Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Just delete half of it..."

Where have I been? Well, improvements to Facebook and the existence of Twitter continues to kill off my blogging - which can only be a good thing for you masochists who continue to read it.

Anyway, to the subject at hand. Work, as always, is variable in terms of how much its enjoyable. Recently I was in annoyed, dumb struck and amused in equal parts but as time passes I find it funnier and funnier.

One of the side effects of being on the same project for 4 years is that, despite any efforts to the contrary, you learn things. Some of you more naive people may consider this a good thing, but you're clearly idiots. When you know things, people ask you things and people asking you things leads to people asking you to do things. This can never end well.

I'm cursed with a brain that insists on learning things without my knowledge, at points where I am very clearly not paying attention it can't stop fidgeting and picking useful things up. It's incredibly distressing. When I think that I am focussing on cakes or wombles, I am in fact learning about the finer points of something work related.

As a result of this unfortunate situation and some people leaving the project, I've been asked to deliver some training relating to the project to various people. I was given the material to update and change as necessary, there's quite a lot of it as it's an all-day session. Or at least it was.

I was told a couple of days ago that it is now '4 hours including a morning break and a lunch break'. Now, at this point I had already removed some sections that were out of date or unnecessary but also that we had to add a section to cope with some new developments. This is a new presentation for me, with new materials.

After being told of the time frame, I approached my manager so that he could impart some pearls of managerial wisdom. I explained how the material currently runs at between 5 and 8 hours, depending on how many questions get asked along the way (usually a lot). If we remove the lunch hour, and the break that leaves me between 2.5 and 3 hours to deliver this training. Even conservatively speaking, that cuts the time in half. It was at this point that I was given the best advice I have ever heard, delivered completely seriously.

"just delete half of it"

And that was it.

I'm not going to go into the difficulties presented, the complexities of what it is I am explaining or how 'Just deleting half of it' is going to be challenging to say the least. All of that is irrelevant.

I'm going to become a motivational speaker, I'm going to have t-shirts printed up with the phrase "Just delete half of it..." on the front. I'm going to run seminars. I'll come on stage with the Britney mic, to the tune of 'Don't Stop Believin'' by Journey.

"In a bad relationship?! - Just Delete half of it!"
"Don't like your job?! - Just Delete Half of it!"

An auditorium full of desperate fuckwits chanting 'just delete half of it!"

The day will be scheduled to run between 9am and 5:30pm but I'll fuck off with the money at lunchtime.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Go here, now. Buy something

Artist & Comedian - Okse.

Check out his artwork here

Also check out Okse on youtube, watch some of his speed painting. Then check out his stand up. Local to Leamington Spa if you're in the area ;).

That is all.

Let's start with something light...

So I've not been on here for a while, I can't even claim it's because I've been that busy! Luckily, it's only Paddy who reads regularly so it's not too bad!

I should probably start with something important like the reduction in quality of Rocket lollies, but instead I have to look at 2 subjects - the NHS and Lockerbie man. Lets start with the NHS debate shall we?

There's a cultural difference and one which I will never grasp. From the outside looking in - and I will admit I don't know the intricacies pf the American system - it seems that nothing embodies the phrase 'All men are created equal, but some are more equal than others' like the American healthcare system. If you're poor, have a pre-existing condition, are unemployed or have one of the many other reasons the 40 million who don't have insurance, then essentially you die.

I know people who would be dead if they lived in America, we all probably do. As I say, it's a cultural thing and one which I will never grasp. Here, the Police are just there, the Fire Brigade are just there and if you get serioulsy ill you go to hospital and they (hopefully) fix you. I don't understand how providing a system that protects your populace from disease and injury is any different to providing protection from crime, from fire or from a foreign invader. I'm no doubt missing some of the intricacies of the system, just like the American right missed that Stephen Hawking is in fact British and our doctors don't kill disabled babies and people over the age of 60.

And on to Lockerbie.

As part of the ceremonies of Yom Kippur a goat was sent into the dessert to die. The idea being that the goat carried with it all of the sins of the participants. Everyone focusses their energy on the goat, a perfectly innocent creature who's only crime was being a goat and going about it's goaty business, eating things that it shouldn't and whatnot.

Rather than addressing the sins, everyone thinks only of the scapegoat and how it carries all of the sins away into the dessert, they want the goat to die because then the sins die with it and we can all breathe a sigh of relief that all of our righteous fury has poured onto the sinful goat and it has got its just rewards.

And that's Kenny MacAskill. The rightness or wrongness of the decision is being discussed by cleverer people than me and theories abound. One thing is for certain, as usual we are all shouting at the goat instead of the guys sending it into the dessert.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Open letter to gym-dwellers


How are you doing? Yeah, that's it - you guys in the corner. Yeah the ones who camp out, seemingly permanently, at the free-weights bit of the gym. Seriously, tear your eyes away from the mirror for a moment, I have a little request.

I totally get that you're all ripped and whatnot, and the only way for you to maintain that 'bee sting allergy' look you've got going on is to live in the gym. That's fine. I don't even mind that the 20 minutes that I spend in that particular part of the gym seems to be an affront to you. Honestly, it's fine - I'm looking in the mirror whilst I do exercises, and watching an unfit man trying to get fit is not a pretty sight.

The only thing I have a problem with, and it's only a few of you, is that hoarding thing you do with the dumbells. Seriously, I'm flexible - I'm quite happy to go a bit heavier or a bit lighter if what I need is unavailable but surrounding yourself with every weight from 4KG to 18KG..... Only Vishnu and Ganesha need that many weights!

Even this would be no trouble for me if, when I come over and ask if you are done with a particular weight thats been sat at your feet for 10 minutes, you didn't look at me as if I was forcing you to eat your first born. I'll be 5 mintues, I promise I won't run away with it.

No of course I won't say this to your face! I'll politely go about my business. I lack humility and I lack shame, I do not lack the desire to keep my insides on the inside.

More on less sleep..

With the sleep patterns come odd dreams. Please spare me any amateur psychology here. So my dreams are generally pretty crappy anyway, this one was just weird. It went on for a while, but I'll give you the punchlines without the bizarre lead up. I was, apparently, working for the Pope. Along with a guy I worked with over 10 years ago called Mark - he seemed to be some kind of chief fixer/Popey Henchperson. Clive, a guy I know from home was there - more on his role shortly, finally there was a guy called Evan - a guy I know from more recent work stuff. His job appeared to be to sneer and look smug, something he did to great effect.

Anyway, basically I was framed by my colleagues and fired by the pope - oh, in case you didn't know - there are apparently sub-popes - I saw 3 different stand-ins during the course of the dream, in this regard (I was patiently told) he is much like Santa. So anyay, Clive nicked the only evidence that would save my bacon - an FM transmitter for an iPod (I have NO idea). It turns out the whole thing was orchestrated by Mark in some devious plan without apparent purpose. A result of this whole episode was a cackling pope and me inexplicably having to hand my car over. It was all very strange, then I woke up.

It's going to be even more fun when I hit the nicotine patches, they give you proper Salvadore Dhali dreams.

Bodyclocks, 4 for a fiver

You remember those Casio digital watches? They were the height of sophistication when I was little*, and if you had one with a calculator on it - you were basically a moon child from beyond the stars who would shoot lasers from the eyes.

This was the case for about 2-3 weeks, until other companies realised that they could make cheap knock-offs and sell them at a fraction of the price. Then people like Casio reduced the price of theirs and so on and so on. Eventually what you could buy was the cheapest time piece known to man. 19 hours in a day, 8 days in a week and a year that makes Pluto say 'Really?!'.

That's what my body clock is made from. It's like it's heard what a body clock is from a Peruvian friend, but it doesn't speak Peruvian so the entire concept was communicated in a rudimentary sign language and a series of clicks and whistles. It thinks it gets it - be awake at some point and be asleep at others. How hard can it be right?

Very, apparently.

The issue isn't so much the quantity of sleep I get, that's fine I don't think I've ever slept that well - the basic process is to get between 4-6 hours a night then collapse in a heap every 3 weeks or so and sleep until Monday.

That's not the problem, it's more the random series of changes that becomes problematic. Just recently I've not been sleeping too badly, rowing myself into oblivion at the gym appeared to be knocking me out, often before midnight. I was even sleeping more than usual, with the usual interruptions of course.

