Friday, June 29, 2007

Can't go long without a rant...

This story both annoys and amuses me.

Basically they are saying their human rights are infringed because they broke the law. It's your car, if it's not stolen and it is caught speeding you are liable for it unless of course someone else named by you or who comes forward, admits to and can prove they were driving the car. At least that is my understanding.

This man Francis says something like 'I will continue to fight for our freedoms'. Well how about fighting for the hundreds of children who are killed each year because arseholes like you think it's their right to break the speed limit? I got caught speeding and I probably got a harsher penalty than I deserved, first offence and all that but I am not about to whinge that the law preventing me from increasing the risk of harm to others is against my civil liberties!

The easiest way not to get caught by speed cameras is not to speed. The one thing I dread becoming when I get a car again is one of these drivers who thinks the world is out to get him. If I ever start whining about car charges, let me know!

Stronger, faster, better.......

Well it's a couple months on and Sam the Welsh pygmy has had more scans. I only include one on this post because I don't want you all fawning over your screens, which would happen if I included the whole set.

LOOKIT!



As you can see, the baby is already a superior being to any of you great unwashed. You can tell, just look at the poise with which el bambino holds in the amniotic fluid. The superior cranial capacity, the powerful limbs, the keen intellect and power shines through! Master/Mistress of all he/she surveys!

Some of you may think I am not being objective, but that's only because your baby isn't as good as Sam & Niall's.

Stag Weekend Tomfoolery

I'm off to the West Country in an hour or so with Rob and 18 other people to engage in RoboMatt's stag weekend. It all looks good fun.


We are staying here:




Looks like it's beers this evening. Tomorrow we are having Sumo Wrestling and Archery in the grounds followed by paintball in the afternoon. I suspect the teams will be 19 enthusiastic 'friends' Vs RoboMatt.

Then it's off to the bustling metropolis of Tiverton town for beer induced shenannigans! Sunday is a round of golf, lunch and home.

All very civilised but I'm sure we'll get a traffic cone from somewhere - Photos to follow.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Out of the Wilderness.......

I am for the first time in 2 years giving serious consideration to moving job. Despite many things that infuriate me, I really quite like working for my current company. Like any large concern there are politics and various other gripes but as a company they aren't horrible to work for. I'm grown up enough to know that wherever I work these problems or similar ones will rear their ugly heads. My main reasoning is about where I live, I'm getting increasingly frustrated at not being able to buy anywhere because I happen to live in Surrey.

My flatmate is moving in to his own place and I will be renting off him - the rent will be similar to what I could be paying on a mortgage in pretty much any other area of the country except for London. So bitching and whining about my company/staff manager aside I am just looking at my overall goals and one of those is to get my own place. I've seen similar jobs to mine for the same or more money in cheaper areas like Ipswich or Harrogate where I can buy houses for less than small studio flats where I currently live.

So watch this space, I may actually start sending my CV out shortly and changes may be afoot. Though I am aware that I tend to get itchy feet after about 2 years in one place so need to think about it a bit more carefully.......

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

On a lighter note....

Lots of people I know went to Glastonbury this year and for the first time ever I was actually jealous. I mean, The Who were playing - come on!

Jealousy aside, I now own a tent. I have also never gone to a multi-day festival. I've now decided that I am definitely going to a summer festival next year. This is takign a worrying turn though, as originally I was planning only the Download festival (bit more rock oriented you see?). But now my brain is telling me that there is no reason why I can't do Glastonbury AND Download.

I find myself hoping that Glastonbury has one of it's years where it has a line up that I am only half interested in, though I suspect that this will not be the case!

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!

That's right Tony Blair is gone! He's finally stopped talking about it and slung his hook! After weeks of travelling around the world shaking hands with people who don't hate him (hence not travelling around Britain) he is handing in his resignation as a Prime Minister. This is a good career move for Tony, instead of implementing American foreign policy in the middle east whilst ignoring domestic issues, he can just concentrate on doing what he is told by the Whitehouse.

This will be a great weight from his shoulders!

