Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog

March 2005

Meanwhile articleTuesday, March 22nd, 2005, (4:45 pm)

Meanwhile : Articles written by Simon Jones

As America once more reels in shock at the needless murder of students at the Red Lake High School, on a Native American reservation in the northern state of Minnesota, the question of gun control will almost certainly be raised, and dismissed, once again.

To someone living in the United Kingdom, where hand guns are illegal and strict firearm controls are largely accepted without question, it is hard to understand why America is so in love with the weapon that destroys the lives of thousands of people every year. This is never more perplexing than right after yet another high school shooting, of which America seems to hold an ominous world record.

While gun crime is on the rise in the UK, firearms incidents are actually relatively small in number. Certainly they are statistically dwarfed when compared to similar incidents recorded in the United States where the ‘right to bear arms’ is woven into the fabric of the country’s constitution. The founding fathers wrote in the second amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

It would be very easy to become embroiled in an argument of statistics, quoting numbers and percentages to prove a point that ultimately could then be disproved by simply using another set of equally exploitable figures. Ultimately though the argument fades and the status quo continues, until that is, the next high school shooting.

Strange as it might seem to some, I have managed to get this far in life without the need of a firearm to protect myself… [Click here to continue reading this article at ‘Meanwhile’]

GeneralMonday, March 21st, 2005, (8:39 am)

Saturday afternoon was the first really beautiful warm day here in England. Most of the country was bathed in sunshine and warmth. It felt like the first day of summer, a perfect day to get out onto the open road with the hood down on my MG.

My girlfriend ‘Posh‘ (otherwise known as Rachel) and I headed across the border into Wales just after lunch, looking for the winding roads leading to he beautiful ‘Horseshoe pass,’ a road that is as notorious as it is beautiful. The road was wide open though with only a handful of people sharing the same idea as us so it was perfect.

As I drove the ‘stick shift’ British racing green car along the road that snaked its way through the beautiful countryside of Wales, I smiled to myself as I realised that I was actually living the hopes of a young Simon who used to look longingly at open top sports cars when he was a kid. Back then the possibility of actually having one seemed like a dream, but here I was in Wales on a beautiful afternoon with the hood down enjoying the warmth of the sun and the open road – great stuff!

Posh, better known as Rachel LindsayWe stopped and went for a short walk along one of the hillsides on the horseshoe path. I snapped a few pictures, but pictures do little to capture this awesome scene. We both commented that the weather was uncharacteristically hot for this time of year, feeling more like a summers day than a day in March.

We drove on and headed off the main road onto the back roads before stopping and going for a longer walk along a fast flowing ice cold river. Lambs were bounding around the fields partly curious of us and partly weary of us. A little further on down the road we came to the tiny village of Glyndyfrdwy with it’s historic railway station that stood still in time, a monument to a bygone era. The steam trains still run along the tracks here in the summer months, these days it’s a tourist attraction rather than a practical means of transport.

Eventually we rolled into the steam train town of Llangollen. We had a drink in an old mill-house pub on the edge of the river. We sat for a while outside slowly sipping our drinks as the sky dipped behind the foothills of the Snowdonia mountain range. Then eventually we headed off again in search of something to eat, which is always difficult to say the least. After a while we sat down to eat in the town of Ruthin before heading back to England.

It was a really great way to spend a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon, the first time I’ve been able to really enjoy warm sunny weather in my MG. I’m looking forward to many more such days as the summer approaches.

Horseshoe pass Wales
Llangollen official home page

Found on the webFriday, March 18th, 2005, (10:41 am)

I was going to lead this little Friday ‘found on the web’ post with a website that imaginatively takes Mr Bush’s speeches and remixes them. But in the end, knowing how some of you get so wound up over me taking shots at the boy Bush, I thought I’d go with something a little lighter.

So meet 19 year old Gary Brolsma of Saddle Brook New Jersey. In December last year he recorded a little clip of him lip syncing to some terrible Romanian pop song by Ozone called ‘Dragon Din Tei’ which seems to have very little to do with dragons.

Supposedly the video was a joke Gary recorded for him and his buddies to enjoy, but as these things do, somehow it dot out there on the worldwide web practically propelling him to internet superstar status like the ‘Star Wars kid’ before him.

Gary sings his big ol’ heart out and amusingly dances away to the song without getting out of his chair. The video has swept the net making people around the world laugh out loud. Suddenly Gary isn’t just some anonymous boy working in a Staples store in New Jersey anymore. For a few fleeting moments his name is making it onto the pages of the New York Times and newspapers across the world as well as TV shows like ‘The Today Show.’

In fact Gary’s ‘Numa Numa dance’ is now prompting tribute videos! In the coming months there are sure to be more as people around the globe kick back and mimic the care-free spirit in which the chunky chap from New Jersey filmed what was to be his 15 minutes of fame. One such video shows a computer training suite full of people doing Gary’s ‘Numa Numa’ dance.’

Gary himself hasn’t spoken out much about his unexpected time in the spotlight, but he seems to be enjoying it. If it were nearer Christmas my money would be on a Gary Brolsma dancersize video!

