Monthly Archives: August 2007

Nothing to say

The usual reason I have for not blogging is having nothing interesting to say. As an experiment, this time I’ll do it anyway – sorry. To make it easier I’ll use lists.
Nasty/irritating/annoying things:

  • The whole of London seems to smell of sick, piss and trash at the moment…or is it just me ?
  • Timewasters, crooks and ne’er-do-wells on Freecycle who have been causing us a load of bizarrely unnecessary grief recently in our attempts to purge ourselves of a load of albatross residue.
  • Windows.
  • Adobe and their fucking licensing malware.
  • The cost of things these days…..ooooh…in my day you could have got double that for the cost of a toe-nail scraping etc.
  • Everything to do with “business”, especially the hollow platitudes that spew from the mouths of know-nothing, functionary, spokespeople every morning on the news.
  • Still failing to write to all of the people I want to spend time writing to…

Nice things:

  • The weather’s been quite nice. Sunny, not too hot, you know.
  • Saxondale.
  • A call to help the U.S. Americans and such as the Iraq.
  • A couple of nice hours in the pub.
  • Nice evening, and roast beef dinner, at my parents on Sunday.
  • More tunes than you can shake a stick at.
  • Sorting out loads of stuff related to Humph’s move to the U.S.
  • Nice things at work today: a good Malaysian lunch with my workmates.

No, probably wasn’t worth it was it. Oh well, I’ll wait until something interesting pops into my head before I write next time.

South Bank Holiday, Wikiballsup and Peregrine Falcons

One argument in favour of Wikipedia tightening-up its editing restrictions could be that it’s too easy to make a diabolical cock-up. Like today, as a random example, I was attempting to create a new article and managed to replace the entire article on Buckingham Palace with my silly little page. Stupid I know, but it was all too easy to do. Of course, reverting the change was equally quick and easy, but the revision control means that my profound stupidity will be recorded in the Wikipedia archives until the end of time, or the end of Wikipedia, whichever comes sooner.

After I corrected this faux pas, Michele and I went for a rare day out together to the South Bank. The idea was to do a walk from London Bridge to Waterloo and then go to a Tapas bar that a friend had tipped us off about. Apart from the Thameside walk being massively pleasurable, I figured we’d get to see at least some water-based avian activity along the way. What we could never have predicted was that a bunch of peregrine falcons would be nesting in the chimney of Tate Modern, and the RSPB had established a stall, titled “Aren’t Birds Brilliant!”, with scopes set-up so you could see the birds up there! Funny thing that – I’ve never seen a peregrine falcon in real life before a month ago, and now I’ve seen two. This was the first wild one I’ve ever seen though and she was a beauty. The RSPB reckon they chose the South Bank because of the high availability of food there – mainly pigeons.

In all we saw:

  • Peregrine falcons
  • Some lesser black backed gulls (including the beautiful juveniles)
  • Baby pigeons
  • Some superb breakdancers [ Edit – that video has been removed, try this one instead]
  • A mass Bollywood dance lesson
  • Loads of tourists, like us

It felt like being on holiday. Sods law meant that the Tapas bar had to be closed, and so after a long walk, a drink in The Wellington and another long walk we ended up getting some mind-blowing Italian food in a pizzaria at Gabriels Wharf.
Mmmm…mussels in white wine sauce with too much garlic….

More reasons to pity Windows users

I’m sure there’s no feeling quite as life-affirming as the warm, cosy, joy of owning a Genuine® Copy™ of®™ Winblows®™© and the many Advantages®™©®™© derived therefrom. Especially today when Microsoft’s WGA servers are mysteriously out of action, which rewards all Genuine® customers with disabled operating systems. Of course, the pirates will be unaffected.

And in case you ever doubted that as a Windows user you are a tool of The Man™ then ask yourself why part of the punishment administered to a convicted software pirate was to be
forced to use Windows. That’s just inhuman.

My new tattoo

Chinese Symbol TattooIt means “global harmony”.

