Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Traditional Christmas in Sunny Plymouth

A very traditional Christmas was had here in Sunny Plymouth this year.

A: The central heating boiler packed up
B: My wife hated all the presents I bought for her
C: All of my presents were too small and didn’t fit (apart from the alcohol)

Yes as predicted by a million TV ads our central heating boiler stopped working on Christmas Eve. I firmly believe that the last time we had it maintained, (around August time) the heating engineer had fitted a small radio controlled device to one of the key parts that would, on a pre arraigned signal, render the boiler inoperable.

While the guy was here in August he had already pointed out that the boiler was in fact obsolete, placed illegally in the kitchen and that flue was also in the wrong place. What we had to do was, buy a new boiler, dismantle the kitchen, put the new one where the cupboards now were, bang a hole through the wall for the new flue and buy a new kitchen to fit around the new replaced boiler. Never the less he gave it a quick dust, fitted the terminator device and left.

So now there we were with an obsolete boiler that wasn’t working on Christmas Eve – perfect!

But help was at hand, I had had the foresight to respond to the million TV ads, (subliminal marketing hey?) and take out the gas boiler insurance with British Gas and by 9:30 Christmas Eve morning there was an engineer replacing a sensor bringing warmth and the ability to have a hot shower before Santa visited to our happy home.

Yes but not for long, come Christmas Day we excitedly unwrapped our presents, and although I has spent time and effort thinking about what to buy my wife, she hated every thing I had bought for her, except for the watch. I had scoured ebay for interesting and exciting presents, like a Diamond (synthetic) tennis bracelet, which I thought were very fashionable at the moment, diamond ear rings (once again synthetic laboratory diamonds which really do look nice and sparkly and aren’t in themselves particularly cheap – but she does also have real diamond earrings I hasten to add) and a very nice skirt bought from M&S which she said she liked when she was trying them on! So I thought at least I was on to a winner on that - duh I'm just a man hey.

Likewise she had bought me a number of nice, trendy fashionable tops, each of them purporting to be my size. Liars liars pants on fires, they were all too small. Unless, of course, these fashionable items are meant to be worn so tight that they actually restrict ones breathing. Maybe its because the men they use for models in the sweat shops of Tiawan are L for Tiawanese men, but are mere dwarfs when measured against us manly men here in the UK?

Also can someone tell me why while the actual item seemed normal enough, despite being on the small size, all of the arms were of the length that would have more suited an orang-utan! The arms of these garments were a good four inches longer than my arms actually were, so I stood there like a largish boy wearing his smaller but older brothers hand me downs with the arms dangling down somewhere near my knees. It was ridiculous, if this is high fashion well called me an old fuddy duddy for wanting the cuffs of my clothing to end somewhere near my wrists!

So my friends a traditional Christmas was had by all and we will continue this tradition by today supporting the annual Christmas Edition of Swap Shop by joining the hundreds of other disgruntled spouses returning unwanted gifts to the shops in town – bliss!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings.

Heres a little gift for you all. If you go here you will get the full sized image which you can print and spend hours of pleasure colouring in and folding when you are tired of looking at your new socks and pants (boys) cooking pots and inappropriate sex toys (girls) that you have recieved from your partners, boy/girlfriends, husbands and wives.

I do hope that you all have a good time, enjoy being with your family if possible and if not I send you and everyone else

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Posted by Picasa The Chicken Nativity

more bad nativities here

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Have a Happy E-Christmas -Bah Humbug!

This past week I have delivered my Christmas cards to my work colleagues. This involved buying the cards, for a modest outlay of £1.99 I bought a small pack of 25 cards from Oxfam, spending a short amount of time, say 30 minutes writing them and walking them down to the inboxes to put them in the mail trays.

This activity, involved some of my time and my money, I even invested some emotion in the filling in of the cards, even if that emotion consisted of me writing, ‘Happy Christmas’ Hope you have a good one, Rob’ on the inside of the card. The recipients received something tangible from me.

I would hope that the festive picture on the front of the card and the message within would, for a moment or two, give them a warm fuzzy feeling that I, just a work colleague, was wishing them well for the season. They could hold it, look at it and perhaps, prop it up next to their computer, or even take it home to add to the other cards decorating their house.

What I seem to be receiving though is the new phenomenon of e-cards.

I find these e-cards pretty impersonal and almost insulting. They tend to be little more than a quick electronic wave to a multitude of recipients, i.e. those of us who populate the electronic address book of the sender.

The tone of the card is often one of jollity and fun with the sender trying to excuse their laziness with witty remarks and the message that instead of sending cards, they’ll be donating the money to charity. Well so did I by buying my cards via a charity shop, even if it was only £1.99, but I also invested my greeting with a bit of me, a bit of emotion, a bit of humanity not an electronic ghost of who I’d like to be pretending that I am being altruistic and thinking about the poor people an all.

But that’s Christmas all over isn’t it?

I’ve got a headache!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bloomin Christmas meme

Jamie on bloomin 10 signs like this has tagged me with a meme entitled 'List seven songs you are into right now'

Heres mine:

1. I wish it could be Christmas everyday – Wizzard
2. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas – Bing Crosby
3. Here it is merry Christmas –Slade
4. Frosty the Snowman – The Ronettes
5. Santa Claus is coming to town – The Shangri Las
6. Don’t stop the cavalry –Jona Lewi
7. Jingle bells – anyone who can get away with it

Just bloomin because I can't get out of bloomin earshot of all of these bloomin songs, every bloomin shop, every bloomin radio station, every bloomin music tv show I can get on my bloomin limited cable service are bloomin well playing these, and they get into your bloomin head and then you find yourself bloomin whistling them or bloomin singing along, bloomin foot tapping madness arrrgghhh.

I tag bloomin Mike da hat, Gemmack, Vitriolica, simply clare and Drjoolz that is if you are bloomin reading this.

Friday, December 16, 2005

10 Things Not To Do At Christmas

1. Open the door to the chav carol singers as they will only be casing the joint., have a handy bowl of boiling oil(add a stick or two of cinnamon for that festive aroma) simmering by the front bedroom window to help them ‘ding dong merrily on high’

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2. Don’t take pictures of your kids doing anything this Christmas and then send them off to SupaSnaps because you will probably be getting a visit from a tall dark stranger over the New Year, an officer from the pervert squad down the local nick!

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3. Stay away from Scotsmen and women until about the 10th January (I have followed this advice since being ‘chatted up’ by a drunken Scots woman in a chip bar in Johannesburg on New Years Eve, I have fond memories of her whisky breath, her rum and black ‘moustache’ and the deep fried haggis she was spitting all over me)

4. Do not give an extra quid to the Big Issue salesmen just because its Christmas, he’ll/she’ll only go and waste it on more designer clothing – what has happened to the tradition of raggedy, smelly, drunken, Dickensian beggars at Christmas? Have they no sense of the traditional?

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5. Buy your husband, boyfriend, significant other an aquarium, unless you are 100% sure that he has asked for one (I speak from sad experience – it still smarts)

6. Buy your wife, girlfriend, significant other anal lubrication gel unless you are 100% sure that she has asked for it (It will smart and you might be spending a lonely Christmas day eve on the couch)

7. Invite your Muslim friends around for a non secular Christmas Lunch, roast turkey will all the trimmings, inc Pork sausage meat stuffing…..

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8. Tell your wife that instead of the fur coat, pearls, BMW Mini she desperately wanted this Christmas, you have bought her a herd of goats for a village in the middle of Africa (see the final sentence of #6 above! But you will still feel good about it, although lonely)
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9. Do not, after the office party, go on to the ‘club’ with your younger colleagues, the chances are you’ll make a fool of yourself by (A) getting drunker and doing ‘Dad or Mum’ dances on the dance floor, (B) getting drunk and thinking the blonde office assistant is making eyes at you so you make an advance only to be made a fool of in front of all your colleagues or s/he might take you up on it and shag you stupid in the bogs. (C) Some one will spike your drink with Rohypnol and you will wake up shagged stupid in the Gents toilets.
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10. Do not cover your house with lights and festive Homers it only encourages the Americans, who after all can’t even do Christmas properly as they only have one day’s holiday. Hence the term Happy Holidays – the holidays being Christmas Day and New Years Day – and as a term is probably up there with Happy Xmas!

