Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

“You can take the spoons but we’re keeping the knives and forks”

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

No, not a really bitchy divorce or couple splitting thing but something I heard and witnessed going through Dublin Airport this evening on the way back from a fantastic Digital Rights Ireland launch. In fairness the dumbass woman thought she could bring a 20pc cutlery set on to the plane.

Airport security in Dublin is to be blunt FUCKING STUPID. They make you take off belts, shoes, jackets, watches and dump everything from your pockets and fuck them all into one tray. Yes, stinking shoes put next to your suit jacket and in their somewhere is your rolex and mobile. Then you walk through and wait 5 mins for your shoes to arrive at the other side. Then the little hitlers bitch at you for not moving away. “Move along please you’re causing congestion”. Sorry, can I get my fucking shoes and tie my laces, grab my watch from the tray in the middle of the scrum and pour my loose change back into my hand? Dickheads.

Bruce Schneier defines this as “security theater”, it is ineffectual and designed to make us feel safer without being safer. I don’t feel safer that some pignoramus (woot, my new word) gets his thrills from smelling reeking feet and fantasising about putting people into cattle trains.

Perspectives – Why more “females” are needed and Poles and …

Friday, December 2nd, 2005

Sinéad is again talking about the lack of women in the Irish blog(g)osphere and has received some good comments on her post.

Auds from realitycheck(dot)ie replied saying she doesn’t think there needs to be a highlighting of women and thinks this is some kind of feminism and she’s not fond of feminism but she does say having the perspectives of women in the mix is a very good thing. Beth Bond and Suzy also left comments on Aud’s blog highlighting all the things feminism has done to improve the lot of women. UPDATE: Fiona has gotten into the debate too. I’d agree with what they say and would add that feminism did a lot for combating all forms of discrimination and created the framework on how to make things more balanced.

I wouldn’t see wanting and encouraging more women to blog as either positive discrimination/affirmative action or being hypocritical to equality. We need more in the blog gene pool, we need information coming at us which is not so homogenous and another shade of concrete. I’d like my blog to be like my (ideal) diet. A combination of so many things and well balanced too.

The Irish bloggersphere now is male and tech heavy and I feel getting more perspectives of women will make things more interesting and take conversations down new paths. I feel the same about introducing other people into the mix. I’d really like to get the perspectives of the “non-nationals” (Is there a better word? I dislike that term.) who we interact with daily in the real world but we don’t see in the ‘sphere. Apart from Tatiana I’ve not seen many blogging.

And then there’s the disabled, the invisble people who Suzy talked about yesterday and how they don’t appear to have a voice for various reasons. How many disabled are in the community and how many are in the blog community?

It may all be voyeuristic reading the blogs of people we are ignorant of but is it not more polite then approaching a disabled person and going “so you’re disabled then. What’s that like?” Actually I was asked once “So how’s this whole gay thing working out for you?”. People are ignorant but many recognize their ignorance and don’t know how to address it. Blogs may be a way of doing that. Read the daily lives of a cross-section of the whole of society and not just one small group. It’s not disruptive and is non-instrusive.

Yes, the IBTS are being homophobic

Thursday, December 1st, 2005

Sinéad talks about the IBTS and gay blood after reading Fiona’s posts about the IBTS.

I wrote a long piece on a webforum before about the IBTS and so I’ll reproduce it here and update it a little:

I’ve taken quotes from the IBTS site and I’ll highlight them and point out the ignorant arguments they put forward for being homophobic:

Q. Why does the IBTS not accept donations from men who have sex with men?

A. In line with all blood transfusion services in the developed world, the IBTS refuses to accept blood donations from men who have had oral or anal sex with another male. This policy was first introduced in the early 1980s when it became apparent that HIV could be spread by blood transfusions, and at a time when gay men represented the largest identifiable source of HIV transmission. The introduction of the ban on gay men was adopted before a test for HIV infection in blood donors was developed, and was very successful in reducing transmission of HIV from transfusions.

Right, so they are confirming that the ban was put in place at a time of panic and before testing. There’s been massive changes since in research and testing but we have 1980s attitudes still at play, but more about this later…

Just for the record there was a very strong case in the states a few years back for lifting the lifetime ban but the Red Cross which is very right wing Christian in America apparently vetoed the lifting despite two major blood donation groups wanting it lifted. Religion is just wonderful at times. I wonder if the ban was lifted in the states would Ireland and the IBTS follow?

