Archives for category: Socialising

Finally made it as far as Wednesday, and to be honest I’m feeling worn out already. It’s been hectic in the wake of the Badman and I’s recent bout of sitting in a tree and waiting.

Monday night found me whizzing off in the roller skate to Kate Middleton’s educational hometown of Marlborough.  Needless to say she wasn’t about, but good old Johnnie was along with A (who’s father-in-law has passed on, and we will be visiting with next week for the funeral – just as an aside, there’s been alot of that about lately, and here’s hoping that we’ve seen the end of it for a while).

So having spent sometime with Mrs H and the kids, including a particularly enjoyable bedtime story in the form of Mr Mischief, we headed off to a local curry house in the middle of nowhere.

The Palm Indian Restaurant is an excellent eatery, and highly recommended should you find yourself “out in the sticks” and in need of sustenance.

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We ate and caught up with the general goings on which when all is said and done made for a superb way to spend an evening. Clearly something we don’t do often enough, but then if we did it all the time, I suspect we’d appreciate it far less. We rounded off the evening with a quick beer and a game of “Heads or Tails” (far more complicated than it sounds) in “The Lamb Inn” on the parade in Marlborough.

Tuesday had the badman and I meeting up at my hollowed out volcano.  As we’ve been playing the role of a sleeper cell so well for the last week or so, it was long overdue that he should get the grand tour of our armaments and in particular the sentinent rabbits that patrol the grounds on the look out for agents trying to infiltrate the base and gain knowledge of the grand schemes within. He’d passed the background security checks, and was blindfolded for the last leg of his journey to the hidden base, so luckily he still doesn’t know exactly where it is.

He also had to get his Bike serviced at a local garage, so it made perfect sense. 

We got some good work done and had a bite to eat down at the docks before returning to the lair and planning an assault on a local Starfleet office on Wednesday.

In point of fact, the Wednesday trip was all about our Mid-year reviews with our soon-to-be-retired manager. I for one will miss him, just because in the short time I’ve worked with him, he’s helped me through one of the toughest times I’ve had since joining the Starfleet crew.  I’m not going to go on about it – you can get snippets of it from elsewhere in the blog – but he’s been a most helpful rock, along with the badman. Without them I’m pretty certain I would have lost all faith in the exploration of deep space and probably have beamed down to an isolated planet to be consumed by tribbles (and troubles no doubt).  As a result of their efforts my eyes have been opened to the wider, more useful and appreciated elements of Starfleet and as such I’m no happy to be here.  

The review went well, and past pain is all but forgotten. I feel I can’t let this moment pass completely without giving a nod of thanks towards Stretch as well, for it was he who pointed out the need for the role that I now fulfil. As such I owe him more than just a couple of beers of thanks…. possibly as as many as three and a half.

But he can save them up for the next time our paths cross. They won’t be forgotten.

In the evening, being in such a good mood as a result of the review I decided to treat Mrs G and Daughter to a visit to one of our local eateries for a spot of dining out.  A “trip to the teddy” actually means we’ll go to the King Edward the VIII public house for a bite to eat and a go at the quiz.  Food was poor as was the quiz, but we didn’t care. We have eachother and so a good time was had by the three of us.  Good times.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous
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And so it came to pass that on Sunday, Mrs G and I hoped on our trusty metal steeds and trotted off to Gloucester docks to see the strange chinese beasts race un and down the water.  In english? we cycled to the docks to watch the Dragon Boat racing.

Met up with J,A & B and R,K & AB. As R is the well known “king of the docks” he was able to provide an excellent “lock-up” to store the bikes in and keep them sheltered from the weather. The forecast had been dry and overcast, but sadly this broke and became scattered showers instead. But no matter. Being of good english stock, we weathered the….um…  weather, and got on with enjoying the silliness in the name of charity.  In fact, considering the poor weather, the event itself was very well supported.

The teams gathered about the various boats, looked at them sheepishly, and nervously did as they were instructed.

By the time they’d been up and down the docks once, they had the hang of what they were supposed to be doing, and it wasn’t long before they were racing like professionals and getting seriosly competitive.  The races are run in a set of heats, and then a pair of semi-finals and finals.

The rowing was feverish, the crowds roared and the band played on….

At the end, a local team, the “Barnwood Pirates” stole the day, and I managed to capture a picture of a proud pirate about to receive his award. As you can see he’s reasonably soaked, 50% river water and 50% beer I suspect.

