Archives for category: WTC

Thursday nights are (as the regular readers know) reserved for the Wednesday/Thursday Club – or WTC for short – which is basically a bunch of like minded individuals who go to the pub and relieve themselves of the pressure of the working week by bitching about it and generally putting the world back into perspective. 

Last Thursday’s WTC almost co-insided with one of our numbers birthday – namely Stan – who isn’t actually called Stan – but then that’s the whole point of nicknames. 

Sadly, the horrendous planning that’s been happening of late has meant that I’ve had to get in the car and attempt to drive through the snow to my not-so-local office for the day on Friday. This means that I had to scale back my participation a little to account for an early start – ie: I had an (almost) early finish and a sensible amount of alcohol. 

That said, there was still plenty of frivolity, some banging Ska music – exactly how Stan likes it – and truth be told, how everyone likes it once it gets going.

He was also, the lucky recipient of the WTC Birthday Present, which has to be the most awful smelling aftershave you could ever hope not to sniff.


….and that was almost a week ago…  And then it was Friday and as I’ve eluded I had to take a trip up to my not-very-close office to have a handover from the Badman who is off galavanting around Wales (if such a thing is possible in Wales). 

The job is a very similar shape to one that he and I completed last year and so should be relatively straight forward.  However – I’d somehow forgotten just how stressful it is to not be fully in control of the destiny of those that work for you on a job like this.  We’ve reached Thursday afternoon now and I’ve got throughmost of the pain relatively unscathed.  I’ve spent some time explaining to Clive what’s going on – nothing he didn’t already know, but then he has to have a reason to be here.

As a team, we’ve had to deal with two changes that have effected more of the work than had been anticiapted. No matter how hard I might try to get things in a reasonable shape for the end of the week, you can almsot guarantee that some numpty somewhere is waiting behind a photocopier or desk, to jump out and stick thier proverbial cat amongst the pidgeons at the last minute.

I’ve also been reminded how obnoxious the rest of Europe can be – I’m amazed that I’d forgotten, but I can only surmise that it must be akin to the memories of people that are involved in very serious accidents, and that thankfully have no recollection of them whatsoever. I too have no recolection of ever having to deal with the people of Luxembourg….  it was that painful.

On top of that there’s the commercial aspects of a job like this – and that is almost entirely about who is going to get paid for doing what – or not.  Extremely frustrating. But we carry on rewardless. It’s enough to leave you scarred for life….   See What I did there ?  ;-D

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

A busy weekend has been had, so to fail to summarise…

A brief mention of Thursday evening, saw four of the WTC visiting Frank Whittle’s pub. Cycling in the rain was worth it though, just to catch up with the lads who are consistently entertaining no matter what the circumstances.

Friday saw me landed with reviewing some work that our US cousins have been putting together. All very interesting and generally not bad. They did have (in fact still do at the moment I’m sure) a small piece missing which could cost them quite a bit of cash, so I helpfully pointed that out to them. We have a follow up meeting today (Monday), and we’ll see where they’ve got to with it, but I suspect they’ll be mostly fine for now.

This sort of work fits in just fine around the Nelefunt hunt that Pooh and I have been conducting and have nearly caught. It’s a bit of a moving feast of a beast mind you, and right now we’re waiting patiently for the drugs to take effect so that it might fall asleep and accidentally wake up caught. Trouble is, it’s a big beasty and not sure how much of the drugs it needs to knock it out. I always vote for giving it loads, but sometimes nelefunts can sense it and will only go for smaller amounts. It’s a numbers game. And a waiting game. And just for good measure, it is what it is.

We also have a new prefect at Starfleet academy. Interesting sort. Seems to go for the rule book with a vengeance. This approach is all well and good when your terraforming, or mining, not so helpful when you’re exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilisations, in short, boldly going…. etc etc…. On the plus side it does provide us with ample oppertunitys to play “MBS Bingo” (the M stands for middle management).


I’m not having a pop. He’s just doing his job. It’s just that it’s a job I could never see any appeal-to or need-of, for that matter.

