May 28 2010

Shoplifters To Terrorists

Category: In The MediaChrisM @ 8:55 pm

Another vague tie in to Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 again (a game I’ve been playing recently), as I came across a piece on high tech surveillance techniques that could be in use on battlefields within just a few years.
The fact that this concerns me less than behaviour-analysing CCTV systems that were touted in the last couple of years for domestic use is probably a purely selfish instinct. I’m not likely to ever find myself in a potential war zone, whereas the thought of being flagged for a higher level of scrutiny whilst wandering around a UK high street or shopping centre creeps me out a little. The end results should dictate a reversal of concern levels though – after all, if a security guard/policeman takes an interest in my shopping in Cheltenham or Swansea, I’m never going to encounter a predator missile suddenly being aimed at me. If the software or operators make a mistake in Afghanistan/Pakistan though, the error could lead to loss of life, not just an inconvenience.

Not Modern Warfare 2

The MW2 reference was that the article originally caught my attention as one of the photos reminded me of a level I’m trying to complete right now. Hopefully DanD will be able to come over again soon, as playing with two controllers isn’t particularly easy.

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Sep 04 2008

Downright Disgusting

Category: In The MediaChrisM @ 2:52 pm

Please see here for an update.

Morning everyone. I’ll hopefully be back to posting regularly soon – I’m almost recovered from a bug/flu/bad cold that I picked up on the flight back to Kazakhstan last week (Turkish Airlines are sadly not alone in the pitiful amount of fresh air (as opposed to the germ-laden recycled stuff) used on their flights).

Anyway, onto the reason I’ve made this post. First, please read this story from the BBC website. A brief summary is that a member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces was refused a room at a hotel in Woking. Apparently it is the management’s and/or hotel’s policy not to accept military personnel!

Corporal Tomos Stringer

As long term readers of this blog will know, I am not a supporter of the war in Iraq or Afghanistan per se; however, when it comes down to the lives of those individual people who voluntarily sign up to protect their country, I believe we should show some respect. Support the personnel, even if you don’t agree with the politics. I can only guess that the policy of the hotel has come from previous problems they have experienced with squaddies relaxing a little too much. If so, I can understand how large groups of physically fit men who are trained to fight would not be ideal guests. This does not appear to have been the situation in this case though. One lone man, who was on leave from Afghanistan due to an injury, and was in the area to visit another injured soldier friend needed a place to lay his head and rest for the night. Having been refused a room, Corporal Tomos Stringer had to spend the night in his car.

View Larger Map
(I believe the hotel is located in the centre of this map.)

I would ask all readers (especially those in the UK) to consider calling the hotel to register a complaint about this incident. If you live outside Britain, but still feel strongly enough, I can recommend using Skype (and purchasing some credit) to call the hotel – assuming your normal phone has high international call rates. This is what I did, and left a message for the duty manager. The lady answering the phone behaved in a professional manner, and I would ask any callers to remain civil and simply ask that their disgust with the management be registered and passed on to them.

The hotel’s phone number is (01483) 727100 , or if you are dialling internationally, +44 1483 727100 . Should you live in the Woking area, and have a few minutes spare to actually complain in person, their address is The Metro Hotel, Gwent House, Crown Sq, Woking, GU21 6HR. There are two different addresses listed by Google, with the same phone number, so I’m not sure whether one is simply a correspondence address.

If your job happens to include arranging overnight stays for staff in a hotel, then I would ask you to consider not using this hotel in the future.

If you do not feel anything wrong has occurred, I obviously respect your right to hold a different opinion, but thank you for taking the time to read this message.

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Jul 23 2007

Brown Holds Emergency Meetings Re. Floods

Category: Personal,WeatherChrisM @ 3:50 am

The British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, held a Cobra committee (Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms) meeting regarding the response to the national flooding problems. Glos.’s Gold Command emergency response team was represented by Tim Brian – it’s head. He was included in the meeting (via a phone link up) as my home county (Gloucestershire) was one the hardest hit counties. There was the normal amount of slopey shoulders and buck passing, as the government has come under fire for not providing help to prevent the flooding, and assistance to clear up the mess. Some have stated the current military deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq had made their assistance difficult in areas; the response was, no that isn’t the case, anyway, sandbags are the local council’s responsibility…
hey ho.
On a more positive note, it looks like there will be more funding put in place for proper flood defence systems in the future – whilst these may not completely prevent future floods, they may help to stem the flow, and give better warnings.

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Jul 20 2007

Tom Plus Afghans = Kyrgyzstan!

Category: Friends,PersonalChrisM @ 8:35 pm

I have been meaning to write a post on this subject for a while, but did not get around to it until now. Apologies Tom.
Anyway, as long term readers may recall Tom Toomey live here in Astana for a while, and we regularly met up to get drunk and eat too much have deep philosophical discussions whilst very drunk.
He returned to America earlier this year, and carried on blogging whilst there. It was good to be able to keep up to speed with his life. However, he recently went to Afghanistan (that most friendly of places to be if you are American!), for his regular annual trip to pick up some young men. And women. Perhaps I should clarify? Rather than any sort of romantic quest, he takes Afghan teenagers to Kyrgyzstan for a summer camp. Although British readers will probably only have come across the concept of summer camps through films and TV shows, I have been assured that this really does occur, and is not just some Hollywood invention ;).
So, if you would like to read Tom’s posts, head on over to The LifeOf2Me, and do make sure you read the older posts as well; whereas this blog tends to be random thoughts from the top of my head, his is seriously well written, if not deadly serious subject matter 🙂

PS He is a friend, not a business associate, so this post is not sponsored in any way, I would just really like any readers of mine who have not yet come across his blog to do check it out. Just don’t forget to come back here as well. I’m cool with polygamy 🙂

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Jun 08 2007

The Dragon Fart T-Shirt Has Arrived

Category: Friends,Personal,PicturesChrisM @ 1:34 am

TCat Designs Dragon Fart

As modelled by Pete.
For anyone who hasn’t yet visited, go and check out Tom’s online shop NOW. You will find a whole range of original t-shirts and other items, all designed by Tom.

TCat Designs is run by Tom Toomey, of The Life of 2ME blog. He is now back in America, having lived here in Astana for a short while. He and Walton are hopefully going to be in Kyrgyzstan this summer, running a camp for children from Afghanistan.

Nope, this isn’t sponsored, Tom is a friend, and no money was exchanged for this post.

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Jun 01 2007

Alan Johnston Video Released

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 2:48 pm

Just watching BBC World, and a video of the kidnapped journalist, Alan Johnston, has been released to the media.
He stated that he had been well fed, and not physically mis-treated.
He spoke of the actions of UK & USA government around the world, and how they were causing suffering.
There was indication where or, just as importantly, when the video was made.
The video was followed by a statement from his alleged kidnappers, detailing their demands. I’m not sure if they treated the audio track, used a woman or just had a high pitched person read their statement, but it sounded quite odd.

Whatever your view on America and Britain’s role in Afghanistan, Iraq & the backing of the Israeli state, Alan himself was never afraid to report the truth, and point out the injustices in the occupied Palestinian lands.

The mere fact that proof of his survival of the kidnapping itself is a good sign, but with no sign of when it was made, it is difficult to get your hopes up too high, just yet.

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