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While the winners retired to nearby hostelries for more beer and presumably champagne and other celebratory drinks, we retired to Cafe Corretto for coffee and sandwiches to warm us through.

All in all a good afternoon of standing about cheering, getting damp and raising money for CLIC Sargent, for children with cancer.  We left with the thought that perhaps if we can get enough interest from the rest of the mob, we may be able to put our own team in next year.  Time will tell.

Until the next post…


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

So now it feels like it’s properly April although after such stunning weather over the weekend you might well have thought it was summer already.

This one’s just a quick diary catchup, just so I’m keeping track of the comings and goings, the why’s and wherefores, the strikes and the gutters. In this case, that means what the hell have I been up to in the last week? I mean I’ve mentioned a few things, and there’s been a couple of photo’s, but I do appear to have somewhat slipped from the habit of writing an entry everyday.

In part this is because of the distractions that the new year has brought. Work has changed dramatically and so I’ve been re-aligning myself to it. Bizarrely, I’m starting to get a bit of a kick out of it again. Something that hasn’t been the case for more than a couple of years. However, I’m all too aware of the fragility of the place. Things can disappear as quickly as they arrive, and vicky verky (which roughly translated means vice-versa)

Perhaps I should resolve to return to 750words.com, which is after all, what got me into this mess in the first place. I might take a poke around at it if schedules permit, but let’s not count any chickens.

The other thing that’s diverted me is the use of instagr-am. Without doubt the coolest photography app on the iPhone, I find myself using it to document goings on without writing anything. I know they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but then they say all sorts of things don’t they. Many of which are just old wives and grandmothers tales. The immediacy of posting a photo to the blog is a big draw and apparently so much so that it is becoming my shorthand for writing an entry of any substance. It’s not a situation I’m particularly over-the-moon about.

I like words. No, that’s not right. I love words. They are solid concrete things that explain how the world around me looks, and feels and works and yet at the same time, they are malleable and as such I can bend them to my very will. I can use them to create beautiful structures, bold sentences and bull sh1t, as well as alliteration. (I see what you did there -Ed) They are immensely powerful and instantly disposable. Just like the old newspaper saying: “Today’s headline is just tomorrow’s chip wrapper” *. From Shakespeare to swearing and back again, words are a heavenly device, hence my feeling I should write more and photograph less.

For the geeks who were wondering how that hangs together…. A photo in my library or taken from within instagr-am itself is posted to the instagr-am site, Twitter, Posterous, Facebook and if it has location info attached to it, checks me in on Foursquare all simultaneously. The Posterous entry can then also create entries for Blogger, Tumblr and WordPress. You can see the appeal. Click-post-disseminate. Simples.

None of this is telling you about my week though is it. It is just procrastination which avoids the subject and diverts us away from the stated aims. So let’s get to it….

Monday – work, Tuesday – work, Wednesday – work, Thursday – work (and WTC very poorly administered by Jugs), Friday – work. I would like to expand on the work details, but I’ve signed an NDA, so I could tell you, but the I’d have to have you “taken care of” to put it as politely as possible. Besides that, the Badman puts it so much better than I. You really should take a look at http://badmansjournal.blogspot.com/.

Friday night was a short bike ride (4 miles) with daughter on which I nearly died. I kid you not. At the time I was very concerned about my health and felt I might actually have been near some sort of heart malfunction. After some recuperation however, I’ve drawn the conclusion that there were actually four factors that contributed to my in-the-region-of-death experience (it wasn’t that near).

1: Illness. I’ve had a cold/flu thing over the last couple of weeks which I haven’t fully shaken off. It’s definitely on the wane now though. I suspect that my oxygen flow was far from at it’s peak with much coughing and spluttering.

2: Daughters Pace. She is after all, only 21 and as fit as a preverbal butchers dog. I probably shouldn’t try to out run her.

3: Weather. It was damn hot on Friday and I was no doubt a little de-hydrated, compounded by the fact that Fridays inconveniently fall after Thursdays (WTC). And finally…

4: Bike. Turns out the crank shaft bearings have gone, and so to keep pace with any normal bike, you end up pedalling almost double time, and there’s little or no free wheeling. It’s a (potential) killer.

