Wednesday, 31 August 2005


Thanks everyone who sent mails about the white band slowing things down and thanks Kat for identifying the problemo. No posts yesterday because it was just too damn hot to be indoors so I lunched with lager in the pub garden and dined in the garden with wine last night. Reading and listening to some music and then dozed off. Got a shedload of stuff to do today, including stuff in town, so those reliant on my meanderings will be on short rations again I'm afraid :-)

Monday, 29 August 2005


This is the last Bank Holiday before Christmas so I guess wage slaves across England are spending the day getting the Christmas decorations out of the loft!

I followed a strange series of links to get to "This is Anfield" and on there found this wonderful plaything.

Sunday, 28 August 2005

Cricket lovely cricket!

Wow! What a brilliant game, what a fantastic series. All to play for now at the Oval but we retake The Ashes if it starts raining now and doesn't stop until Christmas! Wahay! Anyone living under a rock or in a different country can check it out here.

Saturday, 27 August 2005

Alcohol is the scourge of the working classes

Or some such which. As a parent and a university tutor and a responsible human being it would be terribly bad of me, particularly as St Tone and Co are trying to stamp down on binge drinking, to suggest that drinking anything stronger than a weak shandy is a good idea.

That's the disclaimer out of the way!
I got this from Coolio's (Coolios can be a tad rude but a regular here writes there and has mentioned this blog a couple of times and that's how I found it - not because I'm in any way rude! :-)) - check this out: I've done more than half of them! And that includes standing next to St James's Gate in Dublin where this photo was taken.

"This shit is bananas"

A day or so ago someone wished me "Peace and hollaback" in the comments and left me stumped - what is this hollaback?? Being a resourceful sort of chap I've been off and done some research and I found this site. Now I can't speak for Mr Stacy's academic credentials, his qualifications aren't cited on the piece but he seems to understand the subject.
Oooh, this my shit, this my shit
Gwen repeats this four more times. She wants to make sure that we are well acquainted with her shit.
I'm sure all you dudes and dudettes will know what all this is about but I'm still somewhat bemused. As long as it isn't obscene - peace and hollaback at ya!

Have a nice Saturday :-)

Friday, 26 August 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.


If anyone wants to know what being an Englishman really means they could do worse than listening to Henry Blofeld on Test Match Special. It's available on the Internet on FiveLive Extra and listening to his wonderful accent describing reverse swing and buses passing the ground is wonderful. Understanding the game isn't required, just wallow in the vowels! TMS stands for Test Match Special BTW :-)

Seek and ye shall find

Were I without beer I'd remember where I found this but I'm not so I don't - sorry campers. Seek and ye shall find; Blogpulse - a bloggy search engine. What will they think of next?

Thursday, 25 August 2005

You freed my body.........

The distance between the stumps on a cricket pitch is 22 yards (66 feet) which is 1/10th of a furlong (literally a furrow's length) and 8 furlongs is a mile. 22 yards is also a chain, after Gunter's Chain which was divided into 100 links. 10 square chains make an acre. A chain is divided into 4 poles (which are also known as perches or rods). 240 chains is a league and half a league is famous in a poem:
Half a league half a league
Half a league onward
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred:
'Forward the Light Brigade
Charge for the guns' he said
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred
And the reason I mentioned the chain? Well I'm listening to the cricket and while on holiday last week we visited the "Weald and Downland Open Air Museum " and beside one of the houses they have a chain on display, it runs the length of a fence. The truly lovely part is that the chain is divided into 4 poles and each is identified by a different shaped tag as shown in this image.

So there ya go! Anyone know where the title of this post comes from?

Wednesday, 24 August 2005

Flying Spaghetti Monster

Okay - this via "The Liberal Dissenter".
The guys looking to teach Intelligent Design in Kansas schools face a bit of a quandry. A group of parents have asked that their belief that the world was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster is also taught in Kansas schools. In an open letter they have laid out some compelling arguments in support of their views and also shown that global warming is directly related to the decline in pirates.

Have you been touched by his noodly appendage?

Tuesday, 23 August 2005


Some people know the story of the Che tee-shirts and I won't bore those who don't but suffice to say here are two of them. I've cropped this shot as to the right, in the original, is a beach towel airing on the side of the tent - it's a Gold Amex card and that really doesn't sit well with the urban revolution thing happening here :-)


People who know me well will know that one of my little foibles is that I hate being late. I even have a big digital clock which checks with a radio beacon on a regular basis to make sure it's bang on time.

Right now my laptop is without a working screen but it's my primary PC so I am using it through the desktop screen and thus upstairs in the box room.

The radio reception in the valley is appalling.