Over the last few weeks, however, I've started waking up before 6am - this is insane. That time only exists when I am going somewhere cool or exciting, otherwise it's merely a theory or a myth - much like quantum computing or God. Work is neither cool nor exciting. Especially right now, things are a bit slumped and I'm twitchy for something new and difficult and massively time consuming.

Waking up before 6am and then trying to go back to sleep, which takes a good while, only to then have to wake up again messes me up for the whole day. I'm too tired for the gym and too tired to do anything post work - it blows. So, in an effort to defeat my evil brain/shoddy piece of crap body clock, I am getting up when I wake up at stupdi o'clock and I'm going to start with the gym at lunchtimes where possible, I'm not sure this will help with the sleeping but it will help with the going to the gym. I'm also hoping that the ludicrous quantity of awake time will make my body rethink it's strategy.

Hah! Take that nature!

*Note to Hannah : Old jokes - for the sake of the narrative, let's not and say we did OK? :p

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Oh yeah, I forgot the point of the last post....

So yeah, I am behind on a lot of things. I haven't read a lot of blogs recently, I am well behind on podcasts and all sorts of other things I usually spend my time at work doing.

So, I am catching up on all of that stuff - so I'll totally be getting to the blogs I usually read and whatnot...... but probably not until after next weekend as I'm off again on Thursday and interweb access via the phone at these places is bloody appalling.

Anyway, so as I mentioned podcasts I'm going to give you some pointers to go get some podly goodness squirted into your ears I'm gonna pick one from each genre, this way the next time I can't think of anything to write I can pick other stuff from my collection. That's right, I'm planning not only for the next time I have nothing better to do than write this garbage but also for the next time I have so little to do that I can't even be bothered thinking of original garbage to write. I'm lackadaisically dedicated.

Anyway, podcasts - go subscribe to these:

1) Comedy - The Bugle - Audio Newspaper for Visual World. Hosted by Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver (yanks might recognise him off the Daily Show). One of the funniest things I've heard, Zaltzman's line in BS is truly something to behold.

2)Sport - Alternate Ashes - Now I have no time for cricket at all. Any game that can go on for 5 days and still end up a draw, where you stop for lunch and leave the field cleaner than when you went on it can frankly go suck on a Werthers Original. However, Andy Zaltzman (again) presents this podcast, and although he's a cricket nut, there's plenty enough there for the non-cricket fan as he is very funny.

3)Science - Skeptic's Guide to the Universe - This is my favourite critical thinking podcast. Basically they talk about scientific discovery aswell as debunking the increasingly nonsensical claims of the 'Complimentary and Alternative Medicine' camp. They are particularly scathing of people like Jenny McCarthy which is no bad thing. Some good blogs out there too, including The Bad Atronomer and Skeptchicks.

OK, that'll do for now. Happy now Paddy?!

Playing catch-up....

OK, so I've not posted in a while but this isn't like last year's 'I haven't posted in a while because I've been working down the salt mines'. I've actually been doing things, but don't worry - even though I have returned to actually doing stuff, the rank incompetence you've grown to know and love persists.

SO what's happened in the intervening period?

Errm - Download 2009, Glastonnbury.... err I went to Falconry festival - to meet up with some old friends but also to take photos. Sadly I managed to leave my Nikon at home - I rock.

So whilst I think of what to complain about, here's a photo from Download - it's my newly launched 'Spot the Goth' competition.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Monday, June 08, 2009

That's it, I'm done!

On a day when large percentages of people in this country voted fascists into the European parliament, on a day that yet another part of the affection I feel for this country died a little more, on a day that saw a party of open racists come second in a nationally held election - I have this to say:

Muesli sucks.

Seriously, I've tried - I have REALLY tried with that stuff! Different brands, combinations - I've tried it with fruit, I've tried it with milk, I've tried it with yoghurt, I've tried with with milk and yoghurt - it's crap!

People who tell you they like muesli - those people don't like muesli - they're living a lie. How can you like something that is like eating crushed plasterboard?! Muesli has no redeeming features whatsoever - I try it every now and then, thinking 'If I'm to start eating breakfast, I'll eat something filling and good for me'. Which muesli would be, if it was in any way edible!

I was hoping to vary my breakfast a bit - the gym man seemed very certain I should be eating breakfast and if someone is telling me to eat more food, I am going to listen. Muesli, however, is not food. In the building trade it can be substituted for aggregate, but food it is not.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Place your bets...

How many hours before the NRA organise one of their sensitive rallies? clicky

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BNP, Standing up for the rights of malnourished Celts

For those of you lucky enough to never have heard of or encountered the British National Party, I can only envy your ignorance.

Think white supremecists in suits.

Anyway, I've had a leaflet from these fetid weasels to do with the European Elections telling me that people like me vote for the BNP. I was, and am, fairly sure that people like me dream of seeing a BNP Vs UKIP last man standing death match, the winner of which gets deported and given a farm in Zimbabwe.

Of course, I could be mistaken.

'It's not racist to be against immigration!'. Yes it is, be quiet you silly little man.

My favourite claim of the BNP (I'm pretty sure the N isn't really for National) is that they stand up for the rights of the 'Indiginous population of Britain'. Given that the last time our population could be considered 'Indiginous' was before the Roman invasion somewhere around AD 50, I'm assuming they mean anyone who can trace their ancestry back to this point.

Of course, this isn't what they mean. After all, what is Britain but the result of a European gangbang? The key is in their policy for repatriation. They are for the 'voluntary' repatriation of non-white immigrants to their country of ethnic origin.

I'm not sure why 'non-white' immigrants. I mean, the BNP definitely are NOT racist - their literature tells us that so it must be true. I think repatriating the whole country to various locations in Europe apart from the inahbitants of some worryingly remote islands could prove logistically difficult. Also, telling the queen to fuck off back to Germany and 'Take your greek boyfriend with you!' might present a few obstacles.

Maybe they're just environmentalists - you know, start with the non-whites. Then move the rest of the population of England back to their countries of ethnic origin, then ultimately the Scotch (for that is what they are called) and the Welsh. That will leave the beautiful British landscape untouched, and also infect various other countries with members of the BNP who will win further elctions. Of course the 'B' will have to be replaced with the name of their new home. Also they'll have to get the national language changed to English so their constituents will understand them - they're BRITISH for God's sake! You can't expect them to be bilingual! This will result in more victories, more repatriations back those indiginous populations countries of origin. Ultimately everyone will be repatriated to a small village in sub-Saharan Africa who's language is entirely based on clicks. This will kill most of us off, thus saving the planet from certain environmental disaster

So. They're not racist. They're radical environmentalists.

Either that or they are brainless, hate filled, billious, exploitative, fear mongering, predictable fuckwits. You decide.

Monday, May 25, 2009

OK, we get it, move on!

For about the last 6 weeks, there has been one 'News' story dominating the British headlines, and that is MPs claiming on expenses.

Let me make something clear here, I agree that the system is broken. I agree that claiming for cleaning your moat is taking the piss, but he's a Tory MP - of course he has a moat!

However. Very little, if any, of what has been reported has broken the rules laid down. The rules are wrong but here's the thing, and there's no getting around it - Changing the rules, and then punishing people for following the old rules when they were in force is not what we do in a free society. There is no room for ambiguity here, you don't do it. You use the abuses of the old system to highlight the need for change, you make the changes, you move on.

Because the Daily Telegraph has made an industry out of this scandal (an industry only rivaled by the Daily Express' continued obsession with a long dead royal), a lot of the genuine abuses are mixed up with perfectly innocent mistakes, but obviously a British journalist couldn't possibly highlight honesty as that wouldn't sell so well. I find it particularly amusing that it is the Torygraph reporting on this garbage, given the fate of Sir Conrad Black.

What do I mean by innocent mistakes? Well, whilst there is no doubt that the cabinet and shadow cabinet are riddled with snakes, weasels and general sycophantic, weak-willed turds, your average MP shouldn't be tarred with the same brush. I hate politicians, but mainly because our electoral system (such as it is) allows them to rest on their laurels.

What I dislike most about this tediously inevitable lazy journalism, is the lack of actual investigation. There are a lot of MPs int his report who submitted claims that were not eligible, noticed the mistake a few weeks later and paid the money back immediately. That's without the aid of what passes for an 'exposé' in British journalism these days. That's right, years ago this was happening and yet they paid it back anyway! One might possibly infer that these people made an honest mistake and then rectified it! Oh Horror!