Saturday started with some lawn mowing, and general garden tidying while daughter and Mrs G ran some town based errands. It then completely skipped over the Grand National which I had on my initial list as something to have a look at and then morphed into a spontaneous Bar-B-Q. Who knew?!! Mrs G, Daughter and I just thought as it was such a nice day we’d have a few friends round, open up the hot tub, fire up the bar-bee and crack a few tinnies, along with some carefully selected wines.

It’s on days like that that the hot tub shows itself as the sound investment it was. In fact, more of a cool tub on such a day. Having turned it down to a mere 30 degrees, it made for a most refreshing dip from the heat and was especially fun for the kids. The adults enjoyed the weather and frivolity. The bar-bee passed it’s first run of the year, and the iTunes DJ feature got a good testing. No party should be without it in this day and age. Most entertaining.

Sunday had the same weather again. We’d unfortunately had a rather sleepless night caused by some engineering works on the nearby railway. I understand that night time works are the least disruptive to the network, but they are still the most disruptive to our sleep patterns. On the plus side, Sunday meant we allowed ourselves a lie-in and I actually felt my cold/flu/thing lift a little.

So much so in fact, that Mrs G and resolved to cycle into the city and back out and over to her offices. The logic with a ride to her offices is in preparation for her daily commute. She’s intending to cycle with daughter and wanted to gauge the timing. Naturally after Friday’s events I wasn’t overly keen, but in point of fact, I had nothing to be concerned about. 2 out of 4 of my previous issues were dealt with (it was still hot and I have yet to have the crankshaft bearing replaced) and as a result, it was a most enjoyable outing. About 8 miles round trip – felt like 200 yards – a doddle.

For the final leg, Mrs G and I swapped bikes. What a dream it is to ride on a decent set of crankshaft bearings (said the actress to the bishop). The repair is imminent I feel.

And here we are, back at Monday. What does this week hold? Well at least one day will spent with the Badman in another Starfleet office. My diary has a few conference calls and meetings throughout but beyond that… I have no idea.

I’m hoping for a week as smooth as my new bearings will be. Have fun.

* For the American audience, I feel this one really needs a proper bit of explanation. Back in the day, the Brits used to buy “deep fried fish with french fries” on a Friday night as “take out”. The french fries would be wrapped up in yesterday’s newspaper. Waste not, want not. Today, Mr Health & Nanny State Safety, wouldn’t dream of allowing such a thing to take place, not least because newspaper ink is probably more toxic now than it was 30 years ago. Instead we have plain boring chip paper. Where’s the fun in that?


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

…and to be honest, once you’ve watched this, and if you’ve ever skied, so will you…
http://player.vimeo.com/video/16269153?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0
Chimæra from Sherpas Cinema on Vimeo.
It’s been very quiet round here, but that’s just because I’ve been busy doing stuff. When I say “Stuff” I mean that in the loosest possible way. I haven’t really being doing anything, other than enjoying the Christmas break. A LOT of socialising, eating and drinking and generally making merry. But I would still rather be skiing.
Let’s have a quick summary of what’s happened (if anything) since he last time we were both here. Boxing day proper was of course on the 27th. Really was a lot of fun watching the realisation dawn on so many people’s faces that it really is on a week day and not a Sunday. Equally, this lack of understanding caused no-end of propblems for people. Not least the hunt, which while the actual chasing of foxes is banned still have a romp around the fields chasing nothing (at least as far as you can see). They had low turn outs due to the fact that no-one understood what day it was on. Even the Radio Times “Feel the heft of Christmas Televisual entertainment” managed to get it wrong. Classic.