Friday night brought daughter’s new “fella” to dinner and what a fine upstanding chap he is. Just as long as he doesn’t think he’s “in”. This is something that dad’s with daughters have to deal with, and I am getting better at it. To be fair, this one passed the “mate” test instantly, and he does seem to be at least half sensible. Did I mention what a fine upstanding chap he is? I’d hate to have to set the bunnies or Helga on him.

Saturday. My favourite day of the week… Along with Thursday (the new Friday), oh and Friday and Sunday…. Wednesday’s are alright as they’re the halfway point of the working week, so I suppose that just leaves Monday and Tuesday. Can’t be doing with either of them. Subject sorted. Now where was I?

Ah yes, so Saturday. First job, the return of the car. Well over a week to get the brake calliper replaced, but worth every minute of the wait. The lack of motor only really caused me any pain on Friday when I was unable to meet up with pooh, but he was very understanding about it and claimed he’d save me some huny. (I know what bears are like though.) Both Mrs G and I have done a lot of cycling this week, and thats good for everyone. As for Mickey and the motor, when it came to the bill, it was a pleasure to pay. Sometimes it really is all about “who” and not “what”. With that job out of the way, reliably, Mrs G hopped on her bike to get her hair done, daughter was off to work, so I got to try out Google+ and some of it’s features.


Got to tell you, I’m loving it. Finally a social networking application with some proper management built into it. It’s still got a way to go, but it kicks the be-jesus out of Facebook in my humble opinion. Check it out here:

There was also some qualifying for the British GP, and then at the last minute Mrs G suggested a trip to that massive blue building with the yellow writing on it that’s always jammed full of people buying furniture. Eye-Key-Ah. I have a love hate relationship with the place. Too many times have I found it over crowded, over priced and under performing. I often have to make a second trip to return something, or get another one, or a different one, so I’m not a massive fan. Having said that, on this occasion it all went swimingly. In fact rather too well. The place was practically empty and we bought a new lamp to replace the one that wasn’t big enough. This one’s simply perfect. Quite a shock I can tell you. Curry for dinner, fun times.
Now Sunday rolled around and with it yet more cycling. This is becoming something of a habit (albeit not a bad one, unlike the others). Last night after the Ikea trip and plenty of umping and ahhing we went and made a rash decision (something of a discomfort for a Capricorn* – us mountain goats think about it and pick a safe path). It’s finally time to paint the kitchen!! Duh-duh-Daaaaaaaa!

And what colour would us safe path treading mountain goat types choose? Blue? White? Some sort of Beige possibly? …. Not a bit of it…. Classic Red (just like the pillar boxes). Was I nervous about applying loaded brush to wall? Oh yes. And am I happy with the result…. Mostly, very. One thing I’ve learned about red paint, unlike White, if you apply even the tiniest drop to the wrong place it looks like a murder has taken place. Smudged red is messy. Bloody messy (pardon the pun).


So the short version of Sunday is like this: Bikes to B&Q, Buy Paint, Home, Empty kitchen, Prep Walls, sanding etc. Cup of tea, lunch, Watch the Grand Prix…

Which reminds me, what an awesome new camera angle that was. 400m cables suspend the “flying” camera over the track and provided some stunning pictures. It’s not a new technology, being deployed in football, swimming, Indy car racing to name but three, but it’s a first in F1.

Back to the schedule…. Another cup of tea, finally build up enough courage to apply paint to walls, nip out and buy more masking tape, apply tape, apply more paint, dinner (slow cooked sausage casserole) and then more paint. Finally round the evening off with a Crabbie’s alcoholic ginger beer and “Sleeping with the Enemy” on Film 4 from back in 1990.

There is more painting to be done still. A second coat is required and there’s a few right diddly bits, but a good 8 hours of drying is required first so I think I know what will be happening on Monday night.

