Tuesday, January 30


Weird things happened to my brain this afternoon.
It's probably the stress of work.

But I was looking at a Subway napkin, and the way that one tomato is offset started to quite disturb me.
It didn't take much imagination to read between the lines, the napkin seemed to be advocation of bullying and separatism, and a lack of tolerance between all tomatoes..


Surely all tomatoes should unite and stand together as one.
I shall be contacting my MP about the subliminal messages in the Subway napkin.

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Emotional Blackmail

I am the victim of emotional blackmail.
And the annoying thing is that the one perpetrating the blackmail is only eight months old!
Most mornings I escape being manipulated in such a way, as my daughter tends not to wake up until about eight o'clock (unless her emerging teeth are bothering her, she does seem to sleep quite well these days which is a blessing for all of us really), however on other mornings - and today fell into this category - Kirstyn will be up and about as I get ready for work. 
And she is a very happy child in the mornings (lord knows where she gets this from as neither me or her mother are sociable animals until the second coffee is surging through the system), she's all smiles and giggles and is playing quite nicely. 
All smiles, that is, until I put my coat on. 
Once I pull the sleeves of my jacket on, the smile fades, the giggles stop and I am officially sulked at. The bottom lip is stuck out, and a sad little face peers at me as if to say: "How can you even think about leaving the house?".  Now I know this is all for effect as I have it on good authority that as soon as I actually leave the house the smiles and giggles return.  However as I try to leave, she will do everything in her (albeit limited) power to make me feel as guilty as anything for having to go off to work.  And, let's face it, it's not as if I actually want to leave in the first place!
I knew daughters would try their best to wrap their fathers around their little finger, also she's a woman so emotional blackmail comes as naturally as swimming does to fish, however I wasn't prepared for the assault to begin at such a young age.  The cheeky madam. 

Monday, January 29


I appear to work in an industry where you're ignored if you do and damned if you don't. 
As you can imagine this has proven to be very demoralising here.  Now, I must admit, I tried my best to dig my heels in and refuse to do the ridiculous amounts of overtime that the "powers that be" demanded (not asked), yet even I weakened occasionally and "went the extra mile" for the company.  But I think I feel more for my colleagues who gave up weekend after weekend, and evening after evening only to be completely ignored when the praise was being handed out at the end of the process.  It's the final kick in the teeth. 
it just goes to show it doesn't pay to "go the extra mile" for these faceless corporations and businesses as the extra effort is never appreciated and, indeed, more often than not just becomes what they expect from you as a minimum.. They'll never go "the extra mile" and give you a couple of extra hundred quid in your pay packet if you're coming up a bit short at the end of the month, will they?  No the extra effort always goes one way.  The only thing to do is stick to your guns and stick to your hours, as per your contract of employment.
Work has indeed made me a cynic

Friday, January 26

It's a "grand" score..

Up there..
A thousand, baby.
Now I realise there are hardcore gamers out there who cleared a 1000 gamerpoints between mummy cooking them dinner and sending them to bed, but considering I only get a couple of hours a week on the ol' console, I'm quite chuffed to finally hit four figures.
The score also came at the end of one of the most difficult missions in "Dead Rising", which has been frustrating the hell out of me for about a week.  It's a testament actually to just how phenomenal the game is that it's keeping "Gears of War" out of the console completely at the moment (and "Gears" rocks!!)
So, yes, a real sense of achievement at the moment.. if only I could get anywhere near that level of satisfaction at work (which is, yet again, bobbins)

Wednesday, January 24

And we're back..

After this morning's outage, we're back.. Links restored, gamertag back in place.

I like this template. Tis groovy.


Work In Progress

Apologies for the "unfinished" look to the blog at the moment, I have changed the template (as you can see), however blogger is proving to be a stroppy madam at the moment and is not allowing me to edit the template's HTML.  So no gamercard at the top of the screen at the moment (which is annoying seeing as I am now dangerously close to the 1000 mark - woohoo!) and I'm afraid no links to Maff's, Pedders' and PJ's blogs (but only Maff posts these days anyway, so hopefully I'll have this sorted before you miss too much external content).
So, yeah, will get this sorted at some point today with any luck..
So binned off Sky last night, they had no comeback ("I'm getting a free HD box, will you offer me the same or will I have to pay £299?"), so serving 30 days notice with them at the mo.   Unfortunately, due to the fact we want to keep the same number, I never got the opportunity to personally bin off BT as Virgin are handling that cancellation, pity as I wanted to tell them that the company's gone downhill since they stuffed and roasted Buzby..  So, V+ arrives on Friday February 9th 2006 and finally the HDMI interface on the telly will be used..  Blinding.
Also played "Gears of War" on the 360 last night.. looks awesome, but am so close to possibly finishing "Dead Rising" at the moment, it's not going to get much of an opportunity for a hammering for about a week.  Must finish this game, as it is quite possibly the finest I have EVER played on any console.  Pity as Gears looks absolutely lush..  Ahh well, I'll get round to it