On Tuesday we decided we’d have a rtip to town (not the city) and spend some of the Christmas vouchers.  As it turns out, I didn’t spend any of them. Had a mooch about in Waterstones, and didn’t see anything I wanted. the main problem for me with shopping in this period of time is my Birthday. It’s just around the corner in January, and there’s every chance I’ll get yet more vouchers/cash for that (at least if I’m very very very lucky), so it makes me not want to buy anything right now, and instead “wait and see” (which incidentally is something that we used to have for dinner on many occasions when I was a youth – as in Me: “Mum, Whats for tea?” Mum: “Wait and See”)
We met up with Auntie S and M. I’m not particularly adverse to wandering round the shops with Mrs G & Daughter, but M doesn’t enjoy it and would far prefer to be tucked up in a corner of a pub supping ale and slowly slipping into a stupor. Not wanting to see a man drinking on his own, I had to do the decent thing and support him on his mission. As you can imagine, it was a tremendous hardship and there were moments where I would have gladly given it all up. I mean, having to wait almost 10 minutes to be served!!?? It’s practically unacceptable. Still we marched onwards at it, heads held high, until the march became a stagger, and the heads started lolling.
Before you get too judgemental about drinking during daylight hours in the middle of the week, M’s radiotherapy starts next week, so as far as I’m concerned I think he’s completely entitle to enjoy one too many in the short term. I was only to happy to support him in his quest. Genuinely.  Not sure that either of us felt the same on Wednesday morning though. 🙂
Worse still was Wednesday was the big planned party of the week.  I with help of Johnnie had organised a bit of a get together for the Wiltshire lads. This a group of friends who go way back. In our teens we hung out with each other every day, in our 20’s probably once a week, in our 30’s once a month, and now we’re just edging into our 40’s and it’s seems like it’s becoming once a year. If we’re not careful it’ll be once a decade and then we’ll be gone!!. So it’s an important pleasure to get us all together and something that we all enjoy once we can finally manage it.  This year we did a decent job of it, and we’re going to try and do it more often in the coming 12 months – but we’ll see how that works out.
The evening consisted of an entertaining bus ride on the Number 10, some excellent food in the Brown Jug in Cheltenham, some excellent drinks in various establishments including The Cross Keys, The Suffolk Arms, The Beehive, The Montpellier Wine Bar & Subtone, A marvellous round of spoof which I was very pleased not to have won, A stodgy pizza and an eventful taxi ride home, which saw me make my first ever 999 call. Told you it was eventful – can’t say anymore, other than no-one was injured and that youths shouldn’t be allowed alcohol until they’ve been on a course in “How not to abuse their elders” (none of us I might add – we were just innocent passers-by)

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Thursday morning meant a bit of a fry up, and reminiscing and then eventually putting the house back together. Not that it was particularly bad, but you understand. Six blokes kipped down pretty much where the fell…  nuff said.
In amongst all this boozing and gorging, there’s been the iTunes 12 Days of Christmas presents – lots of fun stuff in there, a purchase of “The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die” (excellent stuff) and several movie watchings which I eluded to in the last post. In no particular order: 3 out of the 4 Home Alone movies (I really couldn’t stomach anymore than that), Elf (fantastically stupidly funny for Christmas), Inception (again), Iron Man 2 (again), How The Grinch Stole Christmas (which was alright, but I’ve seen it now, and don’t need to go back), Toy Story 3, and Shrek Forever After (both awesome in their own ways).  I’ve been a very good consumer.
Back at work today, but its quiet (too quiet). To be honest, there’s not a huge amount for me to do (possibly less than that) but it does give me an opportunity to tidy up ready for the “all new” role next week. Of course it’s New Years Eve!!  and we all know what that means don’t we?  Yep, yet more drinking and eating and general celebrating. Well, maybe. But not for me.  Mrs G and I are staying in and enjoying each others company. A quiet night rather than trying to fight to a bar to be charged three times the normal price for a soft drink and four times the normal price for a hard one. Equally we’re not visiting with friends or going to a party, we’re just chilling.  The last chance rest before the New Year proper.
I have had a wonderful few days off, but it would be really great to be up a mountain in France wouldn’t it?  Perhaps we’ll have a glass of Gluwein to see in 2011.
Hmmm, but then again, we wouldn’t have had the fun we’ve had…
Happy New Year, and have a safe one.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Just so you know, the main reason for having a long weekend off from work this week is the wonderful Mrs G’s birthday. Although she’d rather it wasn’t. Usually we go away or do something a bit different, but this year we’re not going anywhere in particular. Various reasons, but the main one being that it will just be nice to chill out and not feel we should be going somewhere or doing something.

I’m no fool though and I’m fully aware that this means we will almost certainly end up doing something as yet unplanned.

Yesterday saw us end-of-summer cleaning the entire house from top to bottom which is where my artwork came in handy. OK, so perhaps artwork isn’t exactly the right description, but I did have a paintbrush in hand and various paints which I liberally used to patch up, touch over and cut in where visible knocks and scratches have manifested over the last 12 months or so. The result is that the place looks like new again and smells as if the Queen is coming to visit (ie: the waft of fresh delux is on the breeze)

We also endured oven scrubbing, window cleaning, full furniture removal and hoovering beneath, behind, besides and anywhere else beginning with be, as well as Mrs G’s 24×7 laundry regime (seriously – don’t hang it on the back of a chair – it *will* get washed. NB:This is not a complaint; merely an observation).