This, clearly, isn't true of all of these tossers. Although I think Douglas Hogg should get to keep his money, claiming for cleaning a moat cleaning should be rewarded just for the sheer audacity of it!

Remember, all of these claims got approved by someone after they were submitted. Someone approved that moat cleaning - who's that guy?! You don't sack someone for doing what has been done for the last 50 years, just because your shitty system got found out. These are MPs, you either don't select them to run for you next time around or you let the voters choose at the polling stations. Sacking them is just a weak appeasement that solves nothing, other than to make the public feel they've achieved something with their media generated outrage. It's a tried and tested method of controlling the mob.

Bottom line is, the electorate are being played. Pay attention to what's actually going on, calm the fuck down and watch what they are actually doing, otherwise a nice 'Independent Inquiry' will be set up. To appease the squawling masses, a few heads will be put on pikes (no fear, they'll get a few non-executive positions to tide them over). The Inquiry will drag on and on, and maybe some time next year it'll be quietly release suggesting that the rules should be changed so that they are now in Tahoma instead of Ariel.

Lesser of two evils

I'm rejoining the gym after 3 years away. I've not been replaced by a pod person, my choices are simple.

Stop eating food I like and pretend I much prefer eating tofu with soya dressing than curry. Or I do exercise, and plenty of it. Exercise isn't total anathema to me and to be brutally honest, I'll rub scotch bonnets into my eyes before giving up my favourite foods.

When I last went, as with anything I do, it wasn't the doing of the exercise that was the problem. I actually enjoyed most of it. My problem was always actually dragging my arse to the gym. We'll see how I go eh?

Incidentally 'I enjoyed most of it'. Allow me to elaborate. The only thing I dislike more than running, is running on a bloody treadmill. Nothing is more likely to put me into a coma.

That said, I may take up running outdoors and cycling again later in the year when the weather draws in, there are some interesting cross country courses that would take me away from the sociopaths that pass for drivers in Surrey.

Prepare thyselves for a lot of gym whinging.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wow! That long huh?!

Err yeah, that whole posting every day thing....

So,what's been happening? Here's the break down, let me know if you want me to expand on any of these:

1) I got older - nothing to elaborate on here, I had a birthday - nothing happened. Ooh! except Hannah got me one of these - still needs a test run.

2) I got a bonus and treated myself to a DSLR camera. I got a Nikon D60 (after Jo spectacularly failed to respond to me with advice. She's a Canon fanboy. The Canon\Nikon debate has been described to me in this way "It's like Mac Vs PC, only with Canon vs Nikon thing there is little to no difference in the products" - Oh wait I blogged about the camera already didn't I? AH well!..

3) First test duck shots here

4) Bought a new Lense and tripod for said camera.

5) Went home to Wales, weather was terrible, ruining most of my plans. Did get some pics with the new lens - clicky

6) Whilst home, went out with all my favourite home peoples, it was awesome. Also had mahoosive Sunday dinner from mum. That evening I ate a Phal. It was so hot I could see the end of the universe.

7) Yesterday I went out with the new lens and the tripod and took more pictures, none very good but I'll get there. Clicky

Now. The camera stuff has been bloody expensive and as a result I have decided to sell my Macbook, long story, the short version is that I bought something that I don't really need so I'm selling something that I don't really need. It's the only way I'll learn.

However, first it's going to the Apple store where I will be shouting until they replace the casing.

Errrm. Yup, that's about it! More blogging tomorrow, if I get time in between cleaning, eating and office work I hope to do some blogging.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Lurgy update

After suffering a humiliating defeat in the face of my awesome chili, the deadly lurgy has retreated to my throat, giving up ground in the nose and head almost completely. I am making an enormous breakfast in celebration of the victory, but the war is not won. I may order a follow up attack of curry later in order to prevent a counter-strike.

I've had Stu badgering me to g to the pub since Thursday but not felt up to it. Whilst I could probably murder a pint later I think I am going to duck out again, drunkenness will let the lurgy back in the door tomorrow.

I've taken to drinking lots of water instead of juices and fizzy drinks, I'm sure it won't last but I hope it does, I'm sure a lot of my podgleyness is down to the amount of those drinks I've taken to consuming (especially the evil Ginger Beer!).

It's definitely not attributable to pies, pizza, curry and beer. So no need to cut down on that.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

...and were back to the complaining!

UK mainstream politicians really are the lowest forms of life. I'm not talking about the uses of the expenses system. Yes I agree it's wrong, but as far as I can tell no one has stepped outside the rules and no, it's is definitely not news. This is just lazy 'journalism' picking a subject guaranteed not to polarise opinion and that will sell papers for months to come (as further 'outrages' emerge). Seriously, I don't give a toss - fix the system, move on and watch the new system get abused.

Do you know what would be good to read about in the paper? Something that requires some actual investigative journalism that reveals something serious, not this trivial shit. The supply of Chieftain tanks and fighter planes to countries that actively engage in genocide, that would be an interesting read and would raise some questions don't you think? Why's it left up to comedians to highlight the massive corruption and flaws in our policies?

I've said to a few people that I'm struggling to care about MPs expenses, and all I get is 'but it's YOUR taxes! You MUST care!'. What I mean to say I suppose, is that in the grand scheme of things, I care less about that than the more insidious and evil things that they do. Seriously, this pitiful 'scandal' is gold for these people. Every time the papers focus on something so trivial, they are thanking their deity of choice.

Back to the point. I didn't mean to go off on that tangent, I originally was referring to this story. This is just an example, it could just as easily be David Blunkett, Charles Clarke, John Prescott or any number of other politicians that have come out railing against/in support of the the current administration. The hilarity of David Blunkett talking about integrity and credibility aside, this particular game is one that is played out all the time.

Think of them as hyenas, too pathetic to attack anything with any strength to defend itself, instead waiting for the weak and defenceless to emerge before closing in an biting chunks off. You might think that those in support of whoever is being attacked are actually on his side, this isn't the case. Everyone's simply jostling for position, some trying to put themselves forward for a decent position in the new regime, some doing the same but for the regime after the next. Others have other motives. What they all have in common is that all of their motives are selfish ones.

We see it play out in every single government, it happened to Major, it happened to Thatcher (sadly not before she anally violated the nation) and it'll happen to whoever's next. And every time it happens, it's reported as news.

So. My solution? Stop reporting anything that they say, only report on the things that they do. This whole thing is a contest in who can get the most column inches, radio minutes, TV time. Make them work for it. At least until we come to our senses and try a third way.

Which brings us to the end of this random ramble. The Liberal Democrats. Always touted as the joke party yet consistently get around a quarter of the overall vote. They are touted as a joke because the 'main' parties tout them that way, as does the popular media. ESPECIALLY newspapers. So the main political parties, and those that pin their colours to one of the two main political parties based on the leanings of whichever multi-billionaire media mogul owns them. One could argue that these two groups are the ones with the most to lose from a third way.

OK Matt - you promised a good tempered one right?....

Yes, yes I did. And even though the evil lurgy is fouling my mood I've been having some good times today, and also my summer is shaping up to be immense. I mean properly immense.

So the original plan for today was to go for a bit of a photo-hike with my new DSLR camera, and the compact too (wanted to see different results). However, the lurgy was bothering me. You know the kind, fine one minute, asleep and snorting the next.

So I figured I'd wander up to Bookham to the butcher I use and get some meats, take some pics and wander back. After I got back I would see how I was feeling and either go back out for a proper photo-hike or clean and cook.

As it was, I felt like crap so decided to stay in. I put the chicken breasts, thighs and lamb in the freezer for future use and put the mince in the fridge for a cold-destroying chili later. This cold has messed with the wrong innards.

Anyway, random crappy pics are currently here Mostly taken with in the aperture priority mode, so semi-automatic (sort of) but doubt I would have got any worse results on full auto. Currently deciding between using Flickr or Picasa - each has its bonuses - the pro version of Flickr keeps everything full size and has a few more options, Picasa has a local client and plugs straight into blogger.....

So. Home. Jo has insisted to me that my chili was rubbish and told me to remove the onions. This concept is alien to me, most things are improved with onions, tomatoes or a combination of the two. Anyway, she suggested chipotle puree was the answer to my prayers - unfortunately that doesn't seem to be available here. So, 2 jars of Barts chilis and half jar of crushed chilis. All in all, its come out pretty well, though it tastes pretty similar to my last effort, I think I got some of the ratios wrong. still yummy though, beauty of chili is you have to go a long way to make it inedible! :p

So, on to my summer plans and beyond!

