Friday, June 30, 2006

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Boat on a river

One of those things I tend to do on an annual basis... Booze Cruise on the Ouse.

Mistakes I made today: Three pints before boating.
Lessons learnt: Where one can cross the river past the A64.

Word of the day: Twat-sicle

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


My two favourite mass debating programmes on TV are Question Time and Big Brother's Big Mouth. Both are very similar in that they are presented by Russell Brand and discuss the most important issues of the day.

However, the issue that has been burning me most today is: Which studio audience is most insane? My money's on Question Time's.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Wine Warning

Note to self: (Duplicate notes to all:)

Whilst in the Akash curry house, York, eat curry. It's very good. Don't under any circumstances order the "Indian Red Wine". It either doesn't travel well, is off, is bad to start with or possibly all three.

You have been warned.

Monday, June 26, 2006

You can take your carriage clock...

Two of our guys at work are having a leaving do tomorrow and I was put in charge of buying presents. Is that ever going to be a good idea? I didn't have a budget as such since they are only moving roles rather than leaving completely and so no collections had been made. This meant I had to fund purchases from my own pocket. And this in turn means: Cheap!

But never let it be said that I don't have ambition!

Everyone knows that the ultimate leaving present is the Carriage Clock. Preferably inscribed on the back "George, we'll miss you, love from the girls in accounts" - that sort of thing. So that was my goal: inscribed carriage clocks. On my budget it wasn't going to be easy... but it was.

First shop I went in was perfect. It had little plastic square clocks for a pound each. A variety of colours. I got one pink one and one black one. But even better, they were on special offer! Buy one get one free! Perfect presents and better value than the Pound Shop would have been had I been arsed to walk that far. They'll be so happy!

I plan to inscribe (ie stick a sticker on the back of) them tomorrow.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I am the lineman goo goo ga choob

Actually, I haven't been to London. That was a subtle piece of misdirection. I've been instead at a surprise birthday party in Edinburgh and since there was a chance that the surprisee could have seen this page, writing that I was going to be surprising her would not have been conducive to giving a good surprise.

A proper karaoke machine had been hired for the evening, and it came with what seemed to be every song ever (including the complete works of B*witched!). It was nice to have a decent set-up rather than just playing Singstar on the PS2, which while lots of fun, never has quite as many songs as you'd like.

There were some truly astounding renditions through the evening and it's a shame that they are now for the most part lost to the ether never to be heard again. Perhaps they should install a hard disk inside the machines so that they can record everything that is sung. Or perhaps not.

I did a few astounding renditions myself. Wichita Lineman was a goody. Lose Yourself not quite so good. I don't think rap is my thang.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


I'm off down to London today for a friend's housewarming. And I'm (as usual) running late. So... Bye! Write soon!

Thursday, June 22, 2006


For the past few days there has been a dead hedgehog on my way to work. Not a cute little "awww, ain't it sweet" dead hedgehog, but a "urggh, its entrails are spilling onto the pavement" kind of dead hedgehog. Suffice to say it wasn't pleasant to look at and I've been having to actively not look at it to avoid feeling sick.

It's gone now. I don't know where to, but I'm glad and I hope it's in Happy Hedgehog Heaven now.

I also hope that the reason it's gone isn't because the place where it lay was actually part of an old Indian burial ground and that it's now come back to life and is wandering around York terrorising queasy people. I know this happens albeit mainly in badly spelt American films rather than a popular English town.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bad Rock Spelling

My Bro-in-Law took the following photo in the Vargin Magastore, Basingstoke. God knows what he'd done wrong to be visiting Basingstoke though.

The nice thing here is that they've also got ¡Forward Russia!'s name slightly wrong by missing off both the upside down and the right way up exclamation marks. Fair dos that the upside down one probably isn't easy to do on one of those labelling machines, but they could at least have made an effort. I bet elsewhere in the store they haven't got B*witched right either!

Oh, and the album by David Ford, ex of Easyworld, is a belter.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Running in Space

For the first ever time, my running took me outside what I class as York - ie outside the ring formed by the outer ring road and the A64. It felt like the first time I'd ever been outside of York on foot but this is clearly not the case - I've walked in places such as Great Yarmouth and San Francisco in past times.

