Viewing

Every now and then on a lazy day, I quite enjoy a bit of web surfing for some podcasts and YouTubes.  Over the years I’ve seen some informative, funny, crazy and bizarre stuff.  Every now and then you hit upon a gem.

It’s fairly organic sometimes, clicking from link to link, I’m probably not the only one who wiles away several unproductive hours in this way.  Sometimes it’s comedy clips, sometimes classic US (WWF/E) wrestling matches, or interviews with wrestlers of the era of my youth, it could be a thread on religion, ghost hunting, general horror or sci-fi, or even that bastion of YouTube, the Conspiracy Theory films, usually made for a YouTube audience.  AEDSOB was influenced in subtle ways by many of the above, little threads of the bizarre or alternative view points stitched in as a hopeful wink and a nod that many might miss.

Here’s some of the recent viewing.

Hear a New Name, Find an Interesting Story

Some where a few days ago I checked out a name that got dropped into a comment form somewhere that I’d never heard of.  The name was Mosab Hassan Yousef, and if like me you (just) checked out his Wikipedia page you’re probably curious as I was to the mentioned film, The Green Prince.  I gave it a go; it’s a good watch and a remarkable story, here it is:

Am thinking I might get the book*, which some of the reviews say covers more of his conversion to Christianity.

Weird Shit

Denis4706 is a channel i have been following for years, he is not prolific with the videos but usually comes up with good videos; ‘good’ that is if you like the weird and the bizarre.

A Glimpse of the Dark Side

I can’t remember the specific pathway of how I landed on this, probably some Sunday reading, and three clicks later following some random thread of thinking.  Dr Malachi Martin is a well known author, and Catholic Priest.  Not just any old Priest, but a former advisor to multiple Popes and an official Exorcist.

I’ve seen Art Bell’s name come up all over the place for years but had never listened to a show before; but usually when Art’s name comes up it’s in a positive, referral note mentioning some show or another.  Here Art interviews Dr Martin for the first time.  First a warning, the subject matter is obviously not suitable for young’uns, simple minds or those easily spooked or disturbed.  If you’re rabidly Atheist you’ll either laugh or descent in a fit of rage so spare yourself the trauma if it’s likely to hit those buttons.

Unfortunately, embeddment’s not allowed on this one, so click on through if you’re giving this one a go:

I went on, over a few weeks, to listen to the later interviews, all very interesting.

*An unsolicited, unpaid referral.

Great Atmosphere

England may have crumbled second half, but the support from the crowd did not.  Here’s the video I made pre-Kickoff from Twickers on Saturday

Congratulations to Wales on the victory.. Can only hope we both get past the Aussies and England get the chance to put it right in the final (…. I know, I know!)

Just A Short Time To Catch One’s Breath

It has been hectic.  Seriously Hectic.

Work

I’ve never been busier with work, and Q3’15 has been manic.  We’ve stripped out our CPQ and ERP systems at work (amongst others), and went live with new applications effective 1st of July so it’s been a rocky, high pressure, high emotion few months.  I’m off to the US again for quarter end, it will be great to see my three team members face-to-face but September quarter end has traditionally been the toughest of the year, and with everything else that’s been going on this one is lining up to be a real test both of professional acumen and of sheer emotional tolerance.

I picked a bad month to quit drinking!

Fishing

Nobody, but nobody outside my work wants to hear about my work.  Onto something I do enjoy..

I joined up with my (now) local club in June just before the river season started, and spent some good money down the tackle shop along the way since then.  Unfortunately I only made it out about 6 or 7 times in total, mostly on Saturdays.  Work responsibilities and Travel pretty much forbade the chances of getting a few days off here and there to extend my riverbank run, and with current plans for Saturday and flying Sunday (return following Saturday) that rules out the next two weekends.  As a traditionally fair-weather fisherman, that could spell all until next Spring.

The few times I did get out it felt really good to be back on the riverbank and doing something I used to enjoy pretty much more than anything else.  It was tough going, the first location was a lake on a golf course which was pretty sparse going on the bites.  Talking to one or two of the seldom seen other club members who I did see there it’s known to be more of a carp lake and even then a tough one.  The car park was at the Club House, the Lake about half a mile down the hill at the bottom – dragging all the equipment up and down that rough gravel path was hard work (for a paperwork jockey like me!)