All-in-all, a fine, full weekend. The near future brings more work with Americans, painting, a visitation from Wiltshire and planning for our 6th Wedding Anniversary, so for a start I need to figure out what sixth is (probably brick or something) before Mrs G tells me it’s diamonds, or gold… 😉 Bless her for trying. Take care.

* actually, I’m not a Capricorn, I’m a Pyrex… That’s right I was a test-tube baby.. Boom-boom.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

It’s trying to snow…  I do find it quite amazing that the entire country seems to be grinding to halt and yet I look out the window at a grey and green back garden with only the remnants of snow from the weekend. And that’s only there because it’s been so darn cold. Starting to feel a little left out.

That said, it really is trying to snow now.  There are a few “flakes”, whisps, fluff, feathers… of snow whatever you wish to call them, but they’re barely enough to mention. I imagine we’re being lulled into a false sense of security and any minute now the snow gods will unceremoniously dump a blanket of the stuff upon us like a duvet on a sofa – briefly welcome but ultimately out of place.

More of a concern is the impact it’s having on our Christmas shopping.  I’ve got a couple of items “in the post” but who knows when they might arrive? Not the post office that’s for sure. Ho Hum. For those of us from the 80’s it’s great to see some of the more rediculaous 80’s toys back again.  I never had one of these the first time round, but I’m quite tempted to put it on my list for Santa now that’s it’s back.

You can get the re-released version at and there’s even a smaller version which you can send to the moon.. or at least simulate it:

What the snow won’t stop, is any chance of a bit of socialising. Today being Thursday, means I’m due a trip to the WTC and a long overdue catchup with some of the lads. I’m quite sure that even if their houses were literally buried in the white stuff, they’d still find a route to the pub – which is after all is said and done – the correct place to put the world to rights.

Talking of righting things… (and writing things) a bit of an update on the AirPrint situation.  I mentioned yesterday how it was great to see the iOS 4.2 update, but only AirPrint support for a handful of HP printers was disappointing to say the least. I also mentioned that there are some rumoured workarounds.  

This is the 21st century and there are people out there that want us to have all the toys we’re promised (even jetpacks I bet) and so it’s great to find these minor hacks, get all printers up and running for your iPhone, iPod or iPad.

They are as follows:

Mac OSX 10.6.5: AirPrint Hactivator can be found here:

Windows 32 & 64bit: AirPrint Activator for Windows can be found here (english half way down the page):

I can confirm that the OSX version seems to run just fine and will suit me until Apple releases the additional functionality officialy. Until then, if you don’t want to go the hacking route I have it on good authority that these are the only truly supported printers for the time being:

Envy e-All-in-One series (D410a)
LaserJet Pro CM1415fn Color Multifunction Printer
LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw Color Multifunction Printer
LaserJet Pro CP1525n Color Printer
LaserJet Pro CP1525nw Color Printer
LaserJet Pro M1536dnf Multifunction Printer
Photosmart e-AiO (D110)
Photosmart eStation (C510)
Photosmart Plus e-AiO (B210a)
Photosmart Premium e-AiO (C310a)
Photosmart Premium Fax e-AiO (C410a)

Sad but true….

Today i have much reading to do and as hard as I’ve tried to avoid picking up new stuff, because I mentioned it, I seem to have two new “5-minute little” jobs. No doubt they’re more likely to be “3-week monsters” and I’ve been blagged yet again.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

More hard work continually getting in the way of me doing anything more interesting. But that’s the day job. First the fun and games stuff. 

Some stuff I don’t talk about a great deal but do enjoy in a “guilty pleasure” sort of way are Video Games. It’s a generational sort of thing that my parents would never really understand. The reason being that Video Games are not OF their generation. Don’t get me wrong, they know what they are. Space Invaders, PacMan and Frogger (to name but 3) were household names in my day and to some extent still are, but that’s the 1970’s & 80’s for you.

Something I’ve stumbled upon recently though, is an old ZX Spectrum favourite which has been re-booted (to use the parlance of our times). Jet Set Willy Online (Check it out here: is a freeware server product, or if you’re not into the hosting your own game idea, then there’s a separate client too. It’s Windows only and I have yet to get it up and running, but what a great idea!!!. Apparently it’s been around for 3 years now, and I’ve just found it!? Where multiplayer Jet Set Willy goes next is anybody’s guess. Loads of fun material, including the facilities to build your own levels. Great to see him back again.