Firstly, I am making my return to Download Festival. At first the line up looked pretty weak, then they included Faith No More. I can't tell you how happy I was when I read that, seriously - I very nearly smiled. The rest of the Friday seems to be a bit of a late 90s Nu Metal revival camp, so will give me an opportunity to check out the other stages for bands I don't know much about like Kill Switch Engage,Bring me the Horizon and Backyard Babies. I won't go through the whole weekend, but this looks like an overall stronger showing than last year - before the other two stages had a very 'overflow' feel to them. This year I'll be spending 2 of the nights watching headliners at the smaller stages. I'll be there with the same crowd as last year, along with a few others.

A few weeks after that, i am off to Glastonbury for the first time. Line up is looking decidedly beige right now if I'm honest, with a few notable exceptions. Nonetheless I am very excited, it's HUGE. Context: Look up 'Sunderland' on a UK map. That's how big Glastonbury festival is when it's up and running. I don't care what kind of podgey bellied, grumpy welshman you are - there will be something there for you. Hoping I'll be there with a friend, if not it'll certainly be interesting!

July, I am considering trying to track down some Nine Inch Nails tickets for the 02, but may use it as a month off, haven't decided yet - whilst they are playing at the next event I am at, my understanding is that they aren't taking their whole stage show to that one.

August - Sonishpere. My love for Metallica was revived from it's deathbed by the release of their latest album. Linkin Park are a pretty big deal. Pretty much every band here is one I am interested in or have an abiding affection for. Alice in Chains - OK, no Layne but Jerry Cantrell is a legend and hopefully William DuVall won't balls it up completely. I got a VIP spot for this one, it wasn't that much more than the regular ones but got some good benefits (hot showers, allocated pitch & parking) - and considering I am going alone (seeing a pattern here folks? lol!) I thought it might be wise, especially as this is the first time this event has been run!

October. 24th. Green Day. Oh yes. I cannot describe how ridiculously excited I was when I heard there were doing a limited UK tour I nearly wept. I had a bunch of other stuff here, almost apologising for liking Green Day. Balls to that, they are freakin' awesome - live with it! There are always 'they sold out' and 'it's not real punk!' people out there, these are the same people who think the only good music was written when they were between the ages of 13 and 17. Otherwise known as morons. American Idiot drew criticism from these people, this monolithic rock opera railing against the Bush administration with every refrain - and that's not punk?! Just because it sounds good, doesn't mean it's not punk. And I'm going to see them, I rule. I rule harder because Pedr is going, and harder still because Hannah is going, as well as an old friend from Hull. We all rule, and everyone who failed to get a ticket in the 4 minutes before they sold out sucks. Hah!

October 25th - Wembley Stadium to watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Patriots. Finding it very difficult to give a toss. But hey, check out what else I am doing!

So. Yes, I've been working a lot but I've also been making damned sure that my summer doesn't go missing again.

What the hell is the point of a cold?!

Seriously, it's got to be the crappest affliction on Earth - with the possible exception of ridiculous allergies like dairy/wheat intolerance.

It's just diseasey enough to demotivate you, but not enough to actually warrant a battery of drugs or Doctor visits. It's diseasey enough to keep me out of the office. I hear the cries of 'Typical Man!' from the female population, but this isn't because of the ludicrously inaccurate stereotype of the man being crippled as soon as he gets a sniffle. It's because there is nothing more annoying than someone 'Soldiering On'.

First, no one will thank you for it in 6 months, no matter what you're doing. Secondly - you my friend, are an inconsiderate moron and if it were up to me you'd be fired. While you're bravely 'Soldiering on', the rest of us are picking up you're irritating cold. And will continue to do so, because whilst you're working and not resting, you're prolonging the illness - so instead of it clearing up after a couple of days you're in a perpetual state of having a cold.

Go. Home.

This is particularly true in a job like mine, working from home is perfectly doable.

So. I have this cold. Hence, I am annoyed. Colds annoy me, you may have got that.

It doesn't take a lot to demotivate me, right now I am trying to decide whether to clean the flat or to go out and go for a hike to play with my new camera. The cold is telling me to eat cake and drink tea for 48 hours. A great option, but one I do most weekends.

Another alternative is to clean, wander up to Bookham and buy some meats so I can cook later. I've been chastised for using onions in my chili. I may make a cold busting chili later, without onions. 'Without Onions' is an alien concept to me in most cooking, so I may crumble. Most chili recipes I've found have called for an onion or two. But I'll give it a go, though where I am gonna get chipotle puree from I don't know.

Next post will not be a bad tempered one - it'll be very good tempered in fact, I just needed to vent the bile first. Colds are so bloody irritating.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I nearly got run over by a VW campervan today.

Goddamned beatniks!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

...on Second thought...

First of all, I'm very sorry.  Twitter has turned me back into a crap blogger.  Curse you twitter!

This was originally a post about work. Here's the short version of what was originally a ridiculously long post:

From what I've written here, you might be forgiven for thinking I dislike my job. This is not the case, I mostly enjoy it and I'm really quite good at it. However, people who talk positively about their jobs constantly are sociopaths, people who air their frustrations are just borderline sociopaths, like the rest of us.

I know I promised a few cooking posts, but unfortunately I lost interest in taking photos of the process of cooking/serving the curry and I didn't remember to do the roast post until the crackling was already done.

I'll use the magical mind-brush of my words to paint you a picture of last weekend. Prepare to have me go over the lines in the paint by numbers of your impressionable minds.

Good Friday - A slightly confusingly named day. 'Jesus is dead! w00t!' Friday. Anyway, I spent most of 'DingDong the saviour's dead' Day morning sleeping. It was awesome, I'm usually up by 9am which would be fine if I went to sleep at a decent hour. Instead I was asleep until 11am, I was very pleased. The rest of the day was spent watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I think it's what Jesus really wanted.

errr..does it have a special name? Saturday - I walked the 2 miles or so to the butcher to get some meats. One thing I noticed about this weekend is that the shops were open every day. I only noticed because everyone seemed to be planning for a nuclear winter. Very strange. As a result the butcher man was out of sausages, which was mortifying. I did get some lamb for the curry though. Then I went to the grocer's, picked up a bunch of fruit and veg and some generic looking chilis.

I started cooking a curry that was substantial in volume, I also had plans for a spinach & potato side dish with chili and ginger. At this stage I decided it might be wise to invite people over. Rob was going to come along with Hannah, she's a limp wristed veggy type so dashed next door to buy some spring onions, mushrooms, coconut milk and some limes so I could make a veggy curry. Good thing about veggy food is that it takes about 2 minutes to cook in all its forms. Anyway, made some curries and sides, we ate, we drank and awesomeness was had by all.

Easter "hang on, you're back a bit early Jesus?!' Sunday - Sunday I had a large breakfast and had roasted loin of pork in the late afternoon. I made roast potatoes and carrots, just doused them in olive oil and rosemary and lobbed them in the oven. Cider gravy again, yummy crackling. Awesome. Oh yeah, and broccoli.

"Sure he'll be here any minute" Monday Buffy. Pizza. night night!

There you have it. I'll do another awesome t-shirt related cooking post at some point in the future, probably the next roast that I do.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

For my next post...

We have options here, but I am intending cooking both tonight and tomorrow - curry and roasted piggy respectively.

I could do a couple  more of my awesome cooking stuff posts, or would that be too repetitive?  I'll leave it up to you.

Of course I say that, but I'll likely ignore whatever is actually written down and interpret my own conclusions.

I should totally be a member of the clergy.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Chili Night!

For the preparation of a 'Matt's Chili of Variable Quality', you will need:

1 x Matt wearing an AWESOME T-Shirt.

1 x DAB Radio (Preferably one that won't cost too much to replace), tuned to a station of your Matt's choice. If this is not BBC 6Music[*] then your Matt is likely a pod-person and should be terminated. Don't waste though, pod-persons make excellent filler for a chili.

1 x Whatever onions and peppers your Matt has lying about the kitchen. In our example, 1 of the onions was a Tory, so was rotten to the core and the pepper unlikely to make it to the end of the chili-making process. A Matt's gotta eat, even when cooking. Oh and some mushed up dead cow (not in photo)

1 x Some cumin, salt, Tabasco, Worcester, dried chilies, mushed up garlics, Bart's minced hot chilies. Possibly a stock cube/some stock if your Matt remembers/can be bothered to find one. And maybe some Marmite.

