Sunday, May 27, 2007

Where have you been Winston Smith.....?

The title of this BBC News Story is 'Stop And Quiz Powers Considered'. Now if it were the case that the police could randomly stop you in the street and quiz you on historical trivia or pop culture, I think I would quite like that. It could lead children to carry mini encylodpedias around with them in an effort to 'beat the fuzz'! (yeah, I'm down with the cool kidz lingo boiyyeezz!). Or more likely a PDA, what with all this moderness!

I'd really like it if I was accosted by an officer of the law only to be asked 'What's the capital of Bulgaria?' or 'Is Light a: a particle, b: a wave or c: both?'. It could make us all more smug and knowledgeable an pub quizzes up and down the land would become like University challenge. I'm not sure what the penalty would be for getting questions wrong though.... maybe a LoserBoard in the middle of everytown, with local, regional and national Thicko Rankings. At the end of every month the bottom 10 in each town could be pelted with stale Jaffa Cakes (which are a cake and NOT a biscuit!).

Alas, this Quiztopian future is not to be. The wonderful dream of laughing, crazed mobs of Triviaphiles ridiculing and assaulting those with better things to do with their time than learning the average length of the dorsal guiding feathers of a chaffinch will not come to pass. Instead it's an 'anti-terror method'.

This is the latest in a string of cunning plans by the government to track down and ensnare the wily, swarthy and evil musl......errrr....asi......errrm....terrorist, yeah thats it - evil evil terrorists. They eat babies you know? Apparently, simply by asking a person who looks a bit foreign where they've been you can catch them out. "Hello sir, where have you been today?", "Why I've been planting homedmade bombs at the local powerstation officer", "AHA! Got You!", "Curse you and your infidel tactics! We swarthy skinned cannibal savages have no chance against you ingenius white people!"

No, of course not. The erosion of civil liberties is always couched in the language of fear and a message of beneficence. "don't worry, it's not YOU we will use this against, it's people who you don't fully understand and so won't really care about. Mostly they have heavy accents and as you read the Daily Mail, you already know they aren't to be trusted - besides look at their swarthy skin and shifty eyes...."

I think discriminating based on a lack of useless knowledge is much fairer and at least we'd have a use for stale jaffa cakes..

Friday, May 25, 2007

Baby Ducking Stool

A response from Jo just reminded me I haven't posted since last week. So how did the baby dunking go? Bloody confusing that's how!

It was my Uncle's new baby Megan, born 3 months premature but now fattening up nicely thankyou very much. She seemed to behave herself and barely gurgled throughout the proceedings. The ceremony itself was quite dull and disappointing, not having attended one of these things before I was hoping that as it is something of a happy afair their maybe some fun in the ceremony. There wasn't - the priest just banged on about God (someone we have disproven on this very blog!) and applied various product to the baby.

Now if it was me, there would be a little see-saw kind of system to put the baby on, the Vicar's job would be simply to count down '3-2-1!...' then the congregation shout 'DUNK THE BABY!' and cheer as the child is briefly drenched. Much more enjoyable I am sure you'll all agree.

Anyway, I digress. Confusing. My Uncle's daughter. Only apparently he isn't my Uncle but my cousin because although my aunt is his mother, he was adopted by my Nain and Taid and brought up as my Mum's brother. Thus unofficially making him my Uncle, actually my cousin and therefore Megan-Ann is my 2nd cousin and not my first cousin as would be the case if my Uncle was actually my Uncle and not my cousin.

or something. Good weekend though, caught up with a lot of people and drank inadvisable amounts of booze and watched some very bad Rat based horror movie. Ooooh it was good.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Trains, Big Brother, Training Wheels

I travelled back to wales yesterday, I have a Christening to go to on Sunday and various other events to celebrate, my 30th and my Mum's birthday included.

Most people have the good sense not to invite me to Christenings or Weddings, with the only church related activity I've had to endure being funerals. This is my Mum's brother though, and I've yet to meet his new wife so I kind of had to make the effort. So long as the Lord can refrain from smiting me in his House whilst the baby dunking is going on all will be well.

