Monday, December 31, 2012
2013 is more ominous, but then that's because I have a minor tridecaphobia (sp?) and although that's really about Friday the 13th, it's just 13 in general. The correct approach is to embrace the fear of 13 and just bloody well get on with it, and stop worrying about something that isn't happening.
As it happens, the end of 2012 is actually causing me no end of grief. The weather is just hampering everything, I've been feeling generally rough and worn out (although that may have something to do with over consuming and under exercising), and now I need a plumber.
These things always happen at the worst possible time - generally during or just before a bank holiday, just so that the call out fees can skyrocket. We have a sealed hot water and heating system which has been running just fine for the past 6 years without a hitch. Part of the system includes an expansion tank to allow for water expansion as it heats up. This is a sturdy tank that's mounted on the wall of the airing cupboard using a metal strap with a jubilee clip.
Last night for no apparent reason, the metal strap decided to just snap. I can't see a reason for it, it's a piece of stainless steel that just decided it had had enough of holding up the expansion tank, so it just gave way. This led to the tank falling about 4 inches toward the upper shelf in the cupboard, so in theory should have cause little or no damage en-route. However, on its short downward journey, it met up with the return pipe from the pressurised vessel that feeds the boiler. It gave this pipe a hefty wallop and split the joint, thus creating a leak for the pressurised take to empty through (at some speed) into the airing cupboard.
The pressurised tank has its own separate filler feed, so is easily isolated, but it does of course render the heating and hot water system inoperable. This leaves us with no hot water and extra jumpers until the plumber can come and fix it on Thursday. Impressed, I am not. Cold, I am. A great start to the new year.
Ordinarily on the 1st, Mrs G and I partake of some outdoor sport in the form of Cheltenham races. This year however, that's also going down the swanny river thanks to the weather. Rain has waterlogged the course, so it's looking like its not going to happen. On the plus side I suppose this is some deity's way of telling me I can't afford it, not least because I have to pay for a plumber instead.
Haven't done much in the way of traditional Christmas telly in the last week. Pretty much avoided most of it, but we did make a point of watching the queen's speech in 3D on Christmas Day. To be fair, it was the novelty factor of having her maj stood in the living room as much as anything else. I still think 3D is a gimmick, and more likely just a stepping stone on the way to 4KTV or 8K for the UK (knowing how long it takes for licences for such things to get approved in this country)
A different story on the movie front however. Managed to consume Prometheus, Avatar, The Dark Knight Rises, all three Back to the Future movies (back to back), White Christmas, Holiday Inn, American Gangster and way back in 1990, Narrow Margin. Still on the list to do - Ted. As the races are off, (and someone has a birthday coming up) I might try and persuade Mrs G (who really isn't a fan of cinemas) to spend an evening in the screening rooms (http://www.thescreeningrooms.co.uk/) to catch something on the bigger screen. Probably not the Hobbit though... TL;DW
Next week is likely to se me travelling back up to London on the work front - but in the words of the late great Gerry Anderson "Anything can happen in the next half hour".
Anyway, here's hoping that whatever you do, you have a good one and that any injuries you've sustained over the Christmas period make a rapid disappearance.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
Here's a post I've been putting off for a bit, but as it's almost Christmas and I've got a spare 10 minutes, I'll give you the lowdown...
Sadly - It's time for me to move on. I've had a great time. It's been really wonderful in fact - and on occasion, really easy, but in recent weeks it's just been gettin all a bit too much.
It seems that everytime I send an email to posterous - it doesn't arrive. Maybe the spam filter is blocking me - or maybe since twitter aquired it, they've just stopped looking after the infrastructure properly. A huge shame, because it's definetly been a great service in the past - having been fast and reliable. So it's with a very heavy heart that I have to leave now that it's both slow and barely useable more often than not.
So - should you be sad enough to wish to continue reading my ongoing adventures or mde up stuff, then you'll need to redirect your browser to this address:
So long posterous, and thanks for all the fish.
This post originally appeared here: Posterous
Sunday, December 23, 2012
According to all the major news outlets today is last-minute-Saturday (I don't really hold much truck with this fad of naming days based on their retail opportunities or just position relative to a national holiday - but I'm sure I can have some fun with it). The last Saturday before Christmas Day and all those that waited to see if the world was going to end, now have to go and get their present shopping sorted all at a bit of a rush and with much swearing and jostling I suspect. Should probably be called Sweary Saturday.
Luckily Mrs G and I have been particularly well organised this year - so what am I doing on a train?
Well, the Wiltshire lads also have to have a Christmas do, and so a few of us are getting together in that other well known spa city (Bath) to celebrate the season, have a bit of a catch up and no doubt rather too many festive beverages.
Now, this being England and the weather being our main topic of conversation, last-minute-Saturday wouldn't be half as much fun without total and utter travel chaos caused by a few drops of rain. Sure enough, and on cue, the rail network has failed to run smoothly, aided by a fire in a signal box in Paddington and floods throughout large parts if the south west. That being said, my journey to Bath (via Bristol) is running smoothly all be it 20 odd minutes late.