Now you are struggling to tie these things together so here goes. I listen to the radio all day while working and when downstairs it's fine as I have a digital radio. Now I'm stuck upstairs it's a tad trickier so I listen to the BBC on the Internet. I already know that there is a slight delay between the normal analogue signal and the digital signal but the lag between the digital signal and the Internet broadcast is amazing. I know the technical reasons, they have to scrunch up all those words and crush them down so that they will fit into cyberspace but I have one question - what use are the bloody time checks? When someone says "It's six o'clock and here's the news" which six o'clock is it? Is it analogue, digital or Internet?

Got this from GW's blog:

What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Gauntlet Adventurer.I am a Gauntlet Adventurer.
I strive to improve my living conditions by hoarding gold, food, and sometimes keys and potions. I love adventure, fighting, and particularly winning - especially when there's a prize at stake. I occasionally get lost inside buildings and can't find the exit. I need food badly.


I'm sure many have been following the discussion about "Intelligent design", the theory of the earth's development which accommodates God's design rather than the narrow vision offered by Darwin. The Onion now reports on evangelical scientists who refute gravity. They offer the theory of "Intelligent falling" which suggests that God pushes things down rather than some invisible force called gravity attracting things. Check it out to keep up with modern thinking in the physical sciences!

Welcome back my friends..........

"Step inside! Hello! We've the most amazing show,
You'll enjoy it all we know,
Step inside! Step Inside!"

When Jim Davidson took over The Generation Game the theme music was changed to a song which features the line "Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends........" Those under the age of, say, 35 might struggle to identify the track. Even those of advanced years like me might not know that it's Karn Evil 9, First Impression, Part 2 by Emerson, Lake and Palmer. That piece opens side two of Brain Salad Surgery, ELP's 1973 magnum opus (and I probably know every word of it - I cherish my copy of the LP and the other early ELP work).

Of course now you'll be wondering where this is going - well it's simple really, the guy who invented the synth - the cornerstone of prog rock - died yesterday. The eponymous Moog changed the face of rock and roll music and was used by people from Abba to Zappa (although Queen used to tag "And nobody played synth" to the sleeve notes on their LPs) and many songs simply wouldn't work without the electronic gubbins making it happen.

Moog's family have opened a Book of Condolences and you can read more about the musical instruments at "Moog Music".

Lyrics checked at Dave McNally's site

Monday, 22 August 2005

Arcade games

Anyone remember "Breakthrough"? It was an arcade video game which was popular in pubs around the same time that Space Invaders were dum, dum, dumming through our drink befuddled brains. For a far less PC version of of "Breakthrough" try this link. Be warned - not for those of a nervous disposition! ;-)

Blog spam

Those who read Twenty Major will be aware of the spam from Giles Photography in Northampton (those who don't read Twenty Major really should get over there and check it out!). In common with many others I'm not currently looking to engage the services of a photographer in the Northants area but were I in the market and I was using the web to find someone I'd steer well clear of Giles Photography based on the quality of their site. Frankly it's crap and demonstrates a disturbing lack of design or visual appeal of the sort one might think is inherent in the work of a photographer. The main heading is off-centre but not in a visually attractive way, the use of a variety of fonts and text styles is jarring and the layout is incoherent. The site is built using the online site creation tools provided by Tripod - a really professional setup for a business site. There are no photographs at all on the front page, bizzare as that is the product being sold and it's difficult to see the value of two hit counters.

But what really sticks in my throat is the shabby practice of spamming to promote this web site. I'd guess that Giles Photography have had a good few hits now but sometimes it's possible to attract the wrong kind of attention.

Sunday, 21 August 2005

Hi honey!

I'm home! Actually got back on Friday evening but the children didn't go home until today so I left the PC off. We were camping in West Wittering. The weather from our arrival on Sunday until the early hours of Friday was fantastic but an electrical storm and torrential downpour led to much of the site being flooded (including part of our tent) so we headed for home. The children have just been collected so it's probably time for me to go to the pub!

Friday, 12 August 2005

Urbane sprawl

Someone is bound to say "I remember when it was all just fields..........."

Thursday, 11 August 2005


The image shows the detail from the royal crest on the Christ Church gate - I took this shot today. People far brighter than me will be able to explain the meaning of all the symbols but I can help with the one on the right. It's the Tudor Rose from the period after The War of the Roses (and thus after 1485) as it shows both roses, the red of Lancashire (the house of Tudor) and the white of Yorkshire (the house of York), joined together. I have a tattoo of the red rose of Lancashire (without the white rose!).

And further symbolism - tonight's episode of "Absolute Power" played with the idea of a cousin of Osama Bin Laden trying to buy a symbol of "Britishness" namely British Airways - very funny too until turning over and catching the news that BA flights have been cancelled because of a strike over the sacking of hundreds of catering staff.

Industrial disputes used to be called "The British Disease" - another symbol?