1 x Some chopped tomatoes an kidney beans - be sure to inadvertently splash tomato juices over as many surfaces/appliances/radios as you are able during opening.


1) Tell your Matt to quit taking photos and get with the chili makin'!

He may or may not follow the following steps:

1) Fry up the non-Tory onions.

2) Add the spices and stuff

3) Stir the spices and stuff. Add more crushed chilies.

4) Fry up the mushed up dead cow until it is sort of cooked. Add more crushed chilies because he forgot he just added more crushed chilies.

5) Add the tomatoes, stir

6) Add the beans, stir.

7) Behold all he has wrought.

8) Wait until the chili is ready, periodically adding crushed chilies because he forgot he added crushed chilies already. (Step incomplete at the time of writing).

*Exceptions to the '6Music Pod Person test' are 6pm weekdays, when Radio 4 is acceptable or on the off-chance radio 7 has something funny on.

The dream is over..

Yesterday was full of optimism and joy. DVDs and gadgets arrived in the post from a mysterious benefactor, known only as 'Mr M G Jones'. I had Fajitas for lunch. It was goodtimes.

Today, there was soup. I like soup, and this was particularly yummy soup. But no matter the soup quality, it's no fajita.

In an attempt to bring joy back to my life, I'll be making chili later. And tomorrow - burritos! Mexican food is made of happiness and beans. FACT.

I wish I had a poncho.

Monday, April 06, 2009

It's here! w00t!

OK So my shiny new Netbook arrived today. I am gonna post a picture of it here (as opposed to the full unboxing and whatnot I weas going to do!).

Unless you want to hear a spectacular line in bullshit, I would suppress the desire to ask 'But why?!' And just oooh and aaaah at the awesomeness of my new toy.

That is all.

Work laptop next to Junior (13" Laptop vs 10" Netbook):

To be honest I think I would have gone with something smaller but to make the thing useable for me, it had to have a decent keyboard. The one on this model has a keyboard almost the same size as a notmal laptop but the unit is a little over half the size.

As to the why? Well, if you don't have a use for one it's difficult to see the sense in them. I have some use for one that will make it a regular part of my day to use, but it solves some minor inconveniences rather than any problems. Essentially I am the secondary market for this thing, the people who could use one but primarily pick it up because they like the look of them.

I shall call him Tiny:Conqueror of 3am Support Calls!

Not with a bang but with a wimper....

Whilst residents in the fairytale rounabout Kingdom of Milton Keynes burn effigies of google executives. With much wailing and gnashing of teeth they proclaim how their privacy has been invaded and how they simply won't stand for it.

The fact that we have more CCTV cameras per person in this country than pretty much anywhere else in the world is not a worry to these people. The fact that they are being used not just to identify people who are criminals but also behaviour that may or may not result in criminality bothers them not a jot. The active targetting of particular socio-economic groups as software that tracks logos on clothing (as opposed to their wearer) is piloted seems perfectly fine.

The fact that as from today, government agencies have ready and free access to all our email and telephone communications without the pesky need for legal justification is of no concern to anyone. Move along, there's nothing to see here.

Google invade your privacy but the government is looking after you, it's for your own safety. It's double-plus good.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Here, there or nowhere?

So, I ordered a new toy off eBay last week. I crumbled like a big crumbly gadget obsessed cookie. I am a bad man.

Further to this, I intend inflicting a blog post on the subject on you all too - there will be pictures and geekery. hah! Flee mortals!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That's enough of that crap...

Occurs to me I've been whining a lot about work on here. As a general rule I like to keep my life off here and restrict myself to ranting about the shameful reduction in the size of Curly Wurlys.

Apologies, it won't happen again ;)


I've worked it out, I am a human Buckaroo! I've come out of the 'I'm going to murder everyone in the office' stage now, I'm now entering the 'Laughing in the face of people I really shouldn't be laughing in the face of' stage.

Someone is currently trying to handover 8 months worth of work to me in 15 minutes.

Friday will be interesting, I've been asked to give a talk at a local University - I wonder if I'll just stand up, announce 'I am a fish' and faint?

Suck My Rock!

Work is total balls at the moment. Seriously, morale in the office is truly awful, lowest I've seen it in nearly 4 years.

I tend to buy a lot more things when I am pissed (in both senses of the word). See the last week's worth of drivel about Netbooks.

in order to delay the inevitable, and to lighten my mood I have invnested in affordable awesomeness.

Queen: The Platinum Collection.

51 tracks of platinum dipped awesomeness on golden brown, buttery toast.

I'm going to be vaccuuming this weekend. Yeah, now get THAT thought out of your heads.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

So where's this website Matt?!

I hear your silent protests people (you can't hide your desperation from me you poor little mites), trust me I have every intention of webbing it up just as soon as the 2 requirements are in full alignment: Free time and Inclination.

You see I'm still working more than I'd like, and right now not in a good way. More in a 'Die, die, die, die, please just die' kind of way. So when I do get free time,I spend it productively drinking and eating.

Plans, however, are afoot. I will make a lame, visitorless website if it's the last thing I do!

Interminable delays

Right, I'll wait until the end of April. At the end of April I should (I hope) be getting a nice nutritious, vitamin filled bonus.

And then Mr NetBook, you will be mine.

Samsung are the front runner, they so purrdy.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My People Have Spoken

Browsing the t'internet about Netbooks and found this comment in response to someone else in my position:

Don't think of this as some big long term decision. These machines will be so much better in a year or two that you will have a hard time giving away whatever you buy in the next few months. Really! Homeless people will look down their noses at you, saying, "Why are you trying to give this old thing to me?"

So you could keep waiting for two years and get one free in a box of breakfast cereal that is twice as fast and comes with a year's free Internet connection via cell phone network, or just say what the heck and start having fun with what is available now.

Now a normal person would find the idea of buying something now that will be utterly worthless in a year or so something of a silly thing to do. Not the geek. And not the gadget freak.

Willpower is vastly overrated

So I bought a new gadget the other day, something I can't class as furniture or decoration - it's electronic gadgetry that makes life marginally but unnecessarily easier.

I spent hours pouring over spec sheets, customer reviews, adding and discarding requirements at a speed that was really quite something. The end result is that my car now has a wisewoman-in-a-box to guide it.

I caved, I bought SatNav.

This is because I am terrible at navigating towns and cities I don't know, it already guided me through Milton Keynes' infinite number of roundabouts. Milton Keynes was built by Lego, everywhere looks the same as everywhere else. So I have a Garmin Nuvi, it's awesome and isn't TomTom. And I can make the icon on the screen look like the Black Pearl. Yeah, be jealous.

Unfortunately, this gadget - that does fill a valid role - has opened the gadget gates of my mind. I am currently seriously toying with buying a netbook. I've already decided when, where and how often I would use it and unfortunately there is enough there for what little fiscal sense I have to be beaten to the ground with old CRT monitors.

But we all know the truth. Yes it could be useful, and yes I will use it frequently. But we know the truth. It's small, it's gadgety - I don't stand a chance.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Penis Envy

Who said the youth of today was lazy and lacking in drive and ambition?


Friday, March 20, 2009

Goddamnit! What Have I done?!

This is bullshit! Seriously!

Before, it was fine, I was low enough to the floor to put my drink there, my hand dangled down and my wine/lager/cider/vodka/gin/whiskey/meths/pipe cleaner was immediately to hand. Now I have to move.

I totally need a coffee table now - this is balls! Now it looks like a proper room keeping it clean is on my mind, as is potential spillage.

Maybe I should laminate the room.....

The Vicious Circle

So now I don't have my loungy chair & footstool thingy I don't have anywhere to put feet and pizza when slounging. This now means I need a coffee table. Pah!

Also, apparently I need place mats for the table. I'm not sure why I need place mats, the fact that the table surface is one huge placemat appears to be lost on most people.

Plates are generally bigger than place mats so they can't be for keeping the table protected from spillage, and even if that were the case you still have to clean the bloody place mats so where the hell is the win here?!

Frankly, you people are ridiculous.

This is it now isn't it? An endless quest for inanimate objects. Thank God the Nintendo DSi is out soon so I can go back to sensible, right-thinking purchases.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Games for the lazily evil

1) Open up MSN, find a 'friend' who is playing their XBox 360 (it will show in their description)

2) Start conversation with them. they will have to type with the console controller.

