Friday, January 27, 2006

Nicked Quote

This is a quote off Famulus's blog, will track down the source when I have more time but I had to put it up:

I wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence. There's a knob called 'brightness,' but it doesn't work. - Gallagher

Friday Brain Dump

A series of shorts today folks! I'm not laying out summer leg wear out contiguously, just......I'm sure you know what I mean. Mind has been wandering about today and I've been quite busy and I find it hard to have a coherent thought at the best of times. Anyway, here is some stuff:

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Bill Gates in non-Evil shock!

Ok, say what you like about Bill Gates's Company and the software they produce. Feel free to attack his sharp business practice and his downright cheek at copyrighting things he nicked off other people. Feel free to invoke a curse that infests his nether regions with flesh eating insects every time you see the Blue Screen Of Death. Scratch your head thinking 'WTF?!' wheh the error message 'Not enough memory to delete file, please delete some files to free up more memory' pops up.

Unfortunately, he isn't the being of supreme, bad jumper wearing, evil he is often portrayed to be. OK, he doesn't tell the truth a whole lot and he is trying to take over the world.

You can't deny the Billions of dollars he has donated to African charities or the foundation he set up to promote education in these countries.

I still reckon he has a Platinum swimming pool and an army of Molemen that do his evil bidding though.

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Tosser

I was going to qualify this but changed my mind. Suffice to say I am not a raging right winger, occupying most of my time on the left. We can do without self serving pricks like this though.

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Once I've ridden the bike a bit more and have collected sufficient levels of mud and grime on it, I am going to take a few pics of it with my new phone, thus killing two showing off birds with one gloating stone. The reasons for the mud are clear, I am attempting to demonstrate Rugged Outdoorsmanship.

Either that or I will fall off the bike into a big puddle and break my phone and probably my face.

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Confabulate.

What an awesome word.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Officially Educated

That's right folks, today I officially graduate from the University of Hull. I am not attending the ceremony for a variety of reasons, chiefly that my parents wouldn't be able to make it which renders the whole circus largely irrelevant. Also there are time and money issues that are far too dull to go into. So I am now fully in the ranks of the Professional apparently. Go Me.

I kind of messed up my final year project in a fairly catastrophic way, for various reasons, which has resulted in me getting a 2:2 rather than the 2:1 I was aiming for. I was annoyed with myself for a little while, then realised I had been offered the job I wanted which is what your degree is for after all, anything else is a bonus. I had a fantastic time while at Uni and got a degree as well, so kind of ticked all the boxes I think?

OK, so I wasn't able to attend the ceremony and don't have the photo, this is a shame. Luckily RoboMatt is imbued with the soul of Michaelangelo and has been able to cunningly craft a Graduation photo from my work mugshot "using the latest 3D rendering software" that is indiscernable from an original! I present it here to you, behold the skills of a true artist:



It's all very strange. Any photo taken of me in a social setting, I am always in a weird pose or pulling an odd face. Official type photos - always hungover.

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In other news, this bike riding is demoralising me. Even in my weakened and Fitness Peon-like state, I should be able to manage 2 miles without feeling like I am about to die from a leg explosion. I have no idea how exactly a leg explosion would manifest itself in terms of how the explosion would occur, but I think you'll agree that it doesn't sound pleasant.

It doesn't help when the office is seemingly populated by seasoned Tour de France Veterans who take the "Long Way" to work via Milton Keynes whilst reading Lance Armstrong's Biography. It's OK though, it's fine. I'm enjoying it despite the arctic conditions and the discomfort, I like having a Bike again.

I'm resisiting resuming my long long since expired subscription to Mountain Biking UK magazine. Magazines about hobbies and past times make you buy things you suddenly 'need'. I need some bike lube stuff, tire tools and a spare tube and maybe a few other maintennance bits but that's it! No Bike upgrades until at least next year, and only then if I get serious. I'm putting this in writing, link to this post and remind me in 6 months if I start making 'buying bits/upgrades for the bike' noises.

Use these words: 'You're never going to get to go on Holiday if you buy that!'

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Going for a few drinks tomorrow after work, which is good becasue I think I've forgotten what the inside of a pub looks like. I'll take a good long look tomorrow night.

On Saturday my mate Jenny is coming over and we are going to spend the evening watching the A-Team and eating curry, if I can eprsuade my flat mate to lend us his A-Team DVDs. It'll be awesome, trust me. Don't be thinking it was my idea either! She's the one who suggested we watch the A-Team. Granted the curry was my idea, so I guess it's a joint effort. I haven't seen her since before Christmas so be good to catch up, she has a new boy called Tom who sounds pretty cool so she's been a bit busy. So it looks like I am going to redevelop my social life this month which can only be a good thing.

