Saturday, July 23, 2005

Time for a break...

Strangely, it's almost exactly a year since I last went on holiday. If it was tomorrow, it would be exactly one year. But it's not tomorrow, which is lucky because if it was it would mean that I'd slept in too long and missed my plane.

I'm leaving on a jet plane and flying out to America's Grand Canyon for some boating. There will be something of a temporary hiatus on this site for a week or so. If anyone fancies being in Vegas a week on Sunday, then I'll see ya there!

Bye de bye!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Music Control

If you put an iPod Shuffle into your shirt pocket, you can position it quite easily so that the main button is over your left nipple (this may not work so well if your shirt has no pocket, it it has a pocket but on the right side or if you're a girl). You can then press the button and it feels like you're pressing on your nipple. And then you can convince yourself that it's your nipple that controls the music.

So if you go out without the iPod, it doesn't matter. If you want to listen to some music just press the nipple. And you'll hear some killer tunes.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A night in elsewhere

Last night I visited the Yorkshire town of Huddersfield. The town as it is today was largely formed from the textile trade but this sadly doesn't mean that the place is literally built of cloth. That would be daft. Everyone would get soggy when it rained (which being in Yorkshire, it probably does a lot). No, Huddersfield is built of stone. Stone and brick. And mortar. Probably. If I'm honest I didn't look that closely.

On the high street there seemed to be a bit of a price war going on:

Price War

See how the shop on the left has not only undercut the shop on the right by a whole penny, but it's brazenly launched a half price sale to boot! Although I may never find out how they manage to sell things for forty nine and a half pence.

But believe it or not, I hadn't gone to Hudds for its shops. I'd gone for... music! Four Day Hombre were playing at a newish venue, Bar 1Twenty. I'll leave it to your imagination and maths skills to determine how much better it must be than York's Bar 38 (the answer's 82). It's a nice little place - lots of big leather sofas, friendly people and it serves what is rapidly becoming one of my favourite beers, Kronenberg Blanc. It's like a fruitier Hoegarden - the stuff really is gorgeous.

The 'Bre were doing a three piece acoustic set. It was the second time I'd gone to see them in a place that wasn't my home town within a space of four days which I think makes me an official scary stalker. Fun!

Four Day Hombre at Bar 1 Twenty

They sounded bloody brilliant. They manage to be really loud when they're acoustic too. I like that. The crowd however was really really quiet - during the quiet bits of songs there was not a single person talking, something which I think is really unusual. I'll put this down to the quality of the music rather than one of those spells which stop people speaking like what they had in Buffy once.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Practising my American

Yo dudes! What's up? How's it hanging? Where are the elevators? Hey, cool pants, man!

I'll fit right in.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

7 things I have learnt today

1. There's a "secret" sunny garden in a well known York public house.

2. If you deserve a bed for the night, you might not get one.

3. If you don't, you might.

4. It's slightly too far to walk from The Bodrum to my flat to keep a takeaway pizza nicely hot. However, three minutes in the oven will sort it out fine.

5. I heard a really funny thing today. No, really funny. But I can't share it. Sorry!

6. If something goes wrong you can often change the documentation to make it have been right all along.

7. If you are wearing a plaster on your toe and it slips so that the sticky part ends up over the injured part... that can kinda hurt.

And that's the end of today's lessons. I'm off for a lollipop.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Bits and Pieces

I got out on the wrong side of the bed this morning (literally - the left side) so apologies if I seem angry or rude.

I had a very pleasant time in Harrogate yesterday afternoon meeting up with a couple of friends and then watching Four Day Hombre play The Blues Bar. The main drawback was that it was really really hot and the Blues Bar is a teeny-tiny hot little venue. The poor old drummer looked to be having an especially hard time with the heat. But the soldiered on, bless 'em.

However, I did fall asleep when I got home, so if you were expecting to see me out in the evening, sorry. Managed to sleep through several phone calls too. Don't worry, I'm not dead!

I also noticed yesterday that at the start of James Blunt's You're Beautiful he appears to fluff the start and he does that thing where you start singing too early. Then he stops for a few bars and comes in with the same line at the place where he's supposed to. I'm sure he'd probably claim that it's completely intentional and done in the name of art. I just think it's quite funny.

There is now less than a week before I head off on my holiday down America's Grand Canyon. I still have various items left to buy - a hat, some sunglasses on string, sun-cream and more but hopefully I'll be able to pick these up during the week. Only three more days left of work!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

My new friend

On the way home from the pub last night I found a new friend:

A hedgehog!