The other venues were specialist too; but I did have a good day with a bite almost nearly every chuck at a pretty quite lake about 10 miles away, (venues intentionally being withheld.)  That day was glorious sunshine and though it might sound cliché, for a chunk of the afternoon I felt I recaptured a part of my youth, a part of myself.  Simply reeling in unremarkable tiddler after tiddler added up to a good net-full. This particular lake is known for it’s Tench but I had no such luck on my two follow up visits, a couple of possible bites and plenty of tell tale ‘Tench Bubbles’

Not my photo, but similar to 'Tench Bubbles' seen when Tench feed and disturb the bottom when feeding

Not my photo, but similar to ‘Tench Bubbles’ seen when Tench feed and disturb the bottom when feeding

I made it one night to the supposed Crown Jewel of the Angling Club, but the place was packed solid with ‘Carpers’ and the water level was very low, making safely landing bigger fish a tough prospect.  I landed three modest sized silver fish but the session on that evening was more about getting out of the house for a few hours when work had been rough for a few weeks – it was the only non-Saturday session thus far.

Last time out was on the river which I felt would suit me more as I used to fish the Thames in Abingdon growing up.  However the section I picked wasn’t ideal for my time of day and bait selection which meant it was a wipe out.  I had to cut the session short when in the early evening a dozen or so teens turned up on the brigde 50 years upstream and spend 20 minutes diving in, throwing beer bottles and doing just about anything and everything to disrupt the tranquil session.  Apparently it’s an issue that comes up quite a bit there, with Travellers bathing and washing down horses occasionally in one section and then canoeists trespassing and killing of sessions in another (and being rather rude, if not offensive at being informed they’re trespassing; it seems the local canoeists think they have right of way everywhere, even when the council confirm quite the opposite).  It’s a shame because it’s my local clubs only decent stretch of river and it’s probably the most fished, and most disrupted section.

It’s a shame too a local temple decided to run a raw sewage pipe into the main flow of the water without permission.  Hopefully the EA will be able take action there.

I wonder if the travellers know, or care, they’re swimming in a stream of partially untreated sewage?

Rugby

I’ve been watching International Rugby since about 1996/97, I’ve no specific club allegiance but I try to catch the six nations, the Autumn Internationals and the World Cup and though I only caught the last twenty minutes or so I think the South Africa v Japan game was probably the most exciting 20 minutes of rugby, ever.

Those who saw the whole game might say the best game of rugby, ever (?)

Japan have apparently never won a game in all the previous seven world cup finals, and South Africa are where a lot of people would have put their money on where the Web Ellis Trophy will end up after the final.

I have a few South African friends and some have been completely quiet on Facebook, but a couple were generous enough to post congratulatory remarks, but this from Twitter caught my eye and I thought deserved a retweet..

SA Tweet

There’s a sense that we’ll all remember what we were doing before we switched over, for that remarkable result.

Now, I must confess I am a bit of a lucky boy…

About 18 months ago I signed up to the Official World Cup site as I wanted to get alerts for tickets and maybe try and get hold of some.  At the time I was still living in Galway and, from memory, not having a UK address made stalking England tickets a bit of an issue… Only a slight issue really because by the time the allocations had gone out to England Rugby clubs for preferential offers/pricing (nothing against that, the real fans who associate with a club and their family should get tickets if they want them..) after that process, the initial prices for general sale were over £2,000 each.

Yes, over £2,000 each!!

There was no mention of whether that included a seat in the changing room, or sat with the lovely WAGS of the rugby world.  So, I took the only conclusion left, this meant tickets, were for then at least, for the rich boys and girls to avail of.  I checked out some travel agents in Ireland who had packages, but unsurprisingly their packages were geared towards the Ireland games, and though not as ludicrously priced, they were still somewhat prohibitive (being a Finance Manger in 2014/5 is a good gig, but not that good).

Anyway, every few weeks the email would come through and from time to time I’d log in, and there was never, ever any England tickets.  There was France v Italy (about £400ea), there were tickets for non-England games in Manchester & Brighton (£200+ ea), and that may now I think about it have included a certain Japan game that would have unknowingly been a rewarding punt; but there was nothing at Twickenham for England…

… Until a week and a half ago.

So there I was, lucky me, one week out from the tournament opener I happened to be checking Yahoo mail and quite a way down, from a day or two before was the standard sight of the latest email burst.  Something that day had been on TV, probably a news report about the opening ceremony rehearsals and though I had long since given up hope of getting a ticket so when I saw this I thought ‘what the heck’ (or something somewhat similar) and clicked in to take a look what games were still available.  I am not sure it was habit or curiosity but for some reason I still put “England” into the search field under “Team” and clicked search and, lo, tickets were on sale for England v Wales.  Now it’s a toss up whether the Wales or Australia game should be or will be the game of the group, but for now and because I got these tickets we’ll be definitive and say the England v Wales game IS the match of the group!