My social life doesn't just extend to the A-Team and curry you understand, though that should be enough for any sane person. Got the big work do next week which should involve plenty of drinks and merriment! Then off to the Church, some comedy type club in London on the Sunday with Sam and her friend. On Monday 5th I think I agreed to go with her to see The Bigger Picture too. It's some TV show with Graham Norton apparently. Plenty of other stuff that I think i have already mentioned here before.

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Got Pay review coming up in work over the next few weeks. I am not due for any kind of actual review of my salary until June but they hold the reviews in February for everyone. I looked at the system. It's kind of like a really complicated version of 'Tell us, in 1000 words or less, why we should give you more money.....'. It's all very exciting.

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I was going to do a big post about Mcvities HobNobs. I still may do sometime soon but there needs to be a requirement for me to push it to the top of the 'To Blog About' list. I mean are there any sick freaks out there who actually dispute that this Mighty Creation is the King of all things Biscuit?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Intrepid Mountainbike-a-teer!

I have my bike! Woohoo! I am very happy.

This is probably the best new benefit they've added to the package they give us at work. There are 2 government initiatives, one is to do with buying computers and the other is buying Bikes. Now the computer one is a rip off as their selected vendor inflates the price before discounting it if you know what I mean? The idea is you pay for these things Tax-free over the year.

Anyway, I digress. Cycle2Work is what the scheme is called. You choose a value of voucher, this is used to pay for your Bike and the bit you pay for. It's over the year, you pay monthly but it is a Tax Free value so you don't actually pay the full amount. At the end of the lease period you should be able to buy the Bike at about 10% of it's value, so that's all good. Also you get 10% of it's value in accessories for free.

OK, that's the dull bit mostly over. I went to Epsom on Saturday to get my bike but they didnt have the one I wanted in yet. Being the impatient sort, I found out they had one in Redhill. So after my meeting in London I went off to Redhill to collect the Bike and various bits and bobs (including a new courier bag because I am an idiot and forgot my own bag!). I had a moment of madness when I though I would cycle the 12 miles home in rush hour traffic, after not being on a cycle for the best part of 8 years! Luckily the moment passed and I got on a train to Dorking. 'I'll cycle from there, it's only 5 miles' I thought. I vaguely remembered someone saying something about a cycle path that runs from Dorking to Leatherhead. When I got to the station, however, a train was about to leave, Leatherhead bound! So I bottled it and jumped on board. I don't care how it looks, I'm bloody glad I did! I only cycled a little over 2 miles back to the flat from the station and I was knackered!

This is definitely a gradual process. Happily by the time the good weather returns, not only will I be a rippled stud from my soon to be more regular exersions at the gym, but I will also be a rugged outdoorsman! It'll be a positive swoonathon wherever I go!

Probably from body odour more than anything else, but you have to start somewhere.

Quicky

Don't worry, I've not forgotten about you. just really busy this week, hope to post tonight or tomorrow.

Quick update:

1) No Bike yet, didnt have the one I wanted
2) Now have food in the house, had nice Pork, Hiney and Mustard sausages for dinner. Yum!

In London later today, round Warren Street.

Back soon.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Shiny and New

[Geek]I have yet another new gadget. This one was free though so calm down! It's a new phone upgrade from Orange. I was annoyed with them for not giving me the one I wanted because it's only available to 'Small Business' customers. How someone who owns a corner shop is going to get more use out of a Stylus operated PDA/Phone than someone who works in IT is anyones guess but there you go. I only wanted it because it's the only PDA/Phone that is actually phone sized as opposed to the great slabs that they normally give you.

Anyway. I settled for an upgrade to my existing phone, I had a C500 now I have a C600. this means nothing to you I know. Basically they come under the heading 'SmartPhone'. Things like the slabs I just discussed are more PDA than phone, the C600 and others that run Windows Mobile are more phone than PDA. This one has Windows Mobile 5.0 on it, a slimmed down version of Messenger (a vast improvement on the last model which had virtually a full version, very cumbersome) and Media Player 10.

It's virtually the same as my old one but they have tweaked it to make everything better. The camera and video recorder are really good now and they've improved on the video player so I should be able to watch Family Guy and such on the train properly now, it was a bit fiddly with the other one.

OK I'll stop, it's shiny. It's new. I'm happy.

[/Geek]

I am in a much better mood today but I don't appear to be able to find sufficient inspiration to try to instill some entertainment in my posts. Sorry but the well, it appears, has run dry today!

I have no doubt I will be regaling you with tails of biking injuries and the iniquities of non-cyclists on Monday, so that's something for you to look forward to.

It's education, Trust Us

[Opinionated News Post. I have included a picture at the bottom of the post to distract those of you not interested in my rant]

Education Reforms.

You see the word reform is traditionally associated with making things better:

1. A change for the better; an improvement.
2. Correction of evils, abuses, or errors.
3. Action to improve social or economic conditions without radical or revolutionary change.