Anyway, it took a little over 2 hours to get from my flat to Euston, probably a distance of 23 miles. It took a little less time to get from Euston to Chester, a distance of 192 miles. That sentence was just to add justification for buying a car later in the year - moving on.
I took my seat at Euston and my standard train experience looked like it was about to begin. The seat next to mine was reserved, a small 1-2 year old child was in the seat immediately to my front and the train was filling up.

Now under normal circumstances this means that the moment the journey begins, the child will attempt the world's longest, loudest and most irritating scream-a-thon whilst the mother looks on tsking and attempting to placate the child with some technique she thinks she saw once on some crappy reality show. The reserved seat would be occupied by someone of questionable personal hygiene who either:

1) Has an intensely boring hobby that he feels must be shared with the world. Collecting Word Fonts, eyebrow classification, window frame spotting - things of this nature.

2) Just got released from prison.

3) Sleeps, snores, drools.

4) You're not sure what's wrong but you have a feeling he used to dissect things as a child to 'see how they worked'.

5) All of the above.

I was ready. I had my Zune, my DS, a book, my phone and a set of headphones.

None of which I needed. The child gurgled and played the whole journey without whining once, my would be murderous, boring cannibal failed to show and I had a pleasant and uneventful journey. Even the normal contingent of shambolic mutants that board at Crewe were relatively non-repulsive.

I did notice one man, he was in a seat in the opposite row of seats. For the first hour of the Euston-Chester journey he had a Sat Nav device out, which he was staring intently at. Now I was fairly sure that the driver of the train, no matter how unskilled, was unlikely to take a wrong turn and end up in a field in Sussex. This guy clearly thought otherwise. After an hour he put the thing away, I assume because it was a the treacherous Southeast - Midlands section of the journey that most concerned him. He didn't get up to tell the driver that he had stopped monitoring his progress, so either he was some kind of unofficial person or (I think you'll agree that this is more likely), he was just satisfied to let him carry on on his own, much like when your dad is pushing you on your first bike and he lets you go without telling you.

At the end of the journey I imagine the young, fresh-faced train driver approached SatNavMan and said 'So SatNavMan (this is probably a title rather than his actual name) did I do?'

SNM: 'I don't know, I stopped monitoring after Warwick son, after were on your own'

A tear in both their eyes.

Dad picked me up from Chester, he'd learned a new joke since my last visit. I'll post some pics on facebook if the weather picks up and I can get up the mountain.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wooooo! Go 'Phins!

Pedro Ramirez - International Latin Lover, AKA Pedr, Pedro, Pete, Piotr (he doesn't know that he has a Russian Mafia alias yet) and Pedwar has secured his position as a God amongst insects. He has secured 2 tickets to Wembley stadium for the Miami Dolphins/NY Giants NFL game in October. We're likely to get altitude sickness, but we are going.

This makes him better than you, I'm sorry but you'll just have to come to terms with it He reliably informs me that I like the Dolphins more than the Giants because of Eli Manning. Yeah, I hate him! grrrr! I am willing to accept other votes from Steelers fans, but no one else!

I know most Brits reading this will likely berate the game, but thanks to Pietro's relentless years of brainwashing I can appreciate the game (or at least the bits of it I understand). He did fail to make me a niners fan though, instead I infuriated him by randomly picking the Steelers as my team only to have them win the Superbowl the following year.

I will never get baseball, I'm sorry Pedr but you're wrong - it's rounders with tight pants.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What the Hell Just Happened?!

Here's the story. Basically, much like Lord Goldsmith is Tony's pet lawyer, delivering an interpretation of the law based on what Tony interprets it as - i.e differently to everyone else in the world, Alberto Gonzales does the same for President Exxon.

For those of you who don't know this story, the run down is that 8 US Attorneys got sacked for not being loyal Bushies - sacked for political rather than practical reasons.

Al tried several strategies to get out of admitting responsibility. Firstly there was the Bart Simpson Defence : 'I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it, no-one can prove anything'. This didn't work because diary entries, meetings and emails proved he was aware of something going on.

