Friday, December 29, 2006


Just been over to Stu's blog, it was his 28th birthday yesterday and it got me thinking.

When you are little you are always your age plus a fraction when asked how old you are. "I'm 6 and three quarters!" you proclaim proudly as you continue crash testing your Action Man jeep out of your bedroom window (in the interests of science you understand). When you hit your late teens, you're always nearly something. "Nearly 19", in the vain hope that the woman you are attempting to chat up realises that you are many months beyond being legally adult and therefore should see you as the man you are, as opposed to the boyish idiot laced with Lynx (you know, the smell of adolescent desperation) she may otherwise perceive you to be.

Now I'm 29, I've noticed another change. You don't mind being in your 'late twenties' anymore, because you know that you're really 'nearly 30'. Also you are your age right up until the minute your birthday hits. You're never a fraction and you are certainly not 'nearly' anything!

Well bollox! I am nearly 30 and I am 29 and 7/12! It bothers me not a jot, and I am fairly sure that it should, other people appear to approach some weird crisis point at 30. They start looking at their lives and what they've accomplished and stuff, whereas I can't be arsed. I mean, I've done OK so that's good enough.

I am a little worried about my expanding podge but I think I'll get my usual burst of energy when spring kicks in and I will start biking everywhere again, maybe get myself back to the gym. On the other hand, a man of my advancing years may want to avoid the gym - don't want to do myself an injury.

Also, as the Troll of my 30th Birthday lurks beneath the placid looking bridge of May, there is a slight concern that it will leap out and consume my ability to pick out clothes that belong in this decade. It could instill in me a desire to buy cardigans and slippers and a belief that anything at all written in the Daily Mail is accurate.

On the other hand I was around to see the Thundercats when it was first aired on TV. Every cloud.

[Edit] Look! You even trick yourself when trying to observe the phenomenon - my birthday is at the beginning of May so technically I am closer to 29 and 2/3. I think it must be genetic, some quirk of the evolution of vanity.[/Edit]

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Festively Plump

I am returned my people!

Eventually. Took me about 6 hours but I got here (considering it was about half that on the way there!). I am not going to complain about the trains again, suffice to say dutch veal calves' travelling conditions are sumptuous in comparison to what I had to deal with yesterday!

A few pics of the brother's pub to follow. Fairly uneventful Christmas, lots of booze and food and some 360 sessions around Pete's house. The journey back was a complete nightmare as I've already mentioned, on the other hand there were silver linings.

Firstly my passport was waiting for me when I got back. Score. Secondly, I got some Christmas cards - one from Emi who ahven't heard from in a good while (with pic on Penguin on the front!) and one from fellow blogger Julie, who draws an exceptionally good reindeer that looks not at all like a donkey .

It arrived before Christmas and while this is great it makes me wonder what the hell happened to the Birthday card I sent to Maria last January. I have visions of the card being taken away and examined in connection with some imagined national security issue. Not entirely unreasonable, as it did get posted in a red envelope. Clearly both China and Russia are intrinsically evil as well as being durrty Commies (Rummies first foray into engendering fear and paranoia on a mass scale). In addition to that, addressing it to a South American no doubt led the authorities to believe that, far from being a greeting card, it was infact 17 kilos of prime cocaine cunningly routed through a Surrey post office to throw the authorities off the scent.

On the other hand it could have just got lost.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Final pre-Christmas Blog (probably)

OK not got long here, I am off home to Wales today for the festive season, huzzah! Well.... until next Thursday anyhow!

I hope you all have a good time and Santa is nice to you, I will leave you with this MSN conversation I just had with my dad:

....Matt:No, not out tomorrow

Dad: Not gone tea total have you?!

Matt: don't be daft, I'm on call so will be round Mike's eating chili, drinking and watching crap

Dad: Oh, I'll hide the bloody Stella then!

Matt: You can't hide it from its destiny dad

Dad: You're confused - your throat isn't destiny, it's just a destination

Merry Christmas all, back next week!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Lights

This is what happens when you let a Geek gets an idea in his head.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Passport Shenanigans

I've not been able to look forward to my Pittsburgh Extravaganza (working title) properly because I have been passport-less. I lost mine at some point in my move from Hull I think, so I applied for a new one about 3 weeks ago. They rejected it because I didn't read the rules about counter-signatories correctly. So I got the midget in Raynes Park to sign her dinky little name on the back of my application.

Anyway, I sent that back to them sometime at the beginnign last week. I called them yesterday just to confirm that they had received it and they had matched it up to the doucments that they had retained. They said no, it hadn't got there adn if it wasn't there by Wednesday I would have to pay another 50 quid (on top off the 66 I already sent) to fast track it!

I checked my online banking this morning to discover the cheeky sods had cashed my cheque so puffed myself up with indignant British Rigteousness ready to give those scallywags a bally good talking too! Only to have the nice Irish girl called Audrey tell me that my passport was being printed as we speak and to have a lovely day, and if I had any other problems, with delivery for example, I shouldn't hesitate to call and they'd be glad to have the courier responsible for my inconvenience flogged to within an inch of his life.