Tuesday, January 23

Second Class Post

Actually there's been nothing "Second Class" about the posts round here recently, they've simply been non-existent!  For unknown reasons I have just lacked the necessary inspiration to write anything for the last couple of days.. not to mention the time.
And this is despite the Mighty Reds seeing off Chavski at the weekend (which was one of those games that justify turning up every other week).
However, now I'm back.. feels good to be back in the ol' blog environment, kinda like pulling on a favourite pair of pants.
Today's that day I finally get to tell Mr Murdoch to "get stuffed".
Now I have long been an advocate of Sky+ as it really has been a fantastic gadget, but always in the back of my mind I've felt uncomfortable funding Rupert Murdoch's evil media empire.  But, until recently there was no viable alternative:  Freeview (or compression vision, as it's sometimes known) is a bit pants really (no Sky One? Are you mad?), and cable had no equivalent to the Sky+ box). 
And let me tell you, telly becomes quite important when there's not many babysitters around and you cannot go out on the razz as much as you used to due to the little 'uns asleep upstairs (not that I'm complaining, it's just a matter of fact.. this is the price of responsibility, I guess). 
So when I got a letter through yesterday telling me that Virgin had taken over NTL -they've become "Virgin Media"- and were now offering not only V+ (which is Sky plus for cable) but also telling me that V+ is HD out of the box (whereas Sky want me to pay £299 to upgrade my Sky+ (which I paid £149 for anyway) to HD), and they can do my telly, phone and broadband (with no drop in the level of service for us personally) for £20 cheaper a month, I'd be mad not to consider it.  After all V+ does all the things that Sky+ does, and arguably it's a wee bit better (record two channels whilst watching a third is an obvious bonus, as is getting all the 4On Demand stuff (apart from the Box Office movies) for free).
And I get to bin off BT too.. marvellous.
Still have a few techy questions, but I reckon today's the day I finally tell Sky to get stuffed.

Thursday, January 18


It's a tad windy out there, innit?
Apparently our garden gate is Absent Without Official Leave now, which is better I guess than -say- the chimney stack flying off the roof (well certainly less expensive and less hassle to replace), but still a faff.  According to reports, trees have been falling over, lorries have been falling over and there is just general traffic chaos everywhere this afternoon which should make the drive home all the more congested and frustrating.. Oh, joy!

Burning a hole in my pocket..

So, yeah, on Monday I had yet another birthday (I must be getting old now, these birthday's seem to be coming round a lot faster these days, blink and I'll miss my 40th!).. Yay, happy birthday me and all that.. 
And, as it's so close to Xmas and I can never think of anything I really want, I asked for some Amazon vouchers..
So rather than getting me a gift, everyone (apart from the Mrs and the kids as they wanted me to have something to physically "open" on the day) got me some Amazon vouchers, which was fabulous.
Except, despite the fact that I know they won't expire for 12 months, I have this overwhelming urge to go spend 'em.
Like, now..
Must.. spend.. vouchers..
My original intention was to hold off a couple of months until I'd finally finished "Dead Rising" and then go get a new game for the 360, something new and fresh.  After all the games tend to be quite expensive so I should probably get as far as I possibly can in one game before getting another.
But ever since I got back I've been scouring the recommendations pages and the "Coming Soon" pages on Amazon to try and find something to splurge out on with my vouchers.
Should I get "Gears of War"? 
How about "Lost Planet"? 
Perhaps I should go for something completely wacky like "Viva Piñata"? 
Or maybe I should hold off until something really amazing comes out that I simply must have (Resident Evil 5 is not long away!)...
Decisions.. decisions..
At least my dilemma is continuing to help me ignore Celeb BB. 
I deleted it from my Sky+ planner before we went away, and when I picked up a paper on the flight home I saw all this furore about racial abuse in the house, and I have seem to heard of nothing else since. 
Every news bulletin, every discussion show on five live.. Big Brother this, Big Brother that..
Burning effigies in India, the Prime Minister being questioned about the show -madness.
I don't know whether the alleged comments were made, or if this has all been a massive ploy by Endemol to restore flagging ratings.  Whatever.. I think they've ruined the format this year, and whatever has happened the show has become distasteful.  Life is better without it.

Tuesday, January 16


Greetings gentle reader,

Well it's been the best four days.. Amsterdam is one of the coolest destinations I've visited. The architecture is amazing, everywhere you look there are fascinating and unique buildings and structures to take in.. The locals are so damn friendly, the whole atmosphere was welcoming -and, yes- very chilled. Also, the public transport infrastructure is second to none, step off the plane, walk straight into the railway station into Centraal station in the middle of the city, and then straight onto a clean tram that runs efficiently on time.
It doesn't help half bring home just how much of the arse-end of Europe England really is.