If you don't do anything else..... must get over and read Twenty Major!
"On a slightly more downbeat note my good old friend Jimmy the Bollix in hospital this evening. He's posing as a doctor to steal possessions from people in comas and on life support."
Pure class!

Wednesday, 10 August 2005

Ars Gratis Ars

I'm sure that everyone realises that I'm a very cultured individual and I think nothing of spending two and a half seconds walking past museums and art exhibitions and so forth. It thus falls to me to bring you a link to a very special art museum - MOBA. Enjoy!

Xenophobia is such a nice word

I love language and the way it can be used. I used to live in Germany. Someone who knows both these points sent me a link to a piece in The Mail.

Am I alone in detecting just a little "smugness" in this line?
"But now their teutonic smugness has been punctured - by one of their own lawyers." [My emphasis]
And this part is simply stupid
"German holiday habits are also under attack in Italy. A new beach behaviour guide, issued by the Italian Union of Bathing Establishments, seeks to ban beer, naked bottoms and football on the dunes, all favourite pastimes of German visitors."
I can't argue that beer, nakedness and footy are not favourite pastimes of Germans but they are not pastimes unique to German tourists are they? Will I be okay getting leery on canned Stella and kicking a football around if the shorts I pull down to moon at the police have a Union Flag design?

Of course that particular piece was great for generating some of the good old "We beat 'em in 1944" comments too. I don't think I'll take a look at how The Sun covered the story.

Cars and Canterbury

My car has been leaving a fine film of diesel wherever I park and as I'm borrowing my wife's car to take the children on holiday I thought it best if I got mine repaired - she would be a tad upset if I left my car and it broke down while I was away. Booked it into the main dealer in Canterbury and took it in at 08:30 this morning. "Fine, we'll carry out some diagnostics and let you know the score. We'll aim to have it done by 13:00" Cool think I. Canterbury is a lovely town, the weather is good, I'd taken a novel to read so I wandered into town for a relaxing morning of coffees and people watching and window shopping and reading (I also had a haircut). The phone rang at 12:30, just as I was wandering back towards the garage and it was them.

"We've carried out the diagnostic test, we know what the problem is but we won't have the parts until tomorrow morning"

Gosh I was displeased! Not because they don't carry the spare parts - that's fine. But how on earth am I supposed to believe that they had found out the results of the diagnostics at round about the time that the car was due to be collected? I don't resent the GBP11.00 taxi fare home but I do resent the wasted morning - sure it was nice being in town but I could have done some work had I been here.


Anyway - for those who don't know Canterbury here's a photo of the Christ Church Gate. It's the main entrance to the cathedral close and is where you now pay a fiver to get in. It's at the heart of the city and approached through some narrow streets which open out into a small piazza with a war memorial at its centre and the tables from the pub. There is usually live music and today was a guy with a guitar but I've also listened to someone playing the bagpipes while decked out in full regalia including the kilt.

I promise you - Canterbury is well worth a visit!

Meet with Cindy

I don't know how many people outside the States are aware of this campaign. Cindy Sheehan's son was killed in action in Iraq and the simple idea is that Bush should meet Cindy and explain why the war started and why it is continuing. Those in the UK might remember the guy who stood against Blair at the last election, he stood in Sedgefield on the single issue of opposition to the war and to raise awareness - he'd lost a son there too. Personally I think that if democracy is worth anything then people like Cindy should be able to ask her elected representative to explain their actions - particularly given the price she's paid.

Thanks for highlighting this one Ang!

Serious stuff

Nosmo King

Cheri is knocking the smokes on the head. I'm sure she would welcome as much support as we can offer.

Tuesday, 9 August 2005

Footy news

The defeated Australian cricket team, reduced in number as Brett Lee is still in hospital, roll into Manchester today. Now by coincidence there is a football game or two in the north west this evening - Everton are playing a European fixture for the first time since Kodak invented colour film and Trafford United are having a kickaround too - in fact three Americans are flying in specially for this game. In addition there are some great clubs and pubs in Manchester (a personal favourite is "The Pevril of The Peak").

So faced with this glory what are they going to do this evening? They are going to watch a Nationwide Conference team, Altrincham FC, play this evening! The reason is simply that the Alty Chairman is also the owner of the coach company that took the Aussies round during the ICC Champions Tour last year. He decided to drive that gig and got to know the players really well and they've kept in touch. Tonight they are to be guests of honour at Moss Lane for the pre-season friendly against Bangor City. Kick off is at 19:45 (BST) and as last season's average attendance was 665 with a high of just over a thousand I'd guess that anyone wanting to catch some high quality football played by real people with heart and gusto they'd be better placed avoiding Old Trafford and getting behind Alty.


This guy probably thought he'd gone deaf!