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Happy Holidays

This weekend I did something that was so humiliating, so shameful, so mortifying I can’t even bring myself to tell you about it, not even for humorous effect. Suffice it to say it was something to do with ‘the thing that I cannot tell you about’ (that’s happening tomorrow) well not yet and certainly not in a public forum and it was something to do with the last but one post.

I can tell you before you start anonymously tipping off the authorities that animals, vegetables, children and geriatrics were not involved (although I didn’t look at the packaging and the ingredients list too closely!).

My only defence is this matter is the standard one of ‘I’m innocent mlud, my wife made me do it’. And she did, honest, she made me do this thing which is shameful and humiliating and shouldn’t happen to a 50 something year old man, who has still retained his dashing good looks, wit, charm and intelligence but has, ahem, shall we say, lost a bit of definition around the central area.

It seems to me that women can do this sort of stuff and nobody ever gives it a second glance or even mentions it in polite conversation. But god forbid should a man attempt to do it, even behind the locked and barred bathroom doors, well all sorts of insinuations are made, should it become public knowledge.

(A note of clarification here – this post is nothing to do with my earlier post about losing my ‘mojo’! Get it, got it, good!)

Nevertheless it is done now and I have to live with the knowledge for the rest of my life, or at least until Alzheimer’s kicks in, which given what I did, shouldn’t be too long in coming.

Another thing what puzzles me, apart from my own behaviour, is why o why o why do parents take their kids Christmas shopping and allow them, not only to pick their Christmas presents, but allow them to carry them home as well?

I was in Town this Saturday, and yes it was hell. But it was my weekend with my 6 yr old daughter Matilda and I wanted to take her in to show her the lights and to go on the old fashioned carousel and the largest big portable big wheel in Europe (second go) and eat free cheese and cakes etc in the Christmas farmers market, and eat chestnuts that had been roasted on an open barbecue, and drink Hot Gluwine in the German market and drink Hot Chocolate with marshmallows and flakes and whipped cream, and look at the lights, and go on the other rides, and watch the street performers, and the salvation army band and all that stuff that makes Christmas shopping fun.

Except for the parents who let their children choose their presents and buy them in front of them and let them carry them. Where is their sense of Christmas? I don’t mean their religious sense, but the magical one. The one where the children start to get excited because they don’t know what they are getting, that sense of expectation, the writing of notes to Santa, the hope in their faces, the wishing, the mystery, the surprise. Where’s all that?

Is it just that these parents can’t be arsed and all they want to do is stuff their faces silly, get pissed on cheap sherry and mong out in front of the TV on Christmas Day while their kids play with something they’ve had for two weeks already and that some sort of symbolic wrapping and unwrapping may have happened in the morning but at the end of the day who gives a fuck?

I love surprises (note to Simply Clare) and hate knowing what I want for Christmas, if someone asks me I will always say just get me a surprise, it doesn’t have to be big or expensive, just perhaps something you have put a little thought into, they are always the best presents. (Although the exception to the rule was the aquarium one of the past wives bought me, I had to exchange it for a pair of Dr Marten Boots! Yes it was a surprise as I can't ever remember saying how much I would like one, which she assured me I did!)

I can still remember lying in my bed as a kid and feeling the weight of the sack or the stocking on the end of my bed and in the early morning chill of Christmas sitting there unwrapping my presents, how wonderful is that, and then later, after breakfast we would all sit down and Dad would hand out the presents, one by one, each waiting and watching the unwrapping, no mad rush, no free for all, just the family together enjoying the surprises.

And then later when I was a Dad watching the surprise and enjoyment on the faces of the kids, who didn’t know what they were getting, as they unwrapped their presents. Each and every present had been bought in secret and stashed in secret places. And then on Christmas eve we would wrap them up and of course two hours later when the kids woke up and come rushing into the bedroom all excited to wake us up, because Santa had been, watch them unwrap the presents in their stocking, having to feign surprise as each item is unwrapped to cries of joy.

And for the bigger presents like bikes, little subtefuges would be played out, like getting the children outside to look at something while the other parent wheeled the bike into the room and placed it under the tree, and the joy and the surprise when the child comes into the room is almost too much to bear (I’m filling up, just thinking about it).

So Parents, please do not take your children with you when you buy their presents, listen to them through oout the year, listen to what they say as Christmas gets closers, maybe have a chat with them about what they want Santa to bring, get them to write Santa a letter for goodness sake, then you might have a good idea about what to buy them, its about putting yourself out a little to make Christmas a great family time.

(Please note that this blog in no way supports, confirms or in any way affirms the over commercialised Christmas and in particular the over use of fairy lights, climbing Santa’s, festive Homers (duh?), flashing snowmen, (no cheap jokes here please) sparkly icicles, red nose flashing reindeer, and the million and one other tacky and cheap Christmas accoutrements people pin on their homes and themselves, I lay the blame firmly at the feet of the Americans – happy holidays Glenn and family!)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Blog Story - Blog Novel - Blog Adventure


Heres telling you of a great new blog adventure going on here. Its all Vitriolica's idea of getting a disparate group of bloggers to each write a chapter to a blog novel plus various blog illustrators will be illustrating the chapters. See Vits idea here

I'm down for chapter 9 Chapter 1 is up already and its a crackiing start!!

See whos doing what here


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Hairdresser Rage

Oh the ignominy, O the shame, O the disgrace!

Today I was thrown out of the hairdressers! I mean as a sentence it doesn’t even make sense does it. I wasn’t drunk or tripping out of my head. I wasn’t naked or making lewd remarks to the usually delightful haircutting maidens. I’d had a shower just this morning so my body odour was under control. I hadn’t been struck down suddenly by Torrette’s syndrome and was swearing uncontrollably, I wasn’t walking around ringing a bell shouting unclean unclean while rashers of my body fell off in a medieval fashion. I…well you get the picture.

No it’s just that this lunch time I popped into the hairdressers, the one I usually go to, as I needed a haircut. For some undisclosed reason (at the moment - answers on a postcard) I needed to get my luscious locks trimmed to something resembling a proper haircut. So I wandered in asked if they could accommodate my head this lunch time and they answered in the affirmative. So I sat until a young chavette (bling in the teeth – a dead give a way) came up and tousled my hair asking me what I wanted, big boy!. (I added the last bit for comedic effect as if you didn’t know!)

Now normally for a middle aged guy like me this doesn’t happen so often so I told her what I wanted. I explained in real English, not some made up language like American (Hi Glenn and family!) what I wanted her to do with my hair. I told her why I need it short (need to know basis at the moment) she looked at me blankly. I demonstrated by lifting my hair and pulling it back into a representation of what it should look like.

Clearly her hairdressing manual (Haircutting for Dummies) had not prepared her for the task I set before her i.e. take my unruly, long, flowing, curly, dark, romantic renaissance type hair and turn it into something short, smart and manageable but without making me look like an SAS reject or a gormless plonker!(difficult I know)

She gazed into the mirror the ‘diamond’ in her tooth glinting, this seemed to be the only spark of life she had in her head. She wandered off and another long willowy girl came to wash my hair. ‘No’ I said ‘I don’t want conditioner because it will all be off in a minute’. But I guess it would have looked nice and shiney as it floated to the floor. Anyway after a quick towelling, I sat and waited for about 5 minutes while the Vicky Pollard clone yakked into her mobile in the staff room.

She came back and once again I tried to tell this hairdresser, if I can call her that as I have no evidence, she could have been the owners long lost daughter for all I knew, what I wanted done. Now that my hair was wet, it sort of approximated the style I wanted – the dashing, modern and trendy middle aged man. I tired again by pointing at my head and the mirror image of me in the mirror that this is sort of what it should look like. She still looked at me gormlessly. 'You mean you want it long and brushed back, not short like you said before?' she said.
I looked at myself in the mirror, a worried man was looking back at me, he shook his head, I knew what he wanted me to do. I had to leave NOW before the damage was done.

