Tuesday, September 30, 2003

The Day Just Got Better 

It's nice to get one over on a big company, in this case it's Scottish Power.

Whilst we were away on holiday (blog still in the pipeline) we received a letter from the above company, inviting us to ring there customer services line and set a maximum limit to the price they can charge for gas and electricity over the next few years. The problem was the letter was dated August 2003 and the dealine to register for the scheme was 1st September. Great, the letter didn't arrive until the second week in September, not much use though I, but nothing ventured nothing gained, I called the number anyway.

Faceless bod: Scottish Power 'xxx' speaking how can I help.

Me: I received this letter from you regarding the setting a maximum limit on the price of gas and electricity, but the letter says I need to register before the 1st of September.

Faceless Bod: Yes that's right.

Me: Well that's not very good is it? I mean the letter is dated August and didn't reach us until last week. It clearly wasn't sent out before the deadline had passed.

Faceless Bod: [silence]

Me: How on earth can anyone qualify for the deal, it seems fishy to me.

Faceless Bod: Erm hang on a minute, [long pause], erm well your in luck the offer was so popular that we've extended the deadline until 31st October, so you can consider yourself registered. Just give me your customer number and we'll send confrmation in a couple of weeks.

Me: Hmmmmm? Right my account number is ........... Thank you, goodbye.

I wonder how many customers didn't bother phoning at all, or if they did phone how many accused the company of dodgy practices?

On The Bright Side 

I think my new copy of Windows Home XP arrived today, perhaps I can get down to rebuilding my home PC properly now that I have a legitamate installable operating system. If the parcel that Mrs C signed for this morning is XP, it was bloody quick, I only ordered it yesterday.

For the record I bought the product from The PCMan.

One Of Those Days 

The ISDN line is down yet again at work and we're stuck with an occassional 56k modem link, then there are bloody tax returns, add to that a visit to the dentist tonight, only a check up thankfully but she's brutal with that probe.

I should have stayed in bed.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Strange Behaviour In The Workplace (No. 2 In An Occasional Series) 

Story number two takes place in November 1978 in the small Hampshire market town of Basingstoke. I had only transferred to the town in September that year, on promotion to Executive Officer (EO) in the civil service, I won't mention any names or which department I was working for, to avoid embarresment to those concerned. I had spent the entire month of October on a COBOL programming course in London preparing me and another new guy to undertake the duties of programmers in the soon to be set up new computer in the department concerned. On our return we were met by to other new appointments to our grade, but in their case they were experienced programmers with 12 months under their belt.

Whilst we were awaiting a decision from those in power on which system we would be purchasing and the ordering of such a system, we 4 new programmers were given some general tasks to undertake, these included setting up and building the furniture in our shared office, normally this would be done by representatives from the Property Services Agency (PSA) but there would have been a minimum 6 week wait for them to turn up. So as early as 1978 I had my first experience of 'flat pack' furniture, years before anyone had heard about IKEA. Next up we were assigned to the Senior Executive Officer (SEO) who was responsible for costing the whole exercise he quickly set us to the task of writing reports detailing what we would need for this new computer system to work, with appropriate costings and depreciation tables etc. It's no surprise that we all found this extremely tedious, it was not what any of us had signed up for. Not to worry that was soon to change, our eyes were soon to be opened as to the workings of the civil service and what really happens behind closed doors.........

The SEO was overseen by a Principle who we rarely saw outside his office, except when he forgot to close his door and we caught him reading his library books, this was no secret we were regularly sent out on library detail to either renew his books or find something suitable for his next readathon. This guy had a large cyst on his head and we cruelly nicknamed him "two brains" behind his back. One day "two brains" got wind of the fact that we were not too happy about the delay in the ordering of computer equipment and decided to drag us all in and give us a pep talk. I don't know where it all came from but the pep talk consisted of him waffling on about how we would find programming difficult at first, propably for around the first 6 months, then it would all click into place. he claimed it was all about feeding 0's and 1's into computers backwards. We looked at each other and strained ourselves trying to keep a straight face, knowing full well that the last time "two brains" had been near a computer was back in the 50's, so VDU type terminals were totally unheard of in his world, just as backward 0's and 1's were alien to us. It provided some light relief, but more was to come.