3) They will grow tired of this, mostly they will go away and 'catch you later' so be sure to pick a dumb one.

4) The dumb ones will shut down their game and mvoe to their PC, fire that up and log back in

5) When they do so, type 'gtg' and log off.

Now, about those pebbles......

Behold the desolate, sofa-less wastleland in which I live..

...Here, the cold light of the laptop as I write an email from the harsh iron(ish) chair, the cruel glass of the dining table reflects my misery...

A charity shop jigsaw puzzle, abandoned in the corner........

.......But what's this?! (cue an angelic 'ooohooaaaaaahhhhooooooh!')

.........oooooooooooooooOOOOOOOooooooooh! I am chillaxin', listening to some cool tunes, completely unaware of the camera.

.....Here I am studying hard, but still fully chillaxidaisical, again natural, unaware of the camera I must have accidentally attached via gorillapod to the shelf unit....

I'll do some more pictures later, when the sofa-bed element is extended - I'll probably be wearing some sexy lingerie.

Don't even try - that's in your head for the day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pope: Condom Use Increases Spread of AIDS

Carrying on the fine tradition of ignorance and murder by proxy pioneered by Jean Paul II, Pope Benolyn has decreed that the use of condoms can only serve to increase the spread of the deady AIDS virus which has claimed 25 million African lives since 1981.

Rather than referring to anything approaching a scientific or factual analysis he claimed that friendship and spiritual awakening would cure Africa of this deadly epidemic. The Pope didn't, of course, refer to the Bible when making this decree as it is also completely silent on the issue of contraception.

Can someone explain to me why completely unqualified religious people are allowed to speak to medical matters? To matters of state? to matters of life and death? I'd have no objection to this if he backed up his words with credible evidence. I would have no problem with any religious 'leader' vomitting out their opinion, no matter how unpalatable, if they based it on anything other than uninformed, ignorant opinion.

yeah, this is a smashing day.

Working the Matt-way

The last two posts should give some brief insight into my less than sane method of working.

Here it is in brief:

Receive Information>Analyse>Evaluate>Go fucking mental>Swear>Swear Louder>Invent new Swear words>Solve.

This is a variation on the correct method of work, but it works for me. Now normally the process is brief, I need the venting bit in the middle because that's the part where identify all of the problems with the particular nugget of crystalised stupid that has landed at my desk. If you can't find all of the problems, you can't make a solution and anyone who tells you otherwise is a fucking idiot.

This is the first time that something so monumentally dumb has landed at my desk that I've worked on my CV rather than a solution. I've calmed down, the CV stays on hold - at least for the next 3 months. After that, we'll see ;)

Silver Linings

I just checked out and discovered that if I hold on for 6-12 months and get on a particular training course, there are a lot of jobs for what I do out there should things continue along the same lines as they are here.

It's important I think short-term here - making the changes while the sofa is still young.

Just breathe...count to ten....really, calm down!

I know I get irritated by the world at large a lot, but I also laugh a lot at the things that I find irritating - if you can't laugh at them you'd really have to cry. being a manly-man who likes fire, red meat, beer and pies that really isn't an option for me.

Right now I am so angry that I can't actually work - I'm properly seething and I don't like it. It doesn't matter why, it's a work thing that would bore you senseless but suffice to say circumstances and people beyond my control are currently doing some unfathomably stupid things that will result in my life becoming very difficult. I made a decision the other day to stop using swearing like puntuation, unfortunately these fucking fuckwitted fucksticks have put paid to that at least for this week.

Apologies for the lack of bloggin by the way, but if you think I'm in a bad mood now you really should have caught me last week, that was something spectacular. Thursday was particularly special. I think I managed to speak entirely in expletives for a whole afternoon, which is harder than it sounds.

In other news, S-Day is on Thursday. Squoodgy sofa goodness. w00t!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Power of the Sofa?

I've actually been playing around with some webby things today. I am of all next weekend and right now, unless I find something better to do with my time (Jason IX anyone? :p) I'll be doing something with this. I've got a couple of tools I'm playing around with. I think I'll launch something 'Make do' to start with while I tinker with something else that may or may not eventually get completed.

At the very least I'll launch a new blog. Working title is 'tasteless colour', but I'll take other suggestions before dismissing you all as idiots. :D

Friday, March 06, 2009

Feeling Festive

This year so far I am going to Glastonbury and Sonisphere.

I am now trying to work out how to afford Download too, mainly becaise Faith No More are playing.

So far Glastonbury bands look OK, but I'm going more because of the experience than anything else.

Sonishpere is new and has Metallica headlining (w00t!). Also, the super-more awesomer Alice in Chains are playing. The blonde dude died a while back, but the new dude they have in the line-up looks passable and its the guitarist guy who's the creative talent anyway:

The arrogance of the Super Hero

Who the hell calls themself 'Superman'?!

A twat, that's who.

Some Super-Heros & Villains have names that relate to their powers - The Flash; The Human Torch; Banshee (1)
; Aquaman(2); The Green Lantern; The Silver Surfer; Jubilee(3)

The list goes on.

Some Superpeeps have names related to animals to which they or their powers bear (haha! I am funny) a resemblance or an affinity - Rhino; Spiderman; The Blue Beetle; Batman.

Some of the sooper gang have completely random names that don't mean anything and are selected purely for their cool - Gambit; Rogue; Lobo etc.

All of these I can live with, but there is something about the kind of Superhero (not villain) that gives themselves a name which basically says 'I'm better than you are'. Superman - fuck you, fuck you right in the ear you spandex wearing, narcissistic closet-case. The only reason you don't like Bizarro is because you thought that you would finally get an opportunity to make sweet love to yourself.

Wonderwoman, I have a marginal amount of time for if for nothing other than the fact she is about the only female super-hero who isn't some lamed-up female immitation of an existing male hero. She-Hulk? Please. Seriously, you're telling me that the only way women can get super powers is if a guy has had them first - and even then can only develop powers that are lamer than the original? pfft.

Anyway, Wonderwoman - change your name, you don't want to associate yourself with the likes of Superman.

And while we're on it - the Mr Fantastic and the Fantastic 4?! Yeah, you haven't disappeared up your own arses. How you manage to defeat the galaxy's enemies so regularly with such weak-ass powers is beyond me, but whatever the case, Fantastic is a word reserved for describing things like a nice pie, not stretchy losers.

I am personally very impressed that I can still get angry about this 18 years after I stopped collecting comics. no one is cooler than me.

1 Yeah, scream like a girl and dress in lime green and pink - you're totally not gay.
2 - I could spend all day here, but everything is too easy
3 - Latin for 'Irritating scrotal growth with a superpower that would make Aquaman laugh who should DIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIE!'

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Universal Truths - Number 89

If you eat a filled donut and it is filled with anyhing but jam, you are a sick freak and beyond help.

That is all.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Closing the drapes

I supposed to be in Oxford yesterday visiting a friend, I was promised curry and crumble. Unfortunately, she was moving and realised that getting back from Birmingham at 1am, starting the move at 5am, then preparing a meal and enduring an evening of my company did not make for a stable mind.

I did highlight this earlier in the week, so it was not exactly a surprise - but any loss of curry or crumble is a shock to the system, even when you are pretty sure it's coming. Time will heal the wounds, but the memory of what could have been will never fade.

I was up pretty early having had a pretty liquid evening on Friday. Apparently I had some kind of premonition about the cancellation because there was a virtually intact curry all plated up and covered in my fridge that I had purchased the night before. I couldn't work out why it was so intact, then I found the tell tale signs that I had ordered multiple courses, Nan and side-orders. I seemingly didn't get around to the main course. I don't usually order so many bits, and then I noticed that I had used my own rice. I know my brain so I can make a good guess at my astounding fiscal logic:

Brain: There's no need to order rice, I have plenty
Counter-brain: That's a good point. You've got that nice lime and coriander stuff
Brain: Yes, yes I have. Yummy.
Counter-brain: That saves some monies, we rock!
Brain: Indeed we do.
Counter-brain: ....
Brain: What's that look?
Counter-brain: They have chicken tikka and onion budgies. If we're saving all that money by not ordering rice, we could have a feast fit for a king!
Brain: How much contact have you had with royalty exactly?
Counter-brain: The queen drove past our primary school once, do you remember? We had a flag.
Brain: Uh-huh. Back to your proposal. Will we get through all that food? We're pretty steamed - I don't want to fall asleep in the mint yoghurt
Counter-brain: You know you're going to lose this debate right? Apart from anything else you are too drunk to do sums
Brain: Fair point, let’s stare at the menu for 10 minutes then order the same things as always but with some superfluous extras
Counter-brain: w00t.

