Moby’s first week. (Now 16 weeks old)

It has been an incredible first week.

Potty training is coming along quite nicely. We don’t even have to leave out puppy pads for him. Relatively accident free. I wake up a couple of times a night to take him out… I have been cautiously listening for him to fidget or wake in the night… and if he does, I whisk him out back to the garden. Last night, one trip was all that was needed. I am looking forward to when he can go all night.

We have started going on walks, which has made me aware of that some things that I take for granted are quite unnerving to a young puppy setting out in London. Cars, for one thing. Cars are spooky for a little guy – and he hears them coming a lot further away then I do. Each time he hears a car, we pause, and wait to make sure it is going to pass by safely. It makes sense, really… but also slows down progress, especially during high traffic times. Our first couple of ventures would be more aptly referred to as “stops” than “walks”, as we were doing more of the former than the latter.

Last night was his first night out on the town. Hayley and I took Moby to a local pub – the Ferry Boat Inn in Tottenham. He did great – say patiently and just cuddled up. Sitting in a pub next to a fire with a dog is really nice.
I feel that he has grown a bit in the last week – he seems taller to me. His puppy belly is not quite as pronounced after he finishes eating as well. It will be interesting to see Hayley’s reaction to his size when she comes home from Switzerland next week. She will be away for five days… and I am going to assume that there will be a detectable difference in Moby in that time.

On Monday, we will be going to a puppy training / socialization session in Chingford. I am really looking forward to seeing how he reacts / interacts with the other dogs. I am really looking forward to just seeing the other puppies in general. I am guessing that there will be quite a number of puppies in attendance, given the holiday season.

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Puppy Training Sheet…

I made some puppy training sheet to hang on our fridge, to help in the puppy housebreaking process. I am going to laminate the paper, and use small round button magnets to hold the numbers / markers in place. The round puppy paw prints are going to be glued to the tops of the button magnets, and will be the markers for the timeline table.
Download the PDF of the PuppyTrainingSheet:

Feel free to use and enjoy. Released under creative commons license.

Creative Commons License
Puppy Training Sheet by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

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Sir Moby Monkey Scruff-a-Luffagus

Moby Monkey Scruff-a-LuffagusThe Duke of Poop has arrived. What a cutie. So far, he has proven himself to be an incredible eater and drinker – I have been blown away by his appetite and the amount of water he will drink down in a sitting. Along with those comes pooping and peeing – and he has a 100% accuracy rating on hitting his puppy pad so far. Good man! He loves his security blanket – I rubbed down his litter-mate friend with it (a little Westie that he grew up with – Moby was the only pup in his litter). He has the cutest puppy eyes, an affinty for chewing buttons… and really seems drawn to any cord, power cord, or rope. Also has his eyes on Hayley’s new Christmas slippers.

He really enjoys his new bed. He likes his rope bone. But most of all, he seems to love his Mr. Sheepytime blanket (his security blanket has a sheep on the top).

He is a scruffy little monster, with long legs and an incredibly fat little belly. He has a really thin whispy coat that I think will thicken up as he gets older. His underbelly is quite bald, as are a few spots on the back of his legs.

He is up at 11 pm tonight – after a couple of puppy naps. He will have a special rules night tonight in terms of settling in… but puppy pre-school starts tomorrow, and we will start to get him used to his new routine and rules.

He has been described as a malti-poo… but looking at images, I don’t think this can be entirely correct. He seems to have some terrier in him. Not a lot of maltipoos are entirely black either.

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The promise of energy for (next to) nothing: E-CAT

I am being drawn like a moth to a flame about reports surrounding the E-Cat (Energy Catalyzer), which is a Low Energy Nuclear Reactor, but is often labelled as a Cold Fusion device by the few reports I have seen.

I want to believe, but find myself waiting for the punch-line. Something along the lines of “It turns out that Rossi made the protective case and structural components out of 9 volt batteries” or another whacky revelation to that effect.

Could we be on the brink of a new energy source capable of providing nearly limitless electricity? Or the unravelling of an amazing web of lies and deceit? My assumption is naturally the latter, and I find myself waiting for the inevitable awkward moment when we all find out that it doesn’t work, it will never work, and the reports of success to date have been based on falsified and fictional data.

