Monday, July 31

Damn them!

Honestly you try to be all responsible and sensible with your hard-earned cash..

Then Amazon send you this link..

Damn them!!!

Must.. resist..

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Ding dong the bells are gonna chime

Well after many, many weeks of baby-oriented weekends, this weekend saw plans for the wedding being brought to the fore once again.

Wedding rings were purchased and the "Law of the Stag OpenGp" trophy arrived on Saturday (the trophy is actually quite impressive, I was genuinely amazed when I clapped eyes on it) and we had a trip to Ruthin Castle on Sunday.  The visit on Sunday saw all the finer details of the ceremony and reception being finalised, timings, numbers attending, menu selection and all that.  We now have to do things like settle on a seating plan (so if anyone strongly objects to being sat by someone else, now is the time to speak up!!), write out place cards and organise getting menu cards printed.  Between this and the fact that the stag 'do is this weekend ( if you've not checked it out for a while), it's all feeling a bit like it's getting really close to the big day!!

Am very much looking forward to Saturday, should be a cool 'do.  Sean's done a fabulous job of organising it (whilst trying to sort out his own wedding too) and should be applauded (and bought lots of pints).  Just gotta not stress too much about whether everyone is having the best time.  I always feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to try and make sure everyone's enjoying themselves at these kind of do's (after all I've invited folks out, and they've all made the effort to show up), but the secret, I think, is to ensure that people are happy without getting neurotic about it.  I'm sure once everyone gets a few lagers inside them they'll be enjoying themselves!

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Friday, July 28

It's only blummin' Friday

This morning had this weird Autumnal feel to it. 
It felt like one of those September mornings from many, many years ago when you walked to school for the first day of the new year.  You know, still sunny and yet with a cool crisp breeze in the air that suggests that soon the leaves will be turning brown and the headmaster would soon be going on about Harvest Festivals in assembly.  Not that any kids these days could relate to this, as the only cool crisp breeze they'll feel on their way to school will come from the Air Conditioning unit in their mother's monster sized, gas guzzling four-by-four.  And if ever there was a generation that needed that walk to school, it is this lot..

However there is one slight advantage of this "school run" culture. 
Now that the little 'uns are breaking up for the summer, there will be significantly less traffic on the road.  Ahh.. bliss.  It continually amazes me how much of a difference it makes, and you have to bear in mind that I travel mostly on the motorway and I do so at around twenty to eight in the morning, so you'd have thought that I would miss the school traffic anyway.  But no, I too see the difference. 

So for the next six weeks, the drive in to work will be something similar to how driving looks in all of those car commercials on the telly.  I will be sat behind the steering wheel with a satisfied smile on my face, as the tyres beneath me eat up mile after mile of gleaming tarmac, maybe just over the hum of the engine you'll hear the strains of a saxophone playing soulfully as I wind my way across this great Nation..

..And at no point will I be forced to call anyone a cocksucker, and gesticulate wildly, for moving out in to the fast lane in front of me doing barely 70 miles an hour.

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Thursday, July 27

A narrow escape

So I'd nearly buckled..

The temptation was too strong..

I was looking at being able to buy the original, i.e. non Special Edition, versions of the Star Wars trilogy on DVD, just as I saw them in the cinema's in 1978, and at a rather nice price of £13.99 from amazon.

Okay, okay so I had to get the Special Editions again in order to get them, but it seemed worth it to have the versions where:

- Han shoots Greedo first.
- You get the original Ewok song at the end of Return of the Jedi.
- There are no gratuitous Boba Fett shots on Jabba's palace.
- Sebastian Shaw still turns up as Anakin at the end of the original trilogy.

So my finger hovered over the "Pre-order Now" button..

So tempted..

But then, and I don't know what possessed me, I scanned down and read the customer reviews.

It would appear that George Lucas is once again taking the piss. The upcoming DVDs of the original original trilogy (how stupid does that sound?) will not be anamorphic widescreen. They're going to be lousy letterbox transfers. What this means is that if you have a nice widescreen TV the picture will occupy about a third of that screen and will not have any additional resolution. In short it will look shit. All the details are here, by the way

I've given up ranting about Lucas, I only post this to warn anyone who a) might be considering buying these discs or b) knows someone who might be considering purchasing these discs.