Our SEO was an old school type, as straight as they come, drab grey suit, old school tie and he came from a Value Added Tax (VAT) background. He certainly didn't have the same sense of humour as any of us, but programmers are weird animals at the best of times, or so I'm told, but he did try to join in our chats, but unfortunately for him he laughed in all the wrong places. He became known as a bit of an old woman, sadly for him this view was further enforced the day he lost his tea cup and saucer:

The call went out to all his staff 1 Higher Executive Officer (HEO) and us 4 EO's to find his beloved cup and saucer. It was bone china you see, and he had kept it pristine through all his years in VAT and had no intention of losing it now. We were despatched to the four corners of the Area Office to hunt down the missing items. He was in dnager of having a breakdown, but all we could do was laugh, it was a ridiculous state of affairs, mangement staff running here there and everywhere to find a cup and saucer. We spent half a day in all looking for the missing cup, it was eventually found in a meeting room, that he had forgot he had been to. In that half day, the SEO had steadfastly refused offers of tea from loaned mugs and cups, he had to have his cup back.

I suppose you had to be there to see how funny it really was, I really believe that even if we had been snowed under with work at the time, he would have instigated the same search. The Area Office staff were incredulous at the waste of resources, some of them had been roped into the search, just to get us out from under their feet. It's no wonder that we were often looked upon as a bunch of wasters when things went wrong in future years.

Dave Clark Five Lead Singer Break His Neck 

I was saddened by the news that Mike Smith, the lead singer of the legendary 60's band, The Dave Clark Five, broke his neck after reportedly falling off a ladder at his home in Spain. Thankfully Mike is recovering in hospital after surgery.

Ananova - Boy, 9, 'drove car to school' 

Police in Norway are investigating after a nine-year-old boy was allegedly seen driving a car to school..... A 27-year-old family friend was sitting in the passenger seat, reports Bergens Avisen newspaper...... The man was supposed to take the boy to school but the two allegedly swapped seats at a shopping centre on their way to school. claims Ananova

They have obviously never visited Liverpool, the 9-year-olds drive cars unaccompanied, except by other 9-year-olds, there. It has been known for the ones who are too small to drive on there own, to have an accomplice sat in the floor-well operating the pedals, whilst another operates the steering wheel and gear change.

So Where Did You Go To My Lovely? 

I've a busy day ahead of me so I'll have to reveal all later in the week, it will also give me a chance to upload some photographs taken in the Cotswolds.

Fight Back Against Spambots! 

Are you sick of junk mail collected as a result of publishing your email address on your webpages? Well here's your chance to fight back and at least inconvenience those email address harvesters. Add the Spambot Stopper link to your webpages and send those nasty little bots to a loop that generates loads of false email addresses.

Many thanks to Quarsan for the link.

What Koi Variety Are You? 

I did this because of the number of fish I have recently bought for my pond:

You'll probably love eneri.net. What Koi Variety Are You?

Via Hippoblogopus.

What Language Are You? 

Ok I'm back, so let's start off with a couple of internet quiz thingies:

What Language Are You?:

Japanese or Korean
What Language Are You?

Via Hippoblogopus.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Silence is Golden 

I thought I'd just take some time out to explain why things are so quiet on here. There is some heavy stuff going down at work at the moment, and as I'm on holiday for a couple of weeks starting saturday, I've got my head pretty well down to get things sorted out.

That and the afore mentioned much needed holiday are likely to mean that posts will be extremely few and far between during the next two to three weeks. Hopefully I'll catch you all later, if you all don't find somewhere more interesting to frequent. That shouldn't be too hard a place to find either.

Just Thought I'd Say This 

It's okay, I understand
This ain't no never-never land
I hope that when this fish is gone
I'll see you when your clothes are on

The above are some lines from one of my all time favourite singles, but do you know what it is, without googling it?

It's not too hard....

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Speeding Motorist Plays The Flute 

German police who stopped a motorist for speeding discovered he had been steering his car with his legs while playing the flute.

A nifty trick at the best of times, but it was the following extract that worried me:

The motorist, who had been travelling at 80mph, said he needed to make use of the time he spent in the car to practise on his instrument.

Make of that what you will......

Now You can Sell Your Soul 

Your soul is worth £21699. For your peace of mind, 31% of people have a purer soul than you.

How much is your soul worth? Find out at We Want Your Soul.

Via: What You Can get Away With.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Google Hit 

It seems due to a spelling mistake somewhere in one of my blog entries, I'm rated number 3 on Google for the following search: how to heve the best orgasm.

