’ll let you know once it’s in the post.
As fun as the day was, by the end of the afternoon I was desperate to get back to our house and continue working on my latest project.

Good night.


Sometimes things come together and make life feel less unfriendly and difficult…good even!
A bit of background: last week we sorted out our taxes.
Ever since a weird, self-destructive, neuron fired in my brain, causing me to introduce myself to the Inland Revenue, I got a severe annual beating by the bastards. Not only did they fuck me for money that I owed as a result of poor accounting at my (PAYE) job in the previous year, but they then insisted that I pay in advance for the next year. Yeah thanks. As a reward for honesty, I get my arse raped by the forces of unfairness.
In fairness, when I moved to the US and completed my final tax return for the UK, their response to my overly honest confession that “I have made up these numbers because I emigrated and all of the documents needed to complete this return are on a boat somewhere in the Atlantic” was met, for the first time ever, with a substantial refund.
This year we decided to get an accountant to sort us out. OK, it’ll cost us a few hundred bucks but at least it should save us as much. So, last Saturday, we went to the accountant armed with our various bits of paper we hoped would provide us with a massive refund.
To spare you the tedious details, here is a summary of our experience: we ended up owing either $2400 or $1900 depending on whether we file separately or together. This was a shock, because we were expecting a refund – especially as we’d bought a house this year; it turns out that we were less than seven days too early when we bought to qualify us for the benefit…

We were both most pissed off about this as you can imagine. My experience with the tax fuckers in the UK had prepared me for this, but it was still a shock to go from refund-expectation to debt-realisation.
Weirdly, I was less worried than I would have been in the UK because the accountant told me that next year we’ll be set. OK we thought – it’s a major kick in the financial bollocks, but we’ll probably be ok. And at least next year we’ll win. Also at least he’d saved us $400 by telling us to file together rather than separately. Damn, he’s even paid for himself! A big debt in the short term, but with a positive long term.

But today, magical things happened. Firstly, Michele had her first day working in the wildlife rehab. She was expecting to be eased in via tedious pursuits such as doing the laundry and making the tea, but they threw her in right to the deep “feeding the baby animals” end. She fed baby squirrels, baby owls, hawks and all sorts! I’m so envious. Obviously, she loved it! The people there obviously loved her too because they moved her up into yellow-belt (or rather badge) owing to her natural abilities with dealing with the more gruesome side of wildlife care. I’m so proud!

Then after work, my friend and workmate Tom suggested we go over to the nearest bar for happy-hour which not only includes cheap beer, but free wings! This always cheers me up. Half an hour there is just enough to give me a buzz before catching the bus. As it turns out, the bus that arrives just after the beer and wings is driven by the most amusing guy, who seems to have been placed on the earth solely to cheer up bus passengers.

After I’d arrived at home, greeted our lovely birds, and then settled into my favourite bit of the sofa with a glass of wine and a parrot, Michele brought me out a bowl of home-made seafood risotto; my favourite meal!

Just then, the axes of good fortune aligned perfectly, and the phone rang. It was our accountant; he had re-analysed our documents and worked out that we were owed $1900 if we file together.

Sometimes things are good.

Goodbye UK2PA

We’ve been living in our new house, in our new country, for over a year, which seems to suggest that we’re settled. Consequently I think it’s time to finish the UK2PA spin-off blog that was intended to document our transatlantic relocation. It’ll stay on-line for as long as I can support it, just in case it has anything to offer new immigrants.
So, from now on, the quotidian tedium of my blogging will be available exclusively at the original location:

So goodbye all, thanks for listening, and please accept this last piece of advice that I now know to be very, very, valuable: when you fill in your first W4, make sure you put a big fat zero on the front. Ignore the questions, and ignore advice from financial wizards. Just put zero for the first time. April is a bad time for nasty shocks.

Bird of the week: Red-tailed Hawk

The Red-tailed hawkThe Red-tailed Hawk is one of the most common birds of prey in this part of North America. It’s a most beautiful animal, whilst also being a seriously impressive hunter. We regularly see these guys slowly gliding in circles, high above most of the “common” birds, or perched high by the side of motorways. In either location they clearly scare the local avian population.

Recently, The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia has been lucky enough to have a nest of Hawks established by one of its windows. Being a bunch of clever and righteous dudes, the museum not only managed to get a carpenter to improve the stability of the nest, but they also created a 24/7 Hawkcam that provides a wonderful window into the lives of baby Hawks. The best bit is that the eggs haven’t hatched yet so if you keep your wits about you, you may get to watch them fledge!