Secondly was the classic Teflon Shoulders approach. This is where any responsibility or decisions making immediately slides off onto those below, resulting in the 'I didn't make any decisions to do with this' defence. Also proven false by the same emails etc. as before.

Thirdly was the Coma defence. This is where Al, bless his heart, fails to remember anything before the current date. In his defence, he didn't act all surprised byt shouting 'It's 2007?! What is the internet?! Who Am I??!', but he did say words to the effect of 'I have no recollection of that' 71 times during a hearing over the matter. Somebody needs to take some Omega-3 supplements.

Finally they have settled on the Goodyear Blimp approach. This isn't a defence as such, more of a scapegoating/distraction from events - 'Look over there! He's resigning! It must be his fault!'.

However, everyone knows that Gonzales is a vacuous waste of blood and organs who thinks torture is OK, and the right to Habeas Corpus doesn't exist in the US. I did put a whole bit here about America isn't a democracy at all (or Britain) but it was very long and boring and this was meant to be a lighthearted look at a travesty and a pathetic little man. However, I've been in work since a little before 6am and now I'm slightly depressed.

The fun, such as it is, will return later I promise!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Because Rock, Paper, Scissors might be considered too cool.....

t1m3 2 l33t |_|p th4t g4m3 n00b!

That's right folks, RPS has been Geek_Pimped!

[Paddy_Edit]Apparently Rob linked to this a week or so ago and I am naught but a filthy plagiariser![/Paddy_Edit]

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sunday Excuses

It's very dull and miserable outside today, and despite what you may think - this is a good thing. It's good for a variety of reasons but mainly my Sunday Excuses.

If it was sunny and pleasant outside I would spend the day doing exactly what I am doing, only feeling guilty about it because I should be outside hiking or something. Rich Lowe, who visited on Friday, hasn't helped matters by buying me a book caled '132 seize the days', it's full of things to do at weekends and Bank Holidays. Lonely Planet is entirely staffed by those really annoying people, you know the ones - where every single item they own was given to them by some villager, or goat herd or vegetarian cannibal in the jungles of Peru.

I'm joking of course, there are a couple of good things in it that I might give ago and it was a thoughtful present. I'm right about the Lonely Planet people though.

So anyway, normally I would feel guilty about staying in and doing not much, which is where the second layer of facade comes in. 'I'm working on my website'. Roughly translated this is 'I have my editor open, and I'm buggering about with margins whilst not achieving anything'.

I have a new reason today, Emi is working hard to complete her dissertation so I am nominally staying in 'working on my website' in moral support. The differnce is that she awesome, good at what she is doing and general aceness on toast. I on the other hand, will maybe draw a few stick men.

Hmmm, the sun is trying to come out. devious sod.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tales from the Crypt

I turned 30 last Sunday and I am feeling surprisingly spritely. I think you'll agree that there are only a handful of plausible explanations for my apparent good health:

Reason 1: Inspired by my grasp of fingerpaints, my parents decided I was a child prodigy but they realised that the school (run by The Man, cunningly disguised as Mrs Jones) would not accept one so young. They forged my records and claimed I am older than I am. Once they realised their error in judgement regarding my cognitive ability, it was too late to rectify the situation.

This would place me at least a year younger than my published age of 30 and also explain my poor choices in secondary school. It all fits.....

Reason 2: Aliens.

No explanation all fits....

Reason 3: It's entirely possible Mephistopholes was around on Saturday during the celebrations and, at a loose end, bargained for my immortal soul, granting me extra time before my spiral into the clutches of Death.

If this is the case, he kind of loses because I am already dead inside. Of course, that in itself may be the result of another contract I signed in a similar drunken stupor with another Infernal bargain-hunter. If this is the case then I could get a few more years just out of the legal wrangling alone. This would make me a genius (see 1) and also it all fits.........

Reason 4: I have mastery over time. Evidence? All my favourite things from the 80s are cool again!

Granted my mastery looks like it only extends to what I deem cool, seems incapable of bringing back my flat stomach and also has brought back pastel yellow as a fashion choice for men. Every power has it's limits, so this .....all fits.