Fortunately I did not need to take a mortgage out, and £75ea was the asking price.  Still very steep in my book but a home World Cup might not come along again in my life time.  yes, I’m only 36 now, but with my cholesterol intake and general level of fitness I may not get another chance. There was no groups of 4 left at this point but I did manage to get 3 seats together, so Sarra and Dad are the lucky pair.  If I could have got a fourth I would have offered to my Brother; who I duly phoned to inform in case he wanted to try for tickets but he seemed a little disinterested.  Having not heard back I assume he didn’t, only he will know come 10.30pm next Saturday if that would have been worth a little effort to get online.

Unlike for the European Cup Final earlier in the year (my only other trip to Twickenham) the road where I’ve rented someone’s drive (£30) is closed from 5pm so we’ll have to go early.  Normal form would suggest a few drinks, but in case you missed it or forgot already – I picked a bad month to quit drinking!

Sunday

Off to Heathrow early (well, early for Sunday), not likely to be home before midnight and next week is going to be tough, but once it’s done and we’re into Q4 there will be a chance to get things back in order.  We’re still much further ahead of other teams on that score, but no manager likes to be coming from behind on the issues, and I’m no different there.  I have a good team, we’ll get on top of things soon enough and get things back into good order.

Virgin Atlantic again this time.  BA were more expensive and so not wanting to over do it went with the red team.

Every flight I have been on this year, be it BA, Virgin, Delta or Aer Lingus has had issues with the in-flight entertainment system, is that just me and rotten luck?.. Think the whole industry is overdue an upgrade on their systems.

10 Years

Somewhere along the way we figured out Sarra and I first met romantically 10 years ago on September 9th.  If nothing else does I felt that warranted a stroll down to a local restaurant and a Chicken Tikka.

I duly thanked Sarra for “not leaving me in all that time”.  It felt only right to verbalise it.

Not really a man of romantic words nor deeds, am I?

A Bad Month…

Well, when is a good time to quit drinking?

I’ve alluded, so I’ll join a couple of dots, but wifey and I going through a process and though we’re both avid fans of being off our skulls on a Friday & Saturday night, we’re in last chance saloon on the starting our own family front.  So, we’re going all in and trying to give ourselves as best a chance as possible.

I did manage a bit of time off in August for a break (it was have a break, or, have a breakdown) and used that break as the mental line in the sand to get out of the weekend routine; and am pleased to say three weeks later we’re holding firm and actually doing well.

Posts

I have a couple of other posts in mind.  At the time of the FIFA post I had two or three in mind but time passed by and actually it’s probably as well I didn’t as events moved on too and recalling half-thoughts now they may already have failed the test of time.

I updated the About Daniel page as I managed to finally get the Paperback Edition of An Ever Deeper Shade of Blue out and on to Amazon.  That should warrant a post of it’s own but really the next thing is the Marketing plan, or lack thereof.  I am exploring options on advertising, which is quite interesting, but it’s the array of potential next projects that I have half-formed ready to pursue that need consideration.  For me, what I think I should do next does not correlate to the feedback and advice I’ve seen on blogs and forums, and other’s advice does seem to have merit.  Need to think things through and decide what to do next.. AEDSOB took 5-6 years, so I need to up my output rate if any kind of success in this field is to follow.

On a less personal note, the recent invitations to Lambeth Palace for January has prompted some concerning worries.  These need to be mulled over.

Final Thought

Wherever you are, whatever is going on I hope you have a great day!

Fixing the Problems of the World – Part 1: FIFA & World Cup Process

There obviously needs to be investigations into the accusations of corruption within FIFA, and the sooner Blatter goes the better, if he’s not corrupt he has presided over an alleged system which allows corruption.  It’s ironic in a way that it’s the FBI that’s investigating; the game may finally be becoming recognised and supported more widely there, but it’s hardly the home of football.

So fix #1, if the Executive, or in this case President of FIFA can genuinely be unaware of such dodgy dealings, and then in light of these allegations coming to light claim no responsibility the structure of the organisation needs to change.  The President and in fact any of the leadership team should be made accountable to an executive committee who’s role should be to scrutinise the accounts and activities of FIFA.  It may not be a perfect solution, but it would be a much sounder structure than is currently in place.  Like I said, the sooner Blatter is out of the way I would think the sooner the Organisations structure can be changed and made more accountable.

Current Org Chart

Current Fifa Org Chart

Chart sourced from: http://www.fifa.com/about-fifa/home-of-fifa/divisions-organisational-chart.html

It’s not hard to imagine recent candidates for President, ex-players like David Ginola and Luis Figo who made their claim to be running for the love of the game (which I do believe) playing a role in the scrutinizing committee.