It can also mean 'to form again'. I'm going for column 'B' here.

Politicians speak a language called Weasel, for all intents and purposes and to the layman, identical to English*. It is important, however, that you can translate the words that politicians speak into a more generic or what I like to call 'Truthful' form of English. Apologies if you are already au fait with this technique, for this beginning section I am writing for people who may not be able to distinguish between the two (or three if a forked one counts as two) tongues.

Ok, so for example, in Weasel:

David Willets MP: "The prospects of returning to the traditional 11-plus in parts of the country where it's been gone for a generation are remote."


Translation into English:

"I'd like nothing more than things to return to the way they should be! Good education for the rich and the Proletariat firmly set back as much as possible while allowing a select few into the 'Good' Schools. This way they feel they have 'buy-in' into our reforms!"


This issue of selection is a moot point though. The loyalists in the Conservative government support it and the opposition Conservatives support it. If that isn't a clear indication of a move towards elitism I don't know what is.

There is a twist that I am more interested in that doesn't appear to be reported on a great deal that worries me even more than the issue of selection:

"Allowing autonomous schools with special freedoms, which could be run by businesses or faith groups....."


Does this worry anyone else? What businesses are going to buy into the Education cash cow? You could brand your brand onto the psyche of kids forever, talk about marketing opporunity! Those soulless Advertising whores would be right in there. You can see it now, instead of Pie Charts you'd get Pizza Charts (PizzaHut comprehensive), Geography classes based on Mcdonalds locations. Bleuch!

It's a dim vision I know, I'm not suggesting this would happen overnight but without the strictest of controls and given enough time the corporations of this world will just turn schools into revenue factories. I saw a report a few years back where some schools in America are already part sponsored by MacDonalds and the like. I don't know if this still goes on though, so don't take this as fact.

My main concern though stretches beyond branding. Faith Groups. Yeah, that's what we need - more zealotry in the world because that's never cause anyone any problems. Of course only certain Faith Groups would be allowed into trust schools I imagine. You know the good ones. Ones with 'Christian' in the name. Nothing like a bit of Creationism to set back evolution a few centuries.

I'll stop. I could go on for ages about this, but it's not much fun for you lot so I'll quit while I'm ahead. I think I'll spend the rest of the post translating politicians words for those of you that need extra classes.

Then I'm moving to Norway.

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Ok, so when to know to translate what Politicians are saying. It's easy to apply the translation rule to everything that they say and sometimes you'd be right but there is a subtle art to it. I'll take a example from the Weasel King himself, Tony Bliar. What we are looking for is get-out clauses:

"Labour has no plans to introduce tuition fees for higher education."


Now we all know what happened there. Two key words though are 'no plans'. When they are speaking English, a rare occurence I grant you, the words 'we will not' would have been used. If you can't get a politician to deny outright that somehting will happen then you can predict with a very high degree of accuracy that they plan on doing that thing.

Ok I will stop now, I'm sure I'm telling you things you all already know.

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[DISTRACTING PICTURE FOR THOSE WHO DON'T WANT TO READ MY RAMBLE]

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bad moods, Bad sleep and Honey Badgers

I am not in a very good mood today. It's one of those 'I just am' ones though. I reckon it's a combination of my decreasing daily amounts of sleep and something that irked me last night. The thing was only a minior irritant at the time but now I'm annoyed about it, which is a shame because it really isn't worth my time. I think this has only happened due to the sleep thing I'm sure, which is why the specifics of the irritant aren't worth mentioning - irksome, yes, but should be forgotten by now.

I can't remember ever sleeping that well, particularly over recent years, except during a few specific periods. I have a tendency to sleep for 4-6 hours a night, sometimes straight through, sometimes in patches, then after a few weeks of that I crash out for about 12 hours. that's the best bit because I wake up feeling great. Hasn't happened in a while though which is quite odd.

Anyway, I think that's where the grumpiness has come from.

Actually I just reread what I wrote, it appears I have come up with a cure for insomnia right there, dull isn't it?

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So. In order to cheer myself up a bit I decided to look something up. I've been listening to a podcast called Simulacrum on my MP3 player. Some of the episodes are bloody hilarious. Anyway the host is obsessed with the Honey Badger. At first I thought it was something he made up but it's not! They are real creatures, which is great. Just the name 'Honey Badger' brings a smile to my curmudgeony face. It's having the same effect on me as Magical Trevor does when I have access to sound on my PC (which I don't at work). You can't help but smile.

So there you have it, a cure for melancholy and pointless irritation: The words 'Honey Badger' and Magical Trevor.

Awww! Look at their cute little HoneyBadgeriness!


And of course the inimitable Magical Trevor!




