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Fries Are Chips and Chips Are Fries

Super-sized burgers are off the menu. We’re all going to buy two of them now, so what’s the point?

A few weeks ago, I wrote this but didn’t ever get round to finishing what I was trying to write:

I am not sure what the point of the news that McDonald’s are to scrap ‘supersizing’ is, but does seem somewhat silly when they don’t actually make the food healthier – we’ll just buy two portions now, won’t we? I am pleased to say that since my new gym routine started that I haven’t been anywhere near any type of fast food outlet. This, of course, makes me feel very virtuous when I shouldn’t. I haven’t stopped visiting the pub and there are lot of calories in bitter.

Well, all I can say is that I nipped in a branch of McDonald’s today (only for a cup of tea) as it was right outside a place where I had a meeting and I had some time to kill. I was surprised to see a stack of leaflets with a nutritional break down on all their salads – which shows that some of them are no healthier than burgers but some of them seem to be pretty good. I have no idea how they will persuade people to eat them though as, by the time you get to the counter, all you see is donuts!

The Station Agent

The Station Agent was a superb film given that very little happens.

A quick review of The Station Agent, a film a saw on the spur of the moment last night.

It’s a well-written, superbly acted film where – almost – nothing happens. And, unlike many films of it’s type it’s well-worth watching because the characters are both fascinating and endearing. Fin is, as they say, vertically challenged and moves into a parochial American backwater town where a Cuban hot dog man sells his wares to (more-or-less) nobody and Olivia, a artist going through a messy divorce who almost drives over our hero (twice). They are an odd set of warm characters performed brilliantly by the cast.

It’s also a comedy and succeeds in not turning farcical with lots of slapstick about shorter people. The comedy is tender, clever and entertaining but it’s not a belly-laugh-a-minute film.

The Station Agent turned out to be one of the best films I have seen so far this year.

Million Pound Pair Move

Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan are off to

While on the subject of trival entertainment pieces [by which I mean this rant about radio], maybe it’s time for a gay ‘Richard and Judy’ equivalent.

Scots interior designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan have been signed on an exclusive two-year contract, and are being lined up to present a range of property, entertainment and lifestyle shows on Five [Source].

Honestly, I can’t wait (and I didn’t even watch a great deal of The Million Pound Property Experiment and I am not in the house for daytime lifestyle shows).

Where is Ashley Paske?

He used to be in Neighbours and Richmond Hill. Where are you now, Ashley?

Ashley Paske Autographed PhotoI always thought Ashley Paske was quite cute when he was in the daytime soap Richmond Hill and, later, in Neighbours. But now where is he? The only reference I can find to him recently is in an ABC (Australia) documentary called The Fame Game that tellingly says that the stars, “reveal how they coped with the all encompassing fame followed by a sudden and unexpected return to virtual oblivion.”

And yes, that is his autographed photograph in the picture. It was a gift.

Simplify The Site

Time to take stock – what’s this site all about?

Last night, while pounding the treadmill for thirty minutes and trying to avoid watching about crime and disaster on the news, I got to thinking about a couple of things I have written here over the last few days.

In Tuesday’s Link Dump I noted that I thought I was lacking some passion. I don’t believe that’s true. I am still passionate about many things and, particularly, personal publishing online. I just don’t get to write about it nor discuss it. I do seem to write a great deal here though.

In yesterday’s post about Portion Distortion I mentioned something about re-designing this site and, after some consideration, I have decided to do a little bit of housekeeping here. This site has started to get a little out of control. I need to rationalise: keeping it simple will involve removing pages that I don’t think serve any worth and getting rid of some sections. I will also re-work the design. I suspect for some time there will be things in several layouts but I don’t think anybody will be too upset.

The first casualty will be the gallery section – it’s hard to maintain and it’s not where I store pictures that I want to share with people anyway. Perhaps Movable Type will incorporate some new image controls in a future version which will allow me to bring it back.

Britain’s Railways

The whole saga of the upgrading of the west coast main line is outlined in today’s Guardian.

A very interesting item it today’s G2 about the on-going saga of the upgrading of the West Coast Main Line, one of the key railway routes in Britain:

One of the most disturbing facets of the west coast saga is the failure of democratic government that it represents. Not just of a particular party, but the whole system of government.

and later

And yet we cannot accuse our elected representatives of looking the other way. In mid-February and early March of 1995, after the consultants had delivered their report but while Railtrack and the government were still mulling over it, members of the House of Commons transport committee questioned Edmonds, Horton and the heads of some of the big signalling firms about the WCML project … Members of parliament had done what they were elected to do, conscientiously and thoroughly scrutinising a big plan by an unelected organisation with power over the lives and purses of the public. It had pointed out its weaknesses. And nobody paid any attention.

What the article does highlight is that, today, projects of national importance and public good like this one come second to short-term profit, power and – to some extent – ego. I wonder if we will ever see a situation where transport planning is for all our good rather than the few?

Portion Distortion

Perils of portion distortion or why Americans don’t know when enough is enough.