In all seriousness, I despise the man so much because I voted for hime twice - once because I believed in much of what he stood for and the second time because he was the lesser of two evils. In my opinion Tony Blair is the biggest cause for political apathy this country has ever had. He gave so many new hope. After years of Tory mismanagement of public services, illegal arms trades, funding genocidal maniacs and accounting that would make ENRON blush people were genuinely excited at the opportunity to welcome a new premier. Instead he discarded his principles and let us all down. Who can be arsed to vote when you have it thrown back in your face like that?

I know it sounds like I am saying everything he did was crap but I do know that he's done some really good things, but unfortunately that doesn't cut it when put in the balance. He is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people in East Timor and other countries across the world after reneging on a pre-election commitment not to sell Harriers, Saracens and Saladins to ropey regimes (a cushy deal instituted by the Tories). He's failed to keep Britain's commitments to the Tsunami fund. I could go on, but basically there is too much easily avoided death and failure on his hands for me to praise the good he has done. Sadly, everything that the Tories of the late 80s and early 90s were guilty of, he continued. As time went on he lost his backbone, he traded reform for celebrity and a retirement fund.

I can't bring myself not to vote, so I've been voting liberal democrat. They believe in proportional representaion as their key tennet, and taxing the well off more than poor people. This is awesome to me, the only way we will see real change is if there is a hung parliament and the Lib Dems are invited to form a coalition - the only way they would agree to that is if their partners agreed to electoral reform (you know, so we have a democracy instead of the farce we currently have). Well, that was the case until Menezies Campbell took over the Lib Dems and stated that any coalition would no longer hinge on that one policy of proportional representation. Thanks Menezies - who do I vote for now?

OK, that's my politics for the month - sorry had to be done! ;)

No such things as a free lunch

It's been a funny few weeks, I've sat down to blog a few times about things I found funny and thought would be entertaining but when I come to write it down I change my mind thinking it too whiny instead. My levity has suffered of late I think, with my words sounding more serious than I intend them at times so I've been a little more cautious. Don't worry, it won't last.


This one is a nit of a whiny one though and I make no bones about it! It's a dilemma you see - My staff manager wants to take me to lunch tomorrow but I'm not sure I can sit opposite him for longer than 10 minutes without telling him exactly what I think of him. On the other hand, he is buying. My two great loves of Food and Ranting caught up in an impossible battle. Will sitting next to a lying waste of blood and organs put me off my dinner? Or can I survive the day until he goes away for another 6 months?

Answers on a postcard.

Friday, June 15, 2007

German + Bank Manager = ?

A nightmare clad in pinstripes and bearing complicated over-charging right? Ruthless efficiency regarldess of consequences?

Apparently not, this is a story that even warmed my dessicated and bitter heart!

Rock,Paper, Scissors revisited

As we discussed a few weeks ago, new awesomeness in the field of Rock, Paper, Scissors adding new dimensions to the game has been discovered: http://www.umop.com/images/rps25_outcomes.jpg

However, for those losers among you that pine for the classic old skool version but find the very idea of performing the physical actions required for this high tension, extreme competion vomit inducing, fear not as a solution has been created for you! That's right, no more RSI, no more pesky decision making, no more psych-out strategies ruining your fun! Not with the all new electronic Rock, Paper, Scissors!.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Safari

Apple have launched their web browser for Windows. Now as much as I am cautious of Apple hype I have always heard good things about the browser, I tend to use 2 anyway - usually Firefox and IE7 - one with Sun Java turned on and one without.

Anyway, Safari. So far it's just been frustrating - you download Firefox and IE7 and the just sort of work. If you want Java on, you just go to the tools menu and click a little box. Safari doesn't have a tools menu and the first time I navigated to a screen running Java applets it hung for about 3 minutes. I still have no idea how to get it to run applets so I have gone back to Firefox. You can see where Microsoft have nicked things from Safari with IE7, but that doesn't bother me because it works and if it works I couldn't give a toss who made it. Unfortunately, right now Safari is very much like everything else Apple - it works really well on their hardware, with their OS but just 'kind of' works on anything else. Maybe Apple stuff only woks if your machine is pretty.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Comedy Stuff...