For the uninitiated, Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi, working out of the University of Bologna, claim to have developed a series of working models that produce useable electric energy in a novel way. The concept is to take Nickel, Hydrogen and some initial quantity of electricity as inputs, and produce copper and heat as outputs – the heat being sufficient to drive steam turbines for the purpose of generating electricity. The claim is that there is a net gain of electricity in the process. Presumably energy stored at an atomic level is being released from the nickel and hydrogen reaction – although I make no claims to having an understanding of how or if that is possible.

I am reminded of the “Bigfoot found” story that turned out to be an incredibly shallow and awkward hoax. Quite some time back, there was a story that a Georgia Police Officer and his friend had gone searching for a Sasquatch that was rumored to have been shot by a hunter in the wilds of Georgia. They were successful in finding the deceased creature, and made announcements of their discovery. Somewhat inexplicably, the pair decided to freeze the creature in a solid block of ice for preservation – rather than just keeping it stored in a frozen state (hint, hint). After a mass of press releases and buildup, they delivered the ‘beast’ to a third party for an exorbitant fee. They apparently but did not anticipate that this third party would have brought hundreds of thousands of BTUs worth of heaters to the “reveal” event, and it took hours rather than several days for their ‘Sasquatch’ to be revealed as nothing more than a Gorilla suit purchased on the internet stuffed with deer guts and discarded venison.

Will Rossi’s E-CAT turn out to be a boondoggle of similar proportions? Is this latest chapter in the cold fusion story going to turn out just as ugly, awkward, and smelly as the Georgian gorilla suit filled with deer guts and organs roasting furiously under propane jet heaters? I can only imagine.

A few background sources that are worth a gander if you have any interest:

Wikipedia – Presumably Neutral

Wired – Presumably Neutral but banging the drum passionately

E-Cat World – the PR Machine for E-Cat

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Some Apple Nostalgia – in memory of Steve Jobs

Thank you Steve Jobs. You have had a tremendous impact on my life. I still remember the Christmas when Apple entered my life, in the form of an Apple IIe. I remember the game with the rabbit in a maze, and using the arrow keys to get the rabbit to the carrot (part of the ‘Apple presents Apple IIe’ disk). I remember the beeps and clicks, and steady whirling of the Apple IIe as it fired up.

I remember waiting for my iPod 40gb. I stayed home from work, and kept hitting refresh over and over on the FedEx delivery site waiting for information on when it would arrive. When I saw the delivery man from the balcony, I ran out to him and just about tackled him to get my hands on that amazing bit of technology. That was back in the summer of 2004 – and it is still alive and well. What an amazing device.

My MacBook is a treasure. My iPod nano is a delight. Even though I choose Android over iPhone – I know the device has been made possible and made better in no small way by your constant and relentless efforts to advance both software and hardware.

Your work has indirectly touched my life in many ways, and my life is richer from your efforts.

Thank you, Steve Jobs.

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In Spain

Amazing views, wonderful people. Incredible food. Hayley and I ate pheasant and venison last night, both of which were hunted by the proprietor of the restaurant. I found two small bits of birdshot (lead) in my dinner – proof positive that the bird was indeed shot down (rather than farm raised).

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Testing posts from Android

Gypsy Wedding

Gypsy Wedding in Walthamstow

Working on the integration of my phone and site.  This is a photo I took of a Gypsy wedding party.

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A good rant about Global Climate Change (David Mitchell)

I ran into this clip from David Mitchell, which does a good job expressing a perspective on Global Climate Change that I share, but have been unable to express as eloquently:

Also, this cartoon seems to sum things up nicely as well:

What if we improved the planet for nothing?

What if Climate Change is a hoax?

It doesn’t matter if you can find someone, somewhere, who says it isn’t going to happen. You still have to take a look at the impacts of identified risks (no matter how likely they may be), and weigh them properly. A planet insufficient for human habitation is a significant risk. All the more so when you consider that it is the only planet that humans currently have available for occupation.