Now to Fix #2 which addresses a sense of injustice football fans in England have in not having had the World Cup awarded to us in such a long time.  There are undeniably superpower nations in the world game, countries where Football is more than just a pastime.  In these nations the National League is well supported, and at an International Level they are frequently held amongst the best.  I’d suggest the football potty nations are (with apologies to Scotland):

England

Italy

Spain

Germany

France

The Netherlands

Mexico

Uruguay

Brazil

Argentina

I’m not saying this should be the definitive list, but a definitive list could be established (of say 10 nations) and each nation given the guarantee of hosting a world cup in the next 60 or 80 years.  That would mean the game’s biggest fans will know it’s possible within their lifetime the greatest event on earth will be coming to their home nation.  Depending on whether it’s a 60 year rotation or 80 that leaves either 5 or 10 events in that cycle open for bidding in which to go elsewhere.  It might be tougher for other European nations to win an open slot, given the continents heavy representation, but in an 80 year rotation there should be 1 or 2 still going to European nations.  The way is open for African and Asian nations to compete, with a general pattern that could be established, wholly or as best suits to have a sub-cycle where tournament 1 is in Europe, 2 in South America and 3 then in a one of the other continents.

Given the time since held Germany, France and Brazil should be later in the initial cycle having held relatively recent competitions, and so England, The Netherlands and Uruguay would probably want to go sooner.  The other nations would I think be OK in the knowledge of a guarantee of future hosting in a fair system, and as soon as the rotation is over, it should begin again with the non-named slots being open for bidding again so new nations would be OK to try again.

This system would guarantee in a fair way that the devotees of Football get a good chance to host, the nations that indeed put the majority of money and emotion into the game, but still leave open the visitation and hosting by new nations.  I would think the US, Australia, Japan, South Africa, Russia, China and others would be happier to go through their bidding years when not competing with the more established Footballing Nations.

If the turn to host the tournament was decades away there’s always the European and Copa America tournaments that the big nations can bid for and look to host also.

Fishing

I've got the itch

I’ve got the itch

 

After an approx 14 year break, and with a few hundred quid invested in tackle replenishment, rod licence and group subs I’ve decided to take it up again.  Season starts 16th June, and lately it seems I’ve got fishing on the brain.

United

There’s nothing boys like me doing more than talking football, so this will probably only appeal to the like-minded but here are some end of season thoughts on Man Utd.

oOo

The final league position was about as expected; maybe third was possible if not for some woeful spells – but a lot has been learned and a big summer lies ahead.  However, like most fans, if you’d have offered 4th and a return to the Champions League at the start of the season I would have taken it.

Who would have thought on September 1st with Di Maria and Falcao coming in they would be held out of the team by Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini come end of season?

Goalkeeper

I will be really disappointed if David De Gea leaves given that he is in any persons list of top 3 keepers in the world at the moment.  To have come through and have made good on the promise, the plan was that investment in time and patients would be rewarded with a long career at United.  Unfortunately the Iberians all idolise Madrid and Barcelona and if the opportunity arises he is clearly going to leave.  The Valdes signing was telling at the time in this respect; whilst rumours that De Gea was not keen on extending his contract and suggestions the deal away was already done.  I haven’t caught any of Valdes’ performances for the reserves, so I’ve no idea if his Barcelona form has returned or if LVG is going to look elsewhere, but when De Gea leaves he leaves big boots to fill, and an experienced keeper is needed to come in.

Centre Half

Smalling has come along this year, I’d say he’s ready to push on and finally live up to his potential next year.  Not sure if all fans would agree with that, but I see flashes of brilliance in his performances since New Year.  I think Jones & Rojo will make way for Hummels who will come straight in to partner Smalling as first choice; they themselves will be first reserve to fill in if needed.  Hard to see a role for Jonny Evans at this moment in time, with Blackett & McNair ready to fill in when, as has happened in at least the last four seasons 4 or 5 first choice centre halves get injured.

Premonition: Evans to Stoke

Full Back

I know people are saying the Jury is out with Luke Shaw and he’s been in and out with injury and fitness concerns but I like him and think he’s done enough to get the nod for 1st choice LB slot next season.  LVG was quick to call him out last summer on his fitness but has backed him on a few occasions in press conferences since.  Blind and Rojo will deputise Shaw as needed, so I don’t foresee any signings in this area.

The RB position is where I think we need to sign someone.