Online, multiplayer games are nothing new, well at least not brand new, but in sales figures alone, one such piece of software stands out from the crowd. The performance of the “Call of Duty” franchise is quite remarkable. The brand is owned by Activision, who for those of you old enough to remember, will be aware have been around since almost before Jet Set Willy and until more recent times were best known for “PitFall!”

But it’s not just Activision developing the game. In fact the series swaps between two different development companies. The current incarnation (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2) was developed by InfintyWard. The next outing (Call of Duty: Black Ops) will be developed by Treyarch. If things were to continue as they have, the next version after that would be back to InfintyWard’s table.  However, it appears there’s been some leagal wrangling between Activision and Infinity Ward, so noone’s quite sure where the franchise will go next.

Regardless of what does happen, the product has phenominal sales figures way up in the high tens of millions of units, which for a video game is insane. However, the attention to detail is what keeps the players faithfull. Well, that and the online aspect. Being able to play against your friends in such detailed graphical environments is the stuff of dreams from the 70’s and 80’s, now made reality thanks to the pervasiveness of the Internet and improved console technology.  

For those of you that have never seen CoD, here’s a snippet of a game of “Capture the Flag” from the current version (Modern Warfare 2)

Gaming really has come a long way and when it makes multi-million dollars for the developers it’s just going to keep coming.

Now onto a mini movie review in the shape of Iron Man 2. Last night was to have been a trip to the cinema to finally watch the Social Network (which for those of you that have been paying attention is the facebook movie) which has been getting plenty of attention.  However, this plan when slightly awry when Auntie S’s dad fell a little poorly.  Nothing too serious I don’t think, but enough that she decided she should go and check him out. So instead I managed to catch up with Iron Man 2 and Mrs G caught up with Holby City (as is her want)

I loved the first Iron Man movie (number 65 in my current top 100) and the second one is also a very enjoyable romp. It’s possible it doesn’t have quite the impact of the first, but that maybe because we’re already aware of the Tony Stark character and his limitations or lack thereof.

It’s still packed with special effects which are well done and just about believable in an unbelievable sort of way. Samuel L. Jackson is back as well, reprising his role as Nick Fury (from the Avengers for those not familiar with comic book nerdism). Well I say reprising. If you’re one of those people that gets up and leaves the cinema during the end credits, you’ll never have seen him in the first movie. After the Iron Man credits you got this little gem:

Interestingly, after the Iron Man 2 credits, there’s another little gem to, but you’ll have to watch for yourself. I digress.

Mr Jackson puts in a commendable piece and the franchise is bearing up well. One might be forgiven for thinking it’s become the place for those actors who’ve had a bumpy ride in the past to rekindle their career’s. I’m referring here to Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 1 & 2 and now also to Mickey Rourke who’s another one that’s had an extremely colourful life. It’s not true though. In point of fact, neither actor ever stopped making movies, they just didn’t have the biggest or most well known roles for a while. More power to both of them I say. They’re both deserving and should enjoy great credit for their works.

In summary 8 out of 10 especially if you enjoyed the first one.

Back to the drudgery then. It’s Thursday though, and there’s a special WTC event tonight.  Fun times.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Trundle, trundle, trundle…. This is the only real downside to working from home (or in my case underneath a roundabout covered in Rabbits). Occasionally I have to drive somewhere and today is one of those occasions. I’m not complaining as it goes. It will be nice to catch up with some of my fellow Starfleet miners and gives us all the chance to hear the latest gossip and moan about whatever takes our fancy.

Today’s gathering will be in Hampshire – so a good couple of hours drive from Gloucestershire which will give me the opportunity to catchup on my podcasts. As it turns out, 2 hours (or 4 if you count the journey back as well) may not be quite enough time.