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London 2012 – Orbit (the Red Monster)

2012 London Orbit
I went out yesterday to Pudding Mill Lane, to an overlook area where you can see the progress on the London 2012 Olympics construction. Of particular interest to me is a public artwork called “ArcelorMittal Orbit” (although the locals are already referring to it as “Orbit” – dropping the reference to the ArcelorMittal steel company who has provided some funds for its construction in return for the sculpture bearing its name). I am choosing to refer to it as “the Red Monster”. Although it claims to incorporate the five Olympic rings – red is all I can see, twisting and turning in a form that is less focused on being aesthetically pleasing – and more focused on being ‘twisting and turning’. I also feel that the artist has borrowed heavily from the concept of a Klein bottle, but that is not a bad thing.

In a BBC interview with the artist, Anish Kapoor’s enthusiasm, pride and glee comes pouring out as he speaks about the sculpture, and the long term legacy that he feels the statue will hold. It is great that he gives tremendous credit to Cecil Baumond, the engineer on the project. He also speaks of the sculpture as being “truly 21st Century”, and they speak further about the “permanance” of the structure as a component of the London landscape… almost to the point of predicting that it will be “the” defining element of London”. This exchange at the end of the interview seems to sum it up nicely:

BBC: “and will this be permanent, then, on the London Landscape. Its going to be an artwork forever?”
Anish Kapoor: “That’s the idea.”
BBC: “New York’s got the statue of Liberty, and London is going to get The Orbit.”
Anish Kapoor: “Indeed.”

The comparison to New York’s Statue of Liberty is a bit disconcerting from my perspective, given that the statue of Liberty was created to be the enduring image of a new life, a new set of opportunities for folks who were for all intents and purposes the astronauts of their time… leaving behind all loved ones and all that they have known to start a new life in a new world. There is a reason behind why the statue of Liberty has become the iconic image of New York – and the United States – world wide. There is a reason why it has endured. It is the symbol of the hopes and dreams of wary travelers – those who would become Americans. It is the symbol of the lowly peasant or worker leaving it behind to attain greatness. It is a symbol that represents the imagination of those who never made the journey as much as those who did. It is the iconic experience their families and friends would envisage when they spoke of their loved one going to America. It encompasses hopes and dreams as well as sacrifice and lament. And the statue of Liberty represented generations upon generations of immigrants and their families. The statue of Liberty represented anyone who was willing to take a chance. It was not elitist – it welcomed the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

The Orbit, on the other hand, represents the hopes and dreams of a very select group of international athletes in one given summer. It has been designed to look like it is falling over, and to be very “new”. As anyone who has ever purchased a new cutting edge piece of technology can attest – everything new gets old fast. The newer it is – the older it seems to get. The defining artistic concept behind this work is that it looks as though it is going to topple over – that it does not appear to be inherently sound in structure. It appears as though its demise is imminent. And that, I believe, will be the legacy of the Orbit. Its demise is imminent… but the darned thing just won’t fall. Rather than being the timeless icon of generations of hopes and dreams, the Orbit represents a boat load of money being spent on the frivolous by and for the elite.

The Orbit will stand proud as an icon of the 2012 Olympic games… countless television stations will use dynamic camera moves panning out and away from orbit and then pushing in towards the stadium with that booming kettle drum and sharp brass horns music in the background that is so recognizable as the sound of the Olympics. There will be early morning versions, and mid-day, and of course the ubiquitous night time scene framing some of the highest interest track and field events. Every morning talk show worth its salt will have time booked at the main observation level for a morning broadcast or two. The Orbit will be the toast of the games. Each commercial break will be preceded by a shot pulling away from the Orbit, and you will know that they are done selling you car insurance and toaster strudels when the Orbit re-appears in all its red shiny glory. The Orbit will be the icon of the 2012 Olympic Games. And then the games will close. The stadium will be handed over to West Ham. And the Orbit will still just be there.