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Incidentally, if any of you have any podcast recommendations please let me know as I am loving the concept at the moment, so catch me before the novelty wears off! Particularly comedy but I'll give anything a whirl!

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Rob has saved me from my Hermitage. He has offered to get some tinnies in tomorrow night so it looks like my dry spell is about to end. We're going to watch the excellent Twin Town with Rhys and Llyr Ifans. You'll recognise Rhys from Notting Hill and various other films but his brother hasn't been in anything else I don't think. Anyway, watch it if you see it. It's a lot funnier and better than it may look on first appearance. If you can understand the thick Swansea accents that is. Which brings me on to the Matt Trivia most of you probably already know: Rhys and Llyr are from my hometown. I can tell you're impressed, in the words of Cartman 'Who wants to touch me? I said who wants to f*****g touch me?!'.

It's lucky Rob is getting a few beers in because I was running out of Kitchen cleaner and mouthwash. I know, I shouldn't drink cocktails on an empty stomach but y'know......

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OK, that's it for now I think. Go look at pictures of Honey Badgers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Tom Cruise - Angry Little Man

Entertainment news, reported by your favourite correspondant Matt "If it's a fact, I'll twist it" Jones!

It would appear that the diminuitive Tom Cruise is once again threatening to sue somebody for suggesting that he is Gay. The 3'6" owner of the 'Blue Oyster' chain of Gentleman's bars is said to be upset by this episode of popular US Cartoon Southpark's constant calls for him to 'Come out of the Closet'. The innocent creators of the cartoon are dumbfounded. One source was heard to say "We had Tom portrayed on our show becuase we love him so much. We wanted it factual though and we heard that L Ron didn't like his acting, we merely put that across. We figured being a Scientologist that Tom would be upset by this and take an action such as, I don't know, hiding in a closet. All his friends then try to coax him out! I don't know where all these gay connotations came from. I tried to contact Tom to ask but he was at a business meeting, apparently he is part of a conglomerate attempting to take over Ana-Lube Inc., whoever the hell they are".

We caught up with Tom at his newly opened 'Leather Chaps for Chaps' store in San Francisco's Castro District. Sadly he was unavailable for comment as he was giving one of his famed renditions of 'I will Survive' to a gathering crowd of onlookers.

Some commentators have pointed to an irony in that at the end of the episode Tom threatens to sue one of the shows other characters - Stan. This is mainly for the fact that Stan highlights how stupid Scientologists are. Focussing on the truly moronic beliefs that this group of wild eyed fanatics hold to, some observers have suggested that the show's creators take a dim view of Scientology. "On the contrary" one insider says, "It's good to have all the stupid people in one place, at least when the population reaches breaking point we know who not to allow to breed!"

We tried once more to catch up with the infintessimal star at his home, but he was once again unavailable for comment, squeaking 'Sorry! Movie night!' as he dashed through the specially installed 'Tom Flap' in his front door, clutching a brace of films - 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert and 'The Sound of Music'.

We spoke to several media experts and one key figure encapsulated the general feeling amongst the group. "It's all very well Tom preventing Paramount from showing the episode again, thus depriving the rest of the world of a very funny and informative show. Luckily there is a vibrant online community all to eager to share evaluation copies of this episode so people across the world can laugh heartily at....what's his name again? Gnome Cruise?... ha ha! My little joke there'.

A close friend, asked for comment, said this: 'I really don't know if he's gay or not, he's off down the Pink Flamingo interviewing the new Male Dancers he's employing at the moment so I can't ask him. He sure is dumb though! Space ships? Alien souls inhabitting all creatures on Earth? I only hang out with him for the money to be honest. Hey! I guess that makes me a Senior Scientologist eh?'

More on this story later as news breaks.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Work is a 4 letter word...

Where have you been?! I hear you cry! Well, actually I don't. Your wailing and gnashing of teeth has been conspicuous in its absence people, you're in danger of damaging the carefully crafted delusions of popularity that keep my overinflated yet fragile ego afloat!

Well if any of you are interested, work was a bit mental last week so didnt really have time to blog. I know they are taking liberties expecting me to work for my money but what can I say? I'm a soft touch. In this instance, busy = good. I'm getting a lot more job satisfaction than I was previously and it's not like I have a social life so putting in the extra hours is no bad thing.

So I may not be able to update every single day as I am trying to fit blogging into my lunch hour, which I don't always spend at my desk. Shocking I know.

Anyway, enough about work.

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Well, nearly enough. This is kind of related. My new bike Voucher has arrived so soon I will be the proud owner of a shiny new mountain bike. This is a good thing, I'll be able to travel to and from work on it, to and from the gym and it looks like some leaisure biking could be on the cards too. This is through something mentioned by a colleague of mine, though I am worried that what constitutes 'leisure biking' in his book seems an awful lot of hard work. It also involves orienteering which will only serve to further highlight my navigational incompetence. Well I assume that will be the case, never having touched any form of map reading before. I mean, that's what route planners are for right?