I don't think he liked me much though. He looks a little scared. And he also looks like he's trying to tunnel through the wall. If I'm honest, I'm only guessing that it's a He. It could be a girl. It's hard to tell.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I've lost it

Ok. I've either gone completely insane or...

No, this must be what it feels like.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Logs are good

I'm feeling particularly proud of myself today because I used a logarithm at work. All those years of studying maths wasn't wasted after all. I'm brilliant.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Return of the Bat

Until recently I had been firmly of the opinion that the world needed another Batman movie like Bruce Wayne needs a soup kitchen. The original was decent enough, Batman Returns and Batman Forever were watchable but Batman and Robin was a farcial car-crash of a movie. I think it may still have a claim on being the worst film ever made.

But I will admit that I was wrong. What the world really needs is MORE Batman movies, as long as they are like Batman Begins. It's fantastic. More grounded in reality than Burton's version - Gotham is basically just New York with extra monorails - and with great dialogue, story and acting. Some of the fighting is a bit confused, but other than that there isn't too much wrong. And the things that it gets right more than make up for the odd plot-hole. Michael Caine's great.

The main thing they'll need to sort out for the sequel(s) is the titling. Batman Begins is a rubbish title. You could form an obvious nice trilogy with Batman Continues and Batman Ends, but they'd be rubbish titles too. I'd like to see something more in the Indiana Jones style, perhaps:

1. Batman and the Laugh of the Joker
2. Batman and the Penguin of Doom
3. Batman and the Naked Katie Holmes

I think 3 would be a definite big hit.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Beer cooling

I like to enjoy a nice cold pint of beer from time to time, especially in the Summer when it's hot. Sometimes however, the sun can cause the beer to get warm and that's not good. With other kinds of cold drink such as Coke, Iron Bru or Um Bongo, you can simply add ice (cubic or otherwise) and this does the job. But you can't add ice to beer because it would just melt and water the beer down which isn't a good prospect.

But I think I've worked out a very simple and obvious solution: Make ice cubes out of beer. Then if they melted into the drink it wouldn't matter. It would just be more beer. The only problem I can think of with this is that you would have to use plastic ice cube trays rather than ice cube bags. It would be very hard and a little wasteful to pour cans of beer into ice cube bags. It might work ok if you had a draught pump though.

I honestly think that self-sealing ice cube bags are one of the coolest (sorry) inventions ever in the history of man. They are like magic. Although maybe not so good for the environment as the old fashioned tray method.

I feel great now that I've solved one of the world's major problems.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Amoral writing

A moral without a fable:

Sometimes you can get really nice pizza from a crappy looking shop.

Monday, July 11, 2005

An evil deed

I said on Saturday, after my stint at Oxfam, that I'd try and do something evil to even down the karmic balance a bit. But I'm not very good at evil. I did however remember that I had a dusty copy of The Necronomicon lying around in a trunk in my back room. I dug it out and read a few evil spells. Obviously I uttered the words "Clatto... Verata... Nicto..." before picking it up, just to be safe.

Then I began to read some random evil pages:

Book of the Dead

I had no idea what I was reading, but I figured that when you have a book that's bound with real skin it doesn't really matter what you're reading - it's gonna be evil one way or another!

Then I went to bed, satisfied that my good deed had been cancelled out.

I was quite interested to find out what evil things I had caused to happen. So I kept my eyes open. I can't prove any of the following happenings were directly caused by my influence, but...

1. I was wearing a white t-shirt yesterday and everytime I thought to myself "be really careful" whilst eating an ice lolly or drinking some coke, I'd spill some on me. Evil white t-shirt.
2. It's been really hot today. Really, really hot. Like melting pot hot. Evil.
3. My dad has bought the Kaiser Chiefs album. That's wrong. Maybe not evil per se, but definitely wrong.

If it was just one of these three things that had happened, then I could understand a little skepticism. But all three in the space of a few days? I have to have been the cause. You don't wanna mess with me, I tell you!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Pizza Time

I'm very lucky. This week I live on Domino's Pizza's "Street of the Week", and hence I am entitled to get any pizza, any size plus garlic bread for just eight English pounds. This is a little bit misleading though because they use the word "any" in a stricter way than most of the rest of us do.