And, yes, aside from admiring buildings and marvelling at the customer service and integrated transport system -we also had a a helluva laugh. Highlight of the trip include:
  • Boom Chicago - a comedy theatre that has shows pretty much every night. We saw a show called "Me, myspace & iPod" which was really hilarious.
  • It's kinda like "Who's Line Is It Anyway" but with far more audience interaction than you'd expect from that kind of show and some very, very funny gags..
  • The Heineken Experience which proved to be more fun than youe avaerage museum, well it cannot help being more fun - it's a frigging brewery!! Lots of Heineken can be consumed as part of the ticket price too!!
  • The Sex Museum which is a celebration of sex (well, mostly porn, but you cannot have one without the other) throughout the ages. Not half as tacky as it actually sounds, and actually a really interesting couple of hours.
  • The Dolphins - a few very agreeable hours were spent "under the sea" in this little place. Very cool indeed!

  • Now, it is very nice to see the kiddie-winkies again, but it was quality to spend a few days just with the wife. Almost feel calm enough to go face the crap at work again now..


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    Saturday, January 13

    Out of office reply

    Off to the 'dam - see you Tuesday!


    Thursday, January 11

    Cutting up a bit rough

    Blimey the weather is awful today, isn't it?
    It's blowing a blummin' gale out there.
    All you could hear on this morning's traffic reports were tales of overturned lorries (both directions on the M6, that just has to suck), and motorways like the M62 being closed to high-sided vehicles due to 80 mile per hour gusts of wind. 
    Of course, I only find out about these things now that I've finally dumped Radio 1. 
    Maybe I'm just getting old, but I was getting very tired of hearing the same three tunes on the drive in and again on the way home, five days a week.  Even if I hated a song, I still managed to be subjected to it twenty times a week!!!  So I had to seek out an alternative..
    Commercial radio was out as you have tend to have the same problem with such stations (except you're likely to hear the same song forty times a week, in-between lame adverts for double glazing similarly repeated ad nauseum) and I don't have a DAB radio in the car so there was only one thing for it:  Radio Five Live. 
    Now I feel frightfully informed on my drive in and home each day, as I get the major issues of the day in five minute bite-size chunks (Why are our energy bills continuing to rise when wholesale energy costs have fallen 50% in the last six months, for example).  It's all good.
    But, yeah, the weather..
    We seem to be stuck in this perpetual spring/autumn weather system now, don't we?  We've not really had a winter this year, it's been either very mild or a tumultuous storm, and I cannot think of many morning's at all when the temperature's even dropped near zero.  Strange times indeed..

    Wednesday, January 10

    Retro Gaming Rocks!

    Don't ask me how, but somehow the conversation in the office yesterday turned to Pac Man. 
    It is entirely possible we were discussing neurosurgery and, somehow, inexplicably, we managed to steer the conversation to something as trivial as a 1980s arcade classic.  The only shock is that the topic of conversation is actually quite a long way from scraping the barrel of filth where most of our conversations reside.
    Anyway, yeah, Pac Man..
    Dr Magnetic (he of the very moribund blog) mentioned that somebody had worked out that the ghosts went on different paths depending upon which fruit was shown in the maze (if you don't know Pac Man, I ain't going to explain it to you.. Needless to say, it's basic premise of running about in a darkened room, popping pills and listening to repetitive music could be seen as a reason that techno nightclubs were so popular in the late nineties!).  I found this hard to believe that a) the ghosts weren't random and b) that someone had sat there and worked out this fact.. It turns out to be true, though, as we looked it up on the font of all knowledge worth knowing: Wikipedia.
    And on Wikipedia, it showed that Pac Man had been converted to be available on the XBox 360 (from the live arcade).
    Live Arcade
    Pac Man in all it's 1980's glory.
    I used to be quite good at this, but I sucked for the first couple of games last night..
    But what a faithful conversion - it rocks!!!

    Tuesday, January 9

    January blues

    So January is continuing to be a grim and uninspiring month so far, although there is a bright shining ray of hope on the horizon, a glimmer of expectation of better things to come:  Yes, series three of Battlestar Galactica kicks off on Sky One tonight.
    Now, no doubt a few of you out there are scoffing (I can hear you now, actually.. scoffity-scoff-scoff) that it's been "available" on the internet for some time now, but I for one am glad I waited now as there really is bugger all else worth watching on the telly box at the moment.  This is particularly true since the weekend's developments in Celeb BB.  What a total arse they've made of the show by bringing Jade and her dumbass family in..
    Other good news: Our Russell brand tickets turned up today (good thing too, as I was starting to worry about their non-appearance, especially as my Nine Inch Nails tix turned up weeks ago).. Citing.
    Up to Level 25 in Dead Rising too, and am embarking on the fourth of seven cases to find "the truth" about the zombie outbreak...
    So there are some positives.. hurrah!
    Work still sucks and blows though - boo!