Since the good Doctor’s (Kermode & Mayo) Friday afternoon ‘Wittertainment’ show stretched out to 2 hours it’s become quite a mission to keep up with it. (If you’re slightly interested in films and you don’t know what this us, you absolutely must go and listen to it here: ) Occasionally on a Friday I can have the radio on and hear them live, but this really is a special treat as more often than not someone wants to spend the afternoon on the phone. I know!! What are they thinking!!?!

Of course having the iPhone running through the car stereo means you can change the playback speed to 2x thus magically compressing time. This isn’t always perfect, mostly because Dr K is well known for talking at speed, so talking at double speed can be hard to understand, but it certainly helps plough through it.  

The other factor is that of Boyd Hilton.  Don’t get me wrong, I do like him. He’s even twittered me in response to some of my abuse in the past, but with all the will in the world, he’s just not the two Dr’s. He is the Editor of Heat magazine, a TV & book reviewer on BBC Radio Five Live but not, as far as I know, any relation to Paris Hilton, which is a stroke of luck for him. You can follow him on Twitter: @boydhilton 

…… Time Passes  …..

And here I am back in the warren having had, what ended up being a very productive day. I was a little late due to the chaos that is the M4 corridor of a working morning, but we soon got down to business ably led by our non-blogging chairman for the day.  He’s very good at keeping us in control – but then he is the coxwain – as long as he’s listening 😉 Very much like this….

And today is Thursday – so WTC outing arranged and it’s off to Chelter’s for a jar this evening.

Fun times.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Yesterday was an energetic day of sorts. We were awoken by the sounds of daughter taking her car to the garage for it’s MOT and so I was up and at coffee/tea making duties while Mrs G arose. She was off to see S for general chinwagging and catching upness while I was destined to live a day of domesticity. Ho hum.

Now anyone who knows me would know that I can’t say that that’s my favourite way to spend a day off, so as soon as I’d got the worst of the little jobs out of the way (namely hovering and dishwashering) I decided a ride on the bike out to Tesco’s to recycle beer & coke cans would be far healthier.

It was son’s birthday a week or so ago and he’d had a crowd of lads round to help him celebrate before they went off into town. In the best tradition of lads having a birthday bash much beer was flowing, along with the odd shot of absinthe, so a good time was had by them all (at least until the morning). This inevitably left a large pile of beer cans.

What I love the most about recycling beer cans is the smell of stale beer. Better yet is the feeling you get when the contents of half a can if old stale beer trickles from a backpack and down your back while you’re riding along so that you too, end up reeking of the stuff. I have explained to son in the past that a) eating is cheating and b) dumping means doubles next round, both of which are excellent rules for any serious drinker to adhere to. However, it would seem that he’s not managed to get the message across to some of his mates – unless of course they were actually planning on drinking doubles in the next round.

I did get a rather funny look from the woman in the newsagents where I stopped to pickup a bottle if water. I think she thought I’d been drinking… But then it was 10am so anything’s possible.

WTC (look it up in the blog if you don’t know what it is) was almost cancelled due to the inability of anyone to get themselves to the pub. Luckily S and myself managed to hold up the tradition ably assisted by special guests in the form of Mrs G and Daughter. We took a trip to the @NorwoodArms and partook of some dinner (Two meals for a tenner. Get ’em while they’re ‘ot!!) and had a bash at the quiz. Something we used to do every week, but of course this year we’ve had the 52 pub challenge (which is fairing reasonably well considering how difficult it is to get a bunch of blokes to agree on anything let alone which pub they should be visiting this week) to keep us travelling. Judging by the quiz results we’re well out of practice.

Today is dedicated to clearing out the garage, and re-roofing the car which means Autumn must be here now. It’s also dedicated to the consistently awesome Ordinary Hero Mr @HowardJones.