The route I took went right round the back of Bishopthorpe Village. It seemed nice enough and there's also a palace out there. But the most interesting thing about the back of Bishopthorpe is the Planetarium.

Near where the A64 crosses the A1036 you'll find the Sun (*). And then some way along the path is Mercury - and it's just as far as it is in real life! But shorter so it fits to the path. And there's a big sign on the other side of the path which says "Mercury" - just like in real Space! And there are direction signs saying Sun: 100m. And Venus: 87m. And etc. Just like in real space! Then, if you keep running you get to actual Venus. And then actual Earth (look really closely and you see a tiny little you running along a tiny track!)! And etc!

We turned left just after Saturn. To go out all the way to Pluto would have added another 15km or so to the overall run and it was raining frankly quite heavily which made the full interplanetary journey not that great a prospect. I was surprised just how wet space was. And I never knew it had so many trees!

(* actually we couldn't find the Sun but it must be there somewhere. There's a sign and everything! In fact, I'm not sue how we missed it because it's supposed to be eight feet in diameter...)

Monday, June 19, 2006


I was hanging out in Leeds train station tonight and was hungry. I went to Burger King and had a Whopper. But then I was still hungry so I went to MDs and had two more burgers. Is that wrong?

Sunday, June 18, 2006


I let myself get a bit pissed off on Friday night (not like me, really). I was so angry that I decided to... order a bottle of Magners. Yes, it seems that I'm the sort of person that when they get angry, I don't turn green and huge like the Hulk, I have a glass of cold cider. I don't even particularly like cider. I used to drink it when I was little, but I haven't had more than the occasional accidental pint for around ten years.

It was nice though. I had a couple more at lunchtime today. Not because I was annoyed - I drank these ones purely because I wanted to. I do feel like I'm a trend-following marketing victim but what can you do?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Look at my ring!

Sometimes you have a meeting in a hotel. And sometimes that hotel has free chocolates. And sometimes you feel compelled to create using the chocolate wrappers. And sometimes you make yourself a ring:

Or is that just me...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Hot Chick

I felt faintly ridiculous earlier this evening when I phoned Pizza Hut and asked them to bring me a "large Italian Hot Chick". Not as ridiculous as when she arrived though and I realised I'd phoned the local brothel in error. What a mistake-a to make-a as they say in Italy. I apologised profusely and sent her back. And then I ordered an actual pizza. Tasty.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


So last night I passed the halfway point in my Run-a-Thon 500. This is truly a milestone achievement. I was however, quite disappointed to find no actual marker at the 250 mile point (which if you're interested was in the centre of here.) There was just bushes and grass. And a slight smell from the nearby sewerage works. Ho hum, such is life.

Anyway, it's not too late to sponsor me if you (yes, I mean you) haven't done so already. Go on, it'll make you feel good. And I'm pretty sure I sponsored you last year/this year/next year (delete as appropriate). I may even have paid up!

On a scale of Paris to York, I'm on England's M20 heading towards London and will reach the M25 London Orbital in about 10 miles (likely to be next Tuesday). I hope it's not rush hour!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

New Coke

I tried a new drink yesterday that's just been launched in the UK - Coca Cola Zero. It's Coke, but with zero calories.

Except that a quick reading of the nutritional information shows that zero is something of an underestimate since a half litre bottle actually contains three calories. That's infinitely more than zero. Most children could tell you that zero is not the same as three. If a child has three toys and I remove three toys so that they have zero toys, they are not indifferent to this. In fact they'd likely cry like a baby.

I admit that Coca Cola Three would not have been as good a name, but even so I felt a little cheated. The only potential excuse Coke have is that they may make it with zero calories in other territories but they've had to use different (caloried) chemicals here to fit in with some legislative restrictions. But I'd just be guessing - I'm not a food doctor.

It didn't taste too bad though. More like Coke than Diet Coke is. I'm not sure how CCZ is different to DC though. I never understood the difference between Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max so I expect it's like that.

And three calories isn't much (even though it is three more than the claimed zero). Recommended daily calorific amount for a man like me is 2500. This means I could drink 400 litres of CCZ a day without getting fat! That's equivalent to drinking over five times my own body weight! Without putting on any weight at all! Absolutely amazing. And if I did drink that much, it would weigh so much that lifting it all would be lots of exercise that would mean I'd need yet more calories and I'd be able to drink more coke!