In short.. DO NOT BUY THESE DISCS - you can buy similar DVDs (taken from a Laserdisc source and non-anamorphic) from eBay at a fraction of the price and will not be lining the pocket of the beardy bastard any more.

George Lucas, eh? What a total cunt.

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Wednesday, July 26

Below Average

It's not often I even glance at the local free paper, for years my only interaction with it was to pick it up off the doormat, carry it across the living room and deposit it in the bin. Even now, I rarely look at anything other than the reviews of local gigs or films out this week. It's like any local free paper, lots of "local interest" stories involving pensioners' gardens winning "Best Garden in the Street" award, local W.I. groups raising money for charity by making comedy over-sized pots of jam and local school children "showing the way" by being involved in some local "litter free zone" scheme. It's banal. It's tedious. It bores me.

I'd rather they printed it on Andrex and then at least it had the potential to serve one purpose in my household.
"Enjoy the local paper, dear?"
"Yes, dear, most absorbing"

But last week, I did notice something in there (well, actually it was pointed out to me) of interest. As soon as the kiddy-winks break up for school, it would appear that they are going to put road works on a 4-mile stretch of the motorway I use to go to and from work. The bastards! And if this wasn't bad enough, they're now rolling out the latest evil technology in the their "traffic calming" arsenal - Average Speed Cameras.

For the non-drivers amongst you, I'll explain how these work. You drive past one set of these cameras at the beginning of the roadworks, and another set at the end and if your average speed excessively exceeds the posted speed limit through the roadworks they do you. This means you pretty much have to stick to the speed limit for the duration of the roadworks. Thereby removing the fun of slamming on when you get to traditional speed cameras on roadworks. The buggers. So this will add an additional 33% of time onto my journey to work. I will not be happy, I can tell thee.

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Tuesday, July 25

Brand Identity

So two comedy tour de forces collide this evening on BBC Three, as Russell Brand guest stars on Rob Brydon's hilarious skit on panel shows, Annually Retentive.

Not caught the show yet? Here's the blurb all about it..
"Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes of a TV panel show? Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive gives you the chance to find out.

Rob Brydon plays the reluctant host of a new history based panel show - Annually Retentive. Is he reluctant because he believes all panel shows except QI are beneath him or because it’s the only job he can get in TV since the acting work dried up? It's up to you to decide...

How do the guests keep getting the answers right? Are those brilliant one-liners spur of the moment? What does Rob Brydon really think of his celebrity guests? And which popular quiz shows did the writers 'borrow' all their ideas from?

Witness the bitching, backstabbing, scheming, feuding, anger, tears and vanity that runs rampant when the cameras aren't rolling..."

Should be a top show tonight. Good to watch Russell Brand on the telly. 'citing.

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Monday, July 24

This I Like..

Gotta get me one of these..

Question is, what goes on the back?




Hmm.. Decisions, decisions

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Apologies, please ignore this post.

Mail-to-blogger has been playing up recently so want to see if I have managed to fix it.

"This isn't the post you're looking for.. Move along, move along"

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Little Voice

The summer is here, hours of sunshine, temperatures soar, records are broken, roads melt and I get some mad summer cold.

No, really, my throat is as sore as very sore thing and I have acquired a cough, sneezes and.. most embarrassingly.. I lost my voice over the weekend.

I cannot remember the last time I properly lost my voice.. and I'm not just talking about being a bit croaky, I mean literally trying to speak and having nothing but a whisper of air escaping your mouth. I'm sure I lost my voice a couple of times when I was a kid (or was that puberty? I cannot remember), but since at least going to Uni, I've never had my vocal chords produce nothing at all I'm sure.

Anyway, losing one's voice would be embarrassing enough without adding to the fact that it finally gave out in the queue for food at Crewe Alexander's ground during half time at the Crewe v Liverpool pre-season friendly on Saturday. Now before you ask, I hadn't been shouting all the way the first half, partly because my throat was already soar, but mostly because pre-season matches just aren't that all exciting.