The Horrors Of Moving House 

Pogo wrote today about the trepidation which a child feels during his first days at school, he made mention of the fact that he moved school a couple of times as a child when his parents moved house and hated it. That brought back a rather awful memory I have when we moved house and one of our children objected strongly to it, I promised to blog it, in Pogo's comments. Here is that story:

Back in 1989 we made a decision to move house, mainly because we had a very noisy neighbour whom I was on the verge of committing physical violence against. In those days the police weren't much help and didn't have much power nor did the local councils. The first house we put in an offer for was a new build they had a part exchange deal going, the builders sent round a surveyor he set a value on our house and verbal agreements were made. Within 2 days it all fell through the builder said that the fact that the kitchen needed replacing would cause the house to be on the market too long. Hah! What did they know? We put the house up for sale immediately and, privately and had 2 offers of the asking price within 2 days. I went back to the builders but they hadn't held open our offer though they still had our reservation fee. We'd actually been gazumped by someone offering cash rather than a PX. I read the riot act and demanded repayment of the fee with interest as they could only send a cheque from head office. I got the cheque the next day but no interest, so let it be known here RedRow, you are a bunch of bastards and I would never attempt to buy a house from you ever again, oh and your sales agent was a liar too. How do I know about the gazumping, well someone we know turned out to be a neighbour of the sales agent and we got the low-down from them.

Right with that mini rant over we set about finding a suitable property to move to, initially it was going to be in the same village so as not to disturb the children's schooling. We found two we liked fairly quickly but discarded one because the children's bedrooms would have grown too small for them within a couple of years, we put an offer in on the other. The offer was accepted and so the wait for surveyors and solicitors to do their thing. That thing began to drag and after contacting our solicitor he claimed everything was in place at our end but their solicitor was the type who would do things in his own time and was known to take a year if he felt like it.

We contacted the vendors directly and asked them to shimmy their solicitor along, they came back and claimed everything was ok and not to worry. Things still dragged. Then our solicitor phoned us and said look this may take longer than planned the deeds to the house the vendors are buying have been lost and, conveyancers up the chain are messing around too. After a quick discussion we phoned the vendors to ask what was happening, they claimed no deeds had been lost and everything was in place, not wanting to prolong things much longer I said if that's the case we exchange on blah blah blah date or the deal is off. They took the hump a bit, but said all would be in order by then.

Obviously it wasn't, we pulled out. Later that night there's a knock on the door, the vendors wife was stood there shouting and bawling about how we had let them down, It was pointed out to them that they had either let us down or not given the full story and there was no going back. We also told her she should take a look at her husband because in our eyes he didn't really want to sell the house in the first place.

Back to the estate agents there was nothing more in our village, so we turned our attention to a village 3 miles away, where the high school, the children would eventually attend anyway, was situated. Again 2 houses were found offers were put in and one was accepted. The other didn't bother to reply. Up and running again, we put things in motion but within three weeks the vendors were forced to withdraw their house from the market because the owner of the house they were buying was gazumped and took his house off the market.

The day after everything collapsed, the owner of the other house, that we had put an offer in on, came back and asked why everything had gone quiet. The top and bottom of it was; they offered to meet half way on the price differential, if we would. Finally this sale went smoothly and we moved around the middle of May 1989. A stressful time had seemed to come to an end. It hadn't:

We had arranged for the children to stay at their current primary school until the end of the school year, but they would then move to the new village school. The eldest wasn't bothered about it, he made and still makes friends very easily, the youngest was deeply unhappy about it making out it was the end of the world. She still saw her old school chums on a daily basis, but at night would play in the cul-de-sac with new friends. She seemed to get on ok with them, but was pulling the I'm not happy routine when she came in.

Two weeks after moving, she had an argument with her mum, stormed off upstairs and then disappeared. I had heard her come down the stairs and thought she's off playing with the kids next door, in their garden. I went out to check literally 2 minutes later, she was nowhere to be seen, she was aged 6 going on 7 and I was worried. I ran around the corner to the next close, she wasn't there then to the main road. Some people at the bus stop told me that a little girl had been seen walking off towards the village centre. I ran back got the car and drove along the route I thought she had took, there was no sign.