I think it still probably rots your teeth though.

Monday, June 12, 2006

More Running. I used to do fun things...

Against my better judgement, and some would say common sense, I decided to go out on a ten mile run early yesterday evening. The potential problem here was not so much the length (I'd done nine the previous weekend, after all) but the weather. It had been really hot all weekend and showed no major signs of changing. So a sensible person would have said: "I'll stay in and drink beers and watch the television". What I said was "I'll head out and do two hours of exercise in some excessive hotness and possibly nearly die".

Now, fair enough, it wasn't exactly Death Valley in York - temperatures were around 25 degrees Celsius. But that's quite a lot. I had however not unprepared myself for this. For earlier on the Sunday I had been shopping. I finally decided that warm jogging bottoms were no longer a good thing to wear. They are not good summer sportswear. So I bought some proper running shorts! Not stupid really short ones though - they look ridiculous on the best of people. My new shorts descend to a few inches above my knees. This gives adequate coolness, flexibility and not-looking-silly-ness.

But best (?) of all, they are like swimming trunks in that they have mesh undercrackers built into them. Hence no need to wear separate pants with my shorts. I think. It's possible you're supposed to wear underwear as well - I just guessed that that wasn't the case. Am I right? Am I wrong? It doesn't matter. I didn't wear pants and it was perfectly comfy. Hah hah - I ran all around York with no pants on! :-)

So it was lucky that I'd remembered to put the shorts on instead!

The actual run itself was fairly hard work (cos it was very hot!). I only had a half litre of water with me so I had to ration it quite carefully. Also I was going quite slowly to ensure I'd last the distance, despite this meaning that I had to spend more time in the heat that way. So my total time ended up at one hour fifty five. I'll have to pick things up a little bit to get to my arbitrary two hours fifteen minutes target for the Great North Run. I'm still managing to go without stopping though (apart from when crossing the occasional road) so I'm happy with that.

I feel like I'm moaning about the heat quite a lot. Tough. It's hot. And the air conditioning at work is f**ked (again).

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Going round in circles

The Yorkshire Wheel dominates the local skyline around here. That's not too hard to do, as there are only about two high buildings in the whole of York. It's been up for about two or three months now and I've just about got used to it. It's moved from being a "wow, look at that" construction to something I pass by two or three times a day and pay as much attention to as most lamp-posts.

Anyway, yesterday was another hot, clear, gorgeous day so it seemed like a good time to finally spend my six pounds and have a go on it. Despite the lovely weather it wasn't really that busy - I suspect this was due to a certain sporting event taking place on the television. Me being me, I wasn't at all interested in seeing that so the Wheel was a good alternative (after a quick picnic (ok, sandwich) behind the Minster).

Looking Up The Wheel (1)

No queues, so we didn't have to wait long to go on. And then you go on and you go round and round and round three or four times. I lost count a little. Up, down, round it goes, where it stops no-one knows.

The view from the top is pretty good and you can see both of York's landmarks. But they're all small like toys. I could also see my flat (I wasn't in) and my office (I wasn't there either).

The main problem though was that because it was very hot, the capsules were also very hot. They have air conditioning but ours didn't seem to be working very well. Darn modern technology. In the old days, you'd just open a window and it would sort everything. I suppose insects are less of a problem when you have air-con. At least it was only a short walk home to get a cool drink after.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Dinner at Trickster's

I went for dinner with me girl last night at Trickster's Lane on Fossgate. I haven't been there before but I think it has a reputation as one of York's better restaurants. I hadn't bothered booking in advance for two reasons: I hadn't actually chosen anywhere in advance, and also I figured that things would be fairly quiet because of the football. And this turned out to be true. Though I've often found that most places tend to be able to squeeze in a table for two at reasonably short notice.

We had a rather tasty bottle of Pinotage and I went for the Sea Bass with Sweet Chilli Sauce. It was a very perky looking little fish! And very tasty too. I wouldn't perhaps normally pair fish and chilli but the combo worked well.

Sea Bass

Apparently the mussels were also really good - I didn't have them myself for once though as I'm not a fan of the creamy type sauce they were in. I much prefer mussels in a tomato based sauce. Yes.

