Friday, November 28, 2003

I'm A Stalwart! 

Oh dear I took the Guardian consumer quiz and this is what it says about me:

You're not into labels for the image. You aren't really out to make a statement - but you like things to work. You are happy to pay more for better value - you are an M&S stalwart, but you also love John Lewis, Volvos, Andrex, Heinz baked beans, Radio 2, Guernsey jumpers and all things quintessentially British. Buying things on the cheap would make you feel uncomfortable.

What brand of consumer are you?

Blunkett Or King Herod? 

This is Steve Bell of the Guardians view on the Governments latest policy for taking children of failed asylum seekers into care. Hmmmmm? For the report click the image to get links to the story.

There are many thing I agree with that Blunkett wants to do, but sometimes he just gets about it all wrong. If they are failed asylum seekers and refuse to leave the country, then the answer is simple escort them all onto a plane which will return them to their country of origin and do not allow them off until the plane is in the air. What's hard about that?

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Programmers - Keep Yourselves Employed Forever 

In the interests of creating employment opportunities in the Java programming field, I am passing on these tips from the masters on how to write code that is so difficult to maintain, that the people who come after you will take years to make even the simplest changes. Further, if you follow all these rules religiously, you will even guarantee yourself a lifetime of employment, since no one but you has a hope in hell of maintaining the code. Then again, if you followed all these rules religiously, even you wouldn't be able to maintain the code!

You don't want to overdo this. Your code should not look hopelessly unmaintainable, just be that way. Otherwise it stands the risk of being rewritten or refactored.

How To Write Unmaintainable Code provides an essay in how to ensure you keep yourself in work for years to come.

The Johnny Depp Quiz? 

Which Johnny Depp character are you?

You Are Gilbert From "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?"

You are very giving and self-sacrificing. You're always there to lend a helping hand to family and friends. However, this generous nature often robs you of fulfilling your needs and desires, and may cause you to become resentful. Find a way to balance your kindness with your independence.

Take The Johnny Depp Quiz!

Via Pip

Profanities interfere With Blogging 

Yes a four letter word has got in the way of Blogging. That word is work and it is likely to prevail for the rest of the week.

Monday, November 24, 2003

So What Was I called At School? 

Last week one of my blogs listed a number of possible names that I was called at school, Audrey suggested that it might have been Mick or Horse and no one else has bothered to join in. So to bore you even more, it's time to reveal the answer to this irrelevant and boring piece of information:

The answer is Harry. I was called this for years, from the infants right through until I left full time education. I thought I could get rid of it when I started college at the age of 18, but oh no, as I walked into my first lecture who should be sat at a desk in front of me but a guy from my old school who I knew, but didn't really hang out with. He turned out to be a good friend in the end, though sadly he is no longer with us. When he turned around that day and greeted me with a cheery "Now Then Harry, what are you doing here?" my thoughts were "That's done it" and it had.

Of the other names listed, Michael is only ever used by my parents, brothers and sisters or friends that my grandmother might have berated, if they ever tried to call me Mike or Mick in her hearing.

I got called Mick during a period that I played football for a team in the Basingstoke and District league in the early 1980's, on account of they already had one Mike in the team when I joined.

Mike is what I'm am called nowadays by friends and work colleagues.

I was sometimes called Animal, but only on a football pitch during my later school and college days, it was down to my style of play, think Nobby Stiles and Billy Bremner, except I was never booked or sent off. I was small but was scared of no-one and would hurtle into tackles with carefree abandon.

Finally Horse: I was never called Horse by anyone though I did know someone who was called that because his brother looked like a horse. It's funny, he never found out why he was called horse, nobody was cruel enough to tell him why.

Where does Coffdrop fit into all this? That's another story that started when a company I once worked for registered me as a representative on CompuServe years ago.

Oh Dear! 

To drink my weight, I would have to chug 255 bottles of beer or 157 pints of beer if I go to the pub.
How big is your beer belly?
Powered by the mighty Rum and Monkey.

Nicked from Skin.

