Saturday, November 24, 2012

Here we go again again again

Things have been quiet for a few months in Thailand, so to create unrest a fascist group called Pitak Siam as decided they don't want a democratically elected government and want a coup instead! Yes, that's right, they want a military coup!!!!

Someone as just tweeted "Thailand is the only country that as a right to vote, but some would prefer a military coup".

Lets hope the rule of law prevails.

Latest......tear gas is being fired at protesters trying to get to Government House.....

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Norco Nitro 6.2 MTB

I have just taken the opportunity and taken advantage of the "Ride to Work Scheme". Last year I bought my Boardman road bike. This year I decided to get a new MTB instead.

I settled on a brand that I had never really heard of, Norco is a Canadian company better known for its extreme downhill bikes. Now they've crossed over into more main stream bikes. The Nitro 6.2 model is a middle to top end bike that is definitely geared towards fast cross country riding. The frame is super lightweight, with the whole bike coming in at only 12kg.

A lot as changed in the world of MTB's since I last bought a good bike, namely disc brakes. They're Avid Exlir 3 hydraulic brakes fitted, excellent pieces of kit that stop perfectly. The forks are Rock Shox Recon Gold TK air action, these were dialled in at the shop to suit me. The 2 major differences that I noticed on the ride were that there only two chain rings on the front instead of the usual three. This is made up for with a massive 11-36T rear cassette on the rear. I must admit, I didn't notice a difference. Also the gear shifters are a push push system unlike the push pull shimano system I'm used to, this will take a bit of time to get used to.

Overall, the thing that impressed me most was the lightweight feel to the ride, I've raced on heavier road bikes in the past.

After the first ride I give it 7.5/10, hopefully after my fitness gets something like I'll appreciate this lean, mean machine.

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Monday, October 22, 2012


Today the UCI confirmed it was ratifying the USADA finding on Lance Armstrong.
It's a sad day indeed for the cycling community, basically the years between 1997-2005 have been a complete waste of time. People in the sport have made me look a fool, the number of times I've defended cycling against people who think it's a drug ridden sport being competed in by junkies is to many too mention.
The only thing I'm waiting for now is for Lance Armstrong to come out and declare he was a doper and a cheat and is sorry for the millions of people he has let down.
What makes me even madder at myself is the fact that I still want to believe in the man! Everything is pointing to him cheating, the UCI, all his sponsors have left him including Nike and Oakley and not one person as so far backed him up.
Oh well, at least we've got Team Sky. However, if anything ever comes out about them, I will stop following cycling as a sport.....

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lance Armstrong

This week, the doping scandal that as dogged 7 times Tour de France winner came to a head.

The USADA published a 1000 page report into what mounts to systematic doping during the US Postal days between 1999 & 2006. It can't be good reading for Lance Armstrong. A lot of the report is a re-hash of what as been out there in the public domain already. A lot is made of the testimony of ex team mates, some of these from proven drug cheats, who to be honest are cheats in sport so cheats in life, so I discount their testimony.

However, the killer blow comes from ex team mate and friend George Hencapie. George, whom I've always had a lot of respect for says that at his time at USPS he was part of a massive fraud to get round doping controls.

I'm in a strange place at the second, Lance Armstrong and own suffering and motivation got me out of a very dark place when I was ill back in 2003. His books and DVDs were inspirational, making you forget how ill I was and carry on with life.

His sporting achievements may be in the dock, but his work with his cancer foundation "Livestrong" as been outstanding, I still wear a yellow wristband, when this one breaks I will buy another.

I am prepared to give L A the benefit of the doubt for the moment. If the silver bullet ever turns up and this would mean L A actually admitting he was a cheat, then I will have to think again about my thoughts towards him.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Cycling a year on

I've had my Road bike for a year now and feel like I should comment on what taken up a good bit of my life in this time.

I bought my Boardman Race Team with the governments "Ride to Work" scheme. This scheme allows you to lease a bike for a year and have the cost deducted from your salary, this means you earn less and at the same time pay less tax and NI. So the £1000 cost me roughly £580...