Sorry Sir Alex, but I think it was clear to all that Rafeal wasn’t going to be good enough 4 or 5 years ago – it’s hard to believe but he’s been at the club since 2008!  Valencia has done his best, he is a grafter but is not a RB, and we can’t go into next season without reinforcing.  All signs seem to point to Nathaniel Clyne.  Not sure if Valencia stays, he’ll run and run for you but I wouldn’t be surprised if two RB options come in, or we see Jones move to RB in pre-season where he competes with whoever the RB signing is.

Central Midfield

For my money Central Defence was easily the weakest area in the early 14/15 season but with the eventual reversion to a back four, and with Jones & Smalling slowly and gradually improving and forming some understanding it’s become clear (to me at least) central midfield is actually the area that needs the most improvement.

Carrick and Herrera are the only viable central midfield selections at present and Carrick rarely goes a full season without a few niggles and isn’t getting any younger; plus as Sir Alex would often share, he starts the season slow.  With CL next year, a minimum of two central players are needed, my dream selection there would be Pogba and Modric, but there are plenty of top class players in Europe who could come in, and though value is normally a concern, it seems not this year.  Strootman and Vidal were tipped last year, but were/are concerns because of big injuries.  I would hope we’ve got some youngsters ready to step up or some young talent could be scouted to back up to an established, senior pick from four… Andrea Pereira seems to be the most likely to break through.

Carrick and Herrera were just starting to form a good partnership a few weeks ago before Carrick went out injured and Utd then lost three in a row.  If two big names came in and if Carrick is slow to get going again it could be a fresh pairing starting in August.

Wide Men & #10

Out wide it seems with Young singing a new contract and Memphis Depay coming in two of the likely four for the wide positions are settled.  I like Mata, and if we could get the best out of Di Maria this should be a lock, with seemingly no role for a returning Nani.  It seems like Di Maria is looking for a way out, so we’ll have to see, but if his head ain’t right and PSG want to open their cheque book maybe there’s room for a rethink.

I can’t see a deal for Bale materialising and suspect the agent might be angling for a pay rise on behalf of his client.  I seem to recall there was talk of him joining Real on a ‘starter’ contract, not parity with Christiano and that makes me think the agent and/or player decided they want to change that.  Let’s not get into it with CR7 either, would love to have him back but not for big or even medium money.  I am looking forward to Depay; don’t want to chuck pressure on the lads shoulders, but the inevitable comparisons will be drawn and would love to see some speed and creativity out wide.

At #10, it kind of depends on who gets the nod up front because if it’s RVP, or someone new Rooney would drop deep and it automatic at #10.  Mata and Fellaini would cover; though my own personal assessment of Fellaini’s abilities and likely future contributions are not as bright as the football hacks seem to think in recent weeks.

Strikers

Assuming a fluid 4-3-3 / 4-5-1 and an evolution of the recent set up it seems there will be one central striker.  I have a suspicion Rooney will revert to #10 because he can drop into Midfield if needed.  Rumours have it that Falcao might stick around until January, but I think that’s more agent talk to drum up alternatives.  Not sure on young Wilson either.

If there’s one up, there needs to be three in the squad, question is whether to count Rooney – and worth saying what LVG may do is not what I would do.

So RVP will stay, and I would like to see a big money move for Harry Kane who for year one rotates in for some home games and gets a chance to develop and acclimatise.

I would personally go Rooney for first choice and look again at #10, with RVP and either Kane or Wilson competing.  Though I am a big fan of Chicharito it seems LVG isn’t so I don’t think he will factor; and though I like him I’d not be convinced he’s right for the central lone striker role.

2015/16 Expectations

If we got to full strength with all top targets coming in, have a great pre-season and all new players and positions gel, then the Premier League and a run in Champions League would be possible. But in the history of football the extent of such changes have never yielded instant results in the same season therefore it is soooo unlikely that it really is my wildest dreams.

Considering also that LVG is a tinker-man, then the first half of the year will be about ‘the philosophy’ again, and a second half run will whet the appetite again for LVG year 3.  Perhaps, just perhaps if still in the CL, a rise in form in later season may coincide with the latter phases and priorities, strategy and squad rotation might shift for a strong showing and dream return to the competition.  I’m not expecting it, I said in 2009 I thought United would not win the CL until 2017, which would be nine years after the last CL trophy, which itself was nine years after that famous treble – that’s my little bit of football voodoo.

Friday

I had a bit of a clear down on my “favourites” on Twitter earlier in the week.  I haven’t tagged too much in my 7-8 years on Twitter, but I’d never really gone back over what I had tagged so I revisited a few funnies I had forgotten all about.

Awkward Boneless bananas Fishhook face Off to vets Pie Chart SafetyWaited in line

Viz