Well Done England 

Well I have to say a hearty "Well Done"to the English Rugby team, who I'm sure you all know by now won the World Cup after extra time. It was a tense game throughout and,though the conditions didn't help, it was a game mistakes where despite dominating the play for long periods, England contrived to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Thankfully the boot of Jonny Wilkinson decided the game in the last minute of extra time.

I'm sure the bars of Sydney rocked to the strains of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" on Saturday night, I know one bar in Brisbane did. My brother and the 4 other England fans in the place, were asked to leave because they wouldn't stop singing it during a karioke competition. But then my brother never knew when enough was enough.

As for Australia, they can hold their heads up too, they put in a fine performance to push England to the limits on the day.

Friday, November 21, 2003

There's A Mug Born Every Minute 

I've just come across this old auction on eBay: eBay item 3626767629 (Ends Sep-19-03 04:01:20 PDT) - New Folder for Windows XP.

I can't believe there were 9 bids for the item. I'd have sold any number of them for £1 apiece plus post and packing.

The Friday Five 

I don't normally do this and I probably won't do it again, but I'm stuck for inspiration at the minute so here goes:

1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year.2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again.
I'm still in contact with all but a few of my real friends, though there are one or two I was friends with at school and wouldn't mind hearing from to see how they are doing, I realise that everyone has moved on since those days. Living in the past is a mistake and as Pogo intimates, it's never the same.

3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do.4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery (no limit).5. List five things you do that help you relax.

It's Bad Enough In The Garden Centres 

Last night I had the misfortune to espy the first house in our village to be decked out in Christmas decorations. As with most of these idiots that start celebrating the festering season too early: It Smacked Of Naffness!

A work colleague a has just told me a house over the road from him in Liverpool has had Christmas decorations up since Halloween.

Humbug, two weeks before the event is more than adequate.

He Taught Me To Yodel, - YodelYahahoo..... 

Yodelling cowboy Wylie Gustafson and Yahoo!, who used Wylie's trademark yodel for it's ads, recently kissed and made up, after Gustafson treatened to sue Yahoo for using the ads beyond the termination date.

Now The Register reports: ....this loving relationship pretty well turned into a full-blown marriage as the high plains yodeler helped the company warble the world mass yodelling record into submission..... This is no mean feat, to be sure. No fewer than 1,773 yodelers were required at Yahoo!'s headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, for the historic event.

I'm sure glad I wasn't there.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Who Am I? 

One of the following descriptions relates to a name I was generally known by in school, Can you guess which one is it?:
  1. The name of Harry gives you a very individual, reserved, serious nature. You prefer to be alone with your own thoughts, rather than in the company of others. This name restricts spontaneity in association and the fluency of your verbal expression. When you are required to express yourself in personal matters requiring finesse and diplomacy, you feel awkward and embarrassed. Although you realize perfectly well what is expected of you, you are unable to find the right words, and hence you end up saying something inappropriate in a candid way. You can express your deeper thoughts and feelings best through writing.
  2. Your name of Michael gives you a clever mind, good business judgment, a sense of responsibility, and an appreciation of the finer things of life. You are serious-minded and not inclined to make light of things even in little ways, and in your younger years you had more mature interests than others your age. Home and family mean a great deal to you and it is natural that you should desire the security of a peaceful, settled home environment where you can enjoy the companionship of family and friends. Whatever you set out to accomplish you do your very best to complete in accordance with what you consider to be right
  3. The name of Mick makes you very idealistic, sensitive, and inspirational. If these qualities are not understood and properly directed through music, art, or other creative expression, you could become jealous and possessive of those close to you. Your feelings are so strong that you are inclined to build your life around certain individuals and become wrapped up in personal love rather than seeking into the deeper truths of life; thus you could suffer losses in your affections and shattered ideals. You are generous and people are drawn to you because of your friendly and sympathetic nature
  4. The name of Mike has given you a very imaginative, creative mind. You always have new ideas, but too often they are for an easy way out of a difficulty, or an easy way of making money. You are not inclined to apply yourself consistently to a job and to reach the fulfilment of your goals through perseverance and hard work. The influence of this name has caused you to feel unsettled emotionally and mentally. You are never satisfied with conditions, because your feelings and desires are so changeable. Hence you seek change in order to have the opportunity for travel, new experiences, and new friends and associates. There are people in your association who could influence you unfavourably and thereby mislead you; disillusionment, embarrassment, and bitter experiences then become your lot.
  5. Your name of Animal makes you quick-minded, versatile, and very expressive. You are adaptable and creative in responding to new situations. This name has given you an interest in people and a desire for new experiences. You have the ability to create a favourable first impression, and so you could do well in the fields of sales promotion or entertainment. The use of this name creates a lack of stability in your affairs as you are inclined to procrastinate or to be too impulsive in your decision making.
  6. Your name of Horse gives you the ability to understand people and to merge conflicting viewpoints to create harmony in association. You dislike facing issues or witnessing hurt feelings. You make friends easily but must guard against becoming involved in the affairs of others or being too easily led. You could do well working with the public giving advice, where you can use your skills in diplomacy in handling people, but where you are not under pressure or required to carry responsibility and make decisions.
The descriptions come from the Kalabarian Philosophy website, and the idea for the game came from this weeks Kaleidoscope tasks.

