28 February 2012

The best snowboarding movie of the year...

This is epic -  I actually felt sick watching this guy ride his board down a grade 5 ice route Amazing...

24 February 2012

Friday Joke - Opportunisim and Moo-cenomics

The opportunist
(stolen from Shane)

Moo-cenomics - Politics explained with cows 

FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and as many eggs as the regulations say you should need.

FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.

PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

SINGAPOREAN DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. The government fines you for keeping two unlicensed farm animals in an apartment.

MILITARIANISM: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

AMERICAN DEMOCRACY: The government promises to give you two cows if you vote for it. After the election, the president is impeached for speculating in cow futures. The press dubs the affair "Cowgate".

BRITISH DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. You feed them sheeps' brains and they go mad. The government kills all the animals in a hundred mile radius

EU- BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. After that it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbours try to kill you and take the cows.

CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

HONG KONG CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax deduction for keeping five cows. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Islands company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the right to all seven cows' milk back to the listed company. The annual report says that the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Meanwhile, you kill the two cows because the fung shui is bad.

ENVIRONMENTALISM: You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.

TOTALITARIANISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS: You are associated with (the concept of "ownership" is a symbol of the phallo centric, war mongering, intolerant past) two differently - aged (but no less valuable to society) bovines of non-specified gender.

COUNTER CULTURE: Wow, dude, there's like... these two cows, man. You got to have some of this milk.

SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys your bull.

You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows. You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called a Cowkimona and market it worldwide.

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are. You decide to have lunch with that pretty girl from accounts - ciao.

You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them and not telling anyone else.

You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity. You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows. You worship them.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the ** out of you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.

You have two cows. Business seems pretty good. You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

You have two cows. The one on the left looks very attractive.

23 February 2012

Bonus video

Here at Karmasotra, we love people doing stupid stuff, especially when it involves base jumping and wing suit flying. But what happens when it goes wrong?

Check out this great video from Jeb Corliss...
Spoiler alert - he lives!

22 February 2012

Wednesday Movie

Nice poem about the Scum Sun from Charlie Brooker in the week when Rupert Murdoch announced he was reviving the gutter fest that was the News of the World and calling it the Sunday Sun. Perhaps Rebeka Wade needs a perm

More typical,  a fun video about people doing the kind of stupid stuff I love, in Moab, one of my favorite spots

Although calling it the World's largest rope swing is way off - that must belong to Dan Osman who was taking 1000ft swings in Yosemite years ago. See here and here 

Finally a nice compilation of people doing cool stuff here

17 February 2012

Aberdeen Joke

A man stumbles up to the only other patron in a bar and asks if he could buy him a drink. 
"Why of course", comes the reply. 
The first man then asks: "Where are you from?" 
"Scotland", replies the second man. 
The first man responds: "No way! I'm from Scotland too! Let's have another round to Scotland." 
"Of Course", replies the second man. 
Curious, the first man then asks: "Where in Scotland are you from?" 
"Aberdeen", comes the reply. 
"I can't believe it", says the first man. "I'm from Aberdeen too! Let's have another drink to Aberdeen." 
"Of course", replies the second man. 
Curiosity again strikes and the first man asks: "What school did you go to?" 
"Saint Andrews", replies the second man. "I graduated in '62." 
"This is unbelievable!", the first man says. "I went to Saint Andrews and graduated in '62, too!" 
About that time in comes one of the regulars and sits down at the bar. 
"What's been going on?", he asks the bartender 
"Nothing much," replies the bartender. "The McCloud twins are drunk again."

15 February 2012

Wednesday Movie

More adventure sport stuff
Really nice surf video from the west coast of Ireland here 
Some insane wing suit flying here and here (you can skip at least first 30 secs of the second one if you are in a rush for your adrenalin rush)
Finally, Tim Emmett just completed his insane ice project Spray-on, while we wait for the movie to come from that its worth checking out his offering from last year here and some great footage but in Spanish here, you will understand muy loco!