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I'm a little worried about this sex offenders teaching kids thing that's going on. I have to say right off the bat that the case they are using as an example is a slightly unfair one on the man involved in terms of his persecution and villification by the gutter press. Forming a relationship with a 15 year old student was wrong on every level but not quite on a par with what we traditionally associate with paedophilia. All I'm saying is that while it's right he shouldn't be able to work in school or in a situation with teenagers again I don't think he should be in fear of his life, which he is - thanks to certain reporters.

Anyway, back to my original point. I am quite liberal in many respects but given the question 'should someone who looks at kiddy porn be allowed to work with children' I am going to have to be draconian and come down on the side of No. I like Marcus Brigstock's analogy, I paraphrase here:

"I know you may think it's a little harsh of me but I do have my little prejudices like that. If I owned a butchers shop and a Lion applied for a job, I'd probably turn him down. If I ran a chemists and Pete Doherty asked for a job in the dispensery, I'd have to say no..."


I really don't get it. I don't care if it's one mistake or if she is consenting. You're in a position of responsibility and trust and I just don't think you can have a grey area when it comes to the care of children of any age. That's when mistakes are made and the really dangerous people get to positions where they shouldn't be

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So I've not posted in over a week and have nothing to report in my life, it's bad isn't it? To be perfectly honest I'm a little strapped this month but I have a pretty good social calendar for Feb so I'm not that bothered. I have the big works bash on 3rd Feb, somethings I am doing with Sam and her friend on 5th and 6th feb. Then Pedr is coming down for the first Saint Helens game of the season against the newly renamed London Harlequins RLFC. It'll be my first Rugby League match since leaving Hull so looking forward to it a great deal!

Kudos to Harlequins here by the way. Everyone was worried they would use the Rugby League club as a feeder for the Union side but it looks like they are pushing it and for the first time ever I have seen advertising for Rugby League in the south. 'Quins are advertising on trains, which is more than happened when Twickenham hosted the Challenge cup final (one of the most prestigious events in the game) in 2001 (I think?). Thankfully it's never gone there again and it's gone to good grounds instead, Millenium stadium and Murrayfield.

Finally there could be an extended trip to Hull late in Feb, it's a mates birthday and I'm hoping to take some time fof work so I can stay with various friends up there. Need to speak to the people involved first though I think! Anyway will try to make future posts more entertaining.


Back to work now.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Regional Man Of Mystery

[This entry was one I started last Thursday, so forgive any disjointedness as I finish it today! Disjointedness may not be a word but it's my blog so you can sod off!]

You may remember many months ago that one of my goals was to become an International Man Of Mystery. Obviously this dream can only be realised through a combination of hard work, dedication and exaggerating my achievements. Mostly the latter.

I am happy to report that the first step has been made towards this goal, at least in my work life. In the last week I have not only travelled to the bright lights of Birminighams famed and glamorous International Airport but have today been loaned out to our Great Portland Street office. Clearly my skills are in high demand*, and as such I feel I have at least achieved a Regional Man of Mystery status, and am well on my way to achieving the National rank. I'm rather disappointed that no kind of badge/certificate has been forthcoming or at least some sort of hat but I suppose it's a way of maintaining that air of Mystery that is indicated in the title.

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In other news, Red Leader has expressed a desire to join my Gym which is really good, having someone to go with helps maintain a better routine I think, I've not been so good of late but that's been mainly down to circumstance rather than a lack of will. The lack of Will comes later I think so it's a good time for him to start!



*The envelope stuffing and figure checking work I was given to do was clearly a front for the work of National (or at least regional) importance that i can't tell you about. Guv'nor. errmm.......

Monday, January 09, 2006

Chipperness, Toy Cars and The Midlands.

I was in a very average mood when I woke up but by the time I got to work I was feeling decidedly chipper. I have no idea why, which makes me feel even better because it means it's an entirely unprovoked good mood. Usually, of late, I only get unprovoked bad moods so this can only be a good thing. This return to perkiness has resulted in a new wave of Red Leader mocking that has been sadly lacking in recent weeks.

To be fair, he brings it on himself. Last month we were discussing his Rover and the 'Sports Suspension' he has on it. I was curious to discover at what point in monetary value does 'Crap Suspension' become 'Sports Suspension'. I think we worked it out at around 6K. For sports suspension read 'Bolted iron rods to the chassis and if you go over a gravel path your arse breaks'. As I'm British, I will blame the Americans whose idea of a sports car is a normal car with the suspension taken out. Before you disagree with me drive a Viper - the turning circle of an oil tanker and suspension struts made out of granite.