They continue:

This policy causes considerable offence: it is clearly discriminatory against gay men, and categorises all gay men as being at increased risk of HIV; it has also been criticised because it seems to single out gay men to the exclusion of other groups in the community who also have an increased risk of acquiring HIV. In recent years heterosexual females have overtaken IV drug users and homosexual men as the largest group of new HIV cases in Ireland.

The IBTS accepts that they are being discriminatory; we discriminate against several groups in the community insofar as we refuse to allow them to donate blood on the basis of perceived increased risk of spreading infections through blood transfusion. These include anyone who has ever been injected with non-prescribed drugs, anyone who has engaged in sex for which they have been paid with money or drugs, people who have lived in Britain or Northern Ireland between 1980 and 1996 (because of the vCJD risk), people who have been in prison in the previous year, and several other categories.

Right, so they are saying they are discriminating but saying they are doing it for the safety of the population and they do exclude other groups too and have good reason. That almost sounds allowable, doesn’t it ?

But here is where it gets interesting and they catch themselves out:


Q. But what about testing?

A. While the testing currently used by the IBTS is the most sensitive available, no test can reliably detect HIV infection in the first ten days after someone has become infected. This means that a person who donates blood soon after becoming infected with HIV can transmit the infection even if the test for HIV is negative. For this reason all persons who are identifiably at increased risk of HIV are excluded. (Most of the heterosexual females who developed HIV infection in recent years would have been rejected as blood donors on the basis of residency in sub-Saharan Africa or other identifiable risk.)

The window of non-detection is 10 days. After that they can pick it up. So, something like a year ban would be good enough one would think. It isn’t 1980s Kansas anymore Toto, they have more modern and reliable testing methods so that they can check if you have HIV ten days after being exposed to it. You have got to wonder why there is a lifetime ban when they can detect if you have HIV if you were exposed 10 or more days ago.

HIV in the West appeared first among gay men in the eighties and had spread widely in the gay community before the nature of the threat was appreciated or understood. This indicates that men who have sex with men may constitute one route in the future through which a new disease, transmissible by blood transfusions, could find its way into the community before it is detectable. While heterosexual activity also represents a significant route of transmission now, the extensive spread of HIV through heterosexual activity in the West was considerably slower, and occurred predominantly after the disease was understood and methods to prevent its spread had been identified.

And there we have the homophobia. In other words “You people brought us AIDS and who knows what else you might bring in the future. You’re a threat to us. We don’t want your gay blood. ” That’s blatant discrimination.

To exclude someone on their sexuality and because down the line they may be prone to some new unknown virus is highly controversial and just plain wrong. If all Germans were banned from visiting France because in the past *some* of them invaded the country and there is no guarantee that they may not again, there would be outrage and everyone would agree it’s wrong.

Q. Why can’t you evaluate gay men on the same basis as heterosexual people?

A. It is arguable that the total ban on men who have had sex with men should be replaced by exclusion on the basis of activity rather than gender preference. Up to a point the ban is on the basis of activity ­ someone who is gay but has never had oral or anal sex with another male is not banned from donating blood.

Nevertheless it is true that the blood transfusion community uses a very blunt approach to the problem ­ but at present we know that this approach has been successful in the past, and is likely to provide the best level of protection to patients in the future should a new but similarly insidious form of infection appear again.

Again with the “they could give us another form of AIDS” excuse couple with the fact that what they did worked before so it might work again for these unknowns. So, they’re banning a people for their sexual practices on the basis that they might spread something unknown and to combat people getting this unknown they’ll ban gays from giving blood. It did work before, when they had no clue what the fuck was going on. The blanket ban worked but now testing works. This is like preventing hit and runs by carpet bombing every road. Sure it’ll work, but there has got to be other methods which are just as safe but don’t shun a portion of the population. Also nice use of the word “insidious” there.

Viruses can cause lethal infection with latent periods longer than ten or fifteen years. If a time limit were to be set so that men who had had sex with men in the past could be reinstated as donors after a period of abstinence, then that time limit would likely be very long.

They say “yeah we could allow some people but the ban would be very long.” So, it’s a start, its a sign that you trust us in some small way. Do it.

The United States has recently modified its ban on gay men, to men who have had sex with another male at any time since 1977. This means that gay men are accepted if they have been abstinent throughout the last 26 years. It is possible that the Europeans would consider such a move in the future; however the practical consequences are likely to be minimal.