Strange Internet Search 

My site hasn't had too many hits as a result of strange search criteria for a long while, but this one today remedied that: (looking for job for egg tart at SINGAPORE).

I don't know about getting a job for an egg tart, but I could just eat one now.

Another New Garden Visitor 

Mrs C spotted a grey heron stalking round the pond yesterday, it made several attempts to stick it's beak into the water before giving up and flying off. I think/hope that due to the way the pond is built the heron may be finding it difficult to get into the only shallow part that it could wade in.

Mrs C said it was a pretty looking bird even if it does stalk the fish. I agreed, herons are nice looking birds of the feathered kind, but the bamboo poles and monofilament fishing line are going to make an appearance at the weekend, just to help discourage the feathered predator a little bit more.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Who's Whingeing Now? 

The Australians have called us whingeing Poms for years, but now the boot is on the other foot. With the Rugby World Cup Final fast approaching they are doing all in their power to win the war of nerves. It all starts with their press claiming we are playing boring rugby, they also claim that the only weapon we have is Jonny Wilkinson, there are calls to change the rules to lower the points tally of drop goals in order to stop teams (England) taking advantage of good field positions. The rules for the weekend game say 3 points are available for drop goals, so it's the same for both teams you take any points that are on the table, you can be sure the Aussies would.

This bleating is all very well, but it's all very hypocritical from a nation that have produced so many good sportsmen, they are showing themselves to be extremely bad sports.

The whole suggestion that England play boring rugby is both rude and disrespectful, the way that England play is dictated from game to game. All teams play to their strengths to play any other way is stupid. Take for example the last time England met Australia in a World Cup Final, 1992: the Aussies launched an incessant attack on England's lack of style, Will Carling abandoned our 10-man game to play more expansive game, Australia won 12-6 and David Campese has never shut up about how they conned us.

We never heard anyone moaning 4 years ago when the South African Jannie De Beer kicked a world record 5 drop goals to knock us out in the Quarter Finals, nor did the Wallabies complain when they knocked out South Africa in the 1999 semi-final at Twickenham with a 50 yard drop goal from Stephen Larkham. Australians claimed that particular drop goal was a thing of rare beauty.

The Aussies are moaning now because England have a player who can kick drop goals consistently and make it look easy, if it was that easy you can bet everyone would do it.

Just to quote a former Rugby League star, Alex Murphy who once said: "I'll just have to kick more drop goals to get the same number of point then, that's all" when the 13 man game reduced the number of points available for a drop goal. The reduction was brought about because Alex Murphy was a master of the drop goal in Rugby League and all the other teams ganged up for a rule change. The change didn't stop him kicking goals or winning games for the Saints.

A final message to the whingeing Australian press: For goodness sake stop whingeing and play the game to the rules in force on the day, your whingeing and moaning is becoming pathetic.

A New Visitor 

It seems that we have had our first visit from a squirrel, well Mrs C has just phoned to say that she has seen a grey squirrel running along the fence, the first we have seen since moving in nearly 4 years ago. I reckon it's after the seed on the bird table, but a big fat collar dove is munching on those at the moment.

