Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog

February 2008


GeneralMonday, February 11th, 2008, (7:13 pm)

Ok, so maybe last week’s trip down video game memory lane was pretty dull with Pong, so how about the classic shoot-em-up game of Space Invaders? Come on, put work on hold for a few sneaky minutes to play a round or two.

Who doesn’t like Space Invaders? Surely this has to be the alpha game of all video games? Yes I know that it’s very basic but Space Invaders was the seed from which all video gaming grew. Apparently it was created back in 1978 by a Japanese guy called Tomohiro Nishikado.

So… I scored 17,690, how about you? (Play the game below.)

Buy a Space Invaders arcade game for £2.295 ($4,466)
Game on : Pong
Game on : Simon

MusicSaturday, February 9th, 2008, (11:07 am)

My old friend Josh just sent an email around to everyone in the world that he knows telling us all to go a grab a copy of a free acoustic album he recorded back in 2001. In his email he said “Feel free to share and post it anywhere.” So I hope he doesn’t mind if I give it a plug on here.

I met Josh back in 98 or 99 at Gordon College, MA. I particularly remember a night in 2000 when he arrived at a friends house amid an unfolding drama that involved an overly theatrical girl called Ruth quite literally wailing over some unimportant incident like some sort of grief stricken mourner at a Baltic funeral. Josh found a quite spot on the balcony whereupon he took out his guitar and started singing songs in the company of those who were trying to steer clear of the overly emotional meltdown.

Between the wailing and shouting downstairs, and the passing cars where the engine was drowned out by the booming bass emanating from them, Josh played a selection of songs which cut their way through Salem’s seedier side setting us all free like prisoners on day passes. He saved that night as I recall, then he got back into his famous white Chevy Cavalier which everyone knew as ‘Mr. Whippy.’

At some point in 2000 I recorded one of my ‘Reality Radio‘ shows in the Salem Beer Works with Josh and friends Anne and Jodie. He told stories and sang without prompt as we whiled away the evening drinking strange brews like the ‘Bunker Hill Blueberry Ale‘ and ‘Beantown Nut Brown Ale.’

A year later in 2001, Josh and his guitar known as ‘The Ever-Vigilant Birdy Pie’ set out on a 45 day Greyhound bus trip all the way around the Continental United States.

On the day that they returned, and after a 10 hour bus ride from Ottawa to Boston, they went right into the studio to record “Trans-American Bus Roots”. Now, some 7 years later Josh has decided to give that collection of songs away Josh Cole’s website
Reality Radio : Me, Josh and friends recorded in a bar in Salem, MA

Found on the webFriday, February 8th, 2008, (9:25 pm)

Hey, anyone in the mood for some more poetry by Rives?

I’ve metioned before that poetry is ordinarily lost on me, but this guy makes it entertaining for me. He does something with poetry that nobody else has done before in my eyes. He name is Rives, and he’s a poet.

Rives website
If I controlled the internet
Kite

Faith & ReligionWednesday, February 6th, 2008, (7:03 pm)

Following on from a post I wrote last week about an ad that was deemed offensive, I’m interested to know what you make of the ad below which was recently run as a mobile billboard in South London by a Christian pressure group that calls itself The Christian Congress for Traditional Values (CCTV).

The ad shows a picture of family consisting of a man, a woman and a young son and daughter next to the statement “GAY AIM: ABOLISH THE FAMILY.” The CCTVs website address is printed beneath the body copy and a banner across the picture of the family identified CCTV and showed the pressure groups logo.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the ad came to the attention of the Advertising Standards Agency which was categorized last week by a Ryanair spokesman as being a “bunch of unelected, self-appointed dimwits [who] are clearly incapable of fairly and impartially ruling on advertising.”

The Agency deemed the CCTV billboard to be an inaccurate representation of the views of gay people and that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence or condone anti-social behaviour. It has since told the CCTV to ensure future campaigns were not presented in a similar way.

As you might expect the CCTV, which is run by a Bishop Michael Reid, felt the ad was entirely reasonable and the potential for the ad to cause offence was “minimal” because the aim to redefine the concept of the family was “so widely and openly acknowledged” by the homosexual community. Citing a 1971 Gay Liberation Front manifesto as an example supporting its position the organisation claimed the campaigners who “sought same-sex marriage did not do so simply to achieve the same domestic situation that was available to heterosexuals, but also because they aimed to redefine and abolish the traditional family.”