The confidence had drained out of me, I knew if I stayed in the chair I would walk out looking like I’d just spent 6 years before the mast in a raging force 10 gale, on the Dead Sea (the saltiest sea image what it does to your hair) with no shampoo, no conditioner and a walrus tusk to use as a comb. So I told her that I wasn’t confident that she knew what she was doing and I wasn’t going to let her cut my hair. I though I was being terribly brave as well, I mean she was a woman and she had scissors in her hand – visions of John Wayne Bobbett appeared before me.

But no sooner had I stood up than the owner himself appeared and ordered me off his premises saying I should have given her a chance. So I have a sneaking suspicion that young Vicky was his daughter trying her hand or either a trainee or a new employee straight from college, perhaps she’s done a distance learning course that hadn’t involved talking customers requirements over with them first to make sure both parties knew what they were getting. Perhaps she'd practised on one of those dolls heads, the ones that look like Toyah Wilcox on speed.

I left with my head held high and my uncut locks damply streaming behind me. I soon found a more obliging hairdressers, who for half the price of the first have done a really good job and the young woman who cut my hair had no problems understanding what I wanted even though she had her belly hanging out, well not hanging but nicely on show, which was a relief as I though that somehow I had got up stupid this morning (a thesis somewhat supported by the fact that at 9a.m. this morning my computer pinged and told me that I had to be in a School which was 20 miles away in 15 minutes, suffice it to say I had to ring them and claim that my leg had fallen off overnight and I was just waiting for the glue to set and that was why I couldn’t be there in the next 10 minutes – I think they believed me).

But hey how many people do you know that can claim that they too have been thrown out of the hairdressers?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A sorry tale of a man and his car

A man's relationship with his car seems to me echoes his relationship with women. It all starts when he is young as he tires of those childish pastimes - playing chicken on the railway lines, jumping out of trees, holding your breath whilst crouching down and then leaping up so that your mate could make you faint (I did it in the doorway of Millets in Weston-Super-Mare - Oh yes the memories and the scars are still so vivid!)

But then one day something catches your eye, something beautiful, something gliding along like a panther, something with 4 wheels and a hooter, yes a car! Oh how they taunt you in those years before you can get a license. You put their posters up on your bedroom wall and look longingly at them while you fiddle in your pajama pants. You inhale their smell as you walk down the high street. They tease and taunt, you can't wait to be a man and get inside of one!

You first car is beautiful, you caress it and treat it soooo nicely, you polish her bumpers every Sunday whether she needs it or not, you spend money on trinkets and baubles to make her even more beautiful, you fill her full of expensive liquids and yes you are rewarded. She goes like a tiger, 0 to 60 in 6 seconds, so fast she has you flat on your back gasping ogasmically.

Your friends are jealous, they all want to go in her, but you guard her jealously, you won't allow them to even touch her, its you who wipes her down with a clean chamois, getting soapy and wet together is your idea of fun.

But soon she starts to be a little tame, doesn't want to get going in the morning, little moaning noises are emitted as you try to turn her on, especially on those cold and chilly mornings of Winter. She also has started to look a little old, bits of her start to sag and rattle. Little pustules breakout all over her body work and you, well you start looking at sportier models.

Something with a little spring in its step, something a bit ahem, racy! You go out one day and pick one up, run her through the paces, just to see what she can do and to prove that you've still got it, still got some lead in the old pencil as you accelerate around the curves, va va vooming through the tunnels as you put your foot down and she responds to you like a harlot on anthetamines.

But somehow deep in the back of your mind, there's still that itch of foreboding, because you know that one day she too will be tired, she'll have lost her get up and go, but she'll still be costing you a wedge as she now spends her time with an oily mechanic underneath her doing improbable things with a torque wrench and a grease gun. Oh yes he'll be giving her a 50,000 mile service and be greasing her nipples before you can say Aston Martin and you'll be paying for the pleasure.

But what can you do, you can't live without her and you can't live with her. You can't just leave her, send her to the scrapheap, you've invested so much into the relationship, you have even started to trust her, understand her moans and rattles, she even excites you once in a while, like when the brakes failed going downhill or that time when you both forgot you were driving in Europe and drove on the left for a little bit until the petrol tanker turned up.

Yes you've both reached that age when the folly's of youth are naught but distant memories, now I don't mind a bit of crumpled bodywork, the faded countenance, that's all right with me as long as there's a spark under the bonnet and she can shake that ass with the best of them. Yes she's just cost me a pretty penny these last two months and she is still in need of some restorative work down there (her plumbing you know - well she is French and you know there plumbing is atrocious!)

But there's a few miles left in the old gal yet!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Last Post (possibly)

Today could be my last post.

Why you ask?

Becuse it is barely midday and so far I have fallen down the stairs whilst carrying a rather large box. It transpires that some idiot (ahem!) unthinkingly left his box of screwdrivers on one of the stairs. So when I was struggling down the stairs I trod on said box of screwdrivers and it being plastic scooted out from under my foot like a snow board on the most dangerous ski slope and so I went down about half a dozen steps, strangly not as amusingly as one of the characters in Home Alone.

Then after recovering from that trauma (slightly brused foot I think) I was sat in my new 'office' cunningly created (just yesterday - hence the screwdrivers) out of the mouldy cupboard under the stairs. I got up quickly and banged my head quite hard against what used to be the door frame - i think I am suffering from only a minor concussion.

I am about to go into the garden to help my wife plant daffodils, a little late, but I know what dangers lurk there in the great outdoors. I expect at a minimum to at least tread on a hidden rake and get whacked in the nose in true comedic fashion, perhaps I'll stay away from the fork and anything electrical.

Pray for me - I might be gone some time.....

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Snow Sense

Yesterday I was mainly driving in the snow from Plymouth to Bristol. Having set out at around 7 a.m I was immediatly enveloped in the snow storm which made driving quite difficult.This was compounded by the fact that it took me about 40 miles to work out how to get the heating in the car to work as it was a rental and of a foreign make I had never driven before (Nissan) plus it was an automatic!

By the time I got to Tiverton the snow was quite thick and the outside lane of the motorway way undrivable and about 6 inches deep in snow and slush.The two lanes that were moving were doing so at about 20 miles an hour.

But of course we forgot about the 4x4 drivers, that intrepid band of urban explorers who as soon as they see a bit of snow switch on the traction control engage 4 wheel drive and then think that they can drive down the empty lane a 70 miles an hour with impunity safe in the notion that they are driving in 4 wheel drive and the laws of physics that make snow and ice slippery do not apply to them

That the only vehicles I saw buried into the crash barriers were 4x4's seems to substantiate my thesis, which is 4x4 drivers are idiots and have snow sense at all!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The view from my new office

Posted by Picasa Today at my esteemed establishment I moved office. Not that I’m counting but this is the 6th office I have moved to in the 6 years I have worked in this department. I have never spent a whole year in one office yet!

Once again I am on my own. I wonder if it’s a sign that my personal hygiene needs to be addressed or maybe my inter-personal skills need honing. It must be some measure of my worth to this employer that once again I am situated in what was once the photocopier room! Now don’t get me wrong this room is about twice as large as the cupboard I inhabited two offices ago, and my last office was like a suite in the Hilton compared to that, but I shared it with a colleague which was a bit of a downside.

But with every downside there is an up and my colleague has been on long term sick since about 2 months after moving in with me and for the last 6 months I have had the vast room to myself. Now I guess I have to ask myself is the fact that my colleague has been off for so long something to do with me or his job and the real reason for my move? I hear mutterings around the office about his stress and depression and how the Doctor is signing him off for more time, he needs more time – what from me or his job, wife maybe?

Perhaps my managers have now told him I have moved, if he reappears in the next few weeks I think I might have grounds for suspicion and have to start searching the yellow pages for a life coach to help me re-programme my behaviour and how I interact with my fellow human beings.

But being on ones own in the office isn’t so bad. I can blog in peace for example; check my eBay whenever I want and those padded envelopes make handy pillows if one needs a quick snooze mid after noon, a power nap, of course. The downside is not having someone handy to chat to or make the odd comment when something amuses, or maybe mention what was on tele last night or to get me a coffee when I don’t want to get up off my arse, it’s a bit isolating and the fact that my new office is outside of the fire doors which delineate our department from any others seems to do more than underline my exile from the mainstream of office life.