The bike reinvigorated my love of cycling, now when I don't get out on my bike at least once a week I get grouchy. I've met up with several people I've not seen for ages and have been to places I'd forgotten about.

I've ridden approximately 1200 miles this year and can honestly say I've enjoyed nearly all of them.

The Boardman has really stood up well to the task. The only thing I've changed on the bike is the handlebar tape, although the tyres will be ready in a few weeks, but still super happy with the bike.

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Bring back torture

We have all heard about 5 year old April Jones this week. She was abducted from outside her home in Macynlleth in Mid Wales on Monday evening.

There as been a massive search undertaken by locals and police, on Wednesday a local man, Mark Bridger was taken into custody on the charge of conspiracy to kidnap.

Poor April as still not been found and as of yesterday, te police had to release Bridger or charge him.

Sadly he as now been re-arrested on charges suspected murder! We all what this probably means?

My point is, if the police have enough evidence to think Bridger is the culprit then why aren't they using all avenues to get the information out of him and I'm a little ashamed to say, maybe the use of more forceful means to extract info should be used!

Sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures. (Sorry liberal do-gooders)

I hope they find April soon...

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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Abu, please go

The so called priest who hates all things west and would like to see all none Muslims dead by any means, Abu Hamza is still fighting his extradition to the US.
He doesn't want to go to the US, which is pretty understandable, they haven't got the best reputation when it comes to terror suspects.
However, Hamza as tried every single avenue to escape extradition and is using a system he sees as corrupt to help to try and protect him from justice.
He is a very evil man who as a set of beliefs that include murdering innocent people, the sooner he is sent back to the US the better.
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Hip Hip Hooray, a victory for common sense.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Bad Chris, Epic Fail

From the promise I made at New year to concentrate on my blog till now I have really let myself down. I've missed so much that as happened in the world.

News from around the world, things like the Olympics, Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France. I've changed my job within the company I work and of course Elizabeth just keeps on evolving into a lovely girl. I will try over the next few days to put some order and volume back to my blog. I will slot them into the correct time zone.

Blogs will include:

The Tour de France 2012
The Olympics
The Tories, What have they ever done for us?
New Job
Thailand, One year with Yingluck
Thailand 2013
Diabetes, two years on

Happy reading...

Friday, August 24, 2012

True Conservatives

David Cameron doesn't care about you!

After what seems an eternity, it is time for the Conservative government and the poodles the Liberals to be put up scrutiny.

First of all let me explain where my political alligence lies, I like to think of myself as a left of centre leftie? Basically, I believe in sharing wealth amongst the people who work for it and if you work for it, you should get out of the system what you put in to it. I'm for the Common Market, but not a united Europe. I would like to see the return of capital punishment, tougher sentences and the return of Borstal's. Immigration, should not be an open door, but if you can come here legally, then I have no problem. If you are here illegally, then you should be sent back to country of origin straight away. The NHS and the social welfare scheme rule!

Unfortunately, this Government in the name of paying our national debt off have gone cut crazy! The armed forces are being cut to the bone, the police have really been cut back. To see a policeman on the street these days is a rare sight.

Local services from the fire brigade to services for the disabled are being cut or farmed out to private company's, which are probably owned by Tory chums.

Some employment laws are being messed with, making it easier to fire people.

The usual Tory mantra is holding true" The rich are getting richer". It always happens under a Tory Government.

I can't think of a single thing that the Tories have done which benefits a normal household. A raising of the Tax threshold was good, but soon got eaten up by higher petrol and power prices.

Enough of this moaning! this is what I would do:

Cut the deficit at a slower pace.
Stop pumping money into the money market, pump it into people trying to get a mortgage and help SME's.
Cut VAT on British made goods to 10%, this will help British goods and maybe get foreign companies to start making goods in this country.
Make every one pay a flat rate of 15-20% tax, this means EVERYONE! even billionaires...