14 February 2012

Why 14th February is special to me

In addition to being Valentine's Day, the 14th February was also my mothers birthday. She died ten years ago, but I still think about her a lot, especially now we have Sophie. In her 67 years she was a mother, a circus performer, an upholsterer, an animal lover, an antique dealer, a farmer, a bus driver, a foster parent and a care worker. She was the bravest person I have ever known and a real inspiration.

Below is the eulogy that I wrote for her memorial service. I am a pretty accomplished speaker, but this was the toughest speech I ever had to give. I thought is was good to get it on-line for posterity.

Barbara Storr-Barber

Born in Nottingham on Valentines Day in 1935, Barbara Storr-barbar was the second child and only daughter of Wilson and Olive. The family moved to London and with the outbreak of the war she was evacuated to Peterborough which she hated. That’s not too unusual except, its the only time I ever heard her say that she wasn’t happy. For the rest of her childhood she was apparently quite a tom boy, getting into all sorts of scraps and then suddenly aged 16 the tom boy became a beautiful young woman, left home and joined the circus. During a 10 year period she travelled extensively through America and Europe with various troupes. She always enthused about her time in the circus and as we grew up it was fascinating to hear about her life as a performer and laterly about her memories of 1950’s america. In the early 60’s she reluctantly left the circus to nurse an ailing father and rejoined the family now living in Hereford. In Hereford she met and married Tony a corporal in the SAS. As he was posted abroad much of the time she busied herself with dogs and gardens and making a home for them. Apparently she once moved house whilst he was on tour so that when he came back it took him half a day to find out where he lived. I was born three years after they married and Les came along two years after that.

He came out of the army and after a stint as a mercenary they started an antiques business in Ross where they built two beautiful houses together. Never ones to settle too long they packed all that in to buy a small farm in South Wales. At the age of 40, when most people would be starting to settling down and take things a bit easy, she set about learning to be a farmer. We have often subsequently talked about the time in Trawsmawr and it was a pivotal period in her life. It a beautiful place, a 17th century farm house overlooking a lake surrounded by beech and oak trees. For us, growing up, the farm was great, we had an open house for friends to come a stay. One friend came on the first day of the summer holidays and didn’t leave until the middle of September. My childhood memories are filled with images of being surrounded by animals. Of dogs and cats, each with its own story, of orphaned lambs being reared in the kitchen, of swans and geese cackling and hissing on the lawn, of milking a jersey cow twice daily, of huge meals laid out on the 6’ kitchen table after hot sunny days of hay making and a pig that used to escape its sty and come to the house and tell us how clever it was. To Les and I all of this was our normality, we never really knew any different. Only with hindsight can we truly appreciate the magnitude of what was happening and the strength of this woman who came to this most physical and mentally demanding trade relatively late in life. And her most enduring memory…. Not of all the physical and the practical , but the kindness, friendship and support shown to these strange interlopers by our neighbours and friends there. I will always remember her trying to explain to a neighbour why growing flowers was as important as growing potatoes!

In 1984 when the farm finally became too much, we moved to North Wales to be nearer the rest of the family. It was a wrench to leave Trawsmawr, but Ty Celyn, the house in Llangernyw was a pretty good replacement . With beautiful views and a large garden she could really get stuck into, it was a good home. However gardens and views were not enough and not being one to sit around without a challenge she started to foster children. Over an 8 year period she took at least 15 different children under her roof. She gave them the same love and security that she had given us. Although this was an extremely emotionally intense time she took great pride in their achievements and remained in contact with many of them as they headed out into the world Only two days before she passed on, she was delighted to hear that, one of the kids was finally settling down. 

Next she immersed herself as a care worker in Denbigh and once again dived in to an emotionally and physically draining task and again she relished the challenge of people who needed love and support. By 1995 her on-going battle with arthritis finally forced her to slow down a bit and take things a bit easy. This illness was something that was to mark the later years of her life and it was something that she took on in her typical matter of fact way. The arthritis was eventually bought under control but at the cost of her elbow and being on steriods for life. At this point she was declared disabled and decided to move from the countryside to Penrhyn Bay and her lovely bungalow by the sea. 