And here they state that the 26 year time limit is so long they might not get anyone, so they’ll not put it in place. They have no scientific reason for this exclusion so therefore it is nothing but indirect discrimination due to laziness.


I was at a debate around this time last year where the IBTS debated a very weak UCC LGBT soc and the first thing the woman from the IBTS did was give a little summary of all the STDs that gay men contracted and showed how they had a higher and sometimes hugely higher amount of STDs than the straight population. A fantastic way of building your argument but not something becoming of an organisation funded by the Health Board.

I also helped the LGBT soc write a press release on this and I remember a local gay mens organisation refusing to help or support them. It wouldn’t have anything to do with getting funding from the Health board though. No gay organisation would ever ignore discrimination simply to keep their funding…

Brokeback Mountain

Monday, November 21st, 2005

The NY Observer recently reviewed Brokeback Mountain and are very positive about it. Quick summary is that it is a love story about two cowboys set in the 1950s. View the Brokeback Mountain trailer here. Lots of talk about Oscar potential. Nice little quote:

Brokeback Mountain declares that boy-on-boy is the new girl-on-girl.

The reviewer also mentions the fact that some men will probably walk from the show, though everyone going to it is bound to know it is as “that gay cowboy story”. Reminds me of when I went to see Cronenberg’s Crash and a few people walked out when *that scene* happened.

It’ll be interesting to see how many men will be in the audience to see this and of them how many will be straight and how many will walk. From what the reviewer says this movie is probably going to be marketed to the Oprah demographic so women and gay men I guess. I’d be interested to see a mainstream gay movie for a change that doesn’t involve drag or the main characters dying from AIDS, though it appears that one guy still cheats on his wife. Ah well, guess you can’t have it all!

Closing tabs – Thu 10th Nov

Thursday, November 10th, 2005

Via James is a link to the inline MP3 player

Going to will get you all mp3s with the tag “Irish”. Click on the ickle blue triangle on the left and the file will start playing. Inline media players are becoming quite popular. I really like the Google Video one, it appears to load really fast. Wonder will we see a Web 2.0 version of the Microsoft Media Player?

Via MeFi is a link to the Wikipedia entry on Michael Power – a Guinness marketing persona who has starred in his own movie to drive the Guinness brand in Africa. Not a fan of marketing but this seems like quite an interesting idea and it payed off hugely.

The campaign worked. Guinness led the African beer market by 50% in 2000. Brand recognition reached a reported 95%, and volume growth rose up to 50% in some markets.

kevin Burton on how Memeorandum can be rigged so easily. What is it with peoples love of that site? It’s so fucking ugly. It doesn’t seem to have the newest news more than the news everyone thinks is new.

BoingBoing talks about the Red paperclip meme. This started with a red paperclip and swapped it for something slightly greater in value. He wants to keep going til he gets a house. I wish him the best of luck. Like this quote:

About 100 people visited the site yesterday, and about 20 000 showed up today.

I’d buy an iPod just for these covers.

Nostalgia Nostalgia Nostalgia

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

There’s a voice that keeps on calling me. Down the road, that’s where I’ll always be. Every stop I make, I make a new friend. Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down, Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on.

Ulysses, Ulysses – Soaring through all the galaxies. In search of Earth, flying in to the night. Ulysses, Ulysses – Fighting evil and tyranny, with all his power, and with all of his might. Ulysses – no-one else can do the things you do. Ulysses – like a bolt of thunder from the blue. Ulysses – always fighting all the evil forces bringing peace and justice to all.

Knight Rider, a shadowy fight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist. Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless in a world of criminals who operate above the law.

This is my boss, Jonathan Hart, a self-made millionaire, he’s quite a guy. This is Mrs H., she’s gorgeous, she’s one lady who knows how to take care of herself. By the way, my name is Max. I take care of both of them, which ain’t easy, ’cause when they met it was MURDER!

Ten years ago a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem and no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-team.

One for all and all for one, Muskehounds are always ready. One for all and all for one, helping everybody. One for all and all for one, it’s a pretty story. Sharing everything with fun, that’s the way to be. One for all and all for one, Muskehounds are always ready. One for all and all for one, helping everybody. One for all and all for one, can sound pretty corny. If you’ve got a problem chum, think how it could be.

Oh yeah baby.

Lost WindowsXP Administrator Password – How to get it back

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

A friend’s laptop was given to me yesterday. He changed his Administrator password and shortly afterwards forgot what it was. So how does one go about getting the password back? Offline NT password and Registry Editor. Boot from a floppy or cd drive and into a Linux OS thingy which allows you to modify the accounts and passwords on your Windows NT, 2000 and XP.

