Astronaut Terry Virts just tweeted this picture, probably as a response to the sad passing of mr Nimoy. Frankly, I love it – it is one of the most humbling images ever: at once a lament and an inspiration. I had no choice but to repost it here. What better tribute to the great man could anyone make? [img description=”undefined image” align=”centre”]/images/astrovulcan.jpeg[/img]

Leonard Nimoy indeed lived long, and prospered

Coming home after an afternoon out, I just checked the news, and saw this. ” Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr Spock in the cult sci-fi series Star Trek, has died at the age of 83 in Los Angeles, his family has said.” As a star trek fan, I am suddenly heartbroken: Nimoy, through Spock, helped make Star trek something I love. While I came to the franchise after the original series, I adore the films starring the original crew, which Nimoy both starred in and, in one or two, directed. Spock was one of the greatest characters, present throughout the franchise’s sixty-year history, and part of me hoped we’d see him again in forthcoming films. That will not happen now, and I feel deeply upset about it. I can only send you here, to one of my all time favourite star trek scenes, and say that Mr. Nimoy has been, and always shall be, my friend.

Tesco selects girl with cp as model

I’m not sure quite what to say about it in terms of commentary, but this bit of awesomeness demands linking to. Tesco has apparently selected a young girl with quite severe CP as a model for their children’s clothing range. ”Holly, who uses a wheelchair and communicates using a special computer system operated by her eyes, shone at the shoot and now features on the fashion pages of the Tesco website.” This is a small yet monumental step towards the full inclusion of people with disabilities into society; the somewhat patronising tone of the article aside, I welcome this wholeheartedly and with relish.

Streetview – the explorers handy compromise

Yesterday I was on my way home from a meeting up at the british museum, in relation to my work at the RIX centre. It had gone very well indeed, and I got some very useful networking done. On my way back to Westminster tube station, rolling through central London I felt the urge to explore. Even after five years living here, there are still places I haven’t been, roads I’ve never rolled down. Passing through Trafalgar square, I felt very tempted to make a detour under Marble arch and cruise up the Mall. But it was getting late, and I was due home.

However, I just did it. Using the wonderful Google Maps streetview, I was able to make the trip I was not able to yesterday. I know it’s not quite the same, and you do not get any of the true city experience sitting in your office, but when it’s cold, wet and dark outside yet you still feel like exploring, streetview is a very handy tool.

Recent action down at The Valley

Who would have thought such naughtiness went on down the hill. I just came across this story , revealing that ‘Charlton [Athletic] are investigating footage that appears to show a couple having sex on the pitch at The Valley.” I just looked it up on youtube, and it appears true. For the record, despite living a stones throw from he ground I had nothing to do with it. Frankly I’m very amused that something like this happened so close to us; it’s probably the best bit of action on that pitch for quite some time.

The controversy over Qatar

Although I’m not particularly keen on football, and although it doesn’t focus on one particular city, I feel as if I want to say something about the 2022 Qatar world cup. Since 2012, my eyes have been opened to sporting events, and big events in general, as a force for good in the world; a unifying force. As such, UEFA’s decision to award the right to host the tournament to Qatar, and the subsequent furore currently resulting from it, interests me.

Going with Qatar was a bold move to begin with. While the middle east is often in the news, it is a part of the world we seldom focus our eyes on for sport, competition or friendship. No city in the middle east has ever hosted he Olympics. Thus it is good to see the region being included, brought into the family, in this way. No doubt the increased attention on the region will make us more aware of it’s rich history and culture, which can only be a good thing. Let the world see Doha as they saw London.

At the same time, though, I have to feel slightly cynical about all this. Given it’s such a tiny country, not known for it’s love of sport, one must wonder what lay behind UEFAs decision. Plenty of other countries were bidding, including the UK, who are much better placed to host such an event. I’m sure I’m not the only one who can detect a whiff of corruption in the air. Now we have the farcical dilemma over whether to hold it in the summer or winter, moreover, part of me feels that they should cut their losses an restart the selection process. After all, I’d love to see another big sporting event in Britain.

We all know, of course, that UEFA is not going to do that: for starters, Qatar, it’s stadia already half built, would be up in arms. But with domestic leagues deeply discontent over yesterday’s decision over timing, UEFA is frankly making itself a complete laughing stock.

Update on yesterday

After posting my entry yesterday, I sent a link to it to the o2 facebook page. After two or three emails, I just received word that the o2 social manager has spoken to the Woolwich branch manager, who assured her that he will make sure it does not happen again. So, matter resolved? Victory? I have a feeling that that remains to be seen.

Two very different experiences

I think I ought to note something astounding. My iPad hasn’t been online all weekend. It turns out there was something wrong with the SIM card. When the problem first cropped up Friday, I razzed down to Woolwich heading for the O2 store there. Usually when such things happen, staff are very accommodating, and I expected that after a few moments of fiddling in my settings I would be back online. However the staff in the woolwich shop were extremely discourteous, ignoring me at first and treating me with something approaching abuse when I finally got their attention. They refused to even touch my iPad due to the few spots of dribble on it. They spoke over me, treating me like some combination of errant child and dirty animal. In the end they chose to get rid of me with the blatant lie that my connection will restore automatically in a few days.

Today, my iPad still firmly offline, I decided to go up to the O2 shop in the dome. The contrast in my experience today with that of Friday could not be more extreme. The staff were kind and friendly, going to some length to help me. They took my iPad, gave it a wipe with tissues, and a while later restored my connection. My SIM card needed a top up. I went away thanking them deeply, grateful to be functioning normally again.

Yet I still feel hurt about Friday. It is now clear they were lying to me, naming excuses not to help me out of what boils down to pure discrimination. In fact, I am now strongly considering making a formal complaint.

Luke F’s twenty-first

I mentioned yesterday that we were going to a party. It was my friend Luke’s twenty-first*, and it turned out to be quite a great evening. It was at a pub in Sydenham the same one, if memory serves, as last year – and it became clear pretty soon after we arrived that Sally had put in a fair bit of effort organising it. There was champagne, a DJ, and, later in the evening, a stripper. We all had a lot of fun; I think Luke enjoyed himself most of all. I haven’t seen much of him recently, so it was good to catch up, hang out and party on. Hopefully we can meet up again soon and start the ball rolling on a few projects.

*I made a mistake this time last year in saying Luke had turned thirty when he was twenty.

Transphobic bigotry excused by religion

Until a few moments ago I was in a rather good mood: the sun is starting to shine, and we have party to go to later. But then I came across this piece of transphobic hate-speech. A bigoted old fool in Rome who calls himself the head of the catholic church has launched a tirade of abuse against transgender people. He says people who alter their bodies go against god’s design; that they go against the ‘order of creation’. I know I shouldn’t care. I know these are just the ramblings of a stupid old man who believes his imaginary friend created the world in six days. Yet, whether I like it or not, what this particular idiot says matters.

Why can such people get away with what boils down to bigotry, just because it is n the guise of religion? I know a little about transpeople, and many of them have particularly hard lives. I think too of Lyn, the loveliest, most patient of partners and probably the most remarkable people I’ll ever know. She lives exactly how she wants to live. For this old idiot to condemn her and those like her just because it goes against what he thinks is written in some moronic old book really pisses me off.

I too play with gender. I haven’t dressed up much recently, but the urge is still there. In part I see it as vital for breaking down gender barriers and rereading social roles. The pope says I am wrong to do so because it goes against god’s will. Well, screw your god! Right – where’s my pink leotard?!