The biggest issue I have with the Orbit – and the 2012 games in general – is where they have decided to put them. It was one heck of a trek to get out to the area where the games are. Getting home to Walthamstow involved taking a DLR train (every 20 minutes in rush hour) to an overground train (running every 15 minutes in rush hour), to an underground tube station, to a transfer, to a bus. I skipped the DLR train on my way out to the site, in the hopes that I would be able to take a stroll through the local area, and perhaps get a feel for the setting.

The stadiums are set back behind miles of highway overpasses and barrier walls and all sorts of traffic confusion. I cannot imagine that they will be able to come to a safe and efficient method of transporting the millions of people that are likely to visit during the course of the games to this site without massively increasing the public transport options during the duration of the games. They will set up train lines and bus service to efficiently move people from some central London location and plop them right smack dab in the center of the Olympics. Walking to the site will be discouraged to the point of making it darned near impossible. The roads and highways in the area simply cannot handle that kind of foot traffic. The grand majority of tourists coming for the games will not set foot in East London. If the Olympics stadium grounds were Disney Land, East London would be the tunnels and behind the scenes areas used only by the Disney employees. Entrance into East London by the tourists will be strictly discouraged.

East London is not going to benefit from the hoards who come out to the Games while they are taking place, but they will get a big boost in the economy for the summer. Having the games means having loads of new jobs paying a premium price for unskilled labor. Local pubs and restaurants will get a huge boost from the increase in discretionary income many of the residents will gain.

Once the games are complete, the efficiencies in mass transportation bringing Olympic participants to the site will be shut down. Getting to Pudding Mill Lane, or to the stadium grounds and Orbit, will be a pain in the arse. It will take at least forty-five minutes to an hour to get to the site from anywhere in London. It is not a trek that anyone is going to want to make more than once. It will be limited to the odd tourist who is taking advantage of extremely low rates for coming to London post 2012 games. There will be a glut of hotels built up to meet the demands of the Olympics, and in the aftermath – no one around to occupy them. London tourism will fall rather than rise after the games – based on the “you should have been there last summer” mentality. “Why go to London now? You missed the games.”

Perhaps more problematic is the fact that you will not only have a massive tourism die-off – but the jobs associated with hosting the games will quickly dry out. Unskilled labor that was previously being paid a strong premium for working in the area will hit the rolls of the unemployed simultaneously. They will also have an artificially inflated sense of what their time in employment is worth. Jobs post-Olympics are going to be problematic in the area.

East London in particular is going to have a rough time coming down from the high of hosting the 2012 Olympic games. It is going to be a downer. And the symbol of it all – right in the middle of the stadium grounds wrapped in highway overpasses and a forty-five minute ride on mass transportation away will be the Orbit. The symbol of it all. Unwieldy. Unstable. The statue that just won’t go away. Fading. In desperate need of a washing. Home to pigeons and all that they do. Faded by the occasional bit of sun, and the weather and rain.

The worst part is what comes next. The economic downturn and sense of abandonment will hit the locals hard. Someone is going to snap. Someone is going to have enough. And the Orbit is going to be there, taunting them, as the symbol of when times were better. A reminder of a broken promise that they were pretty sure they remember someone making about East London rising. That damn statue. Someone is going to climb that statue with no interest in coming back down the easy way. That statue is going to be there when the best of times are gone, staring them in the face. That statue is going to be far too easy to climb when the hoards of security guards are long gone. That once bright red statue now faded in luster and dull in patina is going to take on a new meaning for the locals of East London. That statue should have never been red from the start.

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New Home – E17 in London (Walthamstow)

  • Dollars swapped for pounds
  • Pound signs on the phone swapped for Hash signs
  • Normal keys exchanged for Scooby-Doo style keys
  • Delicious cold beer exchanged for warm, flat ale
  • Cents exchanged for pence
  • Loads of storage space exchanged for no storage space
  • Ineffective mass transport (metro) exchanged for effective Tube Stations, Oyster Cards, and big red double-Decker buses
  • Squirrels exchanged for Urban Foxes
  • No national healthcare exchanged for National Health Insurance

Other thoughts: I now live in a country where the wildlife cannot kill me for the most part. That being said – crossing the street is a dangerous activity, as I am programmed to look in the wrong direction when crossing.

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