Catching up with the excellent writings of Chris at prosaic (who’s new design is simple and elegant) I was directed to an article at sfgate.com (The Obesity Crisis) which is fascinating and rings true. I am sure that, over the last ten years, the amount of food I have consumed has increased massively as a result of the size of the portions that I eat (rather than eating more meals). Anyway, methinks I should head off the the gym now and resist the urge to simplify the look of this site …

Add Listen To Musak’s Content to My Yahoo!

Now you can read Listen to Musak via Yahoo!

You will see, on the right hand side of the page, a new link added so that you can add the content of Listen To Musak to My Yahoo!

Yahoo! has always been my favourite portal and for many years My Yahoo! was my homepage. These days I tend to favour Bloglines so that I can read the content I am interested in. I think this is a great new feature for Yahoo! and it’s good to see them being inventive again.

As usual when big portals roll out features it seems that it’s only available to users of the my.yahoo.com domain rather than those of us who have correctly set our country to UK and are thus pointed to uk.my.yahoo.com. Still, removing the uk. portion of the URL allows you to see this feature.

One of my usability gripes about Yahoo! has always been the way the switch you between localised domains. You can read some content at news.yahoo.com and then suddenly be shunted to uk.news.yahoo.com with no obvious way back. It’s one thing they have needed to address for a long time. On the otherhand, I wait to see how good My Yahoo will become as a newsreader.

Anyway, add me. Thanks.

Link Dump

A selection of things that deserve more comment but won’t get it because time is a-ticking by.

Things I should speak about but there’s too much happening in the world:

  • The tories are holding a ‘gay summit‘ which is a shock to those of us that remember Margaret Thatcher’s rants. I am certain that, at one point, it was the Conservatives who wanted to round us all up shoot us.
  • Andy points to a site for hot Brazillian men – which amuses for some reason that I can not explain.
  • And over at Man of the Moment, I am receiving a lot of comment spam on Andrew Kinlochan which means I need to find the time to upgrade this instance of Moveable Type to implement some of the spam blocking features. In researching them, I notice there’s a whole raft of new functionality in the next release. I am, sadly, excited by this news.
  • Six Apart, the guys behind Movable Type, have grown phenomenally this year. Mena’s written something about it which goes to show how difficult it can be communicating when you’re a small company.
  • Lance Arthur has written 13 Reasons Why You Could Be My Boyfriend and, as always, it’s a very well written piece. But one of the items really struck a chord with me for some reason: ‘6: You Have Passion‘. It got me asking myself, ‘what subject am I passionate about?’ and, right now, I am not so sure (although I can go on about my new found love of the gym and roller casters if I am pushed). I don’t think that’s healthy.
  • Dan Savage got legally married – but to a woman: ‘We emphasized to the clerk and her manager that Amy and I don’t live together, we don’t love each other, we don’t plan to have kids together, and we’re going to go on living and sleeping with our same-sex partners after we get married. So could we still get a marriage license?’ How fantastic.
  • And I learned a new acronym today: SPIM (spam over instant messaging). You heard it here first (maybe).

What a great day.

Straight Men Are Shopping Kings?

New research by one of the leading retail institutes, based at Caledonian University in Glasgow, shows men are beginning to get even with the queens of shopping.

I have never been one to consider myself well dressed, fit or particularly over-groomed. Clean and tidy (I hope) but I have never been one to peruse the fashion rails at Selfridges for the latest gear. Therefore, I don’t consider that I fit any gay stereotype. However, it appears I now don’t conform to the male stereotype:

We surveyed a group of guys in Birmingham and they said rather than meeting down in the pub, they would now meet in Selfridges for a drink and then go shopping [source]

That’s it. Time to ditch the M&S shirts at once.

Recommend TV To Me

Television Recommendations via the web.

Oh dear, technology is really getting the better of me. Reading my selection at Bloglines, Matt at Hit or Miss pointed me to his TV recommendations page. One of his recommendations is Hedwig and the Angry Inch – which I have been meaning to view for a long while. So, a quick search at MyDigiGuide and I see it’s on Sky Movies 1 this Thursday. Now, when Sky+ implements some kind of web-interface I will be away.

Gay Weddings This Week?

According to The Observer today, the Civil Partnerships bill will be published on Wednesday

According to The Observer today, the Civil Partnerships bill will be published on Wednesday. Certainly I am in favour of the bill as I think my relationship with PY deserves some recognition of the 12 years we have spent together. But it’s not marriage and, therefore, there’s no equality. Still, as they say, one small step at a time.

The same paper is also reporting that the Irish parliament is about to be facing the same debates. Shame Mr Bush doesn’t look too Europe for more than just hired guns.

Live From The Red Carpet

Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Bloggie awards.

Did I miss much while I was away? I know I missed Tom winning a Bloggie or two – congratulations to him. plasticbag is always interesting reading but ‘Why do bloggers kill kittens?‘ must be one of my favourite posts of recent times. His idea of ‘a representation of a person online’ is a good idea about what a site is – including mine – but I have to say that I just plain enjoy his writing – regardless of if I agree with it or not.