Then those awful thoughts started to creep in, I got back to the house and phoned the police, they responded very quickly. The local bobby was there in within 5 minutes, a quick search of the property to ascertain she wasn't hiding a few details about what was missing and we were both off in his car heading towards where we had previously lived. After driving about 1.5 to 2 miles he decided that she couldn't have got so far on her own on foot, we headed back to the house and he radioed for assistance.

Whilst he was waiting for backup he started knocking on neighbours doors to ensure she wasn't hiding on any of their properties. That ensured we met all the neighbours in the close in no uncertain terms, but they all rallied round and unofficial search parties were set up, one couple who were having a party. broke it up and volunteered groups to search the local woods, because they knew them well from their own childhood days. As the main police back-up arrived the search was already under way. An inspector questioned us in more detail.

It was during this questioning that we discovered her bike was missing, that meant she could have got further than expected, a little chink opened, we were worried sick but it was something to hope for. The inspector kept reassuring us that this type of thing happened all the time and the 'lost' children were nearly always found, at this point we also found her favourite cuddly toys were missing too. The inspector started to act; he radioed in to HQ and asked for units to be sent to the area we had previously lived, and for units to search the village.

With that he said he was going to join the hunt, as we went outside he said I should stay at home with Mrs C, there were enough people out at the minute and we should stay together. As he turned to walk away a car came around the corner, the door opened and our daughter was led by an elderly couple, who turned out to be neighbours from further up the close, along with her bike to the door. She had a plastic carrier bag with her, full of her teddies pound puppies and other cuddly toys. To say the relief is unbelievable, is a total understatement, we couldn't thank the police and neighbours enough.

The people who found her, had seen her heading back to our village, along a country lane, on her bike, but a car was following her. They decided it looked odd so stopped her and put her in the car to bring her home. They added that the car following her, which they were initially worried about, was probably nothing to worry about, because the driver of it, stopped and watched them carefully. When they stopped, the driver appeared to take down details of their car.

In all, our daughter was missing for 2 hours (7pm to 9pm), she said that she had only gone to see her old friends but they weren't out so started to come back home. The police took down final details and wound the operation down; they were very good about it and said that obviously they prefer such false alarms, to having a murder hunt on their hands. We thanked all our new neighbours and then realised a fair few were still out on the search. I spent the next hour rounding up the missing neighbours in our car.

We'd gone from having absolutely lousy neighbours to having probably the best anyone could wish for, but what a way to find out. I wouldn't anyone to go through that, it was possibly the worst moment of my life.

To parents moving house: I know kids make new friends fairly easily, but take time out to think about their fears and, try not to let the stress, of moving, get to them. Sometimes you have to move to better yourselves and your family, but try to make it easy on them too.


"MANCHESTER United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been offered £7.5m to settle a bitter row over a champion racehorse. The football boss had become engaged in the dispute - with John Magnier's stud in Ireland - over ownership of Rock of Gibraltar. "....... Magnier is United's principal shareholder, and it is thought the fight between him and the club's most famous manager could have helped persuade chief executive Peter Kenyon to dramatically leave Manchester for Chelsea. announces This Is Money.

It seems that Peter Kenyon felt he was between a Rock and a hard place.

Tired Of Stress?  

"Are you fed up with the rat race? Would you jack in your job in return for a better life and less money? Then you're probably a Tired...... And you are not alone; increasing numbers of young professionals are Tireds - Thirtysomething Independent Radical Educated Drop-outs - a survey has found." asks ThisisLondon:

I think I want to be one of the Fireds - Fortysomething Independent Radical Educated Drop-outs....

Onion Bhajis Give Half Time Boost 

A Sunday league soccer team sponsored by an Indian-owned pub have ditched half-time oranges - after finding that onion bhajis helped them run rings round their opponents. Ananova

We thought we were honoured if we got a cup of tea at half time. I think our team was one of the few in the league that had a proper club house and kitchen facilities, but we never went that far. What a great idea.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Garden Photos 

Photos of the our latest garden landscape project have been added to my fotopage here. This will save anyone interested, from hopping to my garden blog to find the link.


"Lusting Jennie - who plays mouthy Fiz Brown - dragged Peter Amner on to a hotel bathroom floor and stripped him naked only hours after meeting him..... I only went up to Jennie because she was famous. After a few drinks she was as loud as her Corrie character, which I would hardly normally find attractive...... But there again I'd had a few. It was scary being in bed with Fiz". From The People:

Bloody hell thinking about it is scary enough. He must have had an absolute skin full. Grim isn't the word.