All the staff were very friendly and helpful. They even carried our drinks from the reception area to our table for us! I liked the whole look and feel of the place. Big chunky wooden tables and not at all pretentious. All in all, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. Although it's perhaps not York's cheapest eaterie :-)

It's being closed down soon for a complete refurbishment and a name change, but with the same management. I have no idea why this is happening as it seemed perfectly nice as it was but it'll be an excuse to go back again!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Friday Meeting

I had a good meeting this afternoon. Some things I said:
- " **click** Sorry - I spilt my coffee and the spillage looked like a picture of a cheery ghost so I thought I'd take a photo before it dried."
 - "I had a thought so I've written it on the side of this plastic coffee cup so I wouldn't forget. Here it is!"
- Boss: "Is there anything we've missed?". Me: "How would we know?".
I love Friday afternoons.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Summer's here kids

Well, summer's officially here now. Here's why:

1. It's been really bloomin' hot. I went for a run and found it to be REALLY BLOOMIN' HOT. My own fault for going out early evening maybe, but even so...

2. I've just got back from seeing the Cosmic Rough Riders who are officially one of the most summeriest bands in the UK. They made me smile with their songs.

So tomorrow is the second day of Summer. Wahey!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Phone Savings

This will be a handy tip for people who are stupid like what I am.

For the last forever years I have been paying £1.75 to British Telecom to get the Caller Display system. I find this quite useful as it lets you see the number of the person that is calling you and then ignore the call if desired. Obviously I never use this power for evil. However, whilst playing around on the BT website yesterday I discovered something (reasonably well hidden): you don't have to pay the money to get this. There is another way.

All you have to do is subscribe to "BT Privacy" instead. It's free and includes automatic registration with the TPS, with whom I am already registered, and you also get free Caller Display thrown in. So I did this. Hey presto, savings of twenty one English pounds per annum. Possibly plus VAT.

It's hard to see how they don't just give existing customers this automatically - oh, hang on, it's not. It's because they are greedy capitalist b**tards. Ahem.

So my recommendation to anyone reading is to do this same thing. And if you don't want Caller Display or if you're with a different company, then register with the TPS anyway because it really works and virtually eliminates unwanted phone calls (ie all of them).

This was a public service announcement. Bye!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

For no good reason...

On the way home today I was thinking about an experiment. I shall present it here in an A-Level physics practical style:


To determine whether audio language or visual language attenuates more quickly with distance.

Equipment Required:
1. A blind person (A) with perfect hearing
2. A deaf person (B) with perfect sight
3. A person (C) who can speak and do sign language (sight and hearing optional)
4. A trolley
5. Ticker tape
6. A piece of lined paper
7. A sharp pencil

1. Place the person, C, in the trolley facing towards persons A and B.
2. Attach the ticker tape to the trolley.
3. Get C to start talking and signing as normal. It doesn't matter what they say, as long as it is not totally predictable.
4. Ensure A can hear C's voice and B can see C's signs.
5. Raise A's right arm in the air.
6. Raise B's left arm in the air.
7. Pull the trolley away from A and B slowly. Ensure that the ticker tape is ticking whilst this is happening.
8. Ensure that A and B know the following things: (a) that B should lower his raised arm as soon as he can no longer understand C's signs and (b) that A should lower his raised hand as soon as he can no longer understand C's voice.
9. Probably best to do stage 8 before stage 3.
10 Wait until A or B does the thing from stage 8.
11. If neither person lowers their arm before the ticker tape runs out, politely re-explain the requirements to A and B. It may be necessary to enlist C's help to communicate with B. Restart the experiment from stage 2.
12. Record whose arm fell first on a piece of lined paper using a sharp pencil.




Sadly I am unable to complete the final two sections because I have not carried out the experiment. The reason I haven't done this is because I do not have any of the required equipment apart from the piece of lined paper. Not even a sharp pencil!

I tried doing it as a thought experiment but all the people I thought about (A, B and C) kept getting bored and wondering off halfway through. Idiots. And the trolley had a broken wheel.