I don't normally do requests but 'Liv asked me to blog about this (I think she is sick of reading about my various plans for people I don't like :p)

As part of my phase 2 'Acknowledging the Existence of London' initiative I have been to a couple of comedy gigs of late. The first went to was Richard Herring's excellently delivered mental breakdown in his Menage a Un standup tour. A lot of the stuff won't be to everyone's taste, he is far from mainstream but he delivers his material so well it is hilarious. Whathe does particularly well in a lot of his stuff is to make a moutnain out of a molehill and vice versa. He thinks nothing of extoling the virtues of marrying Maxine Carr but stretches his displeasure at the French word for potatoe meaning 'Apple of the Earth' to about 20 minutes. I can't do his show justice here because i am not a professional reviewy person, you write things like 'Extoling the virtues of marrying Maxine Carr' and that doesn't sound at all funny, but it is in the context of the show. Just trust me it is very funny.

I also went to the Lyric at Hammersmith last night, barely making the the last train home at the end! the line up was pretty good but i was mainly there to see Richard Herring (compere), Robin Ince, Mitch Benn and Stewart Lee. Even though I had heard a lot of the stuff in his show, RH did a really good job as compere, a family kindly providing material by bringing their 12 year old son to the show and sitting him in the front row. 'You're going to learn some interesting new words today my boy'. Giving the 12 year old a bottle of beer before the interval and saying 'drink this, I'll be funnier in the 2nd half then'.

Robin Ince was pretty good though he was trying some new material I think, and it wasn't suited to a 10 minute slot. I am off to see him in Southampton on Wednesday which i am looking forward to, I'm not at all worried because I have heard some of his stuff on the radio before and he is a very witty man. Mitch Benn was his usual brilliant and loud self, I don't usually like musical comedians but he is without doubt the king of comedy songs. A strong opening with 'I may have to murder James Blunt' and a song about the life cycle of a Boy Band, he was an excellent choice to finish the first half with. Stewart Lee opened the Second half, which I thought was a shame, I think he should have come a bit later. He basically spent 10 minutes breaking down and analysing a comment passed by his mother about a Tom O'Connor joke. It's a lot funnier than it sounds. He was one of my favourite parts of the evening as I've not seen much of his stuff since This Morning with Richard Not Judy (when still partnered with Rich Herring).

There were other comedians there, some less funny than others. I really like A Murray when he isn't doing his Pub Landlord bit but he only doesn't do that when on panel games and the like, his stage show entirely consists of it and I'm finding it a bit tired. It's a shame because he is clearly talented and clever (the Landlord basically parodying the people who are probably his biggest fans) but he's kind of trapped doing this act at the moment. I hope breaks out of it and does some other stuff soon.

Russell Howard was fanatstic, seen him on panel shows etc. but never seen his standup stuff - well worth it, he fit a lot into 10 minutes and the whole house laughed throughout.



So that is my brief synopsis! For the one American who occasionally reads this - I apologise you won't know any of these people but don't worry as I doubt any Brits do either, these aren't really mainstream big name comics.

All in all it was an excellent benefit gig, bumped into someone I met at Richard Herring's gig on Good Friday who helps run the Comedy Bar in Hampshire, it's worth checking out the site and web-stalking her or her partner in crime to your heart's content (the gig on Wednesday is run by comedy bar). Sadly for me, and happily for her I couldn't stay for a drink at the end as I had to go get a train. I've left a lot of stuff out here but the important bits are in as far as I am concerned!

There - you've had a 'What I did' post, back to the unfounded, opinionated ranting.....

Friday, June 08, 2007

Webbyness

I am really really really going to try and get some webby stuff done this weekend I promise! Things have been moving, just in very small steps. I am going to try and get the bulk of my blog CSS out of the way tomorrow so I can concentrate on the awesome and inspired artwork that will adorn the site. I am off up to Hammersmith on Sunday so it's unlikely I will get anything done then, but hopefully by the end of the month we will actually see something!

It won't be anything worth looking at of course........hmmmmmm............maybe I could sell it to Endemol.........