Anyway, that wasn't this mornings topic of conversation. Red Leader is a keen Karter. That is he drives and competes ina Go-Karting league. Now these things go really fast, the experience feels even faster because you are about 1 inch from the floor. It's also quite dangerous, with more than a small risk of the thing flipping over and you finishing the race on your head. I contend none of these facts. However. When he shows me a photo of one and tells me that it 'looks well mean' I have to disagree.

It looks like a toy car. I know it's not one, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to denegrate the sport, like I say it's populated by screaming nutters! But under no circumstances can a Go-Kart be described as 'mean looking'. It looks like a baby F1 that you would buy a toddler for Christmas. Ok, tell me I'm wrong:



Now I can't stress enough that I am only suggesting that Karts do not look 'mean'. You could stick spikes and guns on them and I doubt it would look mean! Mini things do not look mean, it's not possible! Has anyone seen a mean looking puppy? It may be the most vicious canine on the planet but it doesn't look it because it's a bloody puppy and too small to look mean!

Don't be bringing up things like insects either! They are full sized, not mini. A puppy is a mini dog and a Kart is a mini car. So no, they do not look mean.

[Edit: RoboMatt Contribution]:





Red Leader Prepares for the Big Race!


[/Edit]

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I nearly forgot to explain the third part of my title. It's completely pointless telling you this but I feel like it so you'll just have to cope won't you? Actually, it probably would have been quite funny just to not mention it......

Anyway, moving on. I'm off to Birmingham tomorrow for a work related thing with some mates from work. Rather than travel from Leatherhead through London which would be a nightmare, I am going from Guildford through Reading. Don't panic, this isn't about train journeys. Basically I am going to stop at RoboMatt's house tonight as we are catching the 6:30am train. Now we are going to go for a pint as we haven't been for a while and it's being implied by a certain Scarlet hued Superior that I am going to get trashed, when I clearly have a very long day tomorrow. Boy has no faith. So now it is a test of will, can I go to a pub and leave sober(ish)?

That's a rhetorical question. As your mother used to say "If you've nothing nice to say....."

Friday, January 06, 2006

Jaffa Biscuits

I heard this story ages ago about how there was a big argument about whether the humble Jaffa Cake was indeed a cake or a biscuit. Apparently the way to tell the difference is that a biscuit goes soft when stale and a cake goes hard. Interesting stuff eh?

Well the story I heard was that Mcvities, who are the creators of this most Chorange (see what I did there?) of sponges, made a massive Jaffa Cake in order to prove that it went hard not soft when stale. I have no idea whether this is true. I have no idea why such a monolithic Jaffa cake was required. Also I don't care, just the very idea of a giant Jaffa Cake fills me with joy.

As an update to this great story, apparently Jaffa cakes are indeed cakes. However, the UK governement in their infinite wisdom have a bunch of bureaucrats working on getting it reclassified as a biscuit. Something to do with biscuits being in a higher tax bracket. There aren't enough words, I mean really!

You can actually hear the oxygen being wasted.

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I think we'd live in a lot happier place if they marketed giant Jaffa Cakes. That would be awesome. 'Slice of Jaffa Vicar?', 'Well you can sod off! It's all mine a tells ya! muahahahahahahahaha!'.

*Sigh!*

On Yer Bike!

I'm off to Espom on Saturday to pick a bicycle in preparation for the scheme I joined at work. Basically you get to buy a Bike tax free over the year. This is yet another cunning plan to encourage me to the gym more often, I'm finding the prospect of a 35 minute walk home in the freezing cold after a work out has been putting me off some.

In a stunning display of forethought and 'Killing two birds with one stone-ness' I'll hopefully be hooking up with the Microscopic Sam for lunch in Espsom too, thus allowing for catching up and other such activities. She spent Christmas and New Year over in Ireland with her boyfriends family so should be good to find out what she got up to.

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I've decided to do something interesting this year. Maybe more than one thing, I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure I'm going to need a passport in order to achieve this goal but I'm not entirely sure what the end result will be yet. I did have a passport but somewhere between leaving Hull and coming here it's vanished. Pretty sure all of the plans I made last year for this year have been abandoned for various reasons so need to start making some new ones!

To that end I've started to try to think of things to do that don't rely on other people, that way I'm left with no option but to blame myself when things go wrong. Although if there are any handy inanimate objects about I'll probably manage to offload some of the responsibilty that way.

One of my many plans is a throw back to something I've been thinking about on and off for about 3 years that I still really fancy doing. Basically it involves going to Lake Garda in Italy and camping during the Opera Season. Then I can go to Verona to catch the open air operas they have there, it's reputedly phenomenal. You can buy decanted plastic bottles of wine and take picnics in and it's supposed to be tremendous. The scenery around Garda is supposed to be great and the locals friendly. This is all second hand information though so I could be entirely wrong, but in terms of getting away from everything I don't think I can get much more isolated than camping around a lake in the middle of a country where I don't speak the language. Unless you count Surrey of course.

