Robert Hampton

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November 2009

2nd November 2009

Weights and Measures
Posted by at 1.00pm | It's My Life | 1 response


80.5 kg.

I’m not quite sure how I managed that, considering I haven’t even been trying since last week, but in the absence of evidence that my bathroom scales are broken, I’ll accept it. ๐Ÿ™‚

5th November 2009

Just Say… Oh
Posted by at 12.04am | In the News, Politics | 1 response

I don’t know whether David Nutt was right to criticise the Government’s drugs policy or not, but I’m slightly concerned that the government’s decision-making process increasingly seems to be based on what will look good in the Daily Mail.

Scientists are not infallble, that’s for sure, but politicians seem afraid to tackle the issues head-on. It’s a debate that needs serious attention and careful thought. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like we’re going to get it.

In other news, seeing various combinations of “nut” and “sack” in headlines all over the place is very pleasing to the puerile side of my nature.

8th November 2009

Heaven Knows He’s Miserable Now (do you see what I did there?)

Last night’s Morrissey concert in Liverpool ended after a song and a half when someone chucked their drink at him.

This sort of thing happens at concerts sometimes and I wouldn’t normally single out Liverpool for criticism, but ever since the Echo Arena opened there have been many complaints about drunken behaviour from certain sections of the audience and a lax attitude to security. I wonder if there will be a general tightening up now in response to this.

9th November 2009

Weight Crime
Posted by at 1.01pm | It's My Life | No responses

79.5 kg! Another drop compared to last week.

Another few weeks and I’ll be at my target. The challenge then is maintaining it. But for now I’ll settle for the general feeling of well-being.

10th November 2009

Lest we forget… to use Tipp-ex
Posted by at 9.08am | In the News, Politics | 1 response

For possibly the first time since he took over as PM, I feel sorry for Gordon Brown. He takes the time to write a personal letter to the mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan, and gets criticised over bad handwriting and a spelling mistake.

Most other politicians would have dictated the letter to a secretary and had it typed. A few would probably have even used a form letter. Gordon Brown made as much effort as he could reasonably be expected to, and let’s not forget he is blind in one eye and partially sighted in the other. But that hasn’t stopped the Sun from launching a vicious attack on the Prime Minister.

To make matters worse, when he called to apologise, the paper recorded the entire conversation. Labour have accused the Sun of exploiting the mother’s grief, and I think they’re right.

It’s par for the course for the Sun, obviously, but please bear in mind that the Tories seem intent on destroying the BBC and giving Rupert Murdoch free reign over the media if they win the next election.

11th November 2009

Posted by at 8.00pm | Trains | 2 responses

I like the National Rail site. As well as the regular stuff about timetables and fares, there’s a glorious hodgepodge of miscellaneous trivia about the rail network.

Now they’ve gone even better, with Stations Made Easy. It’s an amazing site which contains maps and plans of railway stations. Not just major stations, mind you, but seemingly EVERY station on the network (although Stanlow and Thornton station, located within the Shell oil refinery near Ellesmere Port, is missing).

Even better, hover your mouse over each part of the plan and you get photos and information of every section.

Moorfields Station plan

It’s like Google Earth for trainspotters and a fantastic resource for anyone visiting a station for the first time, or even just the terminally curious. Some stations are not particularly photogenic, however.

My favourite one so far is Edale, where there’s a dusting of snow on the platforms.

16th November 2009

Rail weigh station
Posted by at 8.57am | It's My Life | 1 response

I appear to be the same weight this week as I was last week. THIS IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

17th November 2009

Sitting at the railway station, got a ticket to my destination…
Posted by at 1.28pm | Trains | No responses

The Government has released a new list ranking train stations, and look at the results:-

1. Manchester Victoria

9. Liverpool Central

Yet again Liverpool trails behind its fellow city. Manchester gets everything, we’re left behind…

Oh wait, this is a survey of the worst stations in the country. I can’t really argue with Central‘s placement on the list: when you’re forced to push your way past throngs of people on a platform that’s just too narrow, it’s the worst possible advert for Merseyrail that there could be.

The amazingly-named Lord Adonis is on a whistle-stop tour of the top ten today, visiting Liverpool Central to open the new MtoGo shop there. This being the era of Web 2.0 and all that, he is blogging about his day on the Department for Transport web site. I look forward to reading his thoughts.

The good news is that the Government has committed to upgrade the worst stations, which is ironic in the case of Liverpool Central, as Merseytravel have already tried for several years to get funding and have been knocked back.

19th November 2009

Net loss

I got home to discover that people who have no clue what they’re doing have been put in charge of the UK’s Internet policy:-

First, Lord Mandelson:

Mandelson says in his letter that he is concerned about “cyberlockers” รขโ‚ฌโ€œ websites that offer users private storage spaces whose contents can be shared by passing a web link via email.

“These can be used entirely legitimately, but recently rights holders have pointed to them as being used for illegal use,” Mandelson writes in the letter.

As an astute Guardian commenter points out, people’s homes can be used legitimately, but also used to store stolen goods. Therefore, by Mandelson’s logic, we should ban houses as well.

Rupert Murdoch, on the other hand, holds no official Government position, but regularly gets sucked up to by those in power (and those who want power), so we need to pay attention to him. But why is he so angry at Google? The search engine directs web users to his content, on his web sites, with his adverts.

Anyway, if he’s really so unhappy about search engines “stealing” his content, all he has to do is insert a 2-line robots.txt file in the root of to prevent it being indexed… and then watch his traffic plummet.

23rd November 2009

Sorry to keep you weighting
Posted by at 7.29pm | It's My Life | No responses

Almost forgot to do this! Compared to last week I am still 79.5 kg.

I seem to have reached a plateau (is it still a plateau when you’re going down, not up? Oh, who cares). On the good side, I didn’t really try at all last week and still didn’t put any weight on, which implies that, if I actually start making an effort again, I will start losing.

Need to knuckle down before yummy Christmas food starts tempting me. There’s already a packet of mince pies in the kitchen with about 5 million calories in each one. DO NOT WANT.

24th November 2009

Action Stations
Posted by at 6.02pm | Trains | 1 response

Britain’s railway system has something of a reputation for bureaucracy and inefficiency. Sometimes it’s well-earned, but other times it really comes through.

Some background: many bridges in Cumbria have been destroyed or rendered unsafe following the severe flooding of the past few days. Particularly badly affected is Workington, where the town has been effectively sliced in two by the loss of all the road and pedestrian bridges crossing the River Derwent.

The only bridge still open is the bridge carrying the Cumbrian Coast Railway. The only problem is that Workington has only one station and the next stop on the other side of the river is four miles away.

So Network Rail are building a new station.

Just like that.

Complete with footbridge, waiting shelters and car park.

AND it will be open by November 30th!

Genuinely impressed. Well done Network Rail!

30th November 2009

Sorry, but the weight goes on
Posted by at 1.14pm | It's My Life | No responses

Despite the objections of my family, who think that a short post about my weight once a week is indicative of an “obsession” on my part(?), the updates will continue.

For the third week in a row, I’m at the same weight. Clearly I need to try a bit harder.

That’s it. I’m OBSESSED, me! ๐Ÿ™‚