Civil Servants Given Plants Policy Document 

"A government department has come up with a document to show civil servants how they should place plants around their office. .....The Department of Trade and Industry has drawn up a six-page, 2,000-word document detailing the 'DTI foliage strategy.'" reports Ananova.

This appears to me to be a blatent waste of tax payers money. Surely these people have better things to concern themselves about?

Despair, Inc. 

Think you are down? Feeling lonely? Think the only way is up?

Well you may not be alone, perhaps >Despair, Inc. can show you a way to really plumb the depths.

"Whether you're a pessimist, underachiever or a chronic failure, I personally offer my unconditional* guarantee that Demotivators™ will truly inspire you to new lows! E.L. Kersten, Ph.D.

Take a look at their >Demotivation catalogue, for ideas on how to use despair to your companies advantage. eg Increasing productivity while decreasing morale

To sleep - perchance to dream. .::EmptyDot v1.4::. 

Jolly good, wot! Anyone for tennis? That'll be ten ponies, guv. You're the epitome of everything that is english. Yey :) Hoist that Union Jack!

How British are you?

this quiz was made by alanna

Via Hippoblogopus again.

Do You Follow The Flock 

You are a - Neutral Sheep!
Congrats - you do what you like! You make your own rules, not follow the flock

Which flock do you follow?

this quiz was made by alanna

Via Hippoblogopus

Friday, September 05, 2003

Surferbar (Homepage Hijacker) Update 

I found some more information on the surferbar homepage hijacker which I reported earlier, on the SpywareInfo site and also at McAfee.

McAfee gives a much more compact description of the problem and the files, short cuts and registry entries which need to be deleted or amended.

Lawyer gives up job to clown around South America 

A Spanish lawyer has given up his job and sold his car to cycle around South America while dressed as a clown.

Would Tony Blair and the rest of his cronies please take note?

The Worrying Trend In Politics 

The right-wing British National Party today has 18 local councillors in England after its candidate won a seat on Thurrock Council in Essex. Buildings maintenance manager Nicholas Geri, 47, grandson of an Italian immigrant, took the Grays Riverside ward last night in a by-election.

This is yet another wake up call for the 3 major political parties in this country.

"We bring common sense," he said..........

I don't think so laddie. I think it's more a protest vote against what the rapidly decreasing electorate, currently willing to bother to vote, see as the bunch of liars currently running the show. Unfortunately, it seems to be the bunch of bigots that are the BNP, who are reaping the benefits of the current political meltdown.

Alan Olive, regional director of the Eastern Region Labour Party, said "We will now redouble our efforts in this community and work on behalf of local people to prove the value of a hard-working Labour team and we will work hard to expose the BNP for what they really are."

I want to ask, who is going to show the community what the labour party really is? Or even what the conservatives are all about, for that matter?

Computer Worm Targets Tony Blair 

It seems that a computer worm that targets Tony Blair, has been released into the wild.

Stories that the worm is called Alastair Campbell are greatly exagerated.

My Nemesis Will Be: 

The Nemesis Meme by quill18
Your Nemesis is a:Priest
The final battle will be fought:A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
The outcome:Your nemesis will run away.
Created with quill18's MemeGen!

Via My Inner Sanctum.

Aide exposes Hoon's role in naming of Kelly 

So defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, didn't play a part in the outing of Dr Kelly?

Oh yes he did!

Is there anyway to force this shower in power into giving us another General Election?

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Calling Fantasy Football Fans 

Admit it, this is the fantasy football team that you've really been dreaming about.

Cometh The Day.... 

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Skulking over the freeway, cutting down all who dare stand in the way using a mighty sword, cometh Coffdrop! And he gives a mighty howl:

"Blood and souls for my dark lord! I desecrate with God on my side!"

Find out!
Enter username:
Are you a girl, or a guy ?

created by beatings : powered by monkeys

Via Yorkshire Soul

What I Was In A Previous Life! 

Previous Life Meme by quill18
Zodiac Sign:
Favorite Colour:
Last Life:Alchemist
Attendants at Funeral:97
Created with quill18's MemeGen!

Via Hippoblogopus

What's Cooking? 

I can't think of anything to spout off about today, so I'll tell you what is planned for tonights meal. I don't know what it is actually called, but it's similar to a pasta carbonnara, oh and none of the measurements are scientific or anything I generally guess and it seems to work, it's what Mrs C calls, one of my speciallities. ie. it's done in one pan or two at a push, so I can't burn too much or get the other ingredients out of synch.