Actually it’s not a real tattoo, and actually it says “fish balls”. But I wanted to go around telling people it says some trite bullshit like “peace and happiness” or “inner soul” in the faint hope that one day a Chinese speaker will realise it actually says fish balls and be too embarrassed to tell me. Stupid I know but it’s the sort of thing that amuses Michele and me.

It’s done with this stuff called Jagua which is a bit like a dark version of henna (it’s not so-called “black henna” which is toxic as all hell – and doesn’t contain any henna.)

In a follow up to the previous post, it seems the Canadian Police have wisely owned-up to infiltrating the protesters. All very noble except that they’re denying they were there to stir up trouble…we know that’s a lie you dullards for the same reason we knew you were undercover in the first place. We’ve seen the film!

Busted: Canadian protesters rumble police agent provocateurs

Bush and his cronies have been in Canada this week meeting the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, for the terrifyingly cold-war sounding “Security and Prosperity Partnership”, and so obviously there is a mass protest under way by the majority of right thinking Canadians.
In time-honoured tradition it would seem the police have been using Agent provocateurs to stir up trouble. Have a look at this wonderful video (Video Link) of a hopeless AP attempting to start a riot, before being outed by the real protesters as a cop and then quietly and calmly being taken away. He’s even wearing the same boots as the riot Police

Traditional British Barbecue

blokes by a barbecue in the rain under an umbrellaRecipe for a traditional British barbecue:

  1. Winter is no time for a barbecue. Make sure you hold it in the height of summer, otherwise you will not be guaranteed several light but drenching showers.
  2. Rather than risk the inevitable arguments about which bloke should control the barbecue, invite a couple of antipodeans. All British men will bow down in favour of the, clearly superior, barbecue skills of an Ozzie or Kiwi bloke. If you can’t find one of those then in a pinch you may use a South African.
  3. Invite a really good female cook to provide a shitload of posh salads “for the ladies”.
  4. Buy too much food and alcohol and then tell everyone to bring loads of food and alcohol.
  5. …and their kids

Then sit back and enjoy the half hearted misery that ensues under the damp, leaden, sky!

My sister and her heroically tolerant boyfriend hosted such an event today and wisely observed all of these principles. I have to say that we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! Too much food, combined with wine and excellent company certainly does make for a good afternoon.

Last night down the Rosie was also thoroughly enjoyable and thankfully far less mad than the Friday before…

Fonejackin’ fever-havin’ mean-being

Last week was so good that the only thing eligible to round it off properly was febrile delirium. Thankfully somehow I managed to pick up a virus that enabled me to reach such a state by Sunday night. There’s nothing nicer than lying awake shivering whilst sweating profusely, dealing with pain, and wishing you were dead. Michele was worried enough to call out the quack. In typical NHS style the doctor did turn up and was very good, but we had to wait 4 hours. After a round of examinations and a dollop of sympathetic bedside manner she told me it was a virus and there was nothing she could give me beyond pain killers. By the next morning the fever had gone but three days later I’m still not better and it’s getting right up my hooter. Please, can’t I just be ill, or completely better? This hideous limbo state of sore throat combined with muzzy head is really life-sapping. I’m beginning to forget what it looks like outside…which some would consider a bonus when they found out we live in New Cross I suppose. The biggest problem is the amount of time I’m blowing away that could be more productively spent preparing for our departure to the States on October 15th. We’ve got our tickets! Woohoo! Michele’s dad has even given her his old car which is probably going to be the poshest car I ever get to drive!
Even if it all goes pear-shaped and we end up coming back after a month, it has to be done.

We finally got round to listening to Fonejacker this week. Neither of us thought we would really like it; there are so many crank call merchants around now and few are ever as good as the Jerky Boys at their best. Despite the direct ripoffs of the Jerky boys and some of the bad-taste, bordering on downright cruel, calls, we’ve been laughing our arses off every night listening to them on our vespertine MP3 player. The calls related to automated voice recognition systems particularly tickle me. In fact they make me wonder whether these systems exist solely to give people at Parcelline and CityLink a laugh at the exasperated customers.