I may call up to complain about them taking the wind out of my sails instead...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Rise of the machine

My XBox 360 now has its own blog here. In a couple of days it will start telling you any comobination of the following:

1: How bad I am at the games

2: How good I am at a game

3: How much time I spend playing

4: How little time I send playing.

Thanks to Stu for pointing this feature out!

Weaker than a British Primeminister at a Whitehouse meeting.....

OK, so I am going home on Thursday. This meant that last weekend was the last time April and I would be doing anythign before Christmas, so we did our gift exchange on Saturday.

I got her some nice Clinique skin treatments, some bits and bobs (inclding a couple of these wicked things!). I also got her an iPod nano, as she is MP3 playerless. I know I slag them off a lot but for non-techno geeks who don't know any better they are still the best players to have. I doubt she will ever want to do anything clever with it and it looks really cool. Anyway, she was well pleased and couldn't stop mucking about with it. Her computer was rejected by Noah in favour of a more up to date model so I pre-loaded it with her favourite tunes until me and Nick manage to build something that qualifies for entry into the industrial age. iTunes, along with being crap, is picky about what it will run on.

Anyway, I get some pressies - socks, some of them little forks you use for eating con on the cob (which I got far too excited about). Then she gave me a PSP. Which rocks, really quite hard. She then proceeds to tell me that she was going to get me a Wii but didn't realise she had to pre-order, which is understandable. We have already discussed that I am the nerd remember? Anyway she starts to tell me that I can exchange it for a Wii when they get new stock so long as I don't open it. A gadget boy like me not opening a Gadget?! But she was right of course, I have a DS Lite which I love and am not the biggest fan of Sony. Also I simply wouldn't use another hand-held.

So. Dilemma. Do I wait a month and try and get a Wii? (28 day limit on the return policy). Or. Do we go to the store and exchange it for cash and wait for the Wii to come out?


Do we go to a store, exchange it and pay the difference for an XBox 360?

As it happens we take it to the store, argue with the man about the 360 bundles he offers ("But I don't like driving games!"), take the refund and head to Gamestation. April then proceeds to amaze again by finding an absolutely blinding deal on the console and a whole bunch of top titles. It was more than I intended to spend, but hey! I got to take advantage of this attitude while it lasts!

Point is. I was resisting buying the 360 until March. Now I have one. Let me tell you, you haven't played until you've played in glorious HDTV. Gears of War and Call fo Duty 3 are like playing films. I can only assume she wants to dump me, cos lets be honest this isn't the way to get a guys attention focussed on you is it?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I don't think Cohen is particularly clever or funny. Ali G was irritating and basically a rip-off from work that Chris Morris had done with far more skill, wit and effect with The Day Today and Brass Eye. Similarly Borat is hardly an original concept, I always found him as lame as Ali G. I never really understood why he couldn't just make up a country name rather than pick a real one randomly, especially if America was his target for his, what I will loosely call satire. Lets be honest, central European geography with a specialty in ex-eastern bloc countries is hardly top of the US school curriculum right?

hat being said, I haven't seen the movie. People acclaim it as very cleverly lampooning the prejudices that the character has, I see it as a cheap laugh. I like clever comedy and, judging from Borat's 'past work', I don't think this is it.

Anyway, this is the point of this post. These barely simian trolls trying to get the bits of the movie where they exhibit racist and sexist behaviour removed from the flick. What I love is that they do not deny being racist and sexist, merely that they don't want anyone else to know! Genius.

In fact their plan will now backfire because now I will watch it on DVD, just for that bit.

Anyway, when I eventually watch the movie I will let you know whether my opinion of this alleged comedian changes.

Saints from Sinners

I'm sorry I don't get it, I've never got it and I never will get it. I've never been a Royalist and I never had much regard for Princess Diana, particularly after that sickening interview she gave. She was very good at manipulating the press and did so to fantastic effect.

She did some charity work, which is good but so do a lot of the royal family, as well they should!

There are several things that annoy me about the whole Diana thing.

Reason 1: Firstly she has been turned into some kind of saintly figure with Charles as some oppressive ogre of a man who was just 'so very beastly!'. And everyone buys it because of that simpering look she gave whenever presented with a camera of any description.

Reason 2: Conspiracy theories: I mean for Christ's sake! She died in a horrific accident thanks in part to a drunk driver and in part to the loathsome human detritus that are the papparazi. Conspiracy theories about this are just that, theories dreamt up by morons who are basically oxygen thieves. It's interesting that it's the tabloids that perpetuate these theories, particularly as they played no small part in her death.

Reason 3: I am sick to the back teeth of hearing about it! I could understand a 10 year memorial next year, I really could, if there was some kind of break in coverage in teh interim. Instead ever since August 1997 we've had a constant stream of Diana oriented verbal and literary loose bowel water of the worst kind. We get it already!

Reason 4: Diana stories have kept the Daily Express in circulation. I mean really, they haven't had to leave the office for 10 years - they just run a variation of the same headline every day 'New Evidence in Diana Death!', 'CIA Wanted Diana Dead!'. Apparently they resisted putting any Diana oriented stories in their sister publication 'Asian Babes'*.