And with the weather being as muggy as it was I reckon we must have lost a few pounds in sweat. Sadly, still to do is lawn mowing and gloss paintwork, which weather permitting will be today once I’ve procured appropriate card and gift suitable to the more important occasion.

I’m thinking tonight might be the perfect occasion for Mrs G and I to have a trip into Chelters and sample a few of the hostelry’s of impeccable quality. That’s always entertaining, and I’d particularly like to steer her away from the launch of the X-Factor, because otherwise my Saturday nights will be wasted from now until Christmas (and that’s an awful lot of Saturdays!).

Sunday will see us eating out for Sunday Lunch with W&J most likely at daughter’s watering hole. Then Monday I suspect will be birthday shopping as Mrs G’s been dropping heavy hints that all donations to her shopping fund would be gratefully received.

Actually, for a completely unplanned and empty weekend, we seem to have it all pretty much mapped out, but you never know…..


Finally – this bit might seem a little odd, but I’ve got these 3 or 4 articles that I really want to get and read and I just need somewhere to keep a record of them. There’s no point in me bookmarking them in my browser because I’ll probably be using a different browser when I find the required 20 minutes to sit and read them. So instead, I’m just going to dump them off here and then I’ll know where they are. You can read them too if you like. 😉

1. Web dev for mobile devices
2. BBC Radio 1 Dev API info
3. Social media work
4. Your brain on Google

In conversation with Barnsey (our world famous runner and personal trainer; Good Luck with breaking the record for the Cotswold Way, by the way) last night the subject of the ‘Chunder Mile’ came up.

Now here is an interesting concept. The deal is you start by downing a pint of larger. You then run a lap of the running track (400m) and then stop and down another pint of larger. You continue in this mode for four laps then finish it off with a final pint just to settle your nerves. Sounds simple enough. Apparently the record is around the 7 minute mark. Now I like to think I can have a few drinks with the best of them.

After some deliberation, I’ve come to the conclusion that for this event I’d hardly be able to drink the 5 pints in 7 minutes let alone run 4x400m as well. Barnsey is very keen to get us all involved. Us, on the other hand, remain to be convinced.

It’s not helped by the ‘little stories’ he related to us concerning last years event. Things like ‘Some people were throwing up at the first bend – it’s the gassy larger you see’ and ‘Most people take a while to recover. Like a day or two’ – hmmmm. I think I could watch, but I’d struggle to run for the bus to be fair. It’s not that I’m a bad runner – I could actually run for the bus and am occasionally seen running the odd 4 or 5k in the neighbourhood (when I’m on a health kick). No the problem is that I’m just not designed to be a runner.

When the basic survival skills for cavemen (which in all honesty we’ve superseded) were dished out, I didn’t get the running /spear chucking ones. Instead I’m the one in the cave drawing up the “this is how we’re going to catch a mammoth” plan on the wall. As I always say “Up here for thinking (points at head), down there for dancing (points at crotch)”

All things considered I think I’ll sit the chunder mile out this year, but I might come along for immoral support – and perhaps intelligence gathering fir next years cave paintings.

I managed to crowbar mowing the lawn in between the showers yesterday while waiting for Daughter & Mrs G to get back from the hospital (Nothing to worry about). To be fair it hardly needed it what with all the warm weather we’ve had of late, but a least it’s tidied the garden up.

I do love an empty Sunday. A full english brunch is on the cards and if the wether turns to rain, which it’s looking like it might, I may finally get to see the last instalment of “The Silence” which I was raving about earlier in the week. For various reasons we didn’t get to see it on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. We did get to see a few old friends last night in the form of C’s 40th birthday bash, which was a BBQ and drinkies at their house up north….

I could say more but I can’t and that brings me nicely to my subject today: Fixing Social Networking (or SocNet, which is the phrase that I’ve coined and is now copyrighted to me 😉 ).

The undisputed king of social networking is Facebook. With over 400 million regular users, 50% of whom check in every day, there’s no denying it is all encompassing. That said all is not well in the kingdom of the book of faces. In recent years it’s security and privacy policies have come under scrutiny and they’ve had to make significant changes, but while these things are concerning they’re not the elephant in the room which Facebook are ignoring.