Die Endemol, Die

Big Brother post, but don't worry I have successfully avoided it on the TV again by cunningly not watching TV. Except for the excellent You Can Choose Your Friends last night. Relievingly good especially as I bigged up Mr Rich yesterday.

Anyway I've been reading on the beeb how one of the vacuous pieces of human waste they get on these shows didn't think that the 'N' word was in anyway racially offensive. And people think I am being harsh when I suggest anyone on, or applying to be on Big Brother should be culled for the sake of the gene pool.

Anyway this is my favourite part of the article, some quote from media watch:

"This will certainly undermine the programme and more importantly, cause resentment. It's very unhelpful."


Yeah, Big Brother is so highbrow and well regarded as a quality piece of inspirational programming that anything like this will do its credibility serious harm.

Sir Joseph Bazalgette was responsible for the design and construction of the London Sewage system, essentially pumping all the shit out of our homes in 1865. 140 years later his great-great grandson Peter Bazalgette (CCO of Endemol) is responsible for pumping it back in again*.

*Pretty sure I nicked this, looks like a Stephen Fry one to me ;)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Shameless Plug...

Richard Herring's one-off comedy drama 'You Can Choose Your Friends' is on tonight and I think you should both watch it (I may be exaggerating my readership there...). I have no idea if it'll be awesome or not, what I do know is that Richard Herring is an incredibly funny and talented comedian who is long overdue being back on the telly-box. To be honest, Richard Herring could just stand there doing nothing on screen for an hour and half and it would be better than most things on ITV.

I'd like to say I am a massive fan of his, and it is strictly speaking true though I am reluctant to do so in case comedy is like football where you get accused of not being a real fan because you haven't stalked the object of your fandom throughout your entire life. I do have all of his DVDs that are currently on release and read his blog daily, but I only sort of 'rediscovered' him at the end of last year when I was watching some episodes of Fist of Fun and This Morning with Richard Not Judy on my PC. I'd heard him on the radio quite a bit, and found myself google stalking him, which is always good fun.

Anyway I marked the resumption of my 'acknowledging London exists' initiative and also a reunion with an old house mate (who is, despite his protestations to the contrary, a Rich herring stunt double) by going to the current Menage a Un stand up tour at the Arts Theatre.

Basically, I'm very pleased that one of the country's best comic talents is finally regaining recognition in his own right, a difficult thing to accomplish when you have historically and inevitably been compared to an equally talented stand-up who used to be your double-act partner. Maybe, one day in the future, scientists will create a critic who isn't a lazy waste of blood and organs, who'll actually notice that if you are part of a double act for the best part of 15 years not only is there a possibility that some small elements of you material may reflect some of your erstwhile partner's but some of his will reflect yours. maybe they'll even notice that despite this, it is delivered in completely different styles making comparisons stupid. I think it's very difficult for the barely simian hacks that write reviews to break away from the Gary Barlow view of life - there must be a Good one and a Bad one - for 2 elements of an act to be successful and talented is a concept their tiny conceited little hardwired brains can't cope with.

Awesome, there wasn't meant to be a rant here but my brain has cleverly sneaked one in, I'm so proud. I am going to stop now as I am writing this in Firefox for the first time in ages and it keeps trying to tell me to change my spellings to the incorrect and silly American ones. It also insists that my made up words aren't real. Stupid thing.

Watch the thing later, if you don't like it go then watch his show, if you still don't like him then clearly you are wrong. There is no other explanation so don't look for one.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

London 2012 Logo........



This may come as a surprise to my regular 1.5 readers, but......... STOP BLOODY WHINING!

I mean seriously, is it really that bad? Compared to every other crap World Cup, Olympics etc logos that there have been over the years? Essentially an uproar over an inoffensive picture. Is it worth 400k? Certainly not, but then it's designed by marketing people, if evolution was left up to marketeers we'd all be sat in caves trying to work out if rocks are edible. Is it an awful logo? Very few logos aren't, get a bloody grip people! It's indicative of our attitude to things like this over here, I mean we only became interested in the Olympics when we found out the French wanted it..