I'm sure someone will give me a dozen reasons why this will never happen, but I'd like to give them a try.

Monday, August 13, 2012

London 2012

I was living in Thailand when the London won the Olympics, and to be quite honest, I've been dreading them. Mainly because of the security issuesw. Just to big a target too miss. Then I didn't manage to get any tickets.

However, after an outstanding opening ceremony and a performance to shout about from Team GB finishing third, I'm really pleased with how the event went.

Obviously British Cycling ruled the roost scooping seven gold medals. Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny, Vic Pendleton and the track team couldn't stop winning golds. In the TT, Brad Wiggins won Gold and became the countries favourite sportsman.

Track and field did well, with Jess Ennis winning a superb Heptahlon and Mo Farra won two golds at 5 and 10K. The pony club did excellent and the rowing squad did there usual sterling work, winning seven medals. The swimmers were a bit of a let down, doing well in themselves, but being beaten by a better performance from the rest of the world.

I watched the Olympics at every occassion. The BBC did an outstanding job of the coverage, I don't thnk any of the other channels got a look in.

The torch as been passed on to Rio, they will have a massive job trying to up stage London 2012.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

First medal London 2012

At last, on day two GB have their first medal, a silver medal in surprise, surprise Cycling!

Lizzie Armisted broke away with two other riders with 50km to go and stayed away till the line.

Unfortunately, one of the other riders was Maria Van Boss, who is one of the best sprinters in the women cycling. lizzie gave it her all in shocking conditions and just missed out on gold.

Well done Lizzie.

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London Olympics 2012

The time as finally arrived, the 2012 London Olympic games have now started.

There have been a lot of negative press about the games, striking train drivers, passport staff and the army being called in for the lack of security.

However the opening ceremony was a true spectacle! Directed by Danny Boyle and a volunteer cast of 1000's and a true example of what the UK can do when we put our minds to it. The photos were taken at the ceremony.

I think our inept coalition government should take notice, give the people the tools and we'll use them...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tour de France 2012

I've been cycling since 1980. I remember when you used to get a five minute slot on ITV Sport on a saturday afternoon, usually telling you that Sean kelly was winning the Green Jersey and Bernard Hinault was dominating the event.

In to the 90's, Channel 4 revolutionised the coverage of the event, but even then a British win was celebrated with a good knee's up, sadly I rearely got drunk. We had victories for the likes of Robert Millar, Sean Yates and Chris Boardman.

In the following ten years, David millar and Bradley Wiggins kept the faith for the UK, but not until 2010 and the formation of the Sky Cycling team did Britian have a chance of winning the tour.

Que this year, Bradley Wiggins has won most of the warm up events before the Tour and the Team they have taken to the Tour is near perfection.

Wiggins got 2nd in the Prologue and went on to win the yellow Jersey at the end of first week and with the help of Chris froome from his Sky Team he held on in the mountains and secured the win with an outstanding victory in the last TT. Other stage winners for Britian included Dave Millar, Chris Froome and of course Mark Cavandish the World Champion..

When Bradley Wiggins stood on the podium at the end of the Tour in Paris, I was so happy and proud. My competetive cycling days are behind me now, but it doesn't stop me from being proud of a sport that as been my life.

Oh, and lets not forget the side burns!!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

iPad 3 Review

Last week I purchased a Apple iPad 3 tablet.

I seem to have fallen behind some what on the tablet technology front, I have been quite happy either using my phone, Netbook or PC to access the outside world.

My primary use for the tablet will be to access social media sites including Facebook and Twitter. I use the apps to get on sites such as eBay, Amazon and PayPal. I look at the Internet very rarely, most of my time spent on the BBC site.

The iPad itself is very easy to use, just like having a big phone! You just register it and sign in to iTunes. This is also my biggest bug bear, I can't abide iTunes! I much prefer the android OS. Drag and drop is the future. Also some apps I downloaded for my old iPhone, you cant use them on the iPad, so that's a bit of a rip.