The big problem is who your Facebook friends are. For example, it might seem like fun to be Facebook friends with your boss, that is until he/she sees what you’ve been up to with your Facebook friends from the pub. This is the tip of the iceberg, and its an iceberg that the unsinkable Facebook is sailing straight towards. These two social groups (pub & work in our example) are non existent in the world of Facebook, and this lack of ‘friend granularity’ is what will lead you to post less or be far more selective about who your Facebook friends are based on what people may or may not learn about you. As you acquire more friends in more social groups you’ll be using Facebook less and less.

The fix is obvious and is simply a case of grouping your friends together in their respective social groups so that the right people see the right things and not the wrong people seeing the wrong things. The groups will have to be able to crossover because (in our example) you might be the type of person who spends time in the pub with your boss. It’s a function that’s not in place today, but you can bet it’s being worked on, if not by Facebook then by google (Google Me) or someone else who has their eye on the SocNet throne.

Worse still for the SocNet owners, this problem is by no means exclusive to Facebook. Twitter, Foursquare and any number of SocNet sites all suffer from the same basic failing. So in fact, what were faced with is not something that perhaps Facebook can fix or maybe even should. Ownership of this metadata about your friends (your relationship status to them) is something that is unique to you and you should take responsibly for and thus be able to manage.

I think your contacts is where the action is really at and we should look closely at the vCard, CardDAV (or similar) standard. Here’s the ifs that could make it work:

  • If your contacts were all in the cloud
  • If your contacts held SocNet data (ie: pub, work etc)
  • If your contacts held SocNet membership data (ie: is a member of facebook, twitter etc)
  • If your contacts auto synced to your local device (smartphone, PC etc) that would be nice too.

Then each of the SocNet sites could (after your approval) interrogate this data and manage your posts accordingly. Of course you would still have to mark which of your social groups can see your posts, but you would have a finite list based on your contacts metadata that you own.

All the tech to do this exists today. The question is who will be first to tie it all together and make it work? Whoever it is, let’s hope they get it right and then I can tell all – at least to the right people.

Mrs G and I had a fairly leisurely day planned for Saturday doing not an awful lot. A wander into town to pick up Wednesday’s copy of the local paper (because there’s an article featuring Daughter in it) proved fruitless as we discovered the newspaper office is closed on the weekend. Not much happens round here that’s newsworthy obviously.

Picked up a couple of birthday cards for forthcoming celebrations and on the way back to the car I was surprised and humoured to see a longish line of people in a queue outside the O2 shop. I’m fully aware of the O2 shop queue due to son having stood in it on Thursday for the iPhone launch (which incidentally meant that the back of his head also appeared in the local paper), but this time, there was another familiar face. Auntie S. There she was dutifully queuing up to get herself one. We stopped and chatted for a while only to find out that the O2 store had around 50 handsets in stock. 50!? Really ?? I’d already decided not to bother until at least a couple of weeks, when I figured the stock levels would be replenished, but to hear that they have them again already – was quite a surprise. Needless to say – I joined the queue.

Having now procured, this also meant I could finally save Mrs G from her Samsung thing, and get her on a decent phone instead. After a few grumbles and gripes we soon had her all set up and now she’s a convert too. Thank god that my tech support mantle can be laid to rest for a while.

BTW – Last note on the subject – they really are all they’re cracked up to be. The fastest phone I’ve had the pleasure of using. Video calls with Son have been a blast already even though for the time being we both have to be within a WiFi hotspot. For me personally, not a signal drop out in sight either, although I have heard the talk. I’ve also heard there’s an imminent fix for it in the form of software – this I do find surprising, but it’s not a problem for me at the moment either way.

On the flip side – terrible news from the badman that he is without the necessary drugs to sustain him. I wish I could tell him there was an “app for that” but alas even that wouldn’t help him as he’s also smartphone-less. The best he can hope for is to buy pre-ground and save himself from certain dementia.