I feel a bit like Napoleon exiled from his beloved France to Elba or somewhere isolated except I’m not short, don’t wear my hair in a kiss curl and have never ever invaded Spain. Yet here I am all alone, so lonely, with just you loyal readers for company.


Thursday, November 17, 2005


While I was out and about this week I was listening to a radio programme in the car which was focusing upon girl bullying at school. Over the past few weeks there have been a couple of high profile cases in the news where young girls have been attacked and injured by girls at their schools.

Of course a lot of the discussion is taken up by a lot of soul searching along the lines of ‘why o, why o, why?’ and ‘what can be done’. Often these answers come from the listeners who phone in. Some will blame the parents; some blame the teachers and some blame society as a whole. Others demand the reinstatement of corporal punishment into schools to instil a bit of discipline into the chav and chavettes who seem to want to disrupt the normal course of things.

This demand for the re-instatement of corporal punishment of course got me thinking about my own school days back in the swinging sixties. I call it the ‘swinging’ sixties because for me the only thing swinging about it were the various implements of punishment swinging towards my backside.

If my memory serves me correctly the first thing I was hit with at school was the 12 inch rule (not a ruler as kings and queens are rulers these things you measure with are ‘rules’) I am not sure that is why I was hit across either the knuckles or the palm of my hand but hit I was, and this is just a primary school, I am sure slaps across the back of the legs were handed out as well.

It wasn’t until I had moved to secondary school that the implements of choice varied in both their efficiency and size. I will of course name that school should any of you have been there and remember. It was Walliscote Secondary Modern School for Boys in Weston-Super-Mare.

I guess that most people my age will have been punished at school through the use of the ‘slipper’. The ‘slipper’ in my school usually meant the rubber sole of a tennis shoe; it was also called a plimsoll. Sometimes it was just the rubber sole other teachers seemed to prefer to have the rest of the shoe still attached; perhaps it gave added grip and weight. But it still stung whatever version was used.

Usually the chosen victim was paraded out to the front of the class and was then asked to bend over and touch the toes; six of the best was then applied to the arse. At the end of the session it was usually the done thing to have to say ‘Thank you Sir’ to the teacher that had done the whacking.

One time the teacher whacked the whole class, 30 boys, for making a noise while he was out of the classroom.

Of course the slipper isn’t the only weapon used by teachers, I have also been hit by cricket bats and fencing foils. Obviously these were used by the games teacher. While the cricket bat is sore the fencing foil leaves a deeper red mark. And the fact that the teacher used to lie in wait for us as we came out of the showers and whack us across our naked arses makes me wonder if I still have grounds to sue the perverted bastard.

The woodwork teacher had plenty of different shapes and sizes of wood like doweling etc to use on us but if we got him really wild he would resort to throwing the first thing at hand at us, one time he threw wood chisels at us which whizzed past our ears and embedded themselves in the walls of the room.

Other teachers preferred to throw the board rubber which if you were lucky got you with the cloth soft covered side rather than the wooden bit, but if you were hit you carried the chalky mark around with you all day on your blazer. Sometimes it was used across the knuckles as well.

The worst and most pervey punishment though has to be laid at the feet of the deputy headmaster. He had a metal arm and if you needed punishment he would lay you across his lap and wedge you down by laying his metal arm across your neck so you couldn’t escape and then he would start pinching the inside of your thighs, I think he called it ‘German Measles’ after a few minutes of this you would have to jump off, stand to attention and say ‘Thank you Sir’.

Bring back corporal punishment they say, it never harmed me. Well I suppose it never did harm me per se but I guess I still remember it and at the time it was humiliating and I do feel that some of the punishment did border on the pervey, but that was only in hindsight.

I am just glad that I am not a teacher in a comprehensive school.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Its a beautiful day hey hey

Well here I am with fifteen minutes to blog, just a few minutes to fill up some space as I have been busy, yes busy working – would you believe it.

Anyway yesterday I was out and about as usual driving up and down the motorways of this fair land, and let me tell you, those of you who have yet to visit this country, the landscape yesterday was glorious.

Blue skies, a low golden sun sparkling through the yellow leaves of autumn, it was wonderful to be out on the open road enjoying this beautiful countryside, why there were even lambs skipping about the fields. Bliss.

Later as the sun started to drop everything seemed to have been dipped in liquid gold such was the intensity of the colours, each tree dripping in sunlight, in fact the quality of the sunlight shimmering heavily was very similar to the liquid sunshine I found in my glass later that evening. The Western Australian Chardonnay I was sipping had that same languid quality that was in the air yesterday. As if the sunlight had been trapped within the air molecules and had somehow turned into something else, something that resembled a viscous liquid that oozed out of the sky and draped itself across the landscape, throwing the distant hills of Dartmoor into sharp relief such was its clarity, but at the same times throwing long long shadows across the hard metallic road, that somehow was softened in the diffused light.

It’s really difficult to find the words to describe the air yesterday as I was driving.

It’s also good to know that the service stations along the motorways are doing their thing to promote healthy eating. They were selling sandwiches and flashed on the sandwich packets was the message, go on have some chips as well, just 99p!

Got to go, busy busy busy!!!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Cunning Linguists


I'm a bit busy today doing some work, yes that stuff I'm paid to do between the hours of around 9 to 5!

So have a look at this its funny: http://www.engrish.com/

You cunning linguists will like it a lot!

Friday, November 04, 2005

A poem for Simply Clare and Dr Joolz

Looking through other blogs (Kates to be exact) I came upon a bit of language Simply Clair and Dr Joolz seem to use and I thought it was nicely satisfying so I wrote this.

Well to the jay-bad-unbad-goodbad
Yakking on the myriad language launch pad
Banging on a mouse pad, stamp pad, like mad
Talking bout a hot pad, hip pad, scratch pad
You got the linguistic jay-bad sketch pad
I got the well mad, like bad, mossad
Spying on the language, bad lad, big dad
No fad, shabad, send me back to riyadh
Don’t get mad, get on the pad
Listen to the lingo that makes you glad
Word plaid, strictly rad,
Well to the jay-bad-unbad-goodbad

Weeing in the Bath - a discussion

Last night as I was waiting for my bus home from work I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation being carried out by three young women. (I admit I did sidle a bit closer once I had heard the gist of it – they probably thought I was just some old perv, but then again they obviously didn’t notice me at all – sob) Anyway these young lovely’s were probably in their late teens early 20’s, although it’s getting harder for me to judge and they were having a conversation about the relative merits of having a wee in the bath!

They got quite animated and into the whole subject and it was also the subject of much hilarity and humour on their part. I was mesmerized if that’s the correct word for listening hard in astonishment.

It seems that for these girls the jury was out on whether it was ok or not ok to wee in the bath and it seemed for them to rest upon the circumstances in which they found themselves. One girl said that the actual process of running the bath made her want to pee anyway so she usually went before getting in the bath so she never, she swore, peed in the bath. The next admitted that it was only when she was in the bath that she felt the urge to pee and often she couldn’t be bothered to get out so she went, and while the other girls made uuurrrggghhh sounds, she also mentioned that of course if the water was getting cold it was a way of heating it up a bit, which also caused gales of laughter, which of course was the whole point in saying it.

I didn’t really catch what the third girl was saying as she had her back to me and was a bit muffled but I think she was also denying weeing in the bath. But it seems that it was OK to wee in the shower to which the other girls concurred.

So it seems it’s not ok to wee in the bath but ok to wee in the shower, if you’re a woman, I am hoping that this piece of research data is correct because its not been unknown for me to jump into the bath after my wife has used it, especially a few years ago (pre Ukrainian wife) when I lived in a house where the water took ages to heat up. She always swore to me that she had never wee’d in the bath and I believed her and of course men always wee in the shower – why not!

But this also does have consequences for other areas of our lives such as the public swimming baths, with 1 in 3 women weeing in the pool, and probably all of the children it doesn’t bear thinking about does it swimming around in all that wee, thank god I find swimming in a pool a bit boring so I don’t do it that often.