The rest of yesterday was a mixed bag - my oven & grill seems to be knackered which is annoying - I had to fry my breakfast. Incidentally, I noticed that sometimes the difference between breakfast and dinner is chips. Sausages, bacon, egg, toast - maybe tomatoes or beans - that's breakfast. Remove the toast; add chips and you have comfort dinner.

But I get ahead of myself, before breakfast I drove to Epsom as I had decided to buy some DVDs and the like to occupy my day. My car was utterly filthy, it was looking more grey than black. The car park I used has one of those car cleaning gangs, so I decided to have it cleaned inside and out whilst I was mooching.

I wandered in to town and picked up the excellent Assassin's Creed game for my 360, as it was going cheap. I also got all 3 Matrix movies for a tenner. I only really like the first one as they disappear up their own arse after that, but for ten quid I am not going to get too upset. I also picked up Spawn - a movie I remember being OK, but after watching it again I realise that it was almost criminal in its awfulness. I hope someone else has another crack at it though.

On the way back to the car it occurred to me that I had paid less for 3 blockbuster movies than I was paying to get my car cleaned. I want to send Keanu Reeves a letter which tells him this fact. I like to think he would read it and say 'oh! Dude! Like....totally'.

Oh yeah - the title of the post! I was walking back to the car and noticed a few shops closing down; I initially thought that this was a sad sign of the recession. But then I noticed they all seemed to be bedding stores. There are like 5 of them on 100 yards of high street. Now Epsom isn't a massive place, I don't care how duvet-crazy the local populace is, surely there isn't enough business to sustain neighbouring quilt-vendors? The one that is closing hadn't diversified into drapes and wrinkly people floral patterns. Evidently, that's where the money's at!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Seriously, who the hell is this for?!

I meant to post this ages ago when I first saw it.

Surely if you can't put eggs in a pan, you should be allowed to starve? I mean, what ever happened to natural selection? Before you attack me on this, just bear in mind that these people will be allowed to breed - there's nothing to stop them.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The sofa-shaped space

Is about to be filled. The man from Dfs, he say yes!

The measuring monkeys didn't so much measure as eye the place up but now if it doesn't fit, I don't get stuck with a sofa I can't get inside!


Now I just have to wait for 5 weeks for it to arrive ;)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Extreme Phrenology...

I finally went to get my haircut today, after about 10 weeks of growth people were starting to give me their spare change.

Anyway, I mooched to town this afternoon to see if anywhere had someone available for the necessary deforrestation. One advantage of the new work gadget is that I can technically claim to be at work whilst drinking coffee and getting my haircut.

The haircut started in the same way that most do - with the scissor-wielding snipologist trying to work out if you are the chatty type and, if so, does she really want to chat to me?*. Lots of people always have the same person cutting their hair each visit whereas I tend to forget who it was in between visits. I'm sure if I remembered, and I also actualyl booked in advance and actualyl remembered to think about getting my hair cut then this weird silence could be avoided.

That portion of the experience ended aound the time that she finished off the right hand side bit of my head, at which point we started talking about my job (which I kept brief), holiday plans etc (standard haridresser talk!).

Monica, it turns out, is from Slovakia. A fact I noticed she revealed with some trepidation. Despite being here for 9 years, she evidently still encounters brains printed by the Daily Mail. Then the subject to my country of origin - upon finding out about my glorious Welsh heritage she said 'Yes, you have Welsh hair'. I didn't quite know how to greet this news to be honest, I had no idea that the Welsh had a certain type of hair. I took this to mean that it was of a higher quality than English hair, a suggestion that caused an almost insulting amount of laughing. I speculated that perhaps I was bestowed the hair at an early age by some kind of druid, once my Welshness had been proven.

I went on for some time with various suggestions of the origin of Welsh hair (I can tell you're surprised). I probably shouldn't have, there's something discomforting about someone giggling whilst holding sharp objects around your head and neck area. I'd think there has to be some loss of control, but being the less bright sort I soldiered on.

I wondered if she could tell if I was some kind of freak just by my hair. The look she gave me indicatated that it wasn't my hair that revealed that golden nugget of insight.

Anyway, I now no longer look like I sleep on park benches and I also remember who cut my hair, though given my age and propensity for forgetting my own name I wouldn't hold my breath for that lasting.

*I do tend to go to hairdressers rather than cheap-o barbers even though I have reached the age of always getting the same haircut, rendering much of their expertise redundant, but if you haven't worked out that I am a sucker by now then you've not been paying attention.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Desparately seeking sofa......

Yes I do know I've used that pun before. What can I say? I'm an eco-warrior.

So I ordered a sofa-bed yesterday, which will make the 2 people who visit me very happy. I'm predicting Pedr coming here on with some very exciteable comments, or at least he would have had I not pointed out that he would be, now he may not be. If you know what I mean.

I was kind of running out of things to put in the front room that were non-sofas. So anyway, I may be getting one now, it depends on a few things - most of which aren't worth going into but one of which came as a surprise to me. You see I've heard so many people talk about how when their sofa arrived they had to remove the whole west wall of the house in order to get it in, or some crap, I've been worried about getting anything larger than a footstool up my staircase (1st floor flat - or 2nd floor if you're a yank).

Anyway, I inquire about this sofabed, and tell them my concerns and I am told quite patiently - as if to a child - that they will send someone round this week to measure. That's what they said, what I heard was 'We're not fucking idiots. Go back to the special corner and lick a window'.

Does anyone know anyone who has EVER paid full price for anything from Dfs?. I'm sure their sales end, but only in order to launch the next one. It's like perpetual motion with those people. I'm pretty sure that the Bible has been mistranslated and that Dfs selliong a full-price Leather recliner with matching storage stool is one of the signs of the apocaplypes.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

For Steampunk - there is no such thing as 'Too much time on your hands'

I've seen the steampunk keyboard:

The All-in-one PC (My favourite):

Then there's the Steampunk strat:

Now one of the boys has returned to the PC arena by spending a year of his life constructing this beautiful monstrosity:

The answer to your question is : 8 feet tall.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oh yeah...I for got about that!

Remember this?

I've had that for a couple years now, and now I have some time to devote to learning how to build a passable website again, I am going to start saying I am going to do it again.

of course i could just use templates etc., but that would be too easy and might actually mean it gets done. And no one wants that!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Talking of UI design

Apologies for the news source here, unfortunately I couldn't find anyone else reporting on this potential awesomeness.

This story came out of the Technology, Entertainment, Design conference in early Feb. It's a concept that's been tagged with what I think is quite a cool nickname - Wear Your World.

The crappy Fox article doesn't really explore the possibilities, I first heard the story on the excellent Skeptic's Guide to the Universe. What's fascinating about this is that the technology used is all off the shelf, currently available stuff. It essentially turns any flat(ish) surface into a display. The final device would either have to be swisher looking, or preferably inconcspicuous, but here are some examples of the kind application for this thing. outline a circle on your wrist and it projects the correct time there. Maybe you're leafing through a book at a book store, you can program it to search the t'interweb for reviews of books you are looking at. Browsing in a store, it can go off and find you those products on line and give you information on potential savings.

The key here is making such a decvice unobtrusive and seamless to use, otherwise it goes the sameway as the VR headset (also discussed on the same podcast). The fact that this uses existing off the shelf stuff, makes this viable - whether anyone will invest the considerable amount needed to make this a commercial product is questionable.

The Art of User interface Design.

I've been using some Apple products for some time now, I have a MacBook, I have an iPhone and I use my old iPod as my home stereo.

I also have a windows laptop for work, probably going to rebuild my media centre at home, have an Xbox.

I also now have a Blackberry.

Now without a doubt, when it comes to User Interface Apple is king - this is a fact that cannot be disputed. I can't think of a single company that hasn't copied the UI principles that Apple sets in place. Except for Microsoft Zune, that was awesome UI with unfortunately shitty form factor.

Which is where Apple wins again, but in my opinion that's very much more an 'if you like that kind of thing' issue.

