You can sponsor my efforts here on mydonate and let mySociety know how much you appreciate them!
Have you ever considered why there are potholes in our roads? When there is a pothole in the road, what do you think it preventing it getting fixed?
It turns, when you ask the council, the answer is “no one told us about it”.
On Saturday, I’m doing the Bogle Ramble – a 26 mile sponsored walk around the north of Manchester for mySociety*
mySociety is an online democracy charity that runs most of the UK’s best known democracy websites. If you’ve ever used or seen The Downing Street e-Petitions website, TheyWorkForYou, WriteToThem, and WhatDoTheyKnow then you’ve benefited from the results of mySociety’s hard work.
As most of the the Bogle Ramble is on roads, I wondered what I could possibly do to make sure that every miles I spend walking the roads of North Manchester is put to the best use possible. Well it turns out that mySociety also runs FixMyStreet – a website that allows you to quickly and simply submit a report of a problem to the relevant local authority who will then investigate the problem and remedy as appropriate.
Almost fall off your bike because of a pothole? Report it on FixMyStreet
Obscene graffiti near your home? Report it on FixMyStreet
Flytipping in your local park? Report it on FixMyStreet
MySociety could use some help to build new sites, keep existing ones running smoothly (website don’t run themselves!) as well as adding new features, which is why this I’m fundraising for them.
Who said this isn’t a bit of fun?
Random suggestions of things and numbers that you could sponsor me:
- 65p for every pothole reported via FixMyStreet
- 25p for every time Tim tweets during the walk
- 30p for every mile Tim manages to walk
- 85p for every mile Tim manages to walk without tweeting
- £3 for every photo of Tim posing with a random stranger (capped at £6)
- £3 for every 20 minutes I talk to you on the phone, during the walk (capped £9 – 1 hour is enough for anyone!)
- £1 every time Tim “live rickrolls” a random stranger on the street
- £5 every time Tim “live rickrolls” a random stranger on the street and posts a video of it online afterwards.
- £80 every time Tim “live rickrolls” a random stranger on the street and unintentionally gets physically assaulted as a result
- 10p each time Tim swears, grumbles or whinges about having to wake up before midday on a Saturday (capped at £10!)
- £x every time Tim does y (capped at z) <—- Make your own!
Because I love you all so much, I’m providing several levels of bounties to you lovely generous people; if you donate more than:
£3 – I’ll sing out my thanks to you whilst I’m walking!
£6 – I’ll send you a personalised, signed, thank you card featuring a random photo from my collection (and the above).
£12- I’ll send you THREE, 10×8, high quality gloss prints of your favourite photos of mine (and all the above).
£18 – I’ll send you 100 glow sticks (and all the above).
£33 – I’ll send you an A3 poster of your favourite photo of mine (and all the above).
£49 – Dinner. You, Me. A suitably greasy pizza joint in Manchester. I’ll pay (and all the above).
£85 – I’ll consider fixing your computer for an hour (and all the above).
£100 – I’ll use a Mac for the day (and all the above).
Let me know in a comment what I should do, use your real name, email address (only visible to me!) and I’ll be in touch to give you updates and collect teh monniez (or contact sponsorme @ tdobson.net)!
A random fact why mySociety should be supported:
On average, 44% of people who use WriteToThem have never written to a politician ever before. mySociety shows that the net can connect normal people with the political process, not just extend the power of those already in the know.
You can still sponsor me here!
*mySociety is the long running sole project of registered charity: UK Citizens Online Democracy #1076346).
Last weekend, I went to Patterdale, in the Lake District on a weekend trip. It’s nice to get out of Manchester, and even though the weather wasn’t fantastic, there was still plenty to do.
A more energetic group wanted to do St. Sunday’s Crag, Fairfield, Helvellyn, Striding Edge, which sounded good and strenuous and exciting, but wasn’t my idea of fun given the icy conditions about about 500m.
Fortunately, I really wanted to explore the landscape to the east and so, with low lying cloud looking like it was going to obscure most felltop views, we left the bunkhouse in Glenridding, and walked north along the side of the valley, next to Ullswater.
Once we reached Martindale, we started up Winter Crag, Beda Fell, Beda Knott. The original plan (in green) was to go on to Angle tarn, but time was running tight and we weren’t sure on the light, so in the end we cut shot and dropped back down into Patterdale and headed home!
The next day, we headed up Loughrigg Fell near Grasmere from the car park at Rydal. Although the walk was quite easy, the weather was much better and the views were stunning.
Someone had brought along a horse’s head, so we had a lot of fun, wearing a horseshead whilst walking up the hill. One thing we learnt very quickly was that “why the long face” became unfunny very quickly, but the expression of surprise and confusion on people’s (strangely, mainly adults!) was hilarious.