The most positive thing about the tablet is the screen, the sharpness is excellent, the boast of better than eyesight is probably true.

Elizabeth loves it and as picked up like a duck in water. She thinks it is her tablet. Actually, it might as well be! I've just started a new job at work and guess what? The main avenue of reporting is an iPad! So now we have two in the house.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Position

I have been with my current employer for only 18 months. It as been an up and down relationship, mostly up.

It is a large company with a large company mentality. Getting used to this was a trial and nearly cost me my job.

Recently the opportunity came to move up within the company, it is an a Auditor to our largest customer, going round their sites nationwide and audit the items we supply to them.

Amazingly after a 2 hour interview and a half day doing the actual job with one the guys who already do the job, I was given the position. A nice salary increase, car, phone, laptop and a iPad later, I'm off doing a new job.

Life is going good for a change.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Boardman Road Team 2012

I've had my Boardman Road Team for over 8 months now and feel that I should write a review on this bike.

When I first got the bike, I was staggered by the weight (or the lack of it). Coming in a around 8kg, its the lightest bike I have ever owned. Getting on it first time was akin to be on some sort of performance enhancing drug. Light and responsive and nearly a joy to go uphill.

I did have problems with the bike during the first couple of rides! The bottom bracket made a grinding noise during the first ride, I took it back to Halfords and they corrected it straight away, saying it was a common problem from the factory fit it China. Then the front wheel kept on getting loose spokes and going out of true. This was way past the skill of the Halfords staff, so I had to take it to a proper bike shop to be repaired. Since these problems the performance as been flawless.

The Shimano 105 gears are just what you would expect from Shimano, peform every time, never let you down and have a sweet change. The rear cassette as a 25T big sprocket, because of my fitness, a 27T would have been better. Not a fault of the bike, but me.....

After the initial true up, the wheel set is outstanding and the Vittoria Zaffir tyres have been more than a solid ride. In fact, I've nearly rode the tyres now for 1000 miles and they will be changed in the next few months.

The carbon forks have been very comfy, although I have noticed that the ride can get a little harsh over rough tarmac, but I guess thats aluminium for you.

Handlebars are perfect width and height, the stem is probably 15mm too long for me, but I have gotten used to it and will stick with it.

My verdict on the Road Team is a sound 10/10

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Yingluck, 1 year as PM

Yingluck Shinawatra (Still pretty hot)

It was just over a year ago that Thailand changed Government. From the totally right wing establishment party "The Deomocrats" back to the populist Peau Thai party run by fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra. Well! The party is officially run by his sister Yingluck, but everyone knows who is calling the shots.

It as been a traumatic year with the biggest issue being the floods in December and January, sad to say for Thailand, same old rule came in to being. Protect the rich and flood the poor. From Auyutaya in the north to northern Bangkok the flooding hit like a tsunami in slow motion. The destruction caused was staggering.

On the political front, the old red and yellow confrontation is still taking place, although the yellow shirts are very much in decline, however they refuse to go the whole hogg and die. The red shirts have become inboldent and in some cases been at odds with the Yingluck Government. Graft is same same, maybe worse although a poll of Thai's say they have pretty much excepted it as a way of life.

The problems in the south have continued, just as barbaric and just as covered up from the rest of the world.

Populist policies have included, a Tablet for every school child is being rolled out and a fund to help people buy a new car for first time as gone down well. A new minimum wage as come in to effect, many boss's predicting an economic meltdown.

On the foreign policy side, the Yingluck Government as probably done better than the Democrats, maybe because of the lack of blood on their hands. Relations with Cambodia are alot more peaceful.

So in conclusion, I'll give Yingluck a strong 6/10, it would have been better if she had helped the people more during the floods.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

That time of year again

It must be the end of May/start of June, because there is more unrest in Thailand.