Now if I had been stood in the queue on my own when my voice gave out I would have most likely saved myself from looking like a cock, and just headed back to my seat to watch the second half. But I was with Dan, and he was hungry (and he was as well they had these Meat & Potato pies on sale for £2.10 that were as big as his head, but he polished it off in no time at all..), so I had to remain there and get him some grub. So there I was, when we eventually got to the front of the slowest moving queue I have ever stood in, harshly whispering (to the amusement of all the staff behind the counter) that I'd like "A meat and potato pie, please". I felt a complete idiot, I can tell thee..

Still a bit raspy today, but am on the mend (pity, with the weather set to improve this week, could do with a couple of days "sick")

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Friday, July 21

Liverpool Squad Numbers Announced!

Robbie Fowler has been handed the number 9 shirt for the new season.

1. Jerzy Dudek
2. Jan Kromkamp
3. Stephen Finnan
4. Sami Hyypia
5. Daniel Agger
6. John Arne Riise
7. Harry Kewell
8. Steven Gerrard
9. Robbie Fowler
10. Luis Garcia
11. Mark Gonzalez
12. Fabio Aurelio
14. Xabi Alonso
15. Peter Crouch
17. Craig Bellamy
20. Scott Carson
21. Djimi Traore
22. Momo Sissoko
23. Jamie Carragher
24. Florent Sinama-Pongolle
25. Jose Reina
26. Paul Anderson
28. Stephen Warnock
29. Gabriel Paletta
32. Bolo Zenden
33. Neil Mellor
34. Darren Potter
35. Danny Guthrie
38. David Mannix

This looks good to me

Sky have lauched a broadband service and it looks fabulous. Sign me up!

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Reasons to be cheerful..

I don't know what has happened, but my mood is surprisingly
upbeat today.
I find myself bursting with a sunny disposition, a smile on
my face and a spring in my step.
No doubt some twat will come along and urinate on my French fries at some point during the working day, but for now I intend to bask in this happy and content state of mind.

I wonder what's brought it on, though?

It could be the simple fact that it's Friday. After all Friday is the final day of the working week, the teasing foreplay before the full-blown intercourse of the weekend.

It might also be that I know that breakfast is ordered and will be arriving shortly (the Friday breakfast order is still alive and well and the cholesterol hit is delivered about 9:30 every week) -yum yum!

Perhaps it's because there are two nice air conditioning units in the office now and the temperature is an incredibly pleasant nineteen degrees Celsius, creating a comfortable environment conducive for working in.

Maybe it's because I have a pass out tonight (hooray!) and am therefore looking
forward to a few cheeky ales in the company of good friends and (former) colleagues.

Perhaps it's due to the fact that I'm off to Crewe tomorrow to get the first glimpse of the 2006/07 Liverpool squad, hopefully including our new signings Bellamy and Gonzalez.

Maybe it's just because life is fairly groovy at the moment, and although no existence is perfect, I certainly am more than happy with my "lot".

Who knows?

Whatever it is, I hope you're feeling the positive vibe this
Friday morning.

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Monday, July 17

I still reserve the right to be sceptical..

I remain sceptical about the signing of Craig Bellamy, but stories like this one, give me hope that we might have done the right thing:

"Craig Bellamy turned down an extra £4million in potential wages when he agreed to his dream move to Liverpool from Blackburn Rovers.
The Welsh hitman - who scored on his Liverpool debut yesterday - is still pinching himself following his summer transfer and he's so happy to be at Anfield that he's pledging to see out his career as a Red.
Talking about the move, Craig said: "If any other club but Liverpool had come in for me maybe I would have fancied myself to stay at Blackburn because I was very happy there.
"The contract they offered me was a really good one, and I am on less than what I would have earned at Blackburn.
"Money wasn't the issue in me coming to Anfield, for me my dreams are worth much more than money.
"I have come here to win trophies - that has always been the expectation at Liverpool and that is what drives me as well.
"I want to win titles and Cups and I believe I have a great chance to do that at Liverpool.
"I have always been happy to play anywhere. I played 36 times for Wales under Mark Hughes and 23 of them were on the wing so that is my Welsh career really.
"I have never ever had a problem playing wide. I played wide with the youth team, and in my first year in professional football under Mike Walker at Norwich I was a central midfielder.
"People only hear what they want to so I got labelled with that, but I never had a problem playing there.
"Whether I do a good enough job there is another thing. I can do a job, I know I can, but ask me to do it week-in, week-out, and I know I am not good enough.
"I'm not here thinking I will walk into the team. I'll have to work hard and meet the standards set by players like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.
"I want to see the rest of my career out here before returning home to Cardiff City. That would be perfect for me."

