The Whole Women Bishops Thing

Imagine for one moment that rather than being a lapsed Roman Catholic married to an Anglican priest I’m actually a member of the Anglican church. Think harder now, imagine that I’m actually the Archbishop of Canterbury and this is the speech I would give to the Anglican Synod today regarding women bishops and the future of the church.

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Jumping Ship from Sony to Fujifilm?

Next week Sony will announced its successor to the NEX-6 camera. I’ve owned an NEX-6 since the camera was launched in the UK and it’s been a mixed relationship. As many have discovered with Sony in the realm of console hardware the company is excellent at physical devices, but terrible at firmware. There are so many features that could be easily added to the NEX-6 by a software update yet Sony has failed to do so during the life of the camera. So next week’s announcement of a replacement is likely to be the deciding factor on whether I wave goodbye to the E-mount system and instead jump into the arms of Fujifilm.

I’m in the market to upgrade. I ditched my Canon DSLR gear for NEX-6 in 2012 and have certainly been happy with the result in terms of lighter, smaller gear and image quality. I have no complaints at all about the detail and dynamic range in the pictures coming from my NEX-6 – certainly much better than the Canon EOS 40D and EOS 50D I used to own.

But where I am disappointed is in terms of usability. There are so many little niggles I’ve discovered over the last year or so with the NEX-6. While the image quality is excellent the firmware is just too simplistic and lacking in options that could have been easily offered in firmware updates. For example no options on minimum shutter speed with auto ISO, no ability to turn off pre-focus, no decouple of auto-focus from the shutter button. As someone who used “back button” focussing on my DSLRs that’s a feature I do miss. I’ve also been disappointed with the lenses on offer – yes there are some very good ones – but these are very expensive, there’s little middle ground. F1.8 is as fast as it gets even if you’re will to hand over £800 for a Sony made Zeiss.

But what has this got to do with Fujifilm? The Fujifilm X-E2 and X-T1 have been making eyes at me and I can’t help but say I’m smitten. The X-system appeals to me both in terms of camera design aesthetics, image quality, ergonomics, firmware options (and updates) and the range of lenses.

I’ve come close to ordering the X-E2 a couple of times over the last week or two. But I am now waiting to see what Sony has to offer in the A6000. Despite the NEX-6 being fine hardware and most of its issues being fixable with a software update – I’m willing to give Sony a chance. So I want to see what it can offer in the new model – but it’s also going to have to impress me with some indication of where the lenses are going. I’d like to see a faster standard zoom than the 16-50mm kit even if that is larger and something like the Fuji 23mm f1.4 that isn’t a ridiculously expensive Zeiss offering.

To be honest I’m not expecting Sony to appease me. It’s a shame as I really like the NEX as a piece of hardware. And unlike my switch from Canon I think I’ll likely hold onto my NEX and lenses rather than sell them at a big loss. Certainly it’s worth having a range of focal lengths until I can afford to expand the glass I can afford after an X-system purchase.

So the A6000 is going to have to be pretty special rather than a minor upgrade to dissuade me buying a Fujifilm camera in the near future. The X-E2 with 18-55mm lens seems a very obvious sideways move for me. Though my head is being somewhat overruled by my heart and its lust for the exciting X-T1. Either way I’ll be buying a camera and kit lens and won’t be able to afford any new glass for a while.

What could Sony do to keep me? Nothing in terms of hardware, I believe the hardware is excellent. What Sony needs to do next week – and I think it’s very unlikely it will happen – is convince me that the company listens to users, is interesting in expanding functionality via firmware updates and has a lens roadmap made up of more than cheap lenses and very expensive lenses with little in between.

I’d rather not buy another camera for a very long time. But what I want is the right camera, one that doesn’t hinder what I want to do and one that treats me like a grown up. I’m not sure Sony is interested in selling me a camera like that.

Babyboomer Selfishness

Of the £160bn annual benefit budget nearly £75bn goes towards pensions. This in itself isn’t anything to complain about – many pensioners rely on these payments to live – but there plenty of others who do not need a penny of it. These wealthy pensioners tend to vote for a Tory party that is happy enough to keep giving the pension to them, in fact to keep raising the amount. Strangely, young families with just as much money have child benefit taken from them – perhaps they don’t vote for the right party.

Meanwhile tragically poor families are being robbed due the detestable bedroom tax and other squeezes on benefits. This disgusting bedroom tax policy could never have made a change to the way housing stock is used, there just aren’t the smaller houses for people to move into. The cold hard mathematical facts are against the policy – there really isn’t the housing stock. The government would have known this when drafting the policy – instead the bedroom tax is a deliberate ideological and financial attack on the poorest members of our society. The plan is to dismantle the state and to do so first one must attack those that rely on it. So the poor are demonised, the NHS and education systems vilified. Look at how much money we waste on these broken dreams, the Tories say, let us abolish them.