I think, for basic stuff, the Windows UI works great. I mean Vista blows chunks but I am quite a fan of XP. I like XP better because Vista is suspiciously mac-esque and I find it disappointing that after 20 years, Apple moved away from the original interface that they [allegedly] stole from Rank Xerox, which in turn was [allegedly] stolen from Apple by Microsoft, only to have the Microsoft boys do the a slightly more subtle form of theft with Vista.

It's disappointing because Microsoft are no slouches, they have massive R&D brains and boffins plugging away at all sorts of cool stuff (Surface is already being applied to multiple emerging technologies). It's just a shame that their marketing and sales guys appear to hate their employers and constantly drop them in the shit.

Anyway, I digress. Apple stuff looks good, but more importantly for the purposes of this post is incredibly easy for the layman to pick up and use immediately. Not so much the more advanced stuff, but basic operation of new concepts Apple is king. When it comes to more complex things I would suggest that the windows UI follows a more logical progression, but that'll be a matter of taste.

There's a LOT to say about the Apple vs. MS debate here, especially around how Apple appear to be able to get away with the sharkiest of business manoeuvres with 0 comeback, how they have a significantly easier job than Microsoft and a whole host of other things that I am sure you're even less interested in than the rest of this post!

This was originally about UI design, let’s go back there. So. iPhone, limited but painless. Zune, loveable in the extreme but didn't work with my Mac and battery life was appalling. Blackberry.

Ah, Blackberry! Imagine turning on your phone and having it squirt wee-laden acid into your eyes. This is the experience that the designers of this marvellous device have gone for. They evidently saw the writing on the wall when iPhone came out and thought trying to be in any way easy to use was an exercise in futility. They can't be number one in usability then they'll be number 1 in 'number of handsets launched at unfortunate passersby'.

I really like this phone it's really quite entertaining. Currently I am trying to list the ways in which they could have made the user interface worse. So far I have: 'Keys made from jellyfish' and 'random electric shocks'.

'Just one more thing.......'

You know sometimes you look at a headline and do a double-take?

I hate that, mainly because what I thought I saw is ALWAYS a better story than what i actually saw. See - clicky

Now tell me a story entitled 'Tamil Tigers attack Columbo' wouldn't be better?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The slippery slope

For a variety of reasons I've finally aquiesced tohaving a work phone. Because I spend a lot more time away from my desk, I tend to get calls on my mobile and I have to redirect calls to it. These calls would be a lot easier to ignore if they went to my work phone as I would immediately know they are work related.

Unfortunately the phone in question is a Blackberry, which does mean I'll have access to work email all the time. It'll also mean I'll have a Blackberry AND and iPhone.

Pros: Work is buying me a new gadget (even if it isn't very up to date)
Cons: By owning a Blackberry AND an iPhone, not opnly am I one of those self important twats who has 2 phones but I am a self important twat with two phones that shout 'look at me! I'm all important'. It's like I got the double-whammy-quadro-twat package, exclusively from O2. I think I'll run a book on how long it takes me to get one of those super-cool and sexy blue-tooth 'Kill me now' ear-pieces.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Oh yeah, I got me the whole run of Jason & Freddy movies en route! I am very excited.
I am going through getting some of my favourite horror and slasher flicks together.

I have definitely not watched the endless Jason sequels or all the NOES movies so am looking forward to a good solid few weeks of bad acting and great baddies!

For some reason Friday the 13th Part 9 (Jason Goes to Hell) doesn't seem to be available in Region 2 format, but I persevered and picked it up for a fiver on Region 1 on Playtrade. Given that part 4 is called 'The Final Chapter', I can only assume that parts 5 through 8 are detailing his journey into the hereafter.

Now, none of these movies are what you could call 'Good films' I guess. These are from an era and a genre where you sort out the baddy, if he's a powerful enough figure the rest of it is arbitrary - all you need to do is work out how many quirky ways he can kill people.

So, when I say 'good' in the context of these movies I am talking about entertainment. Jason X has Jason in space. Oh Yes. And being indestructible hell-spawn isn't enough, he gets all cyborged up.

Freddy Vs. Jason was great fun.

I may even watch them sober this time.

Next I am going to get Hellraiser II & III. Unlike the previous mentioned awesomeness, Hellraiser lost its appeal after Clive Barker stopped being involved. Hellraiser was a different kind of horror movie - The Cenobites were completely different to anything that came before them, and they aren't really baddies - they just ARE. The giant scorpion-tailed corridor fetus was a bit pointless, but that's not in it for too long.

Now I know how this is coming across, but I don't care. Hellraiser was a great movie. Yes it had an annoying screaming girl in it but it did a lot of things differently. The Cenobites aren't evil as such, and they aren't around simply because they feel like rending people who stumble across a particular location limb from limb. In fact the main evil-doers in this movie all start off human. It's not easy to go into without being overly anal. Very cool movie.

OK, that's enough of this - I've been brief but I may return to these movies - especially Hellraiser, I love that movie - not least because it shone through in a period when horror movies were coming out about every 3 minutes, most of them bad. So don't diss Pinhead or he'll come get ya!


Don't come to me with Mike Myers neither, Halloween may have come first but it still blows.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

OK, this is getting embarrassing now...

First, 3 inches of snow cripples the entire London transport system and now this. Now I want to make this absolutely clear to all non-Britain based readers that this seems to sepcifically be an England problem. Not what is laughably referred to as 'Severe Weather', just the inability to cope with weather on any scale.

Actually, that's unfair. It's specifically the Southeast of england that makes Britain look ridiculous. In the Midlands, they've had several feet of snow over the last week so I can see that that would cause them serious issues - they aren't used to their rain being solid.

London had 3 inches of snow last Sunday night (1st) and the public transport system wasn't fully operational until Thursday.

I could go on, but this isn't the main problem I have. It's common knowledge that the slightest hint of weather in London makes the whole city grind to a halt, but you think we'd keep it quiet in the same way as you wouldn't mention a wheat intolerance (seriously, how pathetic an ailment is that?) in public. But no, we advertise to the world that a new ice age has dawned and BRITAIN weathers the storm! No actually what happens is this - London falls in a heap in the corner and cries like a little girl with a skinned knee, the rest of England gets ignored, everywhere else acknowledges the fact that it's WINTER!

Seriously, there are Canadians who shit more snow than fell in London last week.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Every day....ish

Yeah, that lasted didn't it? But let's be honest here, a post every day from someone who leads as uninteresting a life as me is not going to be thrilling reading for you. Today I offer furtherinsight into the tangled ball of yarn that I use for a brain.

Essentially my brain and my stomach need to be kept separated. They are liek your best friend in school with whom you came up with more and more elaborate activities to occupy your time with. Strangely, 90% of these activities for me involved digging holes, rivers and sticks and any combination of those 3 things. Digging holes in rivers is as tough as it sounds.

Anyway, time consuming things to achieve basically the same end result.

I was watching the excellent but inexplicably cancelled Studio 60 on The Sunset Strip the other day. I decided that I wouldn't cook, I would make a sandwich. I mulled this over for half hour or so, before I decided I would make some kind of toastie snack. After a while I upped this craving to a nice burger. Yummy. More mulling - 'enough!' I thought and adjourned to the Budgens to buy burger makin's!

I arrived back in my kitchen with rump steak, wholemeal baguettes, mustard seeds and pepper. I proceded to make steak & onion baguettes. It was yummy, but seriously - if I'd just stuck with the cheese toastie, would the world have ended?!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


I left work early today, mainly because I felt like it but the fairly flimsy excuse I used was that the canteen monkeys hadn't made it in in order to purvey over-priced crap. I was a hungry hippo and needed pie.

Luckily the shop next door increases in more awesomer almost daily. They now sell delicious steak pie made by (I imagine) a jolly farmer's wife in Oxfordshire. So I bought pie. Yummy.

Over the weekend, I got this off eBay:

Some people might think that 2 radios in such a small property is enough, these people are clearly idiots. Whilst I can hear the radio if it is on in the kitchen and I am in the front room, I can't hear it like it is in the same room. Because it isn't. See? Good. I'm glad I cleared that up. Was it not De La Soul that once propounded 'Three, that's the magic number'? Who am I to argue with such god's amongst men?

It also has an iPod dock and a CD player which is great, but to be honest I'm mainly into the DAB tuner.

It's ex-display and so was pretty cheap, so this makes me happy.

The rather optimistic delivery company sent me an email yesterday confidently proclaiming that the parcel would arrive today. I suspect that these people work somewhere windowless. Either that or they have special ski-vans.

Ski-vans would be cool.

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