Monday, 8 August 2005

Displacement activities

EchoMouse sent me off to grab a cute game which I grabbed and while on that site I found a few more. Check out Sky Hawk for those who remember the early arcade games but my own favourite - and one that's been eating into my waking hours - is Xor. It's frying my brains!


15th August is Independence Day in India and a new Bollywood film about a hero of the First Indian War of Independence is going on general release. It is the story of Magal Pandey, a "sepoy" or native Indian soldier in the army of the East India Company - the company charged with running India. Pandey revolted against his officers because of a new musket which used shot packed in wax derived from animal fat. The drill was to open the shot by biting the packaging open and as Hindus and Muslims the sepoys had religious objections to having the animal fat in their mouths. Pandey was hung in 1857 but is seen as one of the first freedom fighters in a struggle which was to last for 90 years and end on 15th August 1947 when the British Raj came to an end. Of course many people will know at least one of the people engaged in the Indian independence movement - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's non-violent civil disobedience created a model used by many others around the world.

Sunday, 7 August 2005

Sex sells - noch einmal

Sex sells!

We all know that but at least it means you'll read this post! If you haven't been there get yourself over to Cendrine's wonderfully observed blog and have a chuckle (and sometimes a deep down and dirty laugh). Be careful though because she swears in French! :-)

Diary date!

Just in case anyone has missed it.... The Future Mrs Lobster's blog is the place for seabed-based happenings and it contains the happy news that she and Lobster are expecting (wait for it.......), they are expecting to get married in June next year. Bookmark that page now to make sure you don't miss the open invite to everyone in the blogosphere to attend the nuptuals and to make sure we don't all buy the same thing from the present list!

Now this came as a surprise!

You Are 14% American
You're as American as Key Lime Tofu Pie
Otherwise known as un-American!
You belong in Cairo or Paris...
Get out fast - before you end up in Gitmo!

Be more surprised if I scored more than Cheri on this one! :-)

(And in my defence - I really didn't understand some of the questions!)

PS - I really must credit Joe Steadman with this. He's stuck in Korea somewhere and is 80% American. Again I'm stuck trying to work out which bit isn't American, is it a bit of leg? And if it's not American what is it? Is it French or Irish or Columbian? I'm surprised to be 14% American based mainly on my previous understanding that I'm 50% English and 50% Scottish. That there is some American in there might be something I should discuss with my mother at some stage - or maybe Cheri, Brad Pitt's sex advisor can help?

Saturday, 6 August 2005

Mind your language!

I've just downloaded the latest version of Shockwave's Flash player. During the install it offers three languages; US English, French and German.

Now I live within 40 miles of the country one is spoken in, I've lived and worked in the country another is spoken in and I can get by in it but what on earth use is US English to anyone in the English speaking world?? In fact I'd argue that "US English" is an oxymoron :-)


At last! Apple are joining the rest of the computing world and adding more buttons to their mice!

Friday, 5 August 2005

Are you a hippy?

I am 54% Hippie.
I am so Hippie, Man!
I am not a child of the 60's but my heart is true to the cause, man. I realize that being a hippie is not just bell bottoms and tie-dye. It is also about the drugs and smelling bad, too!

For anyone who thinks it might fit :-)

I make no excuse for posting another of these - I think I've used one before. They really are very funny and pertinent. Find the whole set at this site - the images are linked from the menu on the left of the screen.

Surge and settle

Yup - It's my birthday today and I may pop out and have a Guinness or a pint of Masterbrew later to celebrate and to get over the weirdery that today is bringing. First up - my car is leaving an oil slick that reminds me of the Exxon Valdez, the screen on the laptop has died so the only way I can work is by parking the lappy next to the desktop and screen swapping. That means I'm working in the box room rather than in the comfort of downstairs and I can't watch the cricket (got it on the radio). Accountant rang to say that he thinks that HM Inland Revenue might owe me a few quid which would be great but I suppose it'll go on car and PC now.


It's that time of year again. Early August, summer is well entrenched and the children are off school. Cricket on TV and the football season starts soon. What better way to celebrate some of the historical events which took place in early August than to buy a replica of the atomic bomb as dropped on Hiroshima 60 years ago tomorrow? Click here to order the 1/12th scale model complete with a little plaque bearing a facsimilie of the signature of the pilot of the Enola Gay.

Monday, 1 August 2005

Twenty Major

Language advisory! This blog contains the type of language that one may not meet in church on a Sunday but it's funnier than a funny thing and I especially enjoy the IRA statement. Check it out and give your chuckle muscles a treat but in a "Oh this is rude and naughty and I shouldn't be laughing" sort of way.

Note of caution though; The posting also refers to the funding that Irish terrorists received from the US during "The Troubles" - Americans with an irony by-pass might be better not reading it. And I'd keep GW away from it as the paucity of logic in the WAT(TM) would be further exposed and this might cause his head to cave in ;-)