I’ve long been a fan of HoJo from my 80’s teen years and seen him play live three or four times. He’s always note perfect and its almost entirely his fault that I play the piano (albeit badly). I probably should have had lessons :-). This is an acoustic tour for the “Ordinary Hero’s” album which involves him chatting and playing the album tracks as well as some of the old 80’s tracks. It’s a great album but don’t expect heavy pop. Lots of inspirational piano & vocal with the odd drum. A work of art. Thoroughly recommended. You can get it on iTunes here or why not try out his 3D iCD at where you can hear the entire album for free. Try before you buy. He’s always been very cutting edge like that.

If you’re looking for more HoJo news, follow him on twitter (@HowardJones) and keep an eye on his website at

That’s it for today. Happy Friday. Oh and did I mention I won’t be back at work on Monday? One more day, just one more day, to make it feel like a proper holiday. Back on Tuesday though. Unless I win the lottery. Or have a sensible conversation with Stretch.  

I swear Scott Adams is watching me…

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

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.

Me stuff…
I haven’t got a lot to say to today. I’m over-tired. Work isn’t excessively busy, but it is demanding in a dripping tap kind of way. A bit here, a bit there, none of which are related means that I keep swapping between all these little bits and after a while they start to blur into one. This makes them taxing on the brain cell as I struggle to keep them all segmented. Clearly I’m in need of more coffee. It’s just not any fun really.

A disturbed night of sleep (not that I’ve had many undisturbed nights with the temperatures being they way they have of late) caused by daughter an friends having a “big night out” in the middle of the week. At least I don’t have insomnia. Also not much fun.

The Motor is going to be with Doctor M for a few more days while it has the rear brake calliper’s reconditioned. Turns out that this was the most economical method of replacement, and as it’s sadly nearing the end of it’s life, then it makes sense to go that way. Have decided that a replacement vehicle will most certainly be acquired in about 12 months time when I will have to face an entire re-financing package as part of the end of the fixed rate mortgage. Fingers crossed for the interest rate staying low and stable – although my record on this subject means that it’s likely to go through the roof days before I’m scheduled change it. Sometimes it feels like I’m financing the countries debt all on my own!!… and that’s no fun.

Newsy items…
Not that I care about Tennis a great deal, but Rodger Federa has been knocked out of Wimbledon – I’m sure that’ll make for a more interesting competition for those that are interested.

Apple are looking for Antenna Engineers – if you happen to be one and always fancied a job at apple, now is your chance. Strange that it coincides with the alleged issues with conductivity – something I’ve found hard to reproduce, but have. That said, it still hasn’t effected any calls or usage of the handset for me personally. If you want all the techie geeky background, you’ll be wanting to read this: Apple’s iPhone 4: Thoroughly Reviewed. Fun-ny, but not fun.

The US Popular Science website is reporting a future hormone fix for healing teeth. Interesting science but not fun.

A serious piece of weather is approaching Texas in the form of Hurricane Alex. I’m sure you already know that hurricanes are named alphabetically. Here’s the lowdown:

In 1953, the National Weather Service picked up on the habit of Naval meteorologists of naming the storms after women. Ships were always referred to as female, and were often given women’s names. The storms’ temperament certainly seemed female enough, shifting directions at a whim on a moment’s notice. In 1979, male names were inserted to alternate with the female names,to the delight of women’s-libbers everywhere.

There are actually six lists of names in use for storms in the Atlantic. These lists rotate, one each year; the list of this year’s names will not be reused for six years. The names get recycled each time the list comes up, with one exception: storms so devastating that reusing the name is inappropriate. In this case, the name is taken off the list and another name is used to replace it; there will not be another Hurricane Andrew, because Andrew has been replaced by Alex on the list.

Not much chance of a “Hurricane Fun” though.

Techy items…
If you don’t think your selected password is up to the job, you might want to check it out here: Useful, but not fun.

Buffoonery items…
Old Spice Ad’s for the ladies….. What the Feck is going on in these ad guys heads when they come up with this stuff?? Apparently this first one was shown during the Superbowl to great acclaim.

Now they’ve followed it up with this… I mean, that’s not at all sexist in any way is it?

I suppose they are a bit fun, but only a bit.

