Monday, December 31, 2007

Talk Radio

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all that stuff to you all! I'll do a post about Christmas soon, if and when I can be bothered -including pictures of Turkor, Destroyer of Worlds. That was before he was defeated in a monumental battle involving Cranberry sauce, home made stuffing and piggies in blankets.

What I'd like to talk about today though is the radio. Since I got my more awesomer DAB radio (see previous post - oh! Nick and Kara got me the accompanying speaker to go with it for Christmas, so now it's full of stereo goodness! :D), I've clearly been listening to a lot of Radio. Mainly I've been listening to the shows I would normally download as podcasts or on the BBC listen again thingy. So instead of a half hour of Russell Howard I now listen to the whole Sunday morning show on 6Music. Highly recommend, very funny indeed. In fact, 6Music has been something of a revelation to me; they seem to employ an inordinate amount of comedians to do their radio shows which is a genius idea. Steve Merchant on Sunday afternoons, John Holmes on a Saturday morning. And Vernon Kay is a good in the mornings when you've had all you can stomach of Moyles and you really need to wake up for work, so Wogan is definitely not the ticket!

Anyway, there is a Dark Side to radio. I have a friend who listens to the radio a lot, mainly as background noise - and so has LBC on a lot - just to listen to the nutters calling in.

I listened to this station late last night and I couldn't believe what it was like. Essentially the format is that you get someone who believes everything they read in the Daily Mail and give him a radio show late at night. Then people call him up and give him their opinions on things. That's about it really, that's the extent of the complexity. So you have this bilious little man complaining about things like 'Winterval' (this wasn't last night, I'm saving the best until last). For those that don't know what this is, I'll explain the facts. Birmingham City Council launched Winterval in order to attract business to Birmingham's newly regenerated town centre. It ran for 3 months and was intended to cover all the major winter festivals. Winter. Festivals. Winterval. See what they did there? So it covers Guy Fawlkes, Diwali, New Year, Hannukah and anything else you can imagine. The Bishop of Birmingham complained they were trying to PC Christmas by pandering to the 'Politically Correct Brigade' (do they get a uniform do you think?) and the tabloids, like the Daily Mail, pounced on it and blamed the Muslims.

They did the same thing this year, despite the fact that Winterval was ended 9 years ago thanks to the reactionary, lazy hacks that populate our media.

Anyway, the kinds of people who phone in to this show at 1am are the kind of people who write those articles. Only these ones probably can't actually exactly like someone who writes for the Daily Mail.

As I say, I was listening to this show and they start off sort of legitimately - commenting on the state of the air pollution in Beijing and how it will adversely affect the athletes in attendance at the Olympics - this is actually a very real problem. Thankfully, all semblance of a reasonable discussion fell away in the face of stupidity tinged with a healthy dose of xenophobia and bigotry. I am going to write some of this down next time because his exact words fail me, but here is the gist of his contribution to the airwaves:

1) All Chinese people smoke like chimneys so the pollution will benefit their athletes. - I think this was sort of intended as a joke but the use of the words 'those people' and 'they're funny over there' kind of indicated where the rest of this as going!
They're weird over there, they invented paper and explosions. - this is a direct quote and appeared completely unrelated to anything else he was saying.
3) - And this is my favourite. - How can they be so advanced but still eat using knitting needles? (at this point the host chips in with 'environmental concerns' about disposable chopsticks). Both the host and caller then started complaining about how difficult it was to use chopsticks, especially with their 'slimy food'. Essentially saying that they couldn't grasp the most simple of concepts, so it should be banned.

I do love that the dreams of Empire still live on in talk radio - If it's not the same as we do it in Britain, it must be wrong!

I'll do a better job of reporting this stuff in the future, it is an absolute mine of idiocy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Completing the Digital Circle

So I was shopping online for presents at the weekend, one of the things I bought was a DAB Radio for my Mum's kitchen. I decided to get a her a refurbished top end one ratehr than a mid-raneg one for the same price, it's a pretty sweet PURE model. She won't understand why this radio is better, but 'it won't crackle and hiss' should suffice and so long as she doesn't look it up anywhere she won't complain that I spent more than 29p on her at Christmas time.

There is no danger of her reading this, I would be missing several internal organs by now if she did.

Anyway, whilst shopping I stumbled on a DAB Radio I ended up ordering for myself:

And yes, the volume does go up to 11.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Office work and the Coffee flavoured beverage

I work in an office. You're jealous, I can tell. We have ancient coffee machines in the kitchen area, 2 of them. One of which at any given time is broken, both of which (when working) dispense a hot brown liquid. The designers of the machine were told what coffee was, where it came from and when people like to drink it most often. They then went away to design the machines with malice of forethought.

These people were the same people who designed Sony Sonic Stage software - a piece of software that could only be made worse if the monitor were to shoot pins into your eyes while you used it. They are the same people who are responsible for Paddy's hated automated announcer. They are the ones that pay Gary Bushel and stop him from dying horribly and painfully. They hate you.

So they designed a machine that not only breaks at precisely 8:17am every morning but got someone who has never tasted coffee before to make the beverages for the machine so that what you get is an artist's impression of coffee. They then took this machine to the people responsible for things like this in our company. These people are not bright, they are kept away from sharp objects and count drooling as chief amongst their hobbies. The evil faux coffee machine designers sell their device to the hapless droolers, taking advantage of their docile and vapid nature - putting the machines on a 10 year maintenance lease that costs a fortune.