So I'm a bit stuck. Can anyone help? Which is the best means of communication over longer distances - sign language or speaking? And is C allowed to shout and/or make really big gestures?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Another month, another mile

Since it's now June, I've had to up my maximum running distance again. Another month is another mile. On Sunday I did my first nine mile run. It was quite hard work, but I finished in about one hour forty. Which incidentally, is a hell of a long time to be running for. That's enough time to cook and eat around five fresh pizzas. Or alternatively, it's enough to have sex well over a hundred times. You'd be quite tired afterwards I guess, but then I was quite tired after the running so maybe there's not that much difference.

I think it's possibly getting easier to add the extra mile each month. Proportionately it's certainly a smaller physical increment each time, but I think it also gets easier mentally too. After all, I'm probably going to be physically tired well before I'm supposed to finish so it just becomes a case of getting used to this and seeing how long I can force myself onwards for. Slightly masochistic maybe...

But the thought of that lovely hot bath and glass of wine at the end is a good thing to have in mind.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

At The Drive-In

Last night I sat in a dark car park on the Knavesmire for several hours. Lots of people kept flashing their lights and there were lots of strangers making out in many of the cars. Yes, that's right: I went dogging.

Ha ha, fooled you. I wasn't really dogging. I was at a drive-in movie.

At The Drive In

I've never been to a drive-in before. I think the main reason for this is that they are a bit daft and also quite uncommon these days. You sit potentially quite far from the screen, in a car seat that is nowhere near as comfy as the seat in a decent cinema. If you're lucky it doesn't rain so that you can actually see the screen. Sound, however, works pretty well as it can be broadcast over a local FM frequency.

And you can take a picnic - normal cinema owners are always slightly averse to people doing this. And you can also take wine (non-drivers only, obvs).

Yesterday's movie was the classic Grease. Always a fine film, and one that felt particularly appropriate for the drive-in arena, being set as it was in the 50s when that particular form of cinema viewing was actually considered normal. We were quite far back as we'd watched Doctor Who before leaving home - this led to us being some of the last people to arrive, at around quarter past eight. The actual film, however, couldn't start until it was dark so we still had about an hour and a half to eat and drink.

Whilst there some idiot kept trying to add my phone to their Bluetooth thing. I couldn't tell who it was other than that the phone was called "Reef". Later, however, I heard a parent in a nearby car refer to one of her four boys by that name. Stupid child with a stupid name. My theory on the name was that the woman has named each of her children after the drink she was Drunk-Out-Of-Her-Skull on when she conceived. This was later borne out when I discovered the other boys were named "Strongbow", "Tenants Super" and "Screaming Orgasm". Ok, I made up this last bit.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Just ignore the crappy DRM

One of the best things about iTunes is that it lets you get buy tracks that you'd be embarassed to buy in the shops. But I won't say what I just bought. Because it's embarassing.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

St Prescott

I never thought I'd say this, but I almost feel sorry for Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. The poor fat man has now been forced to give up his freebie official home, all because he played a little game of croquet.

He managed to survive the thing where he owned two whole Jaguar cars. He survived the time that he actually punched a member of the public on television. He survived shagging his secretary on his work desk. But... then the revelation came that one time when Mr Blair had left the country so that JP was in charge, within just a couple of hours, he played CROQUET!!!! Can you imagine a worse thing than that?

Apparently this was a really bad thing for him to do, but I don't understand why. I was at a university for three years where croquet was oft played in summer times. I never played myself, but it always looked harmless, if slightly silly and pointless. Certainly I am aware of no cases where someone was seen to play the game and was then asked to leave the university. The whole violent Alice in Wonderland aspect just doesn't happen in real life.

Croquet just isn't bad. Now, if Prescott had done any of the following things within a few hours of Blair going on hols I'd be more against him:

1) He wandered over to the nuclear bunker and lovingly fondled the Big Red Button for a few minutes before shouting "f**k Wales" and then pressing it.

2) He went off to find Mrs Blair and then made love to her for eight solid hours because they've had this thing for years but they never found a time when they could be alone together.

3) He went for a walk around town and then punched a member of the public in the head.

But he never did any of these things (apart from number three) so I don't see the issue! I say to all the British People: Let this man keep his official home. He has never done nothing wrong. In fact he should be sainted. Are you listening Mr German Pope (sorry, I've forgot your name)? Saint him now!