While the weather’s looking good at the moment, forecast is for rain this evening. This is just “bloody typical” as I haven’t had a night out for ages and have a WTC meet scheduled for this evening in a summer pub with a garden. Sitting in a pub garden in the rain is just not fun.

Well that’s today’s entertainment. I hope yours is more fun than mine….

Yesterday, the Warner Brothers machine released the trailer for the Harry Potter finale ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’. This might not mean much to you, but the entire set of movies have been great fun and once again I can honestly say if you haven’t seen them, you’ve missed a treat.

What’s particularly great about them is not just the way they’ve followed young Harry from his early teens through to his early twenties (remarkably with the same actors in the key roles adding an extra layer of realism to their growing up) but the fact that it’s a British set of works with worldwide acclaim. Such a shame then, that WB decided to build “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” (that link isn’t the official site, it’s a fan site full of photos if you want to have a peek) in Orlando, Florida rather than in the UK. Although.. hold on a sec… I take that back. Thank god they built it in Florida and not in the UK. While it might seem like a good thing for the economy, it wouldn’t be that great for everything else. Kids dressed as wizards in the pouring rain queuing for hours on end – mum’s and dad’s from all over the world would be driven mental. No, stick it in Florida with the nice weather – that is, after all, not at all in keeping with the original source material, just the way Hollywood likes it.

The original books are written by J.K.Rowling, who at the time was a single mum living in a flat in Scotland (I think). She’s now one of the wealthiest people on the planet so probably can legitimately claim to be a MILIF – That’s a “Mum I’d Like To Inherit From” – steady lads…

I’m sure many of you have ready the books, but how many have read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone?  I ask, because this book does not exist in the UK. It’s the title of the US version of Philosopher’s Stone – one can only imagine that just like “The Madness of King George the third” it had to be retile because our trans-atlantic cousins hadn’t seen the first two movies – although even I am surprised that Philosopher’s Stones are not well know in the US of A. Apparently, the US publishers feared that American readers would not associate the word “philosopher” with a magical theme (although the Philosopher’s Stone is alchemy-related) – so perhaps it’s the publisher’s who aren’t well read. Such sweet irony.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Book 1) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1)
Harry Potter and the
Philosopher’s Stone
Harry Potter and the
 Sorcerer’s Stone

I picked up an early copy of the US version when I was on a trip out there, and very pleased I am to have this little niche of history too. After the Stone book – whatever sort of stone it was, followed the other six novels in the series….

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)

…and all very good they are too. I can’t say I’m a fan-boi about this stuff, but they are a very entertaining read. Not particularly aimed at adults or kids, just a good old yarn for one and all.

If you want to see the trailers for each of the films, well here’s the links, but I’ll embed the latest one just for the fans who haven’t caught it yet.

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets (2002)
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Now “Deathly Hallows” is going to be in two parts hence the title of this post. The first will be released in November this year (2010) and then the blockbusting finish to the whole shebang will be next Summer. July 2011. So here’s what you probably haven’t been waiting for – the trailer to next years movie event of the summer.

So that’s the bulk of today’s post. I’ll just pad out the end here with some of the domesticity news… Car went for it’s MOT and Service yesterday and failed on a rear brake calliper. Toyota want £400 for a new one!!! Holy Cow!! – However, thanks to Orange D’s Dad who runs the garage, looks like it might end up being more like £150 instead. He knows a man etc etc… Of course with the MOT & Service & Fitting the whole lot will probably cost me £250 – but them’s the rules and it has to be done. To be fair, the motor is 10 years old now, so it’s bound to need a little TLC occasionally. I keep considering a change, eventually I’ll make one.

Tomorrow’s Thursday and in light of the thrashing we got at the football, the WTC are all in dire need of a cheering up, so hopefully (if the weather holds out) a summer pub beer garden will help us all through the pain.

That’s your lot. Enjoy being the boy (or girl) who lived….