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Friday, July 14

Proof: Beer is good for you!

Looking to lose weight?
Only a calorie controlled diet?

Why not try... beer.

Less calories than milk and orange juice - it's official!

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Only thing that's bought and paid for..

The cost of maintaining my figure is going up, I see.. :)

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Scorchio (part II)

Well it's promising to be a lovely weekend (which is good, hoping to get to Blackpool at some point over the weekend so a Sunny day would be most welcome), and then all next week it's just going to get hotter and hotter..

Now if I was on holiday I'd be turning cartwheels I'm sure, but the fact of the matter is that I work in an office that has slightly more windows than your average greenhouse and fuck all air-conditioning.  Honest to Christ, we could cultivate crops of Bananas and Orchids in here.  I am tempted to book the holiday now, I can tell you.

I know you may feel that I'm exaggerating just how bad it is, but we have thermometers in the office and when I walk in of a morning (about five to eight) it tends to already be 29 degrees Celsius.  This is mainly because we're not allowed to keep a single window open overnight (for security reasons, apparently), and due to the amount of computers in here which have to be left on overnight so Anti-Virus updates can occur, it's like somebody has set the office to Gas Mark 9. 

Usually by (quickly) opening a few windows (at least they do open, I guess) and sticking fans in each so that cool air is blown in, we can usually get the temperature down to about 23 after twenty minutes or so.  But in the afternoon, when the sun moves round, it does have a tendency to hit 30-32 degrees.  Nice if you're in a beer garden, shite if you're in an office.  I'm tired enough as it is without having to work in a furnace as well! 

And "they" say we don't need air-conditioning here as it "only tends to be hot three days a year".  Global bloody warming mate, global bloody warming. 


Okay, rant over..

..for now..

However, I'd imagine posts around here may be a little grumpier next week, and for that I apologise in advance, but you have been warned.

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Thursday, July 13


Did anyone watch the BBC Three comedy show "Grownups"?

If so, did you happen to see the episode called Chimps where a game of Scrabble was undertaken to win tickets for a secret gig.  If you saw it, what was the winning word????

The character who won, Claire, was asked to use the disputed word in a sentence and she said the following:
"I beat you in Scrabble by using the word <forgotten-word>".

There's a bet on the outcome of this, involving the purchase of donuts.. so any assistance (and evidence to back it up) would be appreciated.

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No more vouchers! Hooray!

From Computing, dated 13th July 2006

"Liverpool FC kicks off season with smart tickets

Liverpool Football Club is to issue season ticket holders with contactless smartcards this year following a successful trial at its Anfield Stadium last season.

The club has installed smartcard readers at all 80 turnstiles and could eliminate tickets altogether by 2008, according to IT manager Ken Webster.

He says the smartcards will replace the 28,000 season ticket voucher books issued each year, improve security and make entering the stadium quicker. 

'The speed of processing and identification on match day will speed up access as fans do not even have to take the smartcard out of their wallet,' said Webster.

Smartcards also reduce the risk of forgery and ticket touting as the cards will be retained by fans throughout the season.

Supplier Fortress launched the cards with a limited trial two years ago before installing readers at all gates at Anfield.

Ovum analyst Graham Titterington says many clubs are adopting smartcards but costs limits it to large teams.  He does not believe paper tickets will be phased out completely.

This would create problems when dealing with casual or away fans as there will always be some fans who attend just a few games and it would be too expensive to give them all chip-enabled cards,' he said.

So no more season ticket vouchers?  Splendid.

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Wednesday, July 12

Windows Movie Maker Question

This may be a wild stab in the dark, but is there anyone out there who has any knowledge about Windows Movie Maker?