Me after my birthday celebrations, I'm told you can't see any wrinkles or grey hairs...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Gaffa Tape - a million and one uses

As the Facebook group rightly says 'If you can't fix it with Gaffa tape, you haven't used enough'.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

White Collar Pikeys

Now I don't use the word Pikey in the same way as Guy 'Mockney' Ritchie [Not Pearce as I previously stated!] or to denigrate travellers. I'm using it in its more 'How cheap do you have to be to do that?' sense.

Allow me to elaborate. A little while ago I brought a 6 pack of Sprite to work with me, we have fridges and stuff that we can use in the kitchen area. Within a few days they had been nicked, which was annoying but I gave the benefit of the doubt - perhaps someone of limited mental capacity thought the management had generously provided a 6 pack of sprite in order to quench the thirst of the 200 or so people who work in my building.

So I brought more in, because it is quite warm at the moment. I then did something I really didn't want to do. Something we are told to do when using the fridges but something I found akin to sewing your name in your socks. I wrote my name on the packaging. I know! Its super lame, but I had to be sure before spewing forth bile and venom!

Anyway, sure enough someone nicks it. Now I don't begrudge my fellow man the opportunity to quench his thirst and if asked I would probably say 'sure, take one!’ But the fact someone is just wandering in and taking my things is a little galling - especially as there is a vending machine about 50 yards away in the other building. Seriously, how cheap do you have to be to steal from your colleagues rather than walk a few yards and spend 50p?

There is no way of not making myself look petty here so I won't try; it's just an irritating and senseless thing that has annoyed me.

It did get me thinking if I was the only one or not. I mean maybe this person lives a glorious life of free sustenance. Stealing my Sprite, and then perhaps having someone else’s salad as a starter. Another person's pasta as a main course then tops it all off with a refreshing yoghurt for their dessert? Kind of like an office Urchin of some description out of a twee novel. Only one that earns quite a large amount of money and rather than being a cute scamp, is just a selfish twat. But other than that the analogy works.

Instead of 'Please sir can I have some more?', it's 'I'm a waste of blood and organs but I still need stuff, rather than ask I will just assume this is mine'

I could of course be completely wrong. The perpetrator could be trying to start a communist revolution within the company; this could be their way of stating that property is theft and that the proletariat should rise up against the soft-drink owning oppressors such as me. 6 cans of sprite out of a total of 6 in the fridge, possibly in the building, could easily constitute and unfair monopoly of Sprite resources within the building. Instead of squirreling the now warm soft drinks in my draw, I could have shared my cool beverages with my fellow workers and united against the common foe of 'that bloke whose wife always makes him really nice dinners who works on the Centrica account'.

Or whoever did it is just a prick.

Yay though I walk throught the valley of Death....

So I'm 30 on Sunday and apparently this is a big deal. I hadn't really planned to do anything other than buy some cardigans and prepare for the icey Hand of Death to land on my shoulder. My logic was thus: 'Things are a bit busy right now and besides, I'll be 30, surely it's a big enough number for me to justify having a 12 month celebration?'. The idea was basically to do a bunch of stuff I've been meaning to do but never really got round to - see more shows, especially comedy gigs, go see some different places. Nothing out of the ordinary - just pulling my finger out.

Then 2 things occurred to me. Firstly I am no longer as busy as I was and secondly it will be less effort to go out and do something than it would to not go out and explain to people the logic behind not going out. So. I'm going out.

So far the plan is food and frol in Guildford on Saturday night but I am open to suggestions - it's just I have a few friends I haven't seen in an age down Guildford way. Obviously after midnight I'll be explaining to everyone how 'I remember when all this was just fields' (as opposed to the Iraqi 'I remember when all this was just buildings').

The age is clearly getting to me as I don't think I have posted before work before so I am clearly developing the knack of getting up at 4:30am to build a non-existant fire and start boiling the evening meal's vegetables.

It's been a while since I had a proper night out around here, so Saturday is as good a day as any, feel free to join me - just follow the smell of piss and talc.

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