Calm down! I'm kidding!

I got plans to go visit Maria towards the back end of the year, would be good to see the Columbian Coffee Kleptomaniac again but that all depends on what she's up to with her University stuff, she's doing incredibly clever things with a great deal of syllables in the title. I'm hoping one day she will be able to realise Mike's dream of a Squow happily prancing from tree to tree, hunting down the evil Grey squirrels. I have no idea whether what she does has anything to do with playing God but she's a clever girl, I'm sure she'll pick it up. Allegedly He did a whole planet in 6 days so how hard can it be?

"But that means you are relying on someone Matt! You lied to us!". That's what you're thinking right? Either that or "Did I finish that bag of Twiglets or are there some left?" Well if it's the first statement, you're wrong you see! I am only planning on going if she's about, if not I will go somewhere else. OK, I haven't decided where yet but this is a pretty big place so I'm sure I will think of something. I'm not sure where this idea for the solo hoildays has come from, I'll probably rethink it at some point but right now I'm developing some fairly hermit-like tendencies.

Incidentally the laws of Physics dictate that once a bag of Twiglets is opened, they will be consumed in their entirety. Basically, half empty packets of Twiglets are a spacial anomally that signifies the approaching collapse of the known universe and all life therein.

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My PC isn't broken. It hasn't been broken in over two weeks. I'm very happy.

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I should point out that I'm adding this bit because I know it will annoy Red Leader, so the rest of you can look away if you like, it's just an update on my new toy. I've been playing around with Pdocast software and can now just plug it into my PC and Juice searches the internet for updates to the podcasts I subscribe to, then MediaPlayer qutomatically synchronises it with my player.

This teaches you something very important about Geeks. Every single thing that a geek does is designed to reduce the amount of effort it takes them to do it. That is the sole goal in any technological achievement. I can argue the case for this anytime you like with any advancement. The funny thing is the amount of time and effort someone will go to in order to design somehting that boils water slightly faster or make a water proof shoelace.

Anyway. I'm going.

In all seriousness

I had one post written, but realised some bits were a bit more ranty and serious than the other bits. As a result I have thoughtfully dissected the serious bits away from the fleshy goodness of the life of Matt and put them here for you to ignore.

Aren't I good?


[Kind of Politicky bit, so not for you Pedr!]

Charles Kennedy has been having some drink problems so now all the vultures are circling. Some evil bitch he sacked for being crap at her job has been saying on Radio 4 that he's had problems since before he was conceived or some other such bollox. Excuse my language but this kind of thing annoys me. I don't think an alcoholic leader is going to inspire confidence in party members, but all of this character assassination is completely unjustified. The fact is he has done a great job as leader of the Lib Dems, he's taken them to their strongest position in living memory, in fact I'm pretty sure it's in their entire history.

Don't get me wrong, I do think he is using a certain element of the 'Sympathy Vote' but not to the extent some of his more vicious detractors are claiming.

Apparently he's relapsed several times during his addiction so maybe he isn't the best choice for leader, purely on a pragmatic front. Personally I'd still vote for him because I think he is a skilled politician and a capable party leader, but I dont think the rest of the British Public would go along with me there.

Maybe we need a drunk Priminister, if only for an afternoon. Preferably the afternoon of a state visit by Dubyah. You could charge for tickets.

Anyway, I'm sure the leadership of the Lib Dems read my blog so here's message to those of you who are skulking about, talking to the gutter press in order to get your name published, probably for the only time in your miserbale lives. How about you stop attacking the character of a good man and a good politician and start thinking about who is best to succeed him? You look pathetic with all your 'I've always said there was something about him.......' crap and you make you're party look stupid just so you can get an ego boost when you see your statement in the Sun tomorrow.

To the majority of you though, for keeping tight lipped and honest. Kudos.

I should point out I am not a total left winger, just when it suits me. I'm not entirely sure you should have to camp entirely on one side of the fence, personally the far left wind me up nearly as much as the far right. I'm all for renewable energy, saving trees and all manner of fluffy animals(except possibly cats. Actually I've softened in my old age. Except most cats.) but sadly their most vehement proponents are often as objectionable and unrealsitic as those they oppose.

Anyway, enough Politics. Leave Charles alone. You shits.

[/Opinionated rant over]

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[Geek]

I'm Macifying my PC apparently. I had no idea I was doing it, I just don't really like the Windows task bar thingy and saw a guy at work with a nifty looking thingy on his screen and downloaded it. It's here if anyone is interested and right now I like it. That may change. Come on people, it's me. It's almost definitely going to change! Anyway point is people keep sneering at me in a slightly geeky way and telling me I am trying to turn my PC into a Mac. The held wisdom being that Macs are computers especially built for idiots.