I prefer to swim in the sea which of course is mainly wee; you just have to taste it to believe. I mean there’s all those surfers and divers weeing in their wetsuits to keep warm (this is the truth), not to mention all those gallons of fish wee that fills up the oceans of the world, and remember I’m not even counting the seagull wee that must drop into it and of course whales must pee gallons and gallons of the stuff adding to the whole concoction.

Actually I believe (and I am sure Dr Hawking will back me up scientifically on this) that the denuding of the oceans of all its living things by the deep sea trawlermen of this world is actually doing us all a favour. Once the sea is empty of everything that pisses, farts or shits, the oceans of the world would be a much nicer place. We could go to the seaside and paddle a bit knowing that we are not up to our ankles in other peoples piss. That image needs to be left on those old 14th century woodcuts of Hell by Albrecht Dürer and not bought to mind while I’m waiting for the 5 o’clock bus home thank you very much.

I’ll piss off now – have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A little something wot I wrote

Hello all.

I've just had something published on www.subter.com you can find it here

Its called 'Meditation on the Two Moors Way' which is a long distance path I walked a while ago between Ivybridge and Lynmouth here in the South West of the U.K.

Hope you like it.

I got Cable and there's nothing on......

I bought a maisonette in the Plymouth hills
With a nice garden but rotten cills
Man came by to hook up my cable TV
We settled in for the night my baby and me
We switched 'round and 'round 'til half-past dawn
There was a hundred and fifty-seven channels and nothin' on

Well now home entertainment was my baby's wish
So I hopped into Lidl for a satellite dish
I tied it to the top of my French car
I came home and I pointed it out into the stars
A message came back from the great beyond
There's seven channels in Russian and loads on

So I bought a big hammer it was solid steel cast
And in the blessed name of Elvis well I just let it blast
'Til my TV lay in pieces there at my feet
And they busted me for disturbin' the almighty peace
Judge said "What you got in your defense son?"
"Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on"
I can see by your eyes friend you're just about gone
Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on...

Sorry Bruce Springsteen for mangling your song but now I’ve entered the digital age I’ve found that life ain’t as rosy as they promised.

The verses above are not in strict chronological order. Initially we had a Freeview box at home. There is an old saw that tells us that you ‘don’t get owt for nowt’. And that’s just what you get with your freeview box, more channels of dross TV. My Ukrainian wife despaired when she first came here and saw the paucity of the quality of the shows we watch. She couldn’t understand why our TV was full of reality shows and documentaries. Where was the entertainment she asked? In Ukraine the TV is still heavily entertainment based. They have shows where people, ‘stars’ get up and sing songs that the audience can sing along too, and to show how important this is, after a performance, the audience stand and applaud and the performer gets presented with a bouquet of flowers. They have a great comedy show where students from Universities across the former soviet union all compete with their own comedy sets. Its very funny and my Russian is crap! They show films regularly.

She cannot understand why we want to watch programmes about people living in filthy houses, or cockroach infested restaurants, people beating each other or Chavs screaming at each other for sleeping with their best friends, mothers or sheep.

So I went to lidl and bought their satellite dish and receiver (it cost about £70) stuck it on the side of the house and pointed it at the Sirius satellite and bingo, wall to wall Russian/Ukrainian TV. My wife is happy. But I don’t get to see a lot of TV, which in many ways is a good thing, cos after all there’s not a lot on.

Even so there are a few things on British TV that my wife likes, such as Strictly Come Dancing and the X factor so we were using the freeview box a bit (and mainly for Cbeebies for my daughter).But we had a problem when the wind blew the picture pixilatted and was annoying.

So now we’ve got cable! We have the superior service free for the first month, loads of channels and yes nothing on….its still crap T.V.

Who watches this stuff and apart from being a bit of Time Team fan (although even that’s got a bit boring) on one of the channels and that programme about American Choppers, which seems to me after watching three or four episodes to be more about these guys yelling at each other than about the bikes and is getting tedious very quickly - there is really nothing on. (Oh I forgot about the music channels, that one with the RnB videos with loadsa sexy foxs undulating around two bob or what ever these rappers call themselves - I watch that a bit!)

To be honest the Russian channels are better despite the fact I can only understand about 0.5% of the dialogue.

Yes so 157 channels and nothing on – progress hey?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bed Peace - All I am Saying is give.....

According to the history books, a long long time ago, two famous people John Lemmon and Yoko Bono lay in bed in order to promote an end to War, Poverty, Disease, Plague, Pestilence and Jade Goody.

What they did was find a very posh and expensive hotel in Montreal and booked a room. They lay in their bed and invited all their friends and the world press around for a good time and a bit of a sing song, they had made some posters too so it was all a bit of an event and everybody was thrilled and thought that this was the end to War, Hunger, Plague etc. Obviously it was not all that successful as we still have Jade Goody.

What I wonder though is when all the sycophants, friends and press had left the room would Yoko have nudged John sharply in the ribs with her elbow making him move out of ‘her side of the bed’. I say this because I seem to spend my sleeping hours perched on the precipice of the edge of my bed well within my ‘allowed zone’. While this is good training for sleeping on one of those hammocky things half way up the Eiger, it is not conducive to a good nights sleep!

We, my wife and I, are not pretentious, we haven’t got a king size or queen size bed such as John and Yoko might have enjoyed in Montreal, no ours is just a common or garden double. Perfectly adequate some might say for a good nights sleep for the loving couple, as I am sure many of you would contest. And yet as I stumble downstairs every night to bed (yes you read it rightly) a simple tune echoes around my upper cortex, its ‘This bed ain’t big enough for the both of us’ and someone has to move….’

Unfortunately the mover is always me. No please do not infer from this post that my wife is in any way challenged in the pie department, no she is not, she is pretty normal and in most circumstances takes up her allotted amount of space. But something happens once she gets in bed. Not only does all her body heat drain away she also seems to fill larger areas of the bed than is scientifically possible, a bit like an expanding super nova. (Perhaps Dr Steven Hawking after you’ve finished reading my blog you can pop me an explanation by email – I promise not to turn it into a best selling book).

Actually I might not need Dr Hawking after all as I have just had a brilliant flash of brilliance. Maybe there is a connection between losing body heat and expanding into spaces where you are not wanted. Think about it. Apparently Water when it freezes expands by about 9%. So therefore, when my wife gets into bed and starts to lose body heat she must (it’s a scientific fact remember, I am not being sexist here) start to expand and take up more of the bed and ipso facto the quilt as well.

Then of course as she gets colder she starts to seek heat, a bit like an Exocet missile, homing in on my warm bottom. I obviously take counter measures but as I do not have pyrotechnic chaff in bed with me (which is a sensible security precaution) I cannot ward her off and recently I have gone off curry too.

It seems then that in the war of attrition that must go on in beds in bedrooms across the country night after night it is us men who are losing. Night after night after night of staring into the abyss takes its toll. We lose our confidence, for even after making love, fulfilling our conjugal roles, we are still pushed to the boundaries of our beds, the female snug in her nest of pillows, quilt, polar bears (yes the final ignominy is that I also have to share a bed with a polar bear, a Posted by Picasa
polar bear called ‘pussy number two’ for what ever reasons, please don’t ask). And of course the polar bear gets the best of it, wedged between the two of us, never having to doze out there on ‘the edge’ like I have to.

I’m thinking of bunk beds and bagsy the top one!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Remember Guy Fawkes 400 years this year!

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

Here’s a contemporary image of Guy Fawkes

Gunpowder plot Posted by Picasa

A Handsome dude when all is said and done. And here’s a modern likeness.

skeletor Guy Posted by Picasa

Not quite up to it is it?

These is how the local lads and ladesses from the local estate are traditionally using our contempt (400 years this year – wot no celebrations like Trafalgar???) of one Guido Fawkes and his mates who thought it would be a good idea to blow up Parliament, to raise a couple of quid for fireworks, sweets, a litre of White Lightening or a wrap of cocaine. (They were Roman Catholics as well maybe that had something to do with it too!)

It is a popular idea, (blowing up Parliaments) and one that is being kept alive by that other ‘bogey man’ Osama Bin Laden (I probably have to watch what I say here because the words ‘blow up’, ‘Parliament’ and ‘Osama Bin Laden’ have probably got some machine deep in the depths of MI5 beeping madly.) Perhaps we might see effigies of Osama burning this November?