BISHOP OF WHAT?

After watching the organisations leader and spokesman, Bishop Michael Reid, on a couple of videos posted on the CCTV website, I became curious as to what denomination had ordained him and made him a Bishop. After spending a few fruitless minutes trying to find this information I decided instead to simply call the Bishops office and ask a member of his staff.

However, despite being placed on hold several times while various staffers were asked the question, nobody at Bishop Michael Reid Ministries was able to tell me by whom he had been ordained. In the end I was asked why I wanted the information and eventually told instead to refer to him as Doctor Michael Reid as he has a doctorate from Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma, USA.

In the case of the Ryanair ad controversy I could have believed the airline was behind the brouhaha that surrounded the newspaper ad. Could it possible that as a Christian pressure group the CCTV might have used similar cunning? Somehow I doubt it. But as one Christian group rallies hatred toward the gay community another will march in the forthcoming Mardi Gras parade in Sydney Australia to apologise for the church’s hostility toward gay and lesbian people. Jerry Falwell would be turning in his grave!

The Christian Congress for Traditional Values
Bishop Michael Reid Ministries
Bishop Michael Reid’s church
‘Family values’ poster ruled offensive
ASA rule against anti-gay ad
Midlands Bible College blog post about Bishop Ried
Something’s not quite right in Brentwood
The oracle of Essex
[Video] BBC TV News report

GeneralMonday, February 4th, 2008, (5:42 pm)

When I was a kid we had one of those old games consoles that plugged into the TV. It was the late early 80’s and at the time the Atari console was the big hitter. We didn’t have that one, we had a more generic brand which my school friends would delight in telling me they had never heard of. Nonetheless it played the all important games of Ping Pong, Space Invaders, and Grand Prix. Despite it’s simple blocky graphics and uninspiring sound, the “games machine” as it was known, kept us amused for a few years.

I remember spending hours in front of the TV playing ‘Ping Pong’ and ‘Breakout’ sometimes against the machine and sometimes against my siblings or friends.

Back then we used to have swimming lessons on a Friday evening and after swimming we would emerge from the changing rooms, buy a packet of Pacers from the vending machine then watch, with some degree on envy, older kids play Galaxian on the arcade game that was in the foyer of the pool house. I remember thinking that machine was cool. It had great graphics and would send the sounds of whooshes and explosions echoing through the foyer that humid and thick with the smell of Chlorine.

Perhaps it’s with this sense of nostalgia that I find I’m still amused by these games when I come across them every so often. Either way, it’s fun to waste a few minutes of the day when I should probably be doing something far more important!

I’m nowhere near as good as I once was, but then I don’t have my favorite turtle cushion to sit on and a plastic cup full of some Soda Stream concoction next to me, so maybe without that I’m a little off my game? I haven’t won a game yet, so if you fare better than me feel free to gloat. (Play the Flash game below.)

GeneralFriday, February 1st, 2008, (8:29 pm)

No this isn’t a post about Jack, Jon, Kate, Sawyer, the fat guy and ‘the others’, this is a post about money you might be owed!

According to an article I just read, various U.S. government agencies are holding somewhere in the region of $16 billion in ‘missing money’ and unclaimed property. Assets are lost for a number of reasons ranging from a change after marriage or divorce, an unreported address change, incomplete or illegible records, and clerical errors.

So there’s a website (isn’t there always a website) that could help you find your missing fortune or that property you never knew was rightfully yours. MissingMoney.com, a site operated by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, enables you (‘you’ being an American) to perform comprehensive searches for lost assets. It’s free to use and who knows, maybe there is a pot of gold waiting for you somewhere?

Before you ask, no I am not on a commission. I’m just curious to know if any of you end up finding something you never knew you lost. Who knows, this could be a good start to the weekend? (You can thank me later.)

As for Jack, Jon, Kate, Sawyer, the fat guy and ‘the others’, well I guess we’ll see what happens there. But if something significant doesn’t happen soon then I’m telling TiVo to stop recording it!

MissingMoney.com
Official U.S. ‘Government May Owe You Money’ site
National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators
USA Today story about the site
* Canadians can do the same here, here and here.

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