I'm not sure why this is a bad thing. Macs until very recently ruled the Music and Graphics world. I've never used one but they are allegedly incredibly simple to use and if this thing I have is anything to go by I can believe it. I don't see the problem, the general populace are still technophobic when it comes to computers. So what if you take functionality and the ability to do anything interesting away? Most people want computers to access the internet, for reasons they don't understand, and to write documents. Maybe to play games. I'm all for making computers that do the bare minimum of what people want and completely removing the ability to do anything else.

This sounds really Big Brothery but thanks to massive Stores and Tiny Geek retailers alike, many people still think they can break their PCs beyond all recognition by hitting the escape key. The only way to combat it is to produce a line that can't be destroyed that way. Preinstall everything and have it with Auto updates. So they all come with antivirus, firewalls, adware protection and Windows. When you hook up to the interent it updates everything without asking.

This is only a solution for the true PC-phobe of course, but I think something like this that eases people into the PC use thing could stop them getting totally skinned when they go buy a proper PC. Because the likes of PC World will silk you for every penny, especially on their 500 quid extended warranties which they sell using a mixture of fear and threats of Armageddon.

Sorry. That went on for longer than I intended.

[/Geek]

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

It's OK, I'm Back.

You lucky people.

Ok I am going to go through various happenings over the last week or so, this may take some time. Go make a cup of tea.

So I think we covered Christmas, though I did fail to mention the radical departure from tradition in my household in that my mother bought me wearable items of clothing. So go mum!

Also the gadget arrived in time for my trip to Hull, it's an excellent piece of kit so the guilt hasn't quite kicked in just yet, I'm sure it will given time though.

So I went to Hull, the intention being that I would be seeing Emi for a day or two while there and the rest of the time with Astrid and Hayley. The Astrid and Hayley elements went off with great success, was really good to see them again as usually I don't really get time to see other people when I go up to Hull, time constraints don't really allow it and me and the Rah are usually too drunk to move!

There was a slight hiccup in the Emi plans:


Artists impression of Emerald on 29th December

So basically she turned into Captain Scot. Not wise for her to make the journey to Hull in George her Nissan Micra. He's getting on a bit. I was able to see her briefly on the 1st in order to collect my Christmas presents: pen with a game attatched! (which I have been shamelessly playing almost relentlessly), a Bingo Game (Emi thinks it is a legal requirement to remind me that I am very old on an almost hourly basis) and a copy of Ripley's Believe it or Not. The poor hapless fool! Now she is going to be bombarded with the little factoids I pick up from this book!

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Red Leader has told me that my blog has become incredibly boring. He usually says things like this when he hasn't been featured in a while. Although in this instance he is probably right, I think I need to start making things up or leading an interesting life again!

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Found out during my visit to Hull that my mate Tom is now engaged. He's the first guy I met at Hull University, we were both on the Open Day there and proceeded to spend the next 3 years keeping each other sane. Tom helped start the Computer Society at Uni, I was on the committee for it. You need to understand that at Hull the Computer Science student demographic splits up roughly like this:

9% Alcoholic Revellers (*whistles..*).
10% Could get them out with a bit of effort.
81% A-Z of skin complaints, hair by Black & Decker and social skills that make Calvin Coolidge seem positively chatty.

I was the Social Secretary. We basically started off treating it like an outreach program, trying to get some of them to come out and socialise with non-computer people. With a happy harcore, it worked. We had between 20 and 30 members we could get out on a big night out to have a good time. I'm being unfair of course, but then I usually am.

Anyway, point being Tom is engaged to an absolute Legend of a girl called Beverly. So congratulations Tom. And Bev, you'll be rewarded in your next life for taking one for the team I'm sure.

In a positive marriage-a-palooza, fellow blogger Jo has also had the question popped in a most traditional manner, so go Dave for that one.


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In further Gadget news, it looks liek the phone I want could be available as a free upgrade so may not need to threaten to leave the network in order to get my own way. This is good because I really can't be arsed!

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Party News now! It would appear that once again I am to attend the 'New Years' party in London as the NHS have graciously allowed my Dad to have his hip operation. On the 2nd of February. Well, as far as things stand anyway. He'll probably end up breathing in the wrong direction and they'll cancel the thing again. Anyway, so little point in me heading back to Wales for his 60th when he's going to be in Hospital. I'll be heading up when he is out, be good to see him mobile again though I doubt it will improve his driving any. Getting back to Surrey yesterday he refused to acknowledge the existence of mini roundabouts which was an interesting experience to say the least.

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Ok that's the life update, I'm sure there is more going on but I think Red Leader is probably right, it's much more entertaining when I write complete crap, so watch this space!

 
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