Her days at the bungalow were among the most peaceful of her life. As always she prioritized the garden and with Bart’s help produced a little spot of heaven. She made some great friends and despite the arthritis and her elbow she took up swimming. For several years she was a popular sight at the baths in Llandudno, with her own immutable one armed style she might not have got any medals but she could do 40 or 50 lengths. The other night I asked her to tell me about happy times she could remember and the first thing she said was realizing that despite all her disabilities she could still swim. 

Most recently, due to the constant use of steriods to control her arthritis, her breathing started to go. During this time she still managed to keep her spirits up, due largely to the companionship she found form those around her. She continually told us how lucky she felt to have such great friends and neighbours and her increasing disabilities did not stop her enjoying herself to the full and even taking holidays with her partner in crime Val. Laughter was something that was always present. Even at the end in the hospital we were irreverently laughing and joking. She complained that all the other patients were too sad and she managed to secure a private room partially because we were so loud and raucous! 

There is a lot of things you can say about our mother and friend. She was not perfect and it would wrong to believe she was. She was very straight talking and could come across as insensitive, traits that Les and I have both inherited to a certain degree. But her positive points far outway the negative. She was a fantastic mother, who gave us everything we needed and sheltered us from the turmoil that was going on around. In fact we genuinely believe that nobody could have asked for a better childhood. She was a giving person, almost to a fault, she had a great sense of humour and having a laugh was a big part of all of our lives. She continually encouraged us to go out a chase our dreams, to believe that we could succeed and the lives we now lead are a testament to her support and guidance. 

So don’t mourn for her, she hated sadness. I can hear her know telling you all to pull yourselves together not to be so soft. Instead let us use this gathering to celebrate the varied and full life of a fantastic woman. She was a mother, a friend, a circus performer, an upholsterer, an animal lover, an antique dealer, a farmer, a bus driver, a foster parent, a care worker and above all the bravest person I have ever know… I never saw her back away from anything, I never saw her tackle any challenge in any way but full on. Bravery comes in many forms but when you sit with someone and they face death in the same matter of fact may that they tackled their life, you now that there is no greater courage. 

Let us take solace in the facts that she died peacfully, she had a full and varied life and that she was ready to go. She firmly believed that she was going to a better place to be with her animals and friends that have gone before and passed away happy. But for us it is not so easy, she has gone and our world is a lot duller and a lot emptier without her.

10 February 2012

Friday Joke - Costa Concordia

The Costa Concordia provided a fantatstic metaphor for the Italian Economy so here are a few cheap jokes in that vain. Also worth checking of the Daily Mash's coverage 

What's the fastest way to get off an Italian cruise ship?
Follow the Captain.

Italian divers searching the stricken cruise ship have found two Glaswegians at the bar.
They've told the divers to fuck off, their holiday was all inclusive and they had a week to go

The Italian army has been called in to help with the people from the grounded cruise ship. But they have now swapped sides and have declared war on the survivors.

Italian Police are still interviewing the Korean Honeymoon couple found on the Costa Concordia as to the whereabouts of the rescue dog that first found them.

If Man City fail to win the league this year, what are the chances of Mancini leaving?
I mean it's not like an Italian to abandon a sinking ship is it?

Just bought a raffle ticket to win a cruise in the Mediterranean, last weeks was a rollover...

After recent disasters such as the recent Costa Concordia crash, we often turn to history for comfort.
In lieu of the actions of the actions of Captain Schettino, I direct you to the words of Winston Churchill. Late in his life, Sir Winston Churchill took a cruise on an Italian ship. A journalist from a New York newspaper approached the former prime minister to ask him why he chose to travel on an Italian line when the Queen Elizabeth under the British flag was available. Churchill gave the question his consideration and then gravely replied: "There are three things I like about Italian ships. First, their cuisine, which is unsurpassed. Second, their service, which is quite superb. And then in time of emergency there is none of this nonsense about women and children first."

I'd hate to be the captain of the Costa Concordia. Boy! Oh! Boy! is he going to be in deep water ... which paradoxically, where he should have fucking been in the first place.

Italian Cruising - It's the new rock and roll.