So then to Sunday Lunch – obviously the football (more on that in a moment) was the most important thing, so a BBQ at BBB’s house was the plan. He wanted some help getting set up, so I scooted over early so that we could hang the 40″ TV on the garden wall and install shade where appropriate, fill the pool and chill the beer. As a build up to the game (and to be honest this should almost be the law whenever England play Germany) we watched “Escape To Victory” with Michael Caine, Pele & Sylvester Stallone – Fantastic stuff. For the BBQ, Mrs G and I bought this, just like chicken…

And then of course there was the football, which is just too depressing to think about too much. I know it would be easy to say they were crap. But actually they weren’t crap (to start with). I know it would be easy to blame Cappello, but everyone was doing that after the first two games, then after the third and we got through, everyone was saying how great a manager he’d been by showing some real passion. He may have made some “odd” choices in team lineup’s, but I’m sorry, it’s just not his fault.

It seems clear to me, that the touchline/referee method for calling a goal is outdated and obviously doesn’t work. The FA & FIFA’s argument for the lack of technology is that they want a level playing field (no pun intended), whereby every team (right down to pub teams) have the same chance of scoring (or being disallowed). While this has some merit, in the modern world it makes a mockery of what is supposed to be a modern sport. Tennis & Rugby have both embraced the technology with no detriment to the game whatsoever – It’s time to put that right.

IF, and of course it’s a big IF, but IF the england goal had stood, which (as we can all see from the video playbacks) it should have, then psychologically the England squad would have been playing a different game entirely. I disagree when people say it wouldn’t have effected the overall scoreline, because quite simply a goal boosts the confidence of the team, just like a disallowed (obvious) goal dents their confidence.

Too late now though. What’s done is done and at least we don’t have to bother watching any more of it. My predictor has Argentina and Portugal in the final, but I don’t really care.

A few interesting snippets that I’ve picked up over the weekend for you now:

Anyone who’s read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (which I mentioned on Friday) will be aware that the meaning of life is exactly 42 (sorry if I’ve spoiled it for you, but you should have read it already). It turns out that the maths behind this has been expanded, and here’s the result. Magic….

I was also very interested to read that:

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) developed a software program that can detect depression in blogs and online texts. The software is capable of identifying language that can indicate the writer’s psychological state, which could serve as a screening tool. Read More

Good to know that when I’m depressed, my blog could tell me.

TED always teaches interesting concepts. Never thought I’d see this one though.

Then there’s the Rubik Cube art, which makes me want to buy a whole bunch of Rubik’s cubes and make my own: RubikCubism

For the electrical engineer’s I spotted this:

Resistance Begins at Ohm – $14.95 by Chris Murphy



So finally, back to the real world and two stories of interest.  First of all. Cash dispensers are about to start chucking out £5 notes again. Everyone runs out of fivers, so the bank of England have been making it their business to get them back into circulation. I for one am very pleased to hear this news because when I only want a fiver out of the cash machine, I only want a fiver and not a tenner.

Second of all, someone is having a crack at Facebook. Kevin Rose, the founder of “Digg” tweeted on Saturday the following: “Ok, umm, huge rumor: Google to launch facebook competitor very soon “Google Me”, very credible source”. Can’t wait to finally kill off my Facebook account. Oh I do hope there’s a super-fast hi-definition, multitasking app for that! Bring It On!

Well here we are then. It’s the morning after the night before.

Having physically recovered from yesterdays abusive bus passenger, if not mentally, we regrouped back at the ranch in preparation for our journey back to the shire. I’m sure I’ve pointed out before how the county signs that border eachother are worded. “Wiltshire Welcomes You” while you’re “Welcome to Gloucestershire” and very true that is. Wiltshire does Welcome you (especially if your a prodigal son like what I is) but don’t expect to be staying. ‘Get orf moy laand’ is the correct expresion. You are Welcome to Gloucestershire, in fact, please, keep it, take it away with you… Not entirely fair, but entertaining none the less.

So by 5pm we were to the manor born and all set to party the night away. The roadster did a great job of getting us here and all is well with the world.

The marquee was all decked out with balloons, banners and DJ gear and the Hog Roast arrived on the back of a trailer. Beer and wine were plentiful including a barrel of Waddy’s IPA and a barrel of the evil that is Black Rat. What could possibly go wrong?? Well for one thing, the weather. 5.15 glorious sunshine, 5.45 a spit of rain, 6.15 a light shower, 6.45 no rain just some bracing breeze. Party started at 7 so predictably enough 7.15 the heavens opened and it gushed down for about 20 minutes. This did have a positive effect though as with all 60 guests gathered in the marquee, everyone got to know everyone without having any loners wanering about some lost corner of the grounds.