So they are the main reasons. There are more but they are just personal prejudice, as opposed to the enlightened and fact driven reasons given above.

I am going to finish on Diana plus points. I am not going to mention the work she did with the Land Mines campaign because virtually nothing came of it, that famous shot of her in a UN helmet and flak jacket was ridiculously staged, in my opinion she would have done more good spending more time showing the horrific injuries that are caused by land mines. Instead we saw reruns of pictures of just how brave she was, walking through an already cleared mine filed.

No, her greatest achievement was touching someone with AIDS - I think it was in the late 80s some time. It doesn't sound like much but at a time when even the educated public had little knowledge of AIDS and were still half convinced that it could be transmitted by casual touch, I think it was an exceptionally clever and powerful thing to do. I think those pictures had a massive effect, especially in this country, on shifting the perception of the disease. Couple that with showing children in Africa with the disease - which helped illustrate that it wasn't a 'self-inflicted disease caught by those Evil Gay people and their Junky Friends', another media driven misconception of the 80s.

So I am not saying that she was evil, I am not saying she was a bad person and I am not saying that for some people her death wasn't a major event. Just stop banging on about it. Please.

Have memorials, every 5 years say? Even once a year if that's your want. Just please stop wiffling on about it in the interim, stop trying to make it our Kennedy because that poor guy was actually murdered - shot through the head, and there is actual physical evidence to suggest that the person accused was not the man who did it. That's got legs as a conspiracy theory - this Diana thing is just tabloids ducking their repsonsibility because they have no souls.

Come on people, by eliminating Diana stories maybe, in some small way, we can reduce the circulation of the Daily Express. It's not the Daily 'Look at his skin! isn't it Swarthy?! They're cannibals you know, watch your legs - they find them tasty.' Mail, but it's a start!

[edit] Sorry! just to clarify, I know the title says 'Saints from Sinners', she wasn't a bad person I just thought the title would be quite cool as the alternative would be 'Saints from people who did their job quite well and knew how to work the press' which isn't quite as snappy[/edit]

*I kid you not, this right wing, hack written drivel is owned by Britain's most prolific pornographer.

Monday, December 11, 2006


There will be more pics on this blog soon and on Ringo I promise. I have worked out how to get the RAW files onto my PC now. This means I can do cool image processing to the pics - the stuff you can't really do too well with JPEGs or whatever because a lot of priocessing already happens generating those images.

I am not letting the fact I have no clue how to do these things daunt me, I will play until it works damnit! This will make my Pittsburgh photos Masterpieces I tellsya!

Pittsburgh Sports

I just investigated the price of tickets to a Pittsburgh Penguins game - I thought I might get lucky. Sadly the game on the 20th January is against the Toronto Maple Leafs, so my optimism dropped somewhat. I can can $150 tickets, not sure it's worth it for a game I know nothing about!

Although, what's not to like about these guys? They have the word 'Penguin' in their name, their logo is an Ice Hockey playing penguin and it's an incredibly violent sport - scores all round!

Ho Hum!

Then, for kicks, I thought I would check out the Steelers - Just in case the entire fan base and their extended families had died suddenly and a seat wasn't booked. I checked their ticket FAQ and was met with the most fantastic reply:

    How do I get tickets to Steelers home games?
    A single game ticket sale was held in May via mail order only

Now it almost certainly means that tickets for single games were sold online during May. My brain, however, went off on its own again and came up with an an image of a single ticket for a pre-season friendly against the 'Nantucket under 12s' going for sale online, and only because the person who was originally to go to the match had died in a horrific wood chipper accident and the family needed the money for a new mop. Or something.

I like this city more and more and I am not even there yet. 'Course I may never be there if my passport doesn't come through. Some people might say it would have been sensible to organise that before booking the flights and buying half my dollars, but to those people I say this - You can prove anything with FACTS you smug git!


Apparently it was a real heart attack this time, as opposed to a fake one to avoid standing trial for crimes against humanity.

"He will of course be buried according to his wishes - in a mass grave beneath a football stadium - The Now Show

Well, I thought it was funny. As far as I'm concerned, animals like this aren't afforded the same comedy grace period that other people might enjoy.


Do I really need a rant to emphasise my point here? Why can't we burn these people for fuel or soemthing?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ninja day posting for the benefit of Nonjas

I hope my fellow Ninjas enjoyed the inciteful and witty Ninja oriented post I put up, I think we can all agree on the fundamental points raised there.

For all you Nonjas (non-ninjas) out there, I am sure you aware that today is Annual Day of The Ninja. As such I have developed for this day some special Ninja blogging powers that only allow Ninjas to see my previous post. By using the words Ninja, Ninjonics (the urban version), Nonja and Annual day of the Ninja I am helping to promote Ninjistics throughout the world and hopefully increase the hit rate on engines like Google.

So come on everyone, get posting about Ninjas and hopefully in some small way we can make this world a more deadly place!

I look forward to reading your comments soon!

Ninja day posting

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