This wasted time (just sitting and waiting) provides the perfect opportunity for me to actually get on and write something vaguely interesting (obviously that's somewhere else- Ed). Actually it's one of the rules of life which I recently stumbled upon (see below) and honestly, if you take note of them - life's a lot better than you think it might be.
Last time I promised I'd tell you what the X-37 is up to... Well here it is. Bear in mind this is tip top secret, not to be divulged to anyone, keep it under your hat and a nod is as good as a wink to a blind man - know what I mean? Say no more....
As you're aware the government have been trying to make some in-roads into tracking all of our Internet usage via various legal routes. Of course there are several groups who leap on their every move and stop it in its tracks citing things such as privacy and free speech and so on and so forth. This makes us all feel good and that we're winning the war for an open and free Internet for the benefit of all mankind.
And while we were busy looking into this huge pile of paperwork that the various governments of the world were creating we didn't see that they'd cancelled the space shuttle program in favour of the X-37 to deal with the Alien invasion and off planet storage of all human knowledge to a server farm on the dark side of the moon. Probably.
We all know that Aliens first made contact with the governments of the world in the late 1950's (although of course they'd been slowly and surely laying their plans against us for eons before that). Obviously when we as a populous first ventured into space, they couldn't have that and so had to make themselves known. This led to the governments of the world realising that to preserve human life they'd have to deal with the Aliens.
It turns out that Aliens like nothing more than looking at pictures of cats... Especially ones that are dressed up, or pulling strange expressions in unusual circumstances. Well, actually, not just cats. They like unicorns with rainbows shooting out of them, they like dogs dressed up as lawyers, they like knowing that "one simply does not walk into moordor" and all that other meme based comedy that makes the underbelly of the internet simply perfect for procrastination. The only way to stop an Alien eating your brain is to show it a picture of a cat/dog/random individual with a funny expression... And so "Can I haz cheezeburger" and 9gag (among others) were invented to protect us all. Memebase Alpha if you will.
With some governments unplugging or tampering with the internetz - memes were suddenly at risk and so a mahoosive server farm on the dark side of the moon has been constructed, (memebase) where a complete copy of all that sh1te that's online is kept. This way, should the unthinkable happen and the internetz fails thus leaving us wide open to alien attack, then our defences would in theory at least fail over to the dark side of the moon where Nyan cat, grumpy cat, lawyer dog and all the other time wasting pop culture distractions would keep us safe. Think of it as the dumb equivalent of the Star Wars programme from the 1980's
I'm pretty sure that's true, factual and correct - or it might not be.
So seriously... Have a very merry Christmas and enjoy your break if you're getting one. Here's the list of really helpful instructions for living life and generally enjoying it rather than letting it eat you.
Until next time - take care out there.
Use travel delay as opportunity to stop rather than get stressed. When the world stands still, let it. [Karl Durrant]
Whenever your spouse says something the first thing you should hear is “I love you & want to spend my life with you”. [David Inman]
Stop clinging and embrace change as a constant. [Isabelle Cholette]
Try and give people the benefit of the doubt if they snap at you. Might be something going on you don’t know about. [misslmdavis]
Wash your bowl immediately after eating! [niekstarr]
The daily practice of silence. [dimovich]
Life is so much easier when you make a decision within 5 minutes. Longer than that and you get bogged down & never decide. [Tiffany Cooper]
Friendship is a gift, not a possession. [Chris Reetz]
Mostly nothing is that serious as it seems in the first moment. [Julian Pollman]
Before you go to bed, write down only 3 things that you want to do the following day. This is how to prioritize. [Ziba]
Do the most important task first thing in the morning. [Jordan Ayres]
Make all driving a mindfulness practice. Well being and safety! [Branden Barnett]
When you think you want something, put it on the planner a month from now. When that month rolls around and you still want it, OK. [connie baber]
Smiling … seems to help with most things. :-) [zen fostering]
Love where you live, and work in walking distance from where you live. [Anoel]
Expecting less or nothing, and just being. That way disappointments are nil and you are pleasantly surprised often. Simple. [Traci]
Allow extra time in your schedule for wandering. [dylan]
Meditate — it makes everything fall into place. Being happy makes life so much better and easier! [Gabriel Rocheleau]
Do something relaxing before going to bed. No electronics. [Rozanne Paxman]
Don’t fold clothes. Saves time and hassle. [Rachel Jonat]
QTIP: quit taking it personally. [Will Hopkins]
To avoid cluttering: After any activity, put everything in place. It only takes 5 minutes vs. 3 hours if you allowed to pile things up. [La Piña]
Organic steel cut oats. YUM! [Prem]
Realizing that you treasure experiences over possessions makes life better. [Sophia Khan]
If you lick a glass before drinking from it, your lipstick doesn’t smear the glass. [natalie fergie]
When in doubt, take a deep breath. [Kevin Cuccaro]
Define what’s necessary; say no to the rest. [Dana]
Expect nothing. Welcome everything. (from a homeless man with AIDS on the streets of Vancouver.) [Sarah Chauncey]
Thursday, December 13, 2012
You can keep up with your weather (on iOS) with this: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/today-weather/id556002847?mt=8
Now according to the Myans, their calendar is going to end along with the rest of the world on the 21st of December 2012. Personally I think they've got that wrong - what with them being dyslexic and all - and it would be so much neater if it we today at 12 minutes past 12 on the 12th day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year of the second millennium. Ah... Yes, that wouldn't work would it. We're 10 millennia too early.