So I did this and it bitched and complained that it did not do it right. I tried again and again. It seemed to work but when I tried to log into the pc with the reset (blanked) password it failed. It did however allow the amount of retries to enter the password to be unlimited, instead of 3. I tried a few more times, setting the password to blank or to something else. I set it to domino and tried logging in. No dice. I then decided I probably had to get the SAM file (where the passwords are stored) and crack it using LophtCrack, a password cracker that was developed by white hat hackers who started working for AtStake who were acquired by Symantec. That application disappeared after that. Bless BitTorrent for providing it to me.

To get the SAM file I created a boot disk using NtfsFloppySetup.exe, booted in and copied the SAM file onto the floppy. Copied it on to the computer, ran LophtCrack and started it cracking. It told me SAM files from XP are more than likely protected using SYSKEY. Shit. I tried it anyway and it cracked the password in a few minutes. Password was: diablo. Arghhhhh. I went to the laptop and tried this again and it would NOT let me in.

So, rebooted again and loaded the Offline NT password and Registry Editor disk. Changed the password to blank. Rebooted into XP and it logged me right into the system. Thank god.

One thing. After rewriting the password file XP complained on next bootup that the contents of the harddrive had changed and it needed to scan and fix any issues. I allowed it on some reboots and didn’t on others. This time I did not allow it to run diskcheck.

Other tools that may be of use are: Windows Password Renew 1.1 but you have to be logged into the system to reset the password here. I also found this interesting but difficult to use password cracker called Project Rainbow Crack.

UPDATE: Very handy bootCD that does rainbow cracking.

I know that I am dying and I wish I could beg

Friday, September 16th, 2005

Just watched My Own Private Idaho. Good movie with an odd ending. The kind I like. Inspired by Henry IV and Henry V apparently and I can see why. River Phoenix is brutally sweet and innocent and hurt in the movie. Keanu Reeves is Keanu Reeves. More wooden than a church pew. The movie ends on a song from the Pogues about the doomed life of a London rent boy. I’ve heard this song numerous times and never paid attention to the lyrics until now. I’m once again reminded of the absolute lyrical brilliance of Shane MacGowan. I think we haven’t appreciated his talent because he comes across as a stupid self-destructive paddy, something the noveau riche Irish don’t want to admit to as much anymore.

Lyrics to The Pogues – The Old Main Drag

When I first came to London I was only sixteen
With a fiver in my pocket and my ole dancing bag
I went down to the dilly to check out the scene
But I soon ended up upon the old main drag

There the he-males and the she-males paraded in style
And the old man with the money would flash you a smile
In the dark of an alley you’d work for a fiver
For a swift one off the wrist down on the old main drag

In the cold winter nights the old town it was chill
But there were boys in the cafes who’d give you cheap pills
If you didn’t have the money you’d cajole and you’d beg
There was always lots of tuinol on the old main drag

One evening as I was lying down by Leicester Square
I was picked up by the coppers and kicked in the balls
Between the metal doors at Vine Street I was beaten and mauled
And they ruined my good looks for the old main drag

In the tube station the old ones who were on the way out
Would dribble and vomit and grovel and shout
And the coppers would come along and push them about
And I wished I could escape from the old main drag

And now I’m lying here I’ve had too much booze
I’ve been shat on and spat on and raped and abused
I know that I am dying and I wish I could beg
For some money to take me from the old main drag


Friday, March 12th, 2004

Yeha, I’m going to rent a lighthouse for a weekend. How cool is that..

Romance is dead

Friday, January 9th, 2004

I was asked a few minutes ago to describe my ideal date. Please get your sick bags ready cos you will throw up 🙂 …

A gourment restaurant by the sea, during the summer when it stays bright to almost 11pm. We’d enjoy the meal in a quiet quaint restaurant, there’d be candles and the place would be gas lit.

There’d be a fire there too, gently burning. The stuff there would be unobstrusive leaving us enjoy the meal and barely disturbing us. Nice relaxing music would play in the background but wouldn’t be too loud.

After the meal we’d leave the restaurant and walk along the beach outside, the breeze would be slightly cool but refreshing. We’d walk along the beach holding hands. At the end of the walk we’d be met with someone with a champagne in a bucket of ice and two glasses. We’d sit down and take in the beach in the moonlight listening to the waves crashing in and then I’d kiss you.