We had a pheasant in the garden on Saturday, the wildlife activity really seems to be increasing this year.

It Never Rains But It Pours 

My mother phoned me this morning to inform me that my sister went into hospital last night with appendicitis, that makes it 3 in the family that have had or will have had operations, in the last month: Mrs C, my sister- in-law in Australia (caesarian birth last week), and today my sister will have an operation on to sort out her problem. Who's next?

Apparently the health service in Middlesbrough doesn't send out doctors on call at night, so my sister had to drive 7 miles to a doctor who would see her, this doctor diagnosed the probable cause of the problem, my sister then had to drive back home to dump her car and then find her way to hospital. What happened to service? I don't think there is any such thing anymore, I suppose she should be grateful that she doesn't have to pay for the treatment.

It's such a contrast to how Mrs C has been treated since it was discovered she had cancer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Todays Unreliable Fact! 

Invention for the protection of the public:

Politics was invented in the 1900s as a form of "care in the community". It was recognised that a number of people were too feeble-minded, argumentative or aggressively ambitious to hold down a proper job, and politics was invented so as to give these people a channel for their energy, to protect the rest of the population. It was never intended to be taken seriously by anyone.
From The Brains Trust

It's a beauty and could almost be true.

The London Underground In 3D? 

Ever wondered what the London underground looked like in 3D? Click here to see one guy's attempt to illustrate it.

Monday, November 17, 2003

PC Upgrade 

I've just ordered one of these for my PC. I hope it will be worth it.

The Worst Face Of The CSA! 

Roy over at In The Presence Of Idiots is having a set to with the CSA on behalf of his son, take a look and give him some support.

Sometimes the CSA do a good job but on many occasions they wield their power extremely unfairly, this looks to be one of those, unfortunately too many, ocassions. I hope you win this one Roy.

So You Think ID Cards Are A Good Thing? 

I did once too, but I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that there are more things against the idea of cards than for them, especially with the current politically correct obsessed incumbents in power:

Peter Hitchens sums up the potential problems very nicely in an article that starts:

"Most people accept the idea of identity cards because they wrongly think that the authorities are on the same side as the rest of us.

Too few of us yet realise that this simply is not so any more. That is because they are not paying attention.....

And then it's all over. The relationship between citizen and State is turned upside down. A country where for centuries the authorities had to justify their existence to the people, will in future force citizens to justify their existence to the State......."

Read about the rest of this Orwellian nightmare here.

When Saturday Comes 

No not the film of the same name, but the dreaded weekly Asda shopping experience. To be honest I don't mind these weekly chores, Mrs C hates it, but I have to admit this Saturday left me somewhat naffed off to say the least.

OK it was Saturday and as expected it was busy, but the store seemed to be full of the worst sort of shopper. You know:
Arrrrgh it was hell out there, but the one thing that really got up my nose was the idiot of a woman, who I stepped back for, to allow through the exit door in front of me. She without a nod or a thank you pushed her trolley slap bang in the middle of the door, stopped opened her hand bag, took out her packet of 20 Benson and Hedges, calmly removed one, replaced the packet, rummaged for a box of matches, lit a match, lit her bloody cancer stick, took a deep draw, replaced her matches, then and only then pushed he trolley out of the way allowing the build up of traffic behind her to clear.

She looked at me incredulously when I called her an inconsiderate idiot who might actually develop some brain cells, if she stopped smoking for a year or two. She just couldn't see what I was getting at? Well I'd had enough by then. No wonder Mrs C hates it so much.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Beware! Web Hijacking Takes A New Turn In the High Street 

Just when I ran out of things to say I came across this little beauty:

A new low has been achieved in online marketing. Belkin, maker of several consumer networking products, has configured its hardware routers to hijack the web browsing of people using it. Once every eight hours, the software running the router will drop whatever it is the user is doing and load an advertisement at belkin.com.

The main outlet I have seen for Belkin products in this country is of course PC World. I was thinking of buying a new USB hub and will certainly avoid Belkin products as a result of this news. If only for its protest value.