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Ending the Guitar Tone Obsession

Do we guitarists obsess too much about tone? I’ve realised I certainly do. If I look back to the first 15 or so years of playing the instrument tone was the last thing I thought about. The gear I had was just what I can afford and I did the best I could with it. But thanks to the internet we can now all learn about the gear we don’t have, and how the gear we do have isn’t any good, despite it being perfectly fine beforehand.

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Suspension of Disbelief and Citroen

I am liable to post the occasional rant, this is in keeping with the character I like to portray on this blog. It’s mostly an act really for my own amusement. But sometimes life does throw up things that are genuinely very annoying and a problem with our car is one of them.

Of course running a car is not a cheap business as one expects the occasional repair bill due to wear and tear. When such matters arise and there’s a danger one’s car will be off the road one does not expect to be told that the required part will not be available until the end of summer.

This is the situation currently with Citroen here in the UK and parts for its pneumatic suspension on higher-end Picasso models. We have such a car and we are waiting for the parts with the hope that our suspension doesn’t completely fail at speed with our family in the car.

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A Response to Mumsnet, On Grief

I read a lot of rubbish on the internet. That’s part of my job. I’ve also developed something of a thick skin, I can even read YouTube comments without eating my own knees off.

But sometimes you come across something so idiotic, so fueled by stupidity and hate you have to comment. And in this case it was a Mumsnet thread about someone moving on and finding love again after being bereaved. I don’t know if my response in the thread will remain, so I post it below.

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Cross Purposes

Once again the subject of wearing crosses in the workplace has reared its head again following the government’s decision that there is no automatic right to wear one.On this rare occasion I agree with the government.

The sort of people who get annoyed by this kind of thing have already been getting worked up about it. How can we show we are Christians, they demand of the government, if we can’t wear our execution-based jewelry?

Here of course is the irony. The sort of person who needs a bloody great cross to show that they are a Christian, the sort of person who rants and raves about their rights to wear a cross, needs a heck of a lot more than a piece of jewelry to convince anyone they have anything to do with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

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Lazy Town Fit Fruits & Super Squash Review

Don’t worry, I’ve not become a mummy blagger – I’ve not sold my soul for some Duplo or a free holiday. But I have been given a ton of free drinks to experiment on my children with and tell you if they survived, went mental for a bit, or were merely hydrated in a fruity manner.

The Gerber juice company has launched a range of fruit drinks and squashes with Lazy Town branding. Lazy Town, but that’s not on CBeebies these days? Well perhaps it’s on one of those channels that the lower orders use to babysit their children while having a fag, I suppose it breaks up the monotony of Ben10 episodes and adverts for cheap plastic tat.

Some of you may be wondering what Lazy Town is? It’s an Icelandic blend of puppets, preaching, homo eroticism, jail bait and thinly veiled propaganda for the fruit production industry.

But are the drinks any good?

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Save Us From Preachy Kids TV

Over the last five years I’ve seen a lot of CBeebies. Probably more than any of our children have actually seen. Some of it was good, some bad, but the content that sticks with me, the stuff that annoys me, is how nauseatingly preachy children’s television has become.

I should add by children’s television I mean stuff like CBeebies, not the extended toy adverts on the commercial channels the lower orders let their brats watch. Cbeebies is awfully preachy, but even worse it often gets its preaching completely and utterly wrong.

Take Mike the Knight for example. This show is popular with my two boys. Mike is a trainee medieval knight and gets into all manner of scrapes with his sister Evie1 and pet dragons. The general idea is that Mike learns lessons through life and encourages children to be “more Knightly”. Except he doesn’t. Mike spends 99 percent of each episode behaving like a spoiled, bad-mannered little bell-end.

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Blackstar Unveils Revolutionary Marketing BS

British advertising bullshitter and sometime amplification manufacturer Blackstar has unveiled its latest state of the art marketing nonsense. The company describes its latest verbal slight of hand and customer misdirection as revolutionary.

“We were a technological innovator with our introduction of the phrase ‘Pure Valve’ in our mostly transistor-based technology in recent years,” said Blackstar CEO Bob Scraggs. “However our world class engineers have been hard at work delivering more powerful state of the art bullshit that’s sure to be a big hit with clueless customers and puny editorial lapdogs such as Guitarist Magazine.”

“Today Blackstar is proud to unveil our latest product phrase ‘True Valve Power’ which we will believe will fool even more customers than ever before. With ‘True Valve Power’ we’re extending our previous abilities of not having many valves in our valve products to now having no valves in them instead. Raising our ‘no actual valves’ to ‘valve based marketing bullshit’ ratio to 100 percent. I believe Blackstar is the first amplifier manufacturer to completely remove valves from over-hyped valve related products. This will enable us to continue to charge British-built prices for a range of Korean-made tat.”

‘True Valve Power’ marketing bullshit will be available as an expensive range of literature and badges this summer, and will be bundled with a free modelling amplifier that’s almost as good a Line 6 Spider for three times the money. The presence of any valves has yet to be announced. Full press release follows.

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