Now I’m sure you read my earlier post regarding the fact that England has spoken and if not, well shame on you. You really need to understand how this “Great” Britain works or not as the case may be. Regardless, last evening was spent spining out an excellent diatribe on the way things are done in this country and the way things should be done. In short, we put the world (more importantly, the country) to rights… This really is deep stuff for three blokes having a beer, but then all the biggest problems are traditionally solved in this way.

It all comes down to human rights and what should (and shouldn’t) the state control that directly effects us members of the public. So clearly we need some changes and as such I would like to present the WTC Manifesto (while not completed yet, it is the first principles of a Manifesto at least) which I can assure you we will be passing on to the members of parliament for the new coalition with the sole intention of inclusion in their future plans for old man England.

1. Services
I’m certain that most people would agree there are certain services that are essential to human existence. Things like the provision of water, energy and food for example. These services are things that (in our bright new coalition -ConDemNation-) should be provided by the state. Today the state provides us with medical (NHS), security (Police & Military), education (Schools & some universities), Entertainment & News (BBC) and the Post Office. Of these how many are provided well?

In the WTC’s view (and I’m sure most people of any common sense) the answer is one, namely the BBC.

First of all, let me share with you the logic that has drawn these conclusions. The BBC is an institution that is highly respected the world over. In the face of commercial competition from the likes of ITV, Channel 4 and Sky (in the UK alone) it has managed to successfully compete and moreover “up it’s game” to a level that the commercial stations can still only aspire to. It has done this through funding that is mostly publicly supplied, although it is important to note that it does have a smaller percentage of commercial income as a result of sales of some of it’s output.

Surely when a semi-nationalised business such as this does so well, then shouldn’t it be held up as a paragon of virtue in the quagmire that is commercialism. ?? ie: If the BBC can get it right, what the hell is going wrong with …. ??

Let’s be clear, the BBC isn’t a fully nationalised institution and neither is it a fully commercial institution. It is a hybrid and for this reason it works. So what happens if we apply the same logic to the other services that we believe the Government should be running ?

1a. Power
The commercial power providers in the UK need to have a certain amount of Nationalised control re-imposed upon them. Forget about everyone having a smart meter to see how much they’re consuming, that is putting the cart before the horse (and it is in the coalition manifesto). Use that money to help provide everyone in the country with a solar panel or windmill for micro-energy generation. This in itself would create an entire business and should show the way to England becoming the world leader in micro-engegy generation. So we propose the Ministry of Energy should be taking this bull squarely by the horns and bringing the commercial energy providers back in line with what the people should have a “right” to and not what these enterprises shareholders want. ie: Clean and Cheap energy, not Dirty and expensive dividends. Why aren’t we taking a leaf out of NYC’s book and applying this logic to the whole country??

1b. Water
This one is a bit tougher, but it suffers similar problems in it’s charging mechanisms. The fact that we’re charged for the delivery of water and the taking away of water seems to be flawed, but we agree that we’d need to look further into the issues before we can set a firm policy on the subject although it is clear that shareholders influence is too strong when water is a basic need.

1c. Food
Anyone will tell you the supermarkets have too much control and influence over what we eat in this country. From the BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free) deals that encourage us to buy stuff we don’t need and either eat it and get fat, or throw it away and load up the landfill sites to the importation of asparagus from Peru under the guise of providing more choice for the consumer which is actually just damaging the environment by flying the stuff over 6000 miles. They are clearly out of control and some government influence could save us a small fortune. Not least in the NHS which is going to be overburdened by fatties in no time at this rate.

So those are the Services that aren’t government controlled, but should be at some level. Bear in mind that the method we’re suggesting using is a hybrid Government controlled/Commercial model. What about the ones that are government controlled that shouldn’t be…

Well I’ve blathered on about it enough for today – but it’s an ongoing agenda item for the suddenly serious WTC, so you can expect views on semi-Privatisation of the existing services in a future blog entry.

At least we don’t have to worry about Schrödinger’s Japanese Snow Monkey which was a source of mental backflips for me & some of my co-workers, briefly yesterday. The cat died having been left in the box without food for too long.