I have edited a 15 minute movie*, and would like to save it in a DV video format from the software (as this will be the best quality output to convert and burn to DVD).. However every time I try to save the movie, the program seems to throw a bit of a fit, and ends up generating a 18 gigabyte file that has a running time of one hour and twenty six minutes!?!?  Now the original (unedited) footage I originally imported from the camcorder is only 22 minutes long, so quite where this mysterious hour and four minutes have come from I have no idea??

I have tried saving the project under a different name and selecting a different destination for the movie, but the file that gets output is still 18 gig in size.  This is very annoying.

If it turns out that I cannot output a DV AVI - what's the best file format available (from the non-Media Centre version of Windows Movie Maker) in terms of quality? 

Alternatively is there any alternative packages that can do the capture from a DV camcorder, editing (including digital wipes between edits for that truly George Lucas look between scenes) and burning directly to DVD?

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated..

* - Aye, this is a very "proud Dad" movie, but I care not as she looks very cute all the way through and her grandparents in Spain will be very pleased to receive the DVD (as they have not seen her since June) if I can ever get the sodding thing to work...

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P.M. Drinkies

So I had a day off work yesterday, and consequently we found ourselves in the afternoon with lot of time in our hands.  It was a warm day, the sun was out, the baby was sleeping contentedly so we did what anyone in that situation would do - nipped to the local..  I tell you, drinking in the afternoon is a dangerous move (particularly if, like us, you have to stop).  Still feel sleepy now.

C'est la vie

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Monday, July 10

The horror! The horror??

Sat through the 2005 version of "House of Wax" last night as I  was looking forward to enjoying a good horror movie.  The main appeal of this particular flick for me was that Paris Hilton (the heir-head) was supposed to be brutally murdered during the movie (and that is true, not as soon as I would have hoped, but it was quite violent, so hurrah!).  Also it was described as "gory" so I was looking forward to something reminiscent of Halloween, Evil Dead or the Nightmare on Elm Street flicks (before they got camp and rubbish).  You see I used to really enjoy a good horror movie, I used to really like a good scare from movies like "Return of the Living Dead", "The Thing", Cronenberg's "The Fly", "Re-animator", etc, etc..

But you know what?
They just don't make good horror movies any more.
All of the surprises in last night's flick you could see coming a mile off (you know the signs, character goes off to explore on their own, music gets tense, suddenly character moves to edge of frame, music dies, silence, character turns and (with a loud crescendo from the score) bam! They turn right into the monster.. yawn..), and although the gore was a tiny bit gross, mostly it just had me laughing at the inventiveness of the deaths as opposed to really recoiling in horror. 

Why don't they make proper, scary, Certificate-18 horror flicks any more?  They all seem to be certified for "ages 15 or over" at the moment, which is probably to attract the brain-dead teen audience who are just looking for a few "jump" moments so they can cop a handful of breast in the dark.  And whilst there is a market for that, somebody should be trying to make proper dark and unnerving horror films with at least a semi-intelligent plot and characters who's concerns go beyond "what college to go to after the Summer".


Because they all suck.. your "Final Destination", your "House of Wax", your "Jeepers Creepers" (jeez -even the names sucks, ffs!).  They are teeny trash and there isn't a scare worth having between the lot of them.

And before anyone starts banging on about Japanese cinema here, if I see one more flick with a freaky pale kid, with dank dark hair, who moves in an odd way (The Grudge, Ring), I'll throw up.

So is anyone listening?
Can we please get a decent horror flick?

p.s. A non-remake would be nice too, thanks!!

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So a fond farewell to the World Cup, you kept me entertained for most of the month and whilst the end result leaves me feeling slightly cheated (I cannot put my finger on why exactly, and it's not something as simple as England not winning it), the competition certainly had it's memorable moments.

And a temporary farewell to the good Doctor.  What an end to a series that was, I felt exhausted by the end of it all. 

Weekends won't be the same for a good while now will they?  Seems an age until the Community Shield brings football back to the fore.