As you can see, it was good weekend!
The Mixed Tape is a weekly music programme on Bailrigg 87.7 FM – the Lancaster student radio station. The long suffering hosts are friends of mine and last week they asked for
your favourite pop songs. Be as cheesy, quirky, hip, camp, or ridiculous as possible.
I didn’t really feel like recommending Cotton Eye Joe to them, so I recommended a bunch of track that I really like and show up a lot in my last.fm “most listened tracks” section.
The Mixed Tape tends to play relatively mainstream indie things, so I made an effort to not include awesome self-released tracks where possible to fit with whatever guidelines they have to work within.
So without further ado, here’s a bunch of my favourite “pop” tracks, in the loosest form of the word:
Stuck In Your Head
As this was for Lancaster student radio
Last summer, I went on a week long cycle tour around Skye and Rasaay. In preparation of doing so, I figured it would make sense to test the new kit I’d bought for the expedition with two day “dry run” in the Lake District.
I got the train to Windemere with my Bike, cycled up to Langdale. Dropped all my kit into a rucksack, and, as it was getting towards dusk, I started up the hill and made camp by Stickle Tarn where I made this video:
The trip was actually very helpful. At the time I was using an all-in-one frayed pannier thing, held in the centre with what was essentially a large elastic band. On my cycle back to Manchester, this elastic band somehow managed to come undone and, whilst I was cycling, wrap itself around my back axle and gears. This lead to the rather unpleasant moment where my Bike started braking and I couldn’t work out what was wrong. It was on a section with double white lines and I had cars behind me so when I had to pull into the side and walk my bike (lifting the back wheel off the ground) to somewhere I could pull in, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience! Ultimately, I had to cut the rubber band off bit by bit as it was well and truly wrapped around the wheel.
This spurred me to go and buy some nice snap-on, snap-of Altura Orkney 85 panniers which turned out to be just what I needed!
Last March I went hiking with UMHC to Langdale for the first time. This was the first time I did, Jack’s Rake, Harrison Stickle, Pike o’Stickle, Pavey Ark etc.
I made a bit of a video that day and it came out rather well. It did help that it was a beautiful day of course:
Last year, I took part in the record breaking worldwide Secret Santa organised by the Reddit community. I was one of 37,000 people who was given the details of a complete stranger to send a gift to, and at the same time, I received a gift from someone who’d been given my details. Usually, one gets matched with someone within your same country to reduce postage costs, but I opted to exchange gifts with people overseas to make it more exciting.
This is what I was sent. See if you can guess what country it came from!
Here’s my unboxing video:
So after I’d received it, the box sat around the flat for a while until I got round to throwing it out. As I threw it out I noticed something in wrapping paper and found an unopened present inside…. turns out I had an extra Turkish delight!
David, thanks again. I can confirm the biscuits went down very well indeed and I’m looking forward to making good use of everything else!
One thing that I don’t talk about that much is my tendency to fall in love with fusions of traditional and contemporary.
Take something awesome and traditional. Mix it with something awesome and contemporary. The result will be doubly awesome!
This post is about a band who certainly seem to be taking the “let’s just double that awesomeness” recipe to heart, but lets start from the beginning!
Last week I went to Manchester Ceilidhsoc – the university affiliated Ceilidh society who run regular events. Playing was a band I didn’t think I’d heard of, The Monster Ceilidh Band, but from the moment I walked in and heard the bassist going out of his way to lay down funky grooves, I could tell I was going to enjoy it. For unspecified reasons, I had about 70 glowsticks on me (as you do), and the hall was coincidently a bit darker that usual so I decided now was a good a time as any and handed out free glowsticks to anyone who’d take them… most people I danced with… the band… and the caller. From then on in, I didn’t stop the dancing and they didn’t stop dropping super-funky beats over killer tunes.
Afterwards I bought an album off them and, as they offered to sign it for me, I was very pleased to learn that disk two of their double album “Mechanical Monster” is “Monsters vs The Touch” – a collaboration with Tyneside DnB DJ “The Touch“.
If you thought Drum’n'Bass and Ceilidh could never meet, prepare your ears!
Can you buy reasonably priced, DRM-free MP3′s of their work without tears?
A few days after the gig, I was listening to Disc 2, whilst browsing their Youtube channel and realised I was already subscribed to it. Hmm, how could that be? Well it turns out that actually I’d crossed threads with them before.
Their mandocello-player appears to be a semi-active redditor and so actually I’d come across them, way before the gig on reddit and even went as far to suggest that they come and play in Manchester. This is the same fiddle player who doesn’t seem to have a personal website worth linking to from the bands about page.
Instead their name has been linked to the Urban Dictionary definition of “awesome” and for this band, I think that’s about as fitting as one can get.