Masons and human nature

Despite being an abnormally crap photographer, I’ve just had a second picture published on a commercial site. No financial remuneration or anything but it’s quite flattering nonetheless. This one was a picture of a plaque on the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia; a subject so obscure that it was bound to get spotted I suppose. The only problem is that I’m not sure I really want to promote this place. I mean, just look at their website. For a secret society they’re pretty bloody blatant. Not only are they running a children-chipping campaign, but they even have an on-line database of Masons-friendly businesses for “Masons helping Masons”! They just don’t care! I wonder if it has a section for “friendly” police officers, or judges ?
So mote it be.

Yesterday turned out not only to be surprisingly pleasant but also helped rekindle my faith in human nature. Not bad considering the only concrete plan we had was a trip up the Old Kent Road to PC-World – the next step in my plan to help Matsui 120MR owners. While we were in the badlands of Southwark we decided to visit Burgess Park, something I’ve been craving since reading an article in Smoke. It was an Oasis! Imagine the scene: a huge, hilly, green park in the middle of urban mess. In the middle is a sprawling lake surrounded by well-equipped anglers sharing joints and cans of lager with Southwark council employees, right under “no fishing” signs. In the middle of the lake is a fountain and several small islands housing nesting families of Mallards, Coots and Moorhens. Michele was in seventh heaven with her binoculars cocked. We spent some time observing two tiny baby moorhens swimming through the sludge with their mother, and a baby coot hunting through the reeds for some sustenance.

Some time ago I blogged about a local restaurant that I felt had ripped us off. Ever since then, walking past the place invoked feelings of sadness; partly because of the feeling of organised, petty, dishonesty, and partly because I really liked the food there. I used to fantasise about the owner seeing me walk past and stopping me to tell me they’d made a mistake – pathetic I know.
Well, after our sojourn in Southwark and a drink in the Rosie, we decided to go back there for dinner, and Suzanne accompanied us. Half way through the meal the owner approached the table and apologised for what happened in our last visit! Wow, she remembered! No only that, but she produced a ten pound note, stapled to my original receipt that has been kept by the till ever since! Double wow! It was a mistake and they’re that honest! So go to The Thailand in New Cross! The food is superb and the owner is lovely.

Science and Melody

This week was the start of my new regime: part-time work. The original idea was to provide quality time for preparing our impeding move to Philadelphia. We have to do it, even if we get pissed off after a month and come back. We just do. But so far very little preparation has been achieved. Instead yesterday I fulfilled a long term ambition and took a young boy to the Science museum! My first journey on the tube (Underground) was with my dad to the Science museum and it was one of my most significant memories. When I got home, my Lego set was employed to create a reconstruction of the cool ticket gates on the tube. Yesterday, my friend Katie, her 6 year old son Matthew, and I went on a pilgrimage to South Ken and it was better than I could have hoped for. Like me at his age, Matthew was as interested in the Tube ride as the museum and we all had a superb day. He was running around all of the exhibits pushing buttons, turning handles, and generally tickling his neurons. Despite the energy provided by two sandwiches, a chocolate bar, an apple and several bottles of water, by the time we got back to New Cross he was ready for bed. Good lad. If you have a child that has an active mind and enough energy for an entire village then I can’t recommend the Science museum highly enough as a cheap day out. The staff (‘explainers’) were so friendly, helpful and kind…go and see them.

Today I did a naughty thing and spent the afternoon in the pub with some good friends. No regrets though…you’re just envious. We had a great day in the lovely weather and this evening Michele and I went to Greenwich for a gorgeous meal at inside and even found time for a drink with Jackie and Galina from Goldsmiths. Perfect entertainment!

BTW – on a different subject, “Bad Manners” really are much better than they’re given credit for. Even as a child I was always wary of that sort of stuff because of the whole skinhead connotation, but listening to the anthology there’s so many faithful covers of classic ska tracks that I can’t help but like them. In fact there’s one track called “Rocksteady Breakfast” that is such a happy nod to Lee Perry that they must know what they’re doing. It’s a London version of “Kentucky Skank” only instead of the KFC references (“box of chicken, keep the drum kickin'”) it’s full of stuff about full English breakfasts (“egg and bacon! Sausage!”).

Good night.