Minor Distractions 

I'm the 48,844,687 richest person on earth!

Discover how rich you are! >>

It really doesn't feel like it.

25 %

My weblog owns 25 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?

Both via about pip

Oh Hum! 

Blog Block, it must be the time of year.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

The 80's Lyrics Quiz 

How good are you with lyrics from the 1980's? I scored a hopeless 47.55 and 5 points of those came from saying where I found the link, it also told me that I must have worked in a bank in the 80's, I suppose the civil service is near enough. I did better than I thought I would to be honest as I haven't really took much notice of the music scene since 1985.

Thanks to Zoe for the link.

Last Night 

When I got home from work last night, my daughter told me that I had just missed two Asian guys who wanted to speak to me. When I asked what about, she told me that they wanted to know who supplied my power, but they would call back anyway.

I was really disappointed when they didn't return, I was really looking forward to telling them that such things are my business not theirs, in maybe a more forceful manner than written here. Door to door hawkers really piss me off.

We had two in the space of two days last week trying to get me to change my supplier, one young girl from NPower who couldn't understand that I didn't want to save £50 a year by signing up to her deal and, one from Scottish Power whom I told to look at his fucking records before pestering me. I'm already signed up with them. Pillock.

The PC Brigade Are At It Again 

According to this report: Comedians at the British Comedy Awards have reportedly been told not to tell jokes about the Royal family.

It's reported by the Daily Mirror that participants in the show have been told not to make fun of the crisis involving Prince Charles.

I'd have thought there was no need to issue a warning, the Royal Family are a bigger joke than anyone can make up.

It's True - Guinness is Good for You 

experts from Wisconsin University have discovered that a pint of the black stuff a day can reduce the risk of heart attacks.

The researchers say it works as well as aspirin in preventing blood clots that can lead to heart attacks.
(source Ananova.

I think I'll finish early tonight to make up for lost pints.

Fortune Teller Cursed Money Scam - Strike Two! 

I've recently reported on someone trying this con-trick in America well, it seems the scam has now surfaced in Russia.

According to Ananova: A teenage girl was left trying to explain to her parents how she had lost their life savings after a fortune-teller conned her out of £25,000.

The 13-year-old girl, from Moscow, was tricked into handing over the cash after seeing a fortune-teller who told her that the family's savings were cursed.

There are some really gullible people in this world. I'd have just said, "Yes you are damned right it's cursed, it's cursed to stay in my pocket now just wait there for 5 hours whilst I call the police".

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Ride In Your Own Chauffeur driven Limo' - Just Break The Law 

Ananova: Prisoners are being transferred between jails in luxury chauffeur-driven Mercedes cars because of a shortage of armoured vans.

It seems that hiring an E-class Mercedes Benz cars with leather seats, air conditioning and professional drivers, to transport inmates between jails is cheaper than running prison vans. Why not just give them the keys and let them drive themselves to their destination, that way the cost of a driver could be saved.

Personally I think we could save even more money, by cuffing them up in a clapped out bangers and pushing them over the edge of Beachy Head. Mind we would have to pay for a clean up operation after.

A Designer Label You Don't Want To Wear 

Bouncers at the Filling Station would not admit a woman carrying a Burburry umbrella, because Burberry has become fashionable with football hooligans reports Ananova

It seems that in some cases it is a disadvantage to be a slave to designer labels.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Simulations, Civilizations And Changing History 

Pogo today wrote about his latest obsession, Sim City, a computer simulation which, I must admit, had me hooked for a time.

Having said that I quickly moved away from Sim City, when I bought a cheap copy of Championship Manager 2 in 1999. CM is a football management game in which you get to choose your preferred team to manage, train, players, buy and sell and generally imitate the Hurley burly of Professional football. I was soon hooked and managing my favourite teams and, once I'd found a good tips site I found myself propelling them to Premiership and European glory, rather than trying to stave off liquidation and relegation. I later obtained updated copies (CM 00/01 and CM 01/02) and continued my exploits with favourite clubs and teams from the lower regions of world football, I even went on to write stories of my teams exploits on popular CM message board, though those days are gone for a number of reasons. Whilst I still enjoy playing CM, I've moved onto another obsession now.