So this skeletor creation is the first ‘Guy’ of the season, I hope to see some more and take their pics to continue the theme.

If you see any locally, take a picture and post them, lets see who can get the worst/best Guy Fawkes.

All Is Well


Apart from being busy with work, you know that stuff I do between 8:30 and 5 (ish), I sorted out the blog, I don't know why it messed up my template but there you go, how many of us technoidiots are out there?

Anyway the post (Weekend Omnibus) that was causing all the trouble is below the error message, because I saved it as a draft and it seems to publish in time sequence, so you just have to scroll down a bit to see it.

Thank you Mike Da Hat and Simply Clair for your impatience, its nice to be wanted.

Monday, October 24, 2005

error message

for some reason my last post was destroying my template I need to work it out.

Have a cup of tea and chat amongst yoourselves I'll be right back

Weekend Omnibus - Reprise

Like most of us, Simply Clare included, weekends are busy times. Mine are always busy and the time goes so quickly. It's not like when one was young and the weekends spread out forever - Sunday, one long dozy day, reading the papers and drinking coffee. Now they seem to speed past at the blink of an eye, so much to do, no time just to smell the roses. And when Matilda, my six year old daughter comes, time leaps into over drive.

Matilda was in Sunny Plymouth this weekend and she wrote her first story, well the first one I have seen anyhow. First she wrote it on paper, then she tap tapped it into my laptop. So here is Matildas story:


She also drew a fish (Vitriolica will like this)

Matildas Fish Posted by Picasa

We went out later in the day and I had occasion to use the loo in Tesco's. I thought the sign on the condom machince was worth a picture!

machine Posted by Picasa

message Posted by Picasa

It is such an inconvinence, when the condom machine in the convinence is inconvienienced, I mean what do you do if you want a shag in the carpark after spending an hour doi

'Every Little Helps' eh? thats comforting to know.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Say hello people - put yourself on my map

Please go here and put yourself on my map, lets see where in the world you are... Click here

Thank you

Taken from Lost's blog - thank you lost.

Its not the getting there its the travelling.....

So, I went to Birmingahm. The train was delayed. Because a goods train had overturned. It added an hour to the journey. It took me 4 and a half hours to get there. I was an hour late. The meeting finished at 1 o'clock.

So I was only there 2 hours. (and it wasn't really relevant)

Then the train was half an hour late. It was over packed (really really full). Fortunatly I had a booked seat. I had to turf someone out of it. They were not pleased. The train was delayed by an hour. (over turned goods train etc). It took 4 and a half hours to get home. Not many of the toilets were working.

But the girl sitting next to me had big breasts

Thats all OK then!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Stupid O'clock in the morning

Look at this, its 5:30 a.m.in the morning and 1. I'm blogging (which is sad) and 2. I have to go to Birmingham for a seminar which is even sadder. Birmingham is the place of my birth, my Alma Mater if this use of latin is correct, but I'll only see the bit between New St Station and where I going 10 minutes walk away.

The reason, however that I am blogging at 5:30 is that organisers of these things always forgets that Birmingham and London for that matter are closer to the North Pole than Plymouth. Thus I always have to get up at stupid o clock in the morning to get the train.

Anyway, close yoour eyes now as I have to shower, now the waters hot!

Have a nice weekend!

Monday, October 17, 2005

My Novel - A response

So I got the rejection email from the publisher:

This is what it said:

'Many thanks indeed for your submission of "A King's Country". Unfortunately we won't be publishing your title as although I found the plot interesting and highly original, it does not fit well with Snowbooks' future lists.

However, I do wish you all the best in finding a more suitable publisher for your work'.

Is there anybody who can deconstruct that and read between the lines?

Does ' found the plot interesting and highly original' bode well, or is it just a stock phrase to stop me from cutting my wrists.

You advice would be appreciated!

Thank you
dr rob

My DIY Hell

DIY seems to have become the watchword at our house. It seems that from now on I will not have a weekend to myself as the house starts to crumble around our ears and I am doomed to perpetual DIY.

Don’t get me wrong, I quite enjoy DIY, especially when its on the TV and I can spend a satisfying half an hour or so tut tutting at all the silly mistakes these people make and then have to call in the gurning idiots they call ‘experts’ on these shows.

Look I know we all make mistakes, and I have made a few, the Heath Robinson maze of copper pipe I put together when fixing a shower to the wall comes to mind. But the point was, it worked and I didn’t have to call a local plumber who would have tut-tutted and then charged me a fortune to fix it, I think I would have preferred the gurning idiots and the national humiliation.

Does it make sense to you, after making your house look like a warzone, because of your own incompetence, to call up a TV station and say ‘hey come to my house to show the world what an idiot I am once you put a hammer in my hands’. But then again if the only other option is to have to spend the rest of your life having your wife moan at you and then leave, taking the kids and the dog, then being humiliated on national TV is a small price to pay!

So my DIY life has been this. If you remember it all started with the drains, which I very professionally unblocked. Then it was the bedroom window cills. (our bedroom is on the ground floor, we have an upside down house).

This started very well as you can see. The weather was good and I ripped the old rotten cill and frame out pretty damn quick, I can tell you. But then it started to rain. The option was of course, to down tools, rush off to the Hyper Value, buy a big piece of tarpaulin and cover the huge open space in our front wall. But I knew deep down that my wife would not stand for sleeping in a room with only plastic covering the hole, no it had to be glass or nothing.

The window hole Posted by Picasa

So for the rest of the day I DIY’ed in the pouring rain – no wonder I got a virus last week! I was soaking, but the frame was up and by 5:00 in the evening I even had the glass in, not puttied but in! What a hero. If this was the Soviet Union they would have given me a medal!

You've been framed Posted by Picasa

glazed Posted by Picasa

THIS weekend, I was up for a bit of light puttying, but it was DIY hell in my house once again. Not only had the dripping bath tap got progressively worse until the flow had become a danger to World fresh water reserves and my bank balance, but the shower pipe, the bit with the curly chrome metal around it, exploded and sprayed water everywhere.

Now a dripping tap doesn’t faze me one bit (Did you see rogue traders this week?) and it just gives me the opportunity to take a few pounds of the plumbers of this world. But isn’t it always the case, that while one tap body will unscrew nicely, the other (the hot tap and main culprit) was jammed in there tight! It took me all my strength and a pair of mole grips (a wonderful invention) to unscrew the bugger. But I did it and now our bath is drip free and showering to perfection.

So this weekend was spent puttying and tap wrenching, I wonder what next weekend will bring?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Dr Robs 10 ideas to become rich

While I’ve been lying in bed, skiving, according to Simply Clare, but obviously to everyone else suffering from a very rare form of Avian flu, or St Vitus Dance or something that plainly strikes down extremely healthy men like me to such an extent that they are too weak to even make themselves a cup a soup, I’ve been considering my lot.

It came to me in a blinding flash, probably having overdosed on Lemsip, the ensuing hallucinations forced me into an alternative reality where all life’s’ truths were laid bare before me on a glittering yellow road, the breeze aromatic with the scent of lemons.

Yes as I coughed and wheezed it became apparent to me that I had been swapped at birth! Cleary some drunken nurse on night duty in Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital on the Hagley Road in Birmingham, put me back into the wrong cot, instead of the cot of the child of the rich and posh people where I should have been put. Now some oik with my name is living the life of riley while here I am worrying about the size of my overdraft and how I’m going to pay the next instalment on my mobile phone!

Yes I need to be rich or even a little richer would do. So I need a plan. Here’s what I have come up with:

Dr Robs 10 ideas to become rich. (I don’t need famous)

  • Find my original birth parents and make them adopt me turning them against my usurper.
  • Find a rich dowager, beguile her with my love making and get her to endow me with expensive gifts that can go straight onto ebay
  • Jump on a tramp steamer to Ameriky I hear that there’s gold in them thar hills
  • Write an extremely best selling novel about my hilarious life in poverty and sell the TV and Film rights. (Still waiting to hear back guys…)
  • Sell this blog, apparently its worth $31,546.60, it’s not a fortune, but it’s a start, any offers?
  • Start selling expensive coats to gullible women, especially those on large academic salaries
  • Invent something – any ideas you mad scientists reading this
  • Become famous (I know I’m a hypocrite but if Jade Goody can make a million…)
  • Use the colour printer here at work to print my own money
  • Beg

    The Make Rob Rich Fund
  • Your donations are welcome....