From here on in everything went swimingly. The breeze persisted making it all a bit chilly but patio heaters and the marquee provided sufficient shelter and the tunes were loud and proud.

By 3am it all flowed to a comfortable halt, which Mrs G and I only found out about this morning over coffee and bacon, as we were sparko by a piddling 1am. Unlimited amounts of IPA & Vino Collapso will have that effect.

Next mission is the journey home. I’m struggling to believe it’s Sunday already, but at least there’s a bank holiday (sadly without Cheese Rolling) and for some of us a couple more days without the grindstone. More sunshine please!!!

WoW. So I managed to survive a week of unecessary stress and shenanigans at Starfleet and am now celebrating the fact having convieniently arranged five days holiday. Yipeee! OK, so there is a little more to it than that – I don’t just take holiday willy-nilly you know – there are things that need to be done.

Let’s start with yesterday. That was L’s 40th birthday (she of Wiltshire) and to mark this special occasion, A has put a big tent (well a marquee) up in the garden (well grounds of the estate) and is holding something of a party (well piss-up) all through the night tonight. This means certain death for at least 10 brain cells and some long term recovery for whichever of my currently healthy kidney’s is still remaining after the event.

It also means Mrs G and I have a trip to Chelter’s to do a little gift shopping and pick up some fresh coffee (Mr Badman will be pleased). I’ve got to go to Chelter’s for it, as the Gloucester City Chamber of Commerce and the head of Whittards have yet to receive a letter from me suggesting they open a store within walking distance of my front door….. I digress.

So to make the travel arrangements that tad more complicated, Mrs G has arranged to meet her friend from her previous job for lunch. The fact that daughter didn’t include Mrs G on her car insurance when she renewed it (purely an oversight) has made this a logistical hassle resulting in me having to take public transport back from Chelter’s while Mrs G lauds it up in the roadster with her mate. It’s too complicated and frankly boring to explain.

As I’ve said before, the problem with public transport is that its for the, ermm, public. One isn’t a fan of having to mingle with them, but one must do one’s best to help lower one’s carbon footprint don’t-cha-know. 🙂 I’m actually looking firward to it in an adventuring kinda way. More of that in a mo.

First though – breakfast! Unbeknown to me, British Home Stores (BHS to you and me, I mean how pretentious to think that all of britain’s household goods would come from a single store! They must have had their eye on Harrods when they came up with that little gem) (get on with it!! – Ed). As I was saying, BHS do a mean 5 piece breakfast for a shocking 99p!!! (when you buy a hot drink) and not bad it is too.

Post breaking the fast, a short cut through “House of Fraser” (he wasn’t in) led to me buying a new shirt, then into Waterstones, the book shop. The important thing about Waterstones is we have to know in advance exactly what we’re going in there to buy. If not, it’s entirely possible we could dissapear for days at a time. It’s dangerous because we’re both bibliophiles (no you can’t get arrested for that – yet) and find browsing the myriad of books almost as much fun as reading them. 3 days later…a few more bits and bobs and then Mrs G and I parted company (such sweet sorrow) while she went off to meet her friend for lunch and I went in search of the golden bus. (Golden bus?? Ed)

Cheltenham and Gloucester recently invested in some new buses for the 94 route which appear to be made of gold!…


…and leather…


Now this really is over the top for what extensibly is just a bus but then I suppose this is no ordinary bus. This is a Cheltenham bus, specifically designed to make the poor people of Gloucester realiase just how poor they are!! Personally, I love ’em. What’s more, mine was almost empty (at least upstairs in which I consider to be first class).

I am clearly wrong about this point, which was only made more evident when some mouthy bint got on at one of the stops from a part of town that Cheltenham wishes wasn’t. She tried to use some dodgy bus pass and the driver ended up in a slanging match with her. After some raised voices and some choice language on her part, she paid and clomped up the stairs while singing the driver’s praises in some of the oldest English I’ve heard in a while (and not approriate for the dinner table – or indeed any table – except perhaps a table in a brothel – thankyou: Edmund Blackadder). This waste of good breathing air then decided to avail me of the sh1t collection of music on her mobile phone. How very gracious of her. And that, in a nutshell is why public transport is for the public…. It might be the nicest looking bus in the world, but that doesn’t stop the pikeys and the to$$ers getting on board.

Taxi for Mr Ball !!