For example, were I to ask for an "elephant pizza" (made with fresh African Elephants), the following conversation would ensue:

Domino's: Hello, Domino's Pizza, how can I help you?
Lint: Hello there! I live on your Street of the Week and I'd like to order a pizza please. Any pizza, any size for eight pounds is it?
D: Yes, that's right sir. What would you like?
L: I'd like to order an elephant pizza please.
D: Elephant...?
L: Yes, that's right, elephant. Fresh African if you have it, but I'll take Indian if you've sold out of African.
D: I'm sorry sir, we don't do elephant pizza.
L: But your leaflet said "any pizza". I'd like elephant.
D: It has to be a pizza off the menu, I'm afraid, sir.
L: But that's absurd! "Any" means "any"! I'd like elephant. I don't believe you if you say there is no demand for elephant pizza in York.
D: It's not that there's no demand sir, it's just that we don't do it. You have to have one from the menu. Have you thought about our new Cheese Steak Melt? That might taste a bit elephanty...
L: Do you have Wooly Mammoth?

And so it would go on. Eventually I'd have to give in and have a Sizzler like normal. But at least I could have it "any size"! I wouldn't be limited to the standard small, medium and large sizes. I could have "huge" or "gigantic" or even "elephant sized" which I imagine would be perfect for putting an elephant topping on. I know I've already ruled that one out, but you get the idea.

So the conversation might continue:

Domino's: So that'll be a Sizzler then?
Lint: Yes, that's right. I'd prefer elephant but you have really left me with no choice.
D: Thank you sir. What size Sizzler would you like?
L: I'd like a "teeny-teeny-tiny" size pizza please.
D: Sorry sir?
L: "Teeny-teeny-tiny" - it should be the size of a five pence piece.
D: Sorry again but the smallest pizza we do is the small pizza. It's bigger than a five pence piece but smaller than a plate.
L: Well, that's no good to me. You said you could do "any size"!
D: It's any size out of the choice on the menu sir.
L: That's absurd! "Any" means "any"! What kind of operation are you trying to run here? I'd like a "teeny-teeny-tiny" Sizzler pizza!
D: Sir, we don't do that size.
L: Well what on Earth do you serve to midgets then?
D: I'm sorry sir, you are just being tedious, I'm going to hang up here and leave you to starve. *click*
L: Darn it.

And that would be that. I'd have to manage without. Luckily for me, I have prior experience of pizza emporia and I was able to determine the hidden nuances of their special offer and not fall into any of the traps detailed above. I had a large sizzler and it tasted good.

Though I think on balance I'd have preferred elephant.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Goats for the poor

I was happily sitting on my sofa eating a sandwich (Chicken and salsa if you're interested) this lunchtime when I received a phonecall. I answered the phone to find that a guy from work was desperate to find someone to come and work in Oxfam for the afternoon, since he was unable to do his usual volunteer shift and if they couldn't find another person they'd have to close the shop. I could have said no. After all it was a lovely sunny day. And I had important things to do like sit around and watch DVDs.

Instead I figured that it might be quite fun. And I'll try anything once, so I said I'd come along and help out. This is me helping out:

Me working in Oxfam

The store manager showed me how to use the till and the credit card machine and I sold some things to people! Mostly those bloody armbands to be honest, but I guess it all helps! I also did things like help cash-up at the end, spend 10 minutes looking for a sellotape end, assemble an uplighter and sit around drinking coffee (fairtrade, naturally).

Any customers coming in this afternoon would have found that the music was particularly excellent. I put Belle and Sebastian's Tigermilk and Snow Patrol's Final Straw on twice each and we also had a bit of The Killers. I like to think that these tunes aided sales considerably.

My favourite customer was a big drunken Geordie in a loud Hawaiian shirt who bought three small soft toys and fifteen armbands. I think they were for his friends who he'd left in the pub over the road.

I was however disappointed that I didn't manage to sell any goats. You can buy them from a catalogue. They're real goats but I don't think you ever get to actually see one if you buy it. They just give it to poor people I think. I don't think this is a brilliant idea - if I bought a goat I'd want to be able to choose what to do with it. Maybe I'd give it to a poor person, but maybe I'd just let it live in my bathroom and eat towels. But this isn't an option. It has to go straight to the poor. Probably not even the poor people of York either.

I'd like to see a campaign to provide each homeless person in York with their own goat.

So anyway, I feel like I'm good-deeded out for the day now, and will endeavour to do some evil this evening to even things up a bit.

I didn't even get paid! :-(

Friday, July 08, 2005

The weirdest thing I saw today.