Sauce Method:
Heat the oil over a medium-high heat, when hot add the bacon and fry turning frequently until cooked through, then add the onions and stir in well, keep stirring and cooking whilst reducing the onions to a soft rather than crisp texture. Now add the chopped mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes stirring frequently.

Now add the pesto sauce, about 3 desert spoons should be more than enough, stir all the ingredients together whilst cooking on a medium-high heat, cook for a couple of minutes, add cream slowly to your own taste, I don't use very much but tastes vary, and if the sauce is drying out, the cream can add moisture. keep cooking for a couple of minutes, adjust the heat to ensure the sauce is ready at the same time as the pasta.

Whilst all this is going on you have been cooking the pasta, as the pasta is near ready you can scoop a table spoon or two of the water and add it to the sauce, and then reduce the sauce a bit if necessary. Adding the starchy water from the pasta pan, helps the sauce stick to the pasta when it is served.

Drain the pasta and serve. Sometimes I add the drained pasta to the frying pan and mix it all together whilst the gas is still on.

I find the amount of ingredients above provides enough sauce for 2 people, 3 at a push. Oh the original recipe which I seeem to have lost included sweetcorn as well, but Mrs C doesn't like sweetcorn so that got taken out. The sweetcorn is added with the onions.

I'm looking forward to it already.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Rock In The 80's 

Well more like an 80 year old disco queen......

Staff at a popular teenage disco have been stunned to find an 80-year-old having a celebratory drink and strutting her stuff on the dance floor among thousands of young people, German police say.

Good on her I say. For my gran's 80th birthday we got her two Tarzan-O-Grams, and she loved every minute of it. My mum and her sisters paid for her to go to Spain, her first holiday abroad ever, so whilst there she decided to go topless on the beach. Well everbody else was doing it, so why shouldn't I was her motto.

It was quite a surprise to us, how many 'young' people, that she met on that holiday, sent sympathy cards on her death 6 years later and, a number even turned up at her funeral, telling us how much fun she had been. They all commented on how she took the hotel by storm and was the life and sole of the 'party' and they hoped that they could be as lively at that age.

Enjoy life while you can, you're a long time dead.

Blogless Wedenesday 

My apologies for the lack of blogs today, it's been an extremely frustrating morning. At around 8:30 this morning, whilst I was doing the regular blog round, my PC was hijacked by surferbar and I have been struggling to remove it ever since. I have also been downloading number of Ad/cookie/spybot removers to try to insure against potential future hits.

This insidious piece of Ad-Ware or Trojen or whatever you would like to call it, basically hijacks your home page, and no matter what it is set to or how you set it (through IE internet options or fiddling with registry settings), the damned thing always resets your home page to www.surferbar.com, DO NOT go there or you'll catch it too. Not only that it adds a number of new entries to your desk top, favourites list and Start/Programs menu. When you run up IE or any browser I presume, it opens the redirected home page and fires off popup ads all over the shop, very annoying.

It doesn't seem to be detected by my up to date virus checker, as it isn't a virus as such. I finally found information on how to remove it at this site, by searching on Yahoo for: "drg.exe" a file that had mysteriously appeared in my C:\ directory just after the first attack happened. So far removing this file along with the win32.dll and winsrv32.exe files which suddenly appeared in my "C:\Program Files" directory seems to have got rid of the infection.

If I ever lay my hands of the piece of shit that wrote this insidious piece of code, I will hijack him with a viral infection of my fist and help him to experience the frustration of being stranded down Rhino Rift without a ropes or ladders. Here's one cavers description of his decent into Rhino Rift after first slightly miscalculating the length of rope needed for the first pitch. For your information: the cave is 121 metres deep, and if you fall off the top pitch, which is virtually at the entrance, you are very likely to end up at the very bottom, bouncing a few times on the way down.

A little tip, disabling Active X in your browser should stop any hijackings in future. Apparently the trojan uses a piece of VB script to bypass all the install permissions.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Did You Know, It's 75 years Since Penicillin Was Discovered? 

To celebrate the event (it's penicillin's 75th birthday tomorrow), scientists organised a competition to find inspect the most spectacular growth of green gunge to be found in a forgotten coffee mug at work.