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Virus warning

This is a recording - Dr Rob is currently suffering from a severe virus attack. His hard drive is currently floppy, he has no ram and his rom is somewhere deep under the duvet.

Error message: sniffle.101

Please call back later


Friday, October 07, 2005

Boobs, Building and Blogging

http://www.boobiethon.com Boobiethon!!! Posted by Picasa

(Lifted from A Beer Sort of Girl)

Its a short day at work for me today, windows to make, tools to get and nails and screws to ponder over. So I will be spending the days of the weekend in those huge sheds full of tools and stuff mulling over the finer points of tenon saws, thinking 'do I really need another electric screwdriver?' ( I do have one but its a bit like having a mobile phone from ten years ago, its big, its clumsy, the batteries don't last long - I want a modern trendy one - a bit like Simply Clare and her coats, bags etc!). Standing staring at the work done so far with a pencil behind my ear and a mug of tea in my hand. Ah the simple pleasures of manual labour. Banging away, nailing, screwing, thats what a real man likes to do, and when I get my tools on the job, theres no stopping me. I hope to have the old frames out by tomorrow lunch time and the window frames built and glazed sometime tomorrow evening before it gets dark. My wife refuses to sleep in a bedroom with no windows - women eh!)

This weekend I will mainly be Dr. Rob the builder - can I fix it? You'll have to wait till monday to find out!!!

But to get the weekend off to a schwiiiiiing! I've posted the link above, its for a breast charity (in the usa I think) and people send in pictures of their breasts and you have to give a donation to look at them. (But there are some free ones!) Isn't that a great idea? And to think I thought that was called pornography, I was wrong all along!

I'll bra seeing ya!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

My Novel - an offer

If anyone would like to have a copy of the synopisis and the first three chapters to read and come back to me with constructive criticism please contact me by email and I'll ping you a copy forthwith.

National Poetry Day - Liminal Lives

Posted by Picasa A Liminal Life in Lvov photographed by me this summer. Posted by Picasa

Its National Poetry Day here in the UK so I thought I would write a poem. My inspiration came from Dr Joolz's Blog. and what she wrote yesterday about liminal spaces.

Liminal Lives

How ordinary is ordinary?
Not special underlined
When standing on the threshold
See how our lives entwine

The mundane bought into focus
Comminalities are sought
Aesthetic functionality
Is found but never bought

The habitually ritual
That dessicates our lives
That routinised mundanaity
Of the me, not me derives

A liminal perspective
A way of seeing not
The places and the phases
That's generally forgot

Then out there on the margins
When we are in-between
The O so falsly obvious
Is O so clearly seen

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

My Novel

Hello dear readers, like many of us blogging away here in the blogoshere, I have quietly over the past few weeks, months, years been writing a novel. Sometimes I write, some times I don't I guess that might be the experience of others. Unlike people like Mike Da Hat who is writing his online, mine often lays gently steaming on my hard disk.

I guess the problem with this, if nobody sees it then it might turn out to be the biggest pile of wasted time and energy on the planet, and I guess there are probably zillions of those out there. All those millions of words and sentences nobody ever got to see because the writer was too shy or afraid or whatever.

Well someone just got to see mine.

I have just submitted it to snowbooks, you can do it electronically, send a synopisis and the first three chapters.

Now I wait, fortunatly they don't seem to send out big rejection letters they have one already on their website which you can read before you're even rejected officialy, so the shock isn't too great.

I'll let you know.

Oh and by the way, I told them I had a blog, so they might come and have a look here, so lots of supportive comments about how witty, erudite and readable I am please.

Simply Clare say nothing about my spelling.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Serious Sewage Situation

It seems that my blogger was down for most of yesterday but other were not; I suppose its something to do with servers and so on something technical that us mere mortals would not understand.

Anyway I had a wonderful Sunday, yes we had a:

Severe Sunday Seriously Smelly Shitty Sewage Stoppage Situation

Ok enough alliteration, it gets boringly bad after a bit.

It all started with my wife wondering why the water in the toilet wasn’t disappearing when she flushed it. My heart sank as I had been in this situation before. I checked just in case she was hallucinating, it’s a man thing; I blame Doubting Thomas the patron Saint of all Husbands.

Yes she was right, the next thing was to find the manhole cover over the drain and check that out, it wasn’t hard as its right outside the back door, this I did with a sinking heart as I pretty much knew what to expect – yes there was the manhole cover, still outside the back door and yes water was seeping out from under it, which was a definite clue that the drain was blocked.

Of course these things are never easy; the manhole cover had rusted into position. I needed specialist tools. First I tried the piece of aluminium strip that holds the carpet down in a doorway – too flimsy for this type of job, I shudda known. Next it was the ubiquitous screw drivers; how many times do screwdrivers come to the rescue, who invented these things, brilliant! I had three of them all in different sizes. This seemed to work. I removed the lid after a few minutes struggling and swearing by jamming the screwdriver under the lid and heaving.

Reader if you are of a nervous disposition please surf away now – I cannot be held responsible for any psychological damage reading onwards might cause – you have been warned.

The first thing I saw was a – Toad. No this isn’t a spelling mistake but a real life toad (Mike Da Hat, eminent biologist and bird scarer O and rock-n-roller) please explain why a toad was in my sewer) was sitting on the concrete inches above the murky water that filled the drain. O there were plenty of turds too as this is a shared drain.

Now I don’t know about you, but when dealing with drains and sewers, my family’s turds are acceptable, but man you just don’t want to be dealing with other peoples, that’s just so gross.

Anyway I was lucky my wife was acting as foreman, I say acting as she had little idea of what to do and was hiding behind the door peeping out of the net curtain, I don’t know what she was more scared of the toad or the turds and she gave me loads of useless advice I didn’t need just at that moment when contemplating the shitty mess before me.

I tried poking around with the aluminium door rod but that just seem to mix it up a bit more, then I noticed that as I watched the water level was dropping a little, then it rose again, then dropped, what was going on?. O, the guy upstairs had gone out and left his washing maching on, and it was now on the empty cycle so more water was gushing into the blocked drain. Then my wife helpfully flushed the toilet again!! Why, I don’t even know, she says she thought it would be helpful.

More specialist tools were needed, I found a piece of two by two upstairs by the neighbours door (he’s renovating) it was a good 5 feet long, so would keep me well away from that augean pool (see Hercules’ fifth labour). With this I managed to fish out something that looked suspiciously like kitchen roll. Ah ha! A clue, we are not so poor or as uncouth as to use kitchen roll in the loo, no we pamper our bottoms with the softest, quiltiest, puppy freshest toilet roll we can afford. So it must be HIM upstairs.

So not only am I having to swirl about amongst his shit, he is the culprit too. But the drains still blocked, I will have to swallow my anger and the contents of my stomach that’s just about reaching my tonsils to deal with this. I capitulate and go for even more specialist tools, as there is no way I am calling out Mr. Rooter or what ever he’s called on a Sunday as well, can you imaging the bill?

I call around friends to borrow their drain rods. A quick poke and its all done. Not with my friends you understand as I am married, but down in the drain with the rods, one quick poke was all it took. See, what am I always saying is, Y’need the proper tools to do a proper job.

When I mentioned this to our friendly neighbour, he flatly denied using kitchen roll down the loo, even after I showed him the sopping evidence. Perhaps he was too embarrassed to admit that he needed the extra absorption of something like Bounty the favoured kitchen roll of all cross dressers.

So yet again I have proved my manly existence, if you remember a while back, I tamed the washing machine and replaced a belt all by myself, bringing the washing machine repairmen of Plymouth to near bankruptcy, as I have now done to the Mr. Rooters of this world. On Saturday, now that the red mist is upon me I am going to replace our bedroom window, yes me, all by myself, ha the window makers of this world will quake before me. Mind you I am taking the car to be MOT’d next week so all the money I have saved above will be in mortal jeopardy.