This year it's PAD (Peoples Alliance (against) for Democracy)who seem to be aggrieved about something. Namely a Reconciliation bill that is being debated and if passed could see the return of the Fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

PAD have such an hatred for Thaksin, and any Bill that may mean seeing him on Thai soil will be opposed to.

So instead of the usual ways of opposing a block, PAD just surround Parliament and refuse to let any ruling party MP's into the chamber. Simple!

The Thai Police were their usual inept and pathetic body of men, their non confrontational stance emboldens protesters of all persuasion and in the end makes things even worse.

Anyway, these protests are always look good in the international press, gives some people alot to laugh at.

Thai Police take it easy

Sunday, April 29, 2012

UK Drought 2012

Below are a few pictures of the effect the recently declared drought is having on the UK...

Apparently, May is going to be cold and dull....

No surprise then.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Thailand Swelters

The best place to be in the heat...

This last 2 weeks, Thailand has been sweltering in some of the hottest temperatures on record, and with no sign of a let up, people are beginning to complain.

Electricity consumption to power Air Con units as hit new demands every day and the Government is having to think of ways to help the poor pay for the extra usage.

Temperatures have been hitting 40C in Bangkok and in Central Thailand they have nearly hit the all time record of nearly 43C.

The good thing about this time of year, the humidity isn't quite as bad as usual so it's a more plesent heat, although anyone with no Air Con might disagree with me!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Drink and Drive, nearly compulsory

During the time I lived and spent in Thailand, I was never able to comply with the near expectation that I should drink and drive!

At times such as Songkran, the road death rates in Thailand sore to nearly 300 in five days. The carnage is shocking! Most of these road deaths involve at least one party being drunk. It is the norm to drink and drive.

Should you ever get stopped, a few hundred baht given to the Officer that stopped will solve any issues involving you being pissed. In the UK shame is used as a tool to stop people drink driving. If the shame doesn't work, then loosing your license, higher insurance policies and even jail deter most people.

I have been told by close friends in Thailand not to worry about drinking and driving, "everyone does it". Sadly I can't bring myself to do it! I couldn't cope with the guilt for the rest of my life.

Has the picture shows, even large breweries like Carlsberg endorse drink driving! I'm not sure our Advertising Standard Agency would like this advert.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Multiple bomb day in S. Thailand

This is my 750th post on this blog. Sadly its more of the same with multipe bombing in Southern Thailand.

Around noon time in Yala, two motorbike and on car bomb went off within a few hundred metres of each. In classic terrorist fashion, the first bomb went off and drew people to help with the wounded, then the other two went off catching even more people in the blasts.

Latest reports say eleven people have been murdered and over 100 injured, many seriously.

The second bomd exploded in the basement car park of an hotel in Hat Yai, at first it was thought that it was an explosion caused by leaking gas. Unfortunately, a crater has been found where the bomb was placed. This bomb killed five with over 300 injured. Amongst the dead are three Malay tourists. The Thai authorities aren't to worried about natives, but when tourists die they hope and pray no one finds out.

Luckily the rest of the world seems fairly uninterested in what happens in Southern Thailand, despite the deaths of 5000 people since 2004.

On the BBC website, it was still only reporting the deaths of 7 people in Yala, nothing about the Hat Yai bombing.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Man behind Red Bull dies

Today in Bangkok, the inventor and founder of Red Bull died. Chaleo Yoovidhya (89) passed away in Hospital.

He was a self made billionaire, who reportedly earnt Bht11M a day and was worth $5bn.

Red Bull began life in 1976 under the name of "Krating Daeng" which means "Red Gaur" Gaur being an Ox like creature found on the Thai-Cambodian border. When in 1986 he went in to partnership with Austrian, Dietrich Matechitz the drink went international, The brand became "Red Bull"

The Red Bull in Thailand is a very different concocsion than the carbonated verion we are used to in the west, it is a very sweet, stick solution and comes in a small brown medicine bottle. You do recognise the taste and smell.

If a person ever left a legacy to the world then Chaleo Yoovidhya trumps most people.