To qualify, the mould floating on the top of the left over coffee must be clearly discernible...... Although coffee cup cultures are often green, any disgusting colour is allowed...... Staff in offices, factories and other workplaces are being asked to submit photos - but not to have the rank mugs delivered.

The eventual winner will win an evening of culture at a location near to their home. The closing date for entries is 10th September. That reminds me, it's not as bad as what I can picture from the above, but I'd better go and wash my mug out.

A Netizen's Guide to Flame Warriors 

This little internet Flame Warrior guide does not pretend to be comprehensive, rather it attempts to describe some of the main belligerents one might encounter in a mailing list, news group, bulletin board or chat room. The internet can be cruel and unforgiving, and those who wander out onto the battlefield would be well advised to know their enemies.

So says Mike Reid.

Which flame warrior are you? (there are some nice cartoon drawings to go with each description too). eg.:


Unsteady in his knowledge of computers and cyberculture Newbie perambulates the internet, blithely stumbling his way into discussion forums. He seldom reads the FAQs and is utterly clueless about the basics of netiquette. When engaged in battle Newbie's usual tactical gambit is to feign helplessness.....

Monday, September 01, 2003

Snack Of The Day 

Chorizo Omlette

1tbsp Olive Oil
820 gms New potatoes (quartered)
110 gms thinly sliced Chorizo sausage
6 medium lightly beaten eggs

Heat oil in large frying pan and gently fry the potatoes until golden on all sides. Add the chorizo and cook for a further 2 minutes. Pre heat the grill. Add eggs to frying pan, season with salt & pepper to taste and cook for 5 minutes over a low heat until golden brown underneath. Put pan under grill for 1 to 2 minutes until the eggs are set. It supposedly Serves up to 4 people but I'd stick a bit more of everything in for that number.

It's damned tasty.


i'm in gryffindor!

be sorted @ nimbo.net

Strange Behaviour In The Workplace (No. 1 In An Occasional Series) 

A recent comment by Lyle regarding odd or even unpleasent behaviour in the workplace, brought back an old memory of the strange behaviour of a former colleague from years ago.

The unamed person in question was a senior government research scientist, who in everyday situations would appear normal to everyone. No one meeting him in a none stressful situation would have believed the strange behaviour this guy would get up to in stressful situations. I first encountered it in a meeting at which I was taking the minutes.

All was going well until a couple of people in the group started to disagree with him. At first he counter argued with some agitation, but as more people started to oppose his ideas he became more and more agitated. Eventually he stood up and boomed "Right!", pushed his chair to one side emptied the wastepaper bin onto the floor and placed it on a filing cabinet. I looked on bemused as he climbed on top of another cabinet then sat with his back to the wall and placed the bin over his head. There he would sit until everyone filed out of the room and closed the door behind them.

Another of the meetings members nudged me and said "it's all right, he does this all the time". I was told he'd had always done it, and as far as this meeting was concerned it was over. I was assured that the scientist was not having a breakdown, it was just his way of dealing with conflict and honestly he was a very clever man. I'm still not convinced. They say genius is next to madness, I say this genius was actually mad. Then again he won many discussions because not many people could stand to see him flip like that.

Me I wouldn't have put him in charge of ink monitor duties let alone run a major research project.

Stretch Limo's - Cheaper Than The Bus - It's Official 

A TEAM of trainee carpenters goes to college in a stretch limo - because it's CHEAPER than public transport.

I think that this story, just about sums up the state of public transport in this country. Pathetic isn't it?

Dutch Turn Their Backs on Tolerance. 

Those who visit Amsterdam this summer, watching tourists patrolling the infamous Red Light district in search of sex and drugs, might not notice how the vaunted Dutch tolerance is wearing thin.

The Dutch, complaining that their culture of "looking the other way" has created a free-for-all, want to turn the clock back.

Looking the other way is all very well, but there are always those that abuse any system. The Dutch are finally finding out that rules aren't always made to be broken, they are sometimes there to protect decent people from those who would disrupt society.

Cyclist To Stand Trial For 'falling off bike' 

The boy on the eastern Aegean Sea island of Chios has been ordered to stand trial on October 13 for allegedly violating eight articles of the penal code and one traffic violation for falling off his bicycle during an annual race

In the past, I have ranted about some of our stupid laws and how bad justice in this country sometimes is, but I don't think even our system matches that of Greece. This report, on Ananova, about a 11 year old boy being charged for falling off his bike, takes some believing.

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