So the next chance will be at 3 minutes past 3 in the morning on the 3rd of March 3003... A little while yet then.
Regardless, if the Myans are right, I'm alright Jack. We already had Christmas and with any luck none of us will have to endure the JLS Christmas special on the telly.
Today sees me back on the train up that Laaandan, but this time strictly for pleasure. Mrs G, daughter and I are going to spend some quality family time being tourists and doing a bit of Christmas shopping. Expect mulled wine from borough market and gaping at the overpriced elephant statues in Harrods (probably).
On the work front, I'm pretty much out of a job at the moment, so a couple of days holiday is actually really useful. I'm sure it'll ramp up again, but Christmas is looking like its going to be pretty quiet. I have to thank my lucky stars I'm not on contractor - even if most of the time it feels like I am.
Right - gotta dash - here comes Paddington.... again.
PS - next time I'm going to tell you what the X37 is really up to
Sunday, December 09, 2012
Chancellor shows fracking support in Autumn Statement
And then this:
4 Scary New Finds About Fracking This Week
Bothersome in the extreme....
Friday, December 07, 2012
So while I'm sat peeling sprouts and awaiting the thawing of the turkey, I have been putting some thought to Boxing Day (of which I also have two) and what this years Boxing Day movie(s) should be.
For some people, spending a few days with their families is a bit of a horror story, so maybe we should go with the nightmare before christmas (although thats really a Halloween film in my book), or lets go to the all time top of the horror movies and consider, The Shining, The Thing (1980 not the new one) or Omen (the first one). After all, I'm sure most kids a little devils even though there supposed to be good. He knows who's been nasty or nice you know.....
While I think of it, it's worth remembering that Gregory Peck is Darth Vaders father.
Well, it's very straightforward actually. In the early 1970's 20th century fox was in a bit of bother. They'd made some bad movies, and that meant they'd not made much money. The pressure was on for a hit movie, and it just wasn't happening. Things were getting wobbly. The situation was not good. What they needed was a massive hit on a tiny budget - because budgets were pretty much non-existent.
Enter stage right - Director, Richard Donner, Gregory Peck and 2,225,000 dollars. In the grand scheme of movie making that's not a lot of money but when they make a movie like the Omen, and scare the living bejesus out of everyone, they manage to turn $2.2m into $60m - and that's in the US alone. According to Mr Donner himself, it's this very healthy profit that went into Fox's coffers and enabled them to make Star Wars. So without Gregory Peck's fine performance and one of the most impressive and most talked about in-camera visual effects of a fall (courtesy of Mr Donner), Darth never would have seen the dark of night. May the force be with you - always.
Anyway, I digress. Of course what we really need is a proper festive film, with all the trimmings. There's a long list of possibles with things like "It's a wonderful life", "Miracle on 54th street", "Home Alone", "The Snowman", "Elf" and no end of Santa Claus related movies.... But no. Not for me.
For me - its some of the most memorable scriptwriting, and all round fun and games of any holiday season movie ever made. With gems like "nice suit", and "nice bear", or classics like "I'll kiss your fugging Dalmatian" (If you're still wondering what that means, it's a reference to Dalmatian dogs being fire station mascots in the United States), "Fists with your toes" or "now, I have a machine gun, ho, ho, ho" and of course the immortal "Yippee Kai Ay".... It can only be Die Hard...
Topical references to Twinkies, a Top Draw bad guy in the form of Alan Rickman's "Hans" ("by the time they figure out what went wrong we'll be sitting on a beach earning 20%" and "Where are my detonators"), the dumb schmuck that is Ellis ("Hans. Boobie! I can give him to you"), a cocky and unlikely hacker ("Merry Christmas"), an annoying investigative journalist ("Tell me you got that") and some all round hammy cop/FBI acting ("Woohoo, just like fugging Saigon hey slick?", "I was in junior high dickhead")... Oh yes, and how could I forget the ballet dancing Russian playing a German - Alexander Goodunov?
It's what Christmas is all about.
And as we have two Christmasii, our second Boxing Day needs more of the same - so thank god for Die Hard 2 - yet another great Christmas movie. It's true it's not as good as the first one, but it's still classic action fare.
The 3rd one is for the summer, the 4th one is for different generation and 5th will be next years fun, so in the meantime, I'll leave you with this memorable NSFW gem - with a little help from Alan.
Yippee Kai Aye Mellon Farmers