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.

Monday, February 02, 2009

what the hell just happened?

So after basking in the glory of the mighty Steelers, I went to sleep.

I was aware that it had been snowing, it just started after Hannah left. However.

I was supposed to be off all day but had informally agreed to come in mid-afternoon-ish to cover a few things off. As it was I got a few phone calls around noon saying that no one had been able to make it in to work and things were not going 100% according to plan.

I got myself together and left the flat, at which point my lgs up to my knees vanished. Apparently we had nearly 2 feet of snowfall overnight. Nice.

I didn't have my camera so couldn't get photos, but we've been promised more tonight so maybe I'll get you some then ;). Nowe I live a little over a mile from the office and it took the best part of an hour to get here on foot, my colleague took 5.5 hours to travel 22 miles. Welcome to Surrey, a county that is completely allergic to weather.

The Gallery (Superbowl Special)

Peter Jones (30). Wales.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Days off, Roast Awesome and Doughnuts

I took the day off everything on Friday and yesterday, including this. It's my resolution, I didn't bother you with the details and special clauses so nerr!

Anyway, so Friday was spent giving my flat a much needed clean, its not exactly perfect right now but it's approaching habitable.

I also located an awesome Butcher up in Bookham which made me happy. I couldn't get the mutton I wanted as he needs a day's notice so that it can defrost so he can cut it (not exactly popular as a meat). The fact that he had any impressed me though!

Anyway, I made do with some diced lamb. I also picked up a couple pounds of rolled pork loin for my first attempt at a roast dinner and some of the award winning sausages on offer. He told me, at length, about their sausage achievements, so I decided to buy some bacon too. Next, back home - finished cleaning and made a large quantity of lamb curry.

I've always had problems making my lamb curry not spicy. It's the fairly liberal application of garam masala rather than any chili content I think - I've tried it with little to no chilies pr chili powder in the past and it's still quite hot, and progressively so. Friday I experimented with the ingredients some, with very pleasing results. I won't bore you all, but essentially it involves plenty of good cumin and a few other things.

This was good for the visiting Hannah as she has chosen not to go with the asbestos-lined mouth approach to life.

Hannah arrived, we went for a couple drinks and then back to the flat for some yummy curry goodness!

Saturday arrived and with it I made some breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages, beans and toast. I've taken to buying unsliced locally baked bread which is lovely in principle but a pain in the arse when slicing for a toaster. Anyway, sausages definitely deserved their award and everything else was outstanding too.

Next was a shopping trip, I needed some shelving units for my ever expanding DVD and book collection so ordered some stuff from Argos. We also needed Army of Darkness on DVD for completist reasons. After a trip to Epsom, we couldn't find a copy of this for under 20 pounds (should be about a fiver!). Instead I picked up Sweeney Todd (yet to watch), 30 days of Night (which Hannah assures me sucks arse) and two Charlie Brooker books - Dawn of the Dumb and Screen Burn.

Amongst the other things that afternoon, I picked up a variety of ciders, some carrots and broccoli and mild fear that roast dinner could go horribly wrong.

Finally, a trip to Tesco - where they sell Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Oh yes indeed. We only wanted a half dozen, but that worked out the same price as a dozen (give or take 50p!). Being the thrifty sort, I got the even dozen.

Back to the flat and it was champagne and DVDs! I had this stuff I got given at Christmas so we polished a bottle of it off, because we are classy that way. then I made the roast.

It went unfathomably well, I was so pleased. The crackling wasn't absolutely perfect, but for a first stab I think it was outstanding. Roast potatoes were yummy, and as I'd thrown a load of quartered onions in the roasting dish*, they were all yummy and charred. I removed the potatoes and the piggy and poured some nice vintage cider and chicken stock into the roasting dish. Stirred it all up with a fork, reduced it down and it was good to go. I will be doing that again, and again. I so miss roast dinners!

So today, I built one of the sets of shelves and am putting my previously 'stored' DVDs out, I may not need the other set right away but I'll wait and see once I've put my stuff out.

There! See? I don't have to rant all the time, but it's much less entertaining when I don't.

Seriously, it's been awesome just not even looking at work things for a couple of days, I feel like I've had a week off and I still have some Krispy Kreme doughnuts left, the Superbowl to come and the dilemma of whether to order Papa John's or eat some more curry....

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