08 February 2012

Happy Birthday Sophie

Our little girl is one years old today! It seems amazing that she is already one, it only seems like last week that we were hanging out in the hospital waiting for her to make an appearance.
She has had an eventful year, she has visited 4 countries (6 if you count Scotland, England and Wales as separates), she has gone from being totally helpless to tearing around the place creating chaos. Now she crawls and almost walks, she can point at what she wants, she laughs and claps and waves and she loves the swings.  Her first word was Lola and she is learning to pet her without pulling all Lola's fur out. She growing up to be a very determined little madam who definitely knows her own mind. Most importantly she's has a very happy disposition and she laughs a lot.


Wednesday Movie - Yosemite

The Yosemite valley is a very special place, especially to climbers, geologists and photographers, of which I am all three (with varying degrees of ability). The valley was the first national park and represent a step change in our perception of wilderness from something to be exploited to something that should be cherished and preserved.

A couple of nice videos from the valley. First is a fantastic timelapse, one of the nicest I have ever seen.
Second is a nice bouldering video

04 February 2012

Friday Joke -What's Your Business Sign?

Instead of Astrological Signs, how about these .. What's Your Business Sign?
1) MARKETING You are ambitious yet stupid. You chose a marketing degree to avoid having to study in college, concentrating instead on drinking and socializing which is pretty much what your job responsibilities are now. Least compatible with Sales.
2) SALES Laziest of all signs, often referred to as "marketing without a degree." You are also self-centered and paranoid. Unless someone calls you and begs you to take their money, you like to avoid contact with customers so you can "concentrate on the big picture." You seek admiration for your golf game throughout your life.
3) TECHNOLOGY Unable to control anything in your personal life, you are instead content to completely control everything that happens at your workplace. Often even YOU don't understand what you are saying but who the hell can tell. It is written that Geeks shall inherit the Earth.
4) ENGINEERING One of only two signs that actually studied in school. It is said that engineers place ninety percent of all Personal Ads. You can be happy with yourself; your office is full of all the latest "ergodynamic" gadgets. However, we all know what is really causing your "carpal tunnel syndrome."
5) ACCOUNTING The only other sign that studied in school. You are mostly immune from office politics. You are the most feared person in the organization; combined with your extreme organizational traits, the majority of rumors concerning you say that you are completely insane.
6) HUMAN RESOURCES Ironically, given your access to confidential information, you tend to be the biggest gossip within the organization. Possibly the only other person that does less work than marketing, you are unable to return any calls today because you have to get a haircut, have lunch AND then mail a letter.
7) MANAGEMENT/MIDDLE MANAGEMENT Catty, cutthroat, yet completely spineless, you are destined to remain at your current job for the rest of your life. Unable to make a single decision you tend to measure your worth by the number of meetings you can schedule for yourself.
Best suited to marry other "Middle Managers" as everyone in your social circle is a "Middle Manager."
8) SENIOR MANAGEMENT (See above - Same sign, different title)
9) CUSTOMER SERVICE Bright, cheery, positive, you are a fifty-cent cab ride from taking your own life. As children very few of you asked your parents for a little cubicle for your room and a headset so you could pretend to play "Customer Service." Continually passed over for promotions, your best bet is to sleep with your manager.
10) CONSULTANT Lacking any specific knowledge, you use acronyms to avoid revealing your utter lack of experience. You have convinced yourself that your "skills" are in demand and that you could get a higher paying job with any other organization in a heartbeat. You will spend an eternity contemplating these career opportunities without ever taking direct action.
11) RECRUITER, "HEADHUNTER" As a "person" that profits from the success of others, most people who actually work for a living disdain you. Paid on commission and susceptible to alcoholism, your ulcers and frequent heart attacks correspond directly with fluctuations in the
stock market.
12) PARTNER, PRESIDENT, CEO You are brilliant or lucky. Your inability to figure out complex systems such as the fax machine suggest the latter.
13) GOVERNMENT WORKER Paid to take days off. Government workers are genius inventors, like the invention of new Holidays. They usually suffer from deep depression or anxiety and usually commit serious crimes while on the job...Thus the term "GO POSTAL"