The weirdest thing I saw today: A man in an electric wheelchair came down the path towards me. He was actually moving pretty fast - maybe around 5mph. His chair had a high back with a headrest, and attached to each side of the headrest was a small loudspeaker. The music coming out of these speakers was the Axel-F/Crazy Frog thing. I thought I might be hallucinating. But I wasn't. Others saw and heard him too.
What's the weirdest thing you saw today?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Not a good day

It really should go without saying that this is a sad day for the UK, and London in particular, but thankfully I and everyone I know is ok. Actually there are a few people that I haven't contacted, but I'm sure they'll be fine too. And thanks to those of you who emailed etc to check I was ok - that's really sweet of you :-)

It did please me to read one report on the interweb that said many of the pubs and bars in London were packed out with people awaiting news. It's good to know that the first thing we Brits do in a crisis is to go for a beer. Beer really does solve everything.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

It's the taking part...

I was excited to see that London had won its Olympic bid today. I was especially excited to sse that the results announcement had been scheduled for 1246 exactly. Sadly I was in the pub at that time and hence am unsure whether the IOC stuck to the slightly strict timing.

But the best thing was the news that each event would be allowing two normal UK residents to enter and compete against the world's top athletes. The people who do this will be chosen by means of a Text lottery (like what they did with tickets for Live8). The question's quite an easy one too. The question is:

Which two cities featured in Dickens' A Tale Of Two Cities?
A) London and Paris
B) Swindon and Hull
C) Not sure - I'll Google it in a minute

I won't spoil this by giving you the answer, but you just need to text it to 81199 to be in with a chance. Winners will be chosen at random from all entries and then allocated to an event, also at random.

I'm hoping to get a go at something. Not too bothered what, since I have seven years to train and I'm sure I could pick pretty much anything up in that timeframe, but it'd just be great to have a go. And maybe I'll win and get one of those cool metal things and get to stand on a box.

Boxes are good.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I'm wet for you

I had that old choice when I left for work this morning: Sunglasses... or... Umbrella. Since it was a lovely day, I went for sunglasses. Mistake. I got very wet on the way home.


Wouldn't mind so much if I'd had a coat. But still, you've gotta smile... :-)

Incidentally, did I mention that it's officially Post A Picture Of Me Each Day Week?

I might have missed the rain if I'd left work when I intended, but I had an hour long meeting at half four. That then went on for two and a half hours. We were like the only people on the floor by six o'clock, so where does the little cleaner man decide to start using his very noisy vacuum cleaner? Yep, right by our meeting table. He could have done anywhere else on the floor - it's a huge floor. But he has do it RIGHT BY US. Really bloody irritating.

Surely it isn't beyond the wit of man to invent a silent vacuum cleaner? It should be easy. Sound can't even travel in a vacuum, so I don't see why it can't just be trapped inside somewhere. Come on, Mr Dyson you clever bloke. Stop with your ludicrous colour schemes and invent the first silent vacuum cleaner! You'll make millions. People could clean their carpets after midnight without fear of raising the heckles of their neighbours. Mothers could do the living room whilst their small boychild happily watches telly at the same time. And perverts could do whatever it is that perverts do with vacuum cleaners (*) in an adjacent room to their unsuspecting wives.

I think this is a plan with legs. If I had any engineering knowledge I'd go and build one right now in my shed. Ok, I know I don't have a shed. And even if I did, I wouldn't go to it now because it's still raining. But just pretend with me.

(*) I think they clean their boots.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Fancy a drink?

Hey y'all. Come on and share a bottle of wine or two with me.

The Black Swan

Cheers! And also, To Your Good Health! Let's have another one.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Lists are good. Here's a list.

TV Series Where Something Significant Falls From The Sky In Series One, Episode One:

1. Smallville (Superman)
2. Dead Like Me (a toilet seat)
3. 24 (a girl terrorist)

I never said it would be a good list.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

When professions clash

When attempting to describe what an actuary is, people have often described us as "financial bookmakers" or similar. ie, we make bets on uncertain future financial events. Well, it looks like the bookies are starting to move into our territory.

I just heard a story on the radio that a 95 year old man has made a bet with William Hill that he will die before Christmas, with odds of 6-1. If he "wins", he'll get £3000 to cover his funeral costs. This is traditional life assurer territory - the difference is that we don't normally sell policies with a six month term, and we normally wouldn't touch a 95 year old with the proverbial barge pole.

But the bookies clearly work by different rules. Now I have to say, that if an old man came to me and bet that he was going to die, I would be hugely tempted to give him the benefit of the doubt. He knows things about himself. He has the option of going to bed one night and playing the Hold My Breath Until I Die game. He's gonna cark it soon.

I think I'm happy to stay out of this particular market.

Friday, July 01, 2005


They say that you're only as good as your last post. I think that's really unfair.

I don't even own a bugle to practice on.