Gary’s Numa Numa dance video
Gary on NBC news
Gary in the New York Daily News
Gary’s blog
Open letter to Gary
Classroom do ‘Numa Numa dance’
The Star Wars Kid

GeneralThursday, March 17th, 2005, (8:14 pm)

Liverpool goes nuts on St Patrick’s day. It would seem that everyone becomes just that little bit Irish ready for a night on the town, no matter what day of the week it is, and no matter how early they have to be up for work the next day. Tonight they’re Irish in spirit if not in fact, and tonight they’ll be drinking only one drink, Guinness, cold or warm, it’ll make no difference by about 10pm.

As we arrived in the city that is the last stop on the West coast before the emerald Isle itself, we were greeted by a huge sign warmly welcoming us to Liverpool, the capital of culture 2008. No matter that it’s still only 2005, Liverpool is proud to be given the honor of being chosen as a European capital of culture. Then, just moments later, just a hop away from the shadow of the sign a car passes us, the driver hanging out of the window gesticulating and shouting in the broadest of Liverpool accents at the car in front, which it turns out is towing him.

“Wind down ya winda ya silly bitch!” Ah yes, welcome indeed to Liverpool, the 2008 European capital of culture.

A taxi pulls up next to the imbecilely joined cars and the taxi driver leans out of his window to shout at the other man who is still shouting at the woman who is apparently going the wrong way.

“Sort ‘er out will ya Jez! The pair of yoos gonna cause an accident!” Shouts the taxi driver, but it’s all in good humor as ‘Jez’ shouts back “We’re ‘edding for a ‘claims direct’ moment ‘ere mate, I can tell ya!” Both the men laugh as the traffic lights change and the towing vehicle drives off. At this point ‘Jez’ resume his position of driving with one hand while hanging out of the window shouting “Wind you fockin winda down will yoos OII!!! The Winda, the fockin winda, wind it fockin down will yoos!” As both cars head down Hope Street ‘Jez’s’ voice fades into the noise of the city that’s gearing up for a long night.

We step into the Everyman, theatre/bistro/bar/whatever. Tonight, like everywhere across the city, it’s taken on an Irish flavor as a six piece Irish band by the name of Reckless Elbow warm up at the far end of the room. At the bar everyone is ordering Guinness whether that be their usual poison or not, and by the time we’ve got our drink and turn to find a table, all the tables are occupied as the place has filled to capacity as the show upstairs has ended and every from that has just flooded into the bar.

We find a spot and stand there as the sound of people and music grow louder. It certainly sounds like Ireland, even if this English crowd are a little more reserved than the Irish. If you stand there and close your eyes breathing in the pub air, the sound of the violin will whisk you away to Temple Bar in Dublin. We’re on Irish time now, no need to look at our watches from this point on. It could well be a long night over in a second, such is the Irish way.

Reckless Elbow
The Everyman, Liverpool
Liverpool – Capital of Culture 2008

PhotographyWednesday, March 16th, 2005, (1:04 pm)

Quite a few people have commented over time about my photography and the pictures I use in the ‘logo’ space at the top of the page. So with that in mind I thought I’d take a moment to share with you the full size versions of the pictures I’ve recently used in the ‘logo’ space, and tell you where they are from and all that stuff.

The picture above was taken on the 99 from Fresno, California, to San Francisco¬†a couple of summers ago. We rented a car and headed to ‘Frisco’ with no particular plan and just had a really mellow day driving around listening to ‘Redemption’s Son’ by Joseph Arthur and stopping by places that looked interesting. It’s become one of my favorite pictures and is typical of my very un-pro ‘point and click’ style.

This picture was taken last year in Fresno while I walked to ‘The Revue’ cafe in the Tower District one typically hot afternoon. The scene just appealed to me, the lines, the abundance of the color blue and the oddly abandoned bit of living room furniture.

I can’t tell you exactly where these pictures were taken, but we’ve all seen a similar thing ourselves at least once right? The view of fluffy clouds out of a plane window is probably over Northern Canada flying to or from the States. The blurred car on a highway looks to me like it would be a UK highway, taken while I was driving – what a mad man!

More pictures by me : Point & Click America

GeneralTuesday, March 15th, 2005, (11:01 pm)

I’m feeling like a strange color blue. Not sad, just blue, and for no reason it would seem. I just spent a great evening with Posh (otherwise known as Rachel), then went and did grocery shopping on the way home.

On the highway back to my place I was the only car on the deserted road. I wasn’t feeling speedy so I tootled along at 60pmh as Josh Ritter’s ‘Baby that’s not all’ played on the stereo.

When I got back I unpacked the shopping and then came up here. I just sat in front of the Mac and then read the comments on my last post, then surfed around a few of my subscriptions and a few other peoples blogs.

I think the highway did it. From the moment I left the store there seems to have been nobody else around. No one on the road, no one on the street where I live, nobody on IM, no planes drawing moonlit white lines across the night sky. Sigur Ros ‘Njosnavelin’ is playing and I don’t think that’s helping. I have no idea what the guy is singing about but it sounds like I feel right now. The world may well have ended and somehow I’m left behind just writing this aimless post that will most likely be deleted once I’ve made a cup of tea and had a little snack.

I think I’ll sit on my window ledge and wait for a car to drive past or some other evidence that I’m not the only person left alive after some strange and final event in world history.

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