    Monday, January 8

    Which way did the weekend go?

    Cannot believe it is Monday again already..
    The weekend felt so much briefer due to the fact that I ended up coming into work on Saturday.
    Aye, I buckled. 
    I gave in. 
    I weakened. 
    Principals?  What Principals?
    The major difference this time was I was actually asked to come in (as opposed to being threatened), which kind of makes me respond better and also I came in to fix something specific rather than just coming in to "be seen".  So yes, Saturday was spent working - which sucked, going home and watching the football - which sucked, and then remembering we had to take down the Xmas tree and all of the associated decorations - which sucked.  After which Saturday was pretty much over.  
    Also have missed all of the celeb BB news this weekend as our Sky+ box has finally given up the ghost. 
    Despite numerous Planner Rebuilds and System Resets, it's coughed it's last and died.  Horribly.  So lost all of the weekend's recordings (and have, consequently, now missed two episodes of The West Wing back-to-back - CURSES!) too..
    Still Amsterdam beckons..
    ..and I squeezed out a couple more achievements from "Dead Rising"
    So not all bad then..
    Anyone care to fill me in on Celeb BB?

    Friday, January 5

    Gone Dutch

    Due to the fact that it will be the run up to my birthday, and mostly because the grandparents have very bravely elected to have the kids for four days, the Wife and I are off to Amsterdam next week. Hurrah! Think of it as a kind of birthday treat and mini-honeymoon (surely EuroDisney doesn't count?) all rolled into one.

    Now we only have three nights there, and so are looking for any recommendations about what to see and do (apart from the obvious, there's no need for innuendo in the comments section now, is there?) from anyone who's been before/recently..
    We did find, an internet guide to Amsterdam, which is a good starting point, but now would like some recommendations from friends/colleagues..

    Any info would be muchos appreciated..

    Am now off to listen to the intro music to "Van Der Valk"

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    Thursday, January 4

    Oh deary me..

    I guess last year's Celebrity Big Brother was always going to be difficult to top.. Few who watched will be able to forget George Galloway, Pete Burns and Micheal Barrymore's antics in the big brother house.. However it really did feel like the show couldn't match it's own success when it relaunched last night..
    We seem to be stretching the definition of the word Celebrity very far this year.. I mean at least Dirk Benedict, Leo Sayer and Jermaine Jackson we kinda recognised even if their hey-days were way behind them..
    But Carole Malone? Danielle Lloyd? Donny Tourette?
    (The crowd were bang on with their chants of "Who are ya? Who are ya?")
    I'm glad Davina was there to remind me these people were famous, otherwise I might have mistakenly thought it was the summer already.
    I'm sure once it gets going and the arguments start it'll all be good. (Russell already is back on form, Big Mouth really is the best vehicle for him on telly). However, until then, I'm sceptical.
    Still anyone still playing celebdaq must have the opportunity to clean up this year!!

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    Wednesday, January 3

    Life Goes On

    So after waiting ten years for "This Life" to return to our screens, I must admit to being very disappointed with the result. I can remember this show being essential viewing in the nineties, it was different to anything else being output at the time, it appeared to be written for my generation, it was vibrant and fresh. However last night's reunion special one-off show just seemed to demonstrate that the writers are completely out-of-touch with the generation that they once wrote so well for. In short they managed to turn all of the characters into massive wankers, and none of it rang true at all.


    Tuesday, January 2


    Well this is a shock to the system..
    You'd have thought it would have hit me earlier.. perhaps when the alarm went off? 
    No, managed to cope with that quite well to be fair. 
    Perhaps on the long drive in? 
    No, the roads were remarkably clear and it was quite a pleasant run this morning. 
    But, BAM!
    It's hit me now..
    I.. am.. back.. at.. work..
    It may take several coffee's to get over the initial realisation and get my head straight, then again.. I may never recover.
    Watch this space..   

    Monday, January 1

    Cor Blimey Guvnor, tis 2007

    Happy New Year to you all.. hope you've now recovered from the annual debauchery that is New Year's Eve and are now enjoying the first day of this new, funky year..

    Good to have a new year. 'Citing.

    This New Year, for me, really does seem like a blank page, this time last year already quite a lot of the 12 months ahead were all mapped out what with the arrival of Kirstyn, and the wedding. Whereas this year seems all shiny, new, undiscovered and exciting - rather like a new pair of underpants...

    Anyway not sure what lies ahead for the coming year, although I do know that I am back at work tomorrow.. Boo! Hiss!

    Oh, and I've found a perfect hangover cure: It's a 3 - 0 win over Bolton, my head felt miles better after that.

    L8er peeps

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