Pray for me dear reader, pray for me.

No toads were harmed in the unblocking of the sewer or the writing of this blog - this is a toad friendly zone

Birthday Present to my blog

As it was this blogs birthday last week (not that anyone noticed Hurrumph) I though that the blog needed a birthday present. But to do that I need your help dear readers. Its very simple.

Gemmak is a blogger and also a blog designer. She will give my blog a birthday present of a free makeover if only two of you, just two of you go to her and pay her to makeover your blog, I think it is very reasonable, $25 which in real money is about £15 (I don't know why they are using dollars as shes in Scotland) so here's the link - the link was high jacked by a porno site so I deleted it!
So thats the viral marketing done, go on you know it makes sense....

and I want a makeover for my blogs birthday

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Happy Birthday Blog - The Wibble is One

Just a note to mark the passing of time etc etc, but the 29th September was the birthdate of this blog, so its a whole year old, how time flys when you're enjoying yourself.

And I have really enjoyed it and I guess the highlight of the year was being involved in the Big Blogger house where my real talent for wibble really came to the for, some people hated it some people loved it I guess, well they didn't vote for me to be out of the house.

Thanks to everyone who comments, (especially the regular ones, you know who you are) there have been a few blogs recently from other bloggers bemoaning the lack of comments on blogs, but I guess we also know there's a legion of lurkers out there too who read but don't comment and I admit that I read more blogs than I comment on too! I mean its a real surprise that there have been over 15,000 viewings of this blog over the last year, I know BB inflated that and until I learnt to switch the counter cookie off I was counting myself a bit too, but nevertheless I feel that is quite an achievement.

Since finishing my Phd which was about 100,000 words there has been a bit of a writing hole in my life, and this has helped fix that, plus I have, like zillions of us bloggers re-incarneted My Novel which has been fermenting on various hard drives, disks and A4 paper (an ancient writing medium) so I hope to pusue that in parallel with my blog.

We all know blogging isn't great literature (although I would be interested to hear what my academic readers who are interested in digital lives etc would say about that), but is a sort of 'Mcwriting' is disposable, quick and easy and I really really enjoy it.

So if any newbies are readiing this go for it, enjoy it, join the blog revolution and explore the blogosphere, its fun, but don't forget to comment!

So to all my Mcreaders thank you again and I hope I don't give you Mcindigestion!

Have a nice day


Friday, September 30, 2005

The Car out side my house - some one had a bad day!!

Car outside my house Posted by Picasa

This is the car outside of my house this morning. I hasten to add it's not my car, thank god. But someone, looks like they have seriously pissed someone off. Theres paint all over it, the tires are slashed, the wing mirrors are broken, they front windsheild is busted, by the brick thats on the bonnet, the wipers are not going to wipe for a while. I considered calling the police, but I guess if the owner see's it they will be doing that or going after someone with a baseball bat.

The good bit of news is that not only did I take the picture with my new mobile phone, but that I emailed it to myself as well via the phone, now the only thing I have to work out, is will there be an extra charge for the email on my bill, before I get all enthusiastic! Maybe I better just bring my cable to work and upload the pictures that way, but its just not so techie and exciting is it?

Monday, September 26, 2005

woogle - its fun!

Hello all, having just spent a bit of time having a look around the blogosphere, I found a great link on another great site called Bacon and EH's which is a funny canadian blog (is that an Oxymoron I wonder?) No its really funny and the owner puts in a lot of work listing great links like the one I'm going to tell you aboout now.

Its called Woogle, yes its a little like google in that you enter a well known phrase or saying, or even your own random thoughts into the search box and you will get back a pictorial representation of your written stuff.

Now you can probably guess as this is the internet, if you put in the term 'Pussy' you can probably bet your bottom doller that the pictorial result you are going to get back is going to be sleazy, I put in 'Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, where have you been' (quite innocently) and ZOWEEEE! DO NOT pass this link to your innocent young children and those in your care.

I did do pictures that I wanted to post based on 'Doc Robs Blog Spot' but I couldn't do it without busting up my template, I am such a technomoron. O well you can always woogle that, I promise it is kid safe.

Anyway its fun - promise

Friday, September 23, 2005

Found Art

found art, and it was in the back room all the time!!! Posted by Picasa

Because my computer has not been 100 per cent these last few days and me not being able to blog, my mind has had to occupy it self, not only with work, but with other things.

I have also been watching ‘Art School’ on TV as well, this is where 4 well known celebrities have been to Chelsea Art School for two weeks learning how to become artists and will (tonight, in the gripping finale) show their work.

Also last week I was looking at a few blogs, as you do, to while away a few minutes whilst at work and many of them are owned by quite arty people, people who always seem to have their digital camera with them to take those arty and amusing shots, people who collect pictures of graffiti, and ‘street art’, there was also someone who collected all the old bits of cassette tape he found discarded on the streets of Paris (I think) and then stuck them together to make new sounds, I guess he would end up with a collage of Maurice Chevalier, Edif Piaf, Johhny Haliday, MC Solaar and Plastic Bertrand (although I think he’s Belgian!).

There also seem to be a lot of people into ‘found art’. No its not people who have found lost old masters that have been lifted from various chateaus and stately homes, stuffed under a sack in the back of a transit van, its people who have the artistic ‘eye’ to see art in the everyday and the mundane. Apparently even real artists like Duchamp and Picasso used found art, probably when they couldn’t be arsed to draw something or they were a bit tired after a night on that green stuff that makes you hallucinate (now I know its not pesto, but I can’t remember the name just at this moment!)

Theres a guy here who seems to have got the idea http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/bos/54124037.html

Anyway as I had sometime on my hands, I thought that I would give it a try, I would start my art career out by being a ‘found artist’! So I got myself togged up in the required fisherman’s smock, with those handy pockets for putting things in and black beret, for the arty look and off I went eyes wide with anticipation!

So here’s what I got:

24 walkers crisp packets
50 cigarette butts
two bags of leaves
a conker
3 prophylactics (1 used, 2 unused)
one half sucked sweetie
a coca cola can, slightly rusted
one pair of knickers
turd (probably dogs)
some dirt
a feather
one sack containing some oily scrawl on canvas signed by someone called Pollock or is it Bollocks I can’t quite make it out

But what I want to know, is it art?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Brain Dead - A Warning from Hell....

Good Morning one and all, the bad news is that my hard drive died on Monday so I have been brainless for the past few days. Now I have my computer back with a brand new hard drive but the stress and the anguish of nearly losing ALL my data, all my work for the last 6, yes 6 years has underlined and bought into focus the prime directive of using these infernal machines - back up, BACK up, BACK UP!!! I’m off to buy myself a 0ne gig memory stick right now!

T’was a saga and a half when my disk died. The techie guy said if they were lucky they would be able to recover the data, they later phoned and said yes they had recovered my data and put it on a disk. But O my, the ONLY file on the disk they gave me was one that had my name, automatically created by the machine, but which I didn’t use! It was full of junk. I quickly phoned them again and told them that the 6 years worth of data was to be found in other files, the ones they hadn’t copied.

Oh, they said, ‘we’ve sent the disk back with the technician and if he sends it of to ‘not Very good computers ltd’ it’ll be lost, crushed, sent off into space or whatever they do with corrupted disks. AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHH, I said.

Anyway the short end of the story is they got the disk back and hopefully have recovered all the data, I haven’t looked yet, because I am off to Bristol shortly and wanted to get this blog done as a warning to you all out there, don’t forget to BACK UP YOUR DATA, it could happen to you in the next 10 minutes!

Anyway here’s a poem I found in a school last night when I was teaching, I thought it was apposite.

Life before computers
An application was for employment
A Program was a TV show
A Cursor use a profanity
And a keyboard was on a piano

Memory was something you lost with age
And a CD was a bank account
And if you had a corrupted disk
It would hurt when you found out

Compress was something you did to garbage
Not something you did to a file
And if you unzipped anything in public
You’d be in jail for a while

Log on was adding wood to a fire
A hard drive was a trip on the road
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived
And a back up happened on the commode

Cutting you did with a pocket knife
Pasting you did with glue
The web was where a spider lived
And a virus was the flu!