I think I am paraphrasing someone here, but I can't remember who right now so apologies on the off chance you are reading! Basically the conversation with London goes something like this:

Olympics person: How would you like all the world's nations top athletes to travel thousands of miles, at the peak of their physical and mental fitness to compete in the greatest sporting competition the world has ever known, in the very city in which you live?!

Londoner: Where will we park?


Alternatively:

Olympics person: How would you like all the world's nations top athletes to travel thousands of miles, at the peak of their physical and mental fitness to compete in the greatest sporting competition the world has ever known, in the very city in which you live?!

Daily Mail: All those foreigners? that can run, and jump? We'll never be able to catch 'em to chuck them back out again!


Seriously, I am not a big follower of sports with the exception of Rugby League, and even that has slipped of late, but ever since there was a whiff London might win the bid there has been an almost unending drone of whining and 'why o why o why?!'. I am a big ranter and whiner, but I'm usually doing it for effect and cheap laughs rather than any real fervour. before the win it was all about how much money we were wasting on a doomed bid, then when it looked promising it was 'We have to beat the French!' (as opposed to 'We could get the Olympics!'). Almost immediately after teh bid was won, the complaints about cost started, and transport, and will we have enough tea, and what about immigration? and all the other bollox.

I complain about the Daily Mail because they deserve it, I complain about the government because they have become the conservative party I voted against. If the wheels DO actually fall off, I'll join in - until then just be quiet OK?*


*Corruption, bribes, spiraling costs don't count - it's part of any major sports package ;p

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The last resort of a scoundrel...

Patriotism that is, according to Samuel Johnson anyway. I tend to disagree with such a silly statement, clearly Ambrose Bierce is much more accurate:

"In Dr. Johnson’s famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer, I beg to submit that it is the first.”

Apparently we they are proposing 'Britain Day'. On the plus side they are talking about making it a Bank Holiday, which would be cool but to be honest, they are much more likely to try and steal one of our weekends. This concept appears to have been developed by one of the Amazing Coma Twins, Ruth Kelly. She and her double act partner Patricia Hewitt tour the country demonstrating their ability to walk and talk whilst in a coma. I'm not sure how that qualifies them as cabinet ministers, but there you go.

I suspect that the day will consist mainly of flags. That and bigotry concealed beneath a barely visible veneer of tolerance - basically the Daily Mail in holiday format. In fact I imagine the Daily Mail will fully support the initiative as they are missing a Summer headline. I mean from November through December they lead with '[Muslims]* ruin Christmas'. In the run up to Easter - 'Muslims ruin Easter' and in the Autumn the 'Muslims ruin Halloween'. The problem they have is that 3-4 month bit in the middle that doesn't kind of run up to anything - they have to make do with stories about how anyone vaguely foreign looking has stolen all of our jobs, resulting in a child prodigy dying from starvation.

With a correctly positioned 'Britain Day' in that period, they could have a brand new headline 'Muslims ruin Britain Day'. I don't know how they come up with it I really don't!

*Of course 'Muslim' here can be replaced with any minority it is currently fashionable to persecute, such as Poles or any other eastern European.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Chicken Under Pressure...

I bought a big pressure cooker a few months ago. It's specific purpose, I'm sure you'll all remember, was for chili cooking. I wasn't interested in the pressure part of it at all, I just needed a large metal container to put vast quantities of meat, tomatoes and chilis in.

However, cooking chili in this kind of weather is silly, only an idiot would do that. So today I am cooking a nice hot chicken curry. Chicken you see? Much lighter than beef - a summer meal I'm sure you'll agree.

Anyway, I am making it in my chili pot (blasphemy!) only I've decided to see what the pressurey bit does and have dusted off the lid to my bucket-esque chili pot. I have taken photos of various stages of the cooking process, in case it explodes and I am found peppered with shrapnel and half cooked bits of curryfied chicken. Also I was a bit bored and my camera was just sort of sitting there, so... anyway I'll post them if there is any demand but they are incredibly dull so I doubt there will be. If there are any serious injuries sustained, I'll be sure and photo and post them for you though.

 
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