Following the recent BBC2 series called Time Commanders, a game show where contestants get to relive some of the greatest battles in history and fight against some of the greatest generals and armies in history, I found myself thinking I wouldn't mind a go at that. So when some gaming friends informed me that the battle engine used in the programme was based on Rome Total War (RTW) a computer game due to be released around March 2004, I was intrigued and slightly disappointed at the same time. That soon disappointment was soon overcome when I found that the forerunners to RTW were already available under the Medieval Total War (MTW) brand/game engine, which recreates campaigns, strategies and battles between a number of factions, during a period spanning from 1087-1453. Suffice to say a copy of it has been acquired and is duly under test. It's only early days yet but I'm finding it quite fun game to play and it's right up my street.

The producers of the game also have other time periods covered, namely: Viking Invasion, an expansion pack to MTW which starts in 793AD and the Japanese Shogun Total War which takes place in 16th century Japan.

Now all I have to do is find out why MTW causes XP to reboot every few turns. Maybe I really need to get the most up to date patches.

Tips For Bloggers 

How do I start a blog? How do I find readers? How do I change my template? Where should I promote my blog? What tools should I use to make my blog more interactive?

Darren Rowse has written a series of blog tips and is looking for feedback, and any other tips people may wish to offer.

In his own words: Basically I’m interested in creating a place for bloggers to come for a bit of stimulation from other bloggers trying new things. It looks as if it could be a useful reference site.

Stockton Council Are Heritage Wreckers. 

Sometimes I really do despair at the decisions made by Council planning departments. This story about the destruction of the most northerly surviving Roman villa complex in Europe has left me seething.

"The most northerly surviving Roman villa complex in Europe is here in the heart of Teesside but it is soon to be almost all destroyed for executive housing."

A descision to grant planning permission, without any archaeology restraints, some 30 years ago by Stockton council, means that almost all the site will be lost to housing developments forever.

I find it strange that planning consents for developments on my property only last for five years, how is it that the above mentioned consents are not now out of date?

Monday, November 10, 2003

I'm Back 

Well I'm back at work after nearly a week of watching over Mrs C. She is happy to be home but is getting a bit depressed at how long it will take to recover from the operation. She is able to potter around but cannot lift anything heavier than a kettle for 6 weeks minimum, it will probably be nearer 3 months, which hasn't helped her mood. Whilst she is able to walk about the house at her own pace, she still finds it tiring.

We went out for a drive yesterday, and had a light lunch in a small tea shop I know near Tarleton, in all we were out for 2 hours and though Mrs C enjoyed getting out of the house, she was still somewhat down by the end of the day.

Having said that the district nurses that visit cannot believe how well she looks and cannot believe that she is walking about the house fully dressed, apparently most people they have visited after major operations lounge about in pajamas all day. Mrs C is not one to let the grass grow under her feet, but I'll have to watch she obeys the doctors orders with regards to lifting things that is a definite no-no.

Thanks to everone yet again for all your good wishes and support.

Monday, November 03, 2003

The Homecoming: 

Mrs C was allowed home for the day on both, Saturday and Sunday and, guess what? It did her the power of good, she had two boiled eggs for breakfast on both days and also had a meat pie, which is what she fancied for a late lunch, again on both days. The only problem was she got a bit depressed at the thought of going back in, but at least she seems to have kick started her appetite because she said later in the day when ordering tomorrows meals, "I could just eat a lasagne or cottage pie".

The best news yet came this morning at 8:30, she rang me at work and said that once her stitches had been removed then she could come home, probably around 4pm. EXCELLENT.

I'll be taking a couple of days off, and will also try to work from home for the last two days, so please don't expect many if any updates here.

I would like to thank everyone for your kind messages of support, and good wishes, although Mrs C will need another operation (possibly in 3 months) to reverse a temporary bypass, I think we're on the up. Even better news the biopsy of the removed tissue where the cancer was found, shows absolutely no sign of malignant tissue, so the previous therapy worked.

I'll be back, but not for a while.

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