Still, I have the odd behaviour of "Windows XP Movie Maker" to keep me amused for the next few weeks, as I play the "Guess when it's gonna crash" game, or (alternatively) the "Try and work out why it generated a 18Gb file for 15 minutes of video" game.  At some point I will get my directorial debut onto DVD, but it questionable as to whether I will still have hair left by then!

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Friday, July 7


So the tickets to see Lordi in the Academy turned up yesterday (I know it will be pure cheese, but I really don't care. I think it will be very amusing and there may be the odd good riff in there somewhere. Anyway "Hard Rock Hallelujah" is actually quite catchy!  Where's your sense of humour gone?  You've changed, man!). Anyway when I had the tickets in hand, I glanced at the date: Sunday 29th October.  And it hit me. Did you know that I'll be married then!? So I won't be taking my fiancée with me, I'll be taking my wife!??  (Calm down I'm talking about the SAME person here, d'uh!).  This will, though, be my first gig as a married man.  Blimey. 

Now that Kirstyn is here, the wedding seems to be speeding along toward me at a shocking rate.. I mean the stag do is here in less than a month!! ( - if you ain't checked out the site recently, why not drop by?).  I'm glad that we got so much organised before the whole birth thing occurred as there isn't a lot to be done now (especially now that everyone has RSVP'd - big thank you for that peeps!) and I can imagine that trying to sort out anything last minute with a baby to look after (even if she is a cutie) could be a bit of a 'mare to be honest.  I'll admit that I was wrong to mock Liz's attention to detail and organisation early on, as we really don't have too much to worry about until September now..

(Touch wood and all that..  no, no, no, no, not "Torchwood" Leon, I was being superstitious).  So I guess it means that the last gig I saw a single man will be the "Foo Fighters" (unless anyone has some spare G n R tix?)..

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Thursday, July 6

Rafa Benitez gets himself a brazilian..



What were you thinking?

South American footie at Anfield. Exciting times indeed.
Let's hope that Aurelio, Paletta (from Argentinia) and Gonzalez (from Chile) make a huge impact on the Premiership next season.

Wonder if the Kop will struggle with those names for a chant though?

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Wednesday, July 5

This is a call..

Television is a great thing these days, it can be just viewed passively or you can interact with it. You can press that red button, you can choose your camera angles, you can influence the direction of the debate on-screen, you can determine the fate of those in the show.

Now normally for me TV is a passive activity, and never more so than when I'm watching "Big Brother". This is despite the fact that it is now so far removed from being a "social experiment" that it has become pure pantomime.. (think about it: we cheer the hero, we boo the baddies, you can almost hear the crowd shouting "He's behind you!!" on any given eviction night).

This week, though, I'm going all interactive..


Because Richard must be evicted..


I wouldn't normally give a toss but this Moosefucker decided to declare war on Wales last night, by slagging Glyn, Imogen and the country that they (and, incidentally, I) hail from. The Canadian sausage jockey had a right go, so even though Lea and her Oilies ("The SWINES!") have irritated me for weeks, Richard must go. I mean what's so fucking great about Canada? Let's not forget they've still never publicly apologised for Celine Dion, and they're all jealous and secretly wish they were American. And they fuck Mooses.
So evict Richard right now (you know you want to)..

And here's how..

Text RICHARD to 84444
(Texts cost 50p, plus std msg rate)
Call 09011 32 33 12
(Calls cost 50p, mobile and other network rates may vary)
10p from every vote will go to charity

Go on, make my day - evict the Moosefucker!

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Monday, July 3



It's hot.

Damn hot!

There's a thermometer on my desk which is currently reading 31 degrees Celsius.

That's the sort of temperature that's fabulous if you're on a beach, but sucks if you're stuck in an office which is distinctly lacking air conditioning.  I reckon that you could fry an egg on the back of my monitor (although have been advised by Support not to test that theory).  The temperature's not dropping much at night either so, consequently, I got a shit night's sleep.

So now it's hot and I'm tired.

It's damn hot and I'm tired.

But not as hot as that episode of "Doctor Who" the beeb screened over the weekend.. Cybermen and Daleks.  Void ships.  Torchwood.  Eastenders gags.  It was a classic.  Bring on the series finalé it's gonna be a scorcher.

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