In short, I am buying 2 coffee machines next year - one for my desk at work and one for home. In the mean time I am very lucky in that I am British, so although I prefer lots of coffee in the mornings, I can run entirely on tea for weeks at a time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wikipedia Meme

Nicked this of a friend on Facebook (Alyson), don't normally do MeMes but I like this one!

"Go to the Wikipedia home page and click random article. That is your band's name. Click random article again; that is your album name. Click random article 15 more times; those are the tracks on your album."

Band Name: Siemomysł of Pomerania
Album Name: The Scarlet Citadel

Track 1: Aristolochia cucurbitoides
Track 2: General Medical Council
Track 3: Cooperative Research and Development Agreement
Track 4: Trial of Saddam Hussein
Track 5: Viking FK
Track 6: Vanilla Sky (soundtrack)
Track 7: Anthony Lowther (of Marske)
Track 8: Lord High Commissioner
Track 9: Donnybrook!
Track 10: Shelly Manne
Track 11: List of asteroids/132701–132800
Track 12: Lestko
Track 13: KYRE
Track 14: Francisco Herrera the Elder
Track 15: Trans Caribbean Airways

Also, you should all buy a Single that is released today by a band called Circle 3. So go do it already!

Spare Parts

When I was little, if my dad saw a car that was vaguely similar to ours he would put his foot down and gleefully shout 'Spare Parts!'. This was great fun, though I did get funny looks off people as I would shout 'Spare Parts!' at passing cars whilst we walked down the street. Take heed of the influence you have over young children!

Another thing I did when I was very young was pick up a Donor card when I was at the doctor's surgery; I was about 6 I think. I'd seen adverts on the TV about people, who would otherwise be dead, walking about being grateful to some poor individual who was unfortunate enough not to be. All because the dead person carried around a bit of card which said it would be OK to use them as spare parts for someone who may otherwise die. This seemed like very good sense to me, even at that tender age, the only bit that confused me was 'Why the card?'. My mum said it would be OK if I carried one about so long as I understood what it meant, I said something about Dr Higgit poking my eyes out and gluing them to someone else - what could be simpler?

She did try to explain about the card, but it's difficult to explain to a 6 year old how anyone would not carry the card around with them.

There's this story on the beeb at the moment that prompted this post. It's not the use of ex-addict's organs that concerns me (I have no doubt the Mail and the Sun have 'Crack Transplant Horror!' or some such as a headline today), but the fact that there has to be a debate about whether or not to let people opt out of the transplant scheme, rather than opt in. This is a much more sensible process. This way, all the people who are simply to lazy to fill out the forms, or are ignorant of the fact that they need to do so in order for their organs to be used will be eligible to help save lives in the unfortunate event of their death.

Of course there are the hardcore religious who will opt-out because they interpreted some words in a cobbled together fairytale to mean that they aren't allowed to help their fellow man. Ironically making Jehovah's witnesses less Christian than most non-Christians. These are stupid people and can be forgiven to an extent but there will be a small number of selfish, horrible people who will opt out for even more spurious or self serving reasons, at some point one of these may require a transplant and it will be interesting to see how they would be dealt with. Personally I think we should go for the nightclub approach - 'If you're not on the list, you're not coming in'.

So. If you haven't already, go get a donor card until this retarded state of affairs is put right.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

School Dinners

Is pretty much what we get in the work canteen. Early 90s school dinners where the meat has been recovered from the bits that Mcdonalds won't use.

On the menu today? Turkey, stuffing and cranberry pasty.

Oh the humanity.

Of course if I had the sense to bring in my left overs from home, I wouldn't have this problem but as we've already discussed, I'm a moron. Greggs is is then!

Good Days

So far today I've been head hunted, always an ego boost (yeah, like I need it!) and found this:

Now if only they could make it hover and make the proper PacMan noises.....

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Cash in the Attic

Yes, that's right. I am using the name of a ropey daytime TV show as a dubious segway to my post. I really am THAT desperate for material. No one is cooler than me.

So I have a MacBook at last! I haven't posted anything here with it yet, you would have noticed - it would have looked slightly more beautiful than the other posts. At least that is my understanding of how these things work - I'll probably write something on the tech blog at the weekend about it. Or not as the case may be ;)

Anyway, I also now have an iPod - I know, I'm an idiot. I am trying to remove my need for the PC in the flat so that I am solely using the laptop but Zune doesn't work with Mac. Like ever. So I bought a Nano - which was idiotic because they simply don’t' have the capacity I would need to replace the Zune. So then I replaced it with an iPod 80. I know, really I know. I'm not a huge fan of them but it works on Windows and on Mac so.....

Anyway, all of which brings me to the post title - see how I got there by glossing over my barely simian fiscal reasoning? I am digging through all the crap I have wasted my money on over the last couple of years - Saturday is when the main dig begins - and then I am going to launch an ebay extravaganza with bargains galore. It'll be amazing and I hope to make upwards of 37 pounds.

In other news, I will be moving my TV (currently used as a Monitor, TV, Xbox Display) and the 360 into my Room With A Table in an effort to make it more front roomy. We are considering buying furniture for said room but I wouldn't hold my breath - most furniture has no buttons and the technology really hasn't moved on since the invention of the chair. Hover-chairs - that'll get me to IKEA. There aren't many things that can't be improved by adding a Hover aspect to them.

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