Wednesday, April 30, 2014

on perspective

hi there

i was considering, i was, my friends and colleagues over in South Africa, or if you like the Africa of the South, earlier today. a year ago today, look you see, marked the end of my time at verk with them. a tough, heartwrenching and hard decision to make it was, but as those who know me will know, i wished to come home. and remain very, very glad, of course, that i am home.

i had no idea at all today was the day that South Africans around the world voted in advance of the election next week - the one they have slotted in around that minor murder trial and series of strikes.

the images from London (innit) were quite stark and perhaps even scary at face value. many thousands seem to be there, all in appearance apparently of a quite similar height, all voting.

the scary side is, of course, just how many people from SA are living here. but this has to be somewhat tempered by the fact that they are not all living in London (innit). as far as i am aware, London is the only place South Africans in the UK can go to vote, rather like the somewhat arse-headed and very counter productive move in Australia (g'day), where South Africans need to travel to Canberra to cast a vote. i would suspect that those living in NZ are expected to go Canberra too.

no, in answer to your question. no i did not travel to vote. why not? because i am not, nor ever have been, a citizen of that fine land. i was a mere guest on a residency visa. whilst this allowed me to cast my vote in that famous 1994 election, the law was changed so that from the next, 1999, onwards i could not. which is fair enough, i suppose - their land, their law.

it is impressive that so many have seemingly turned up all over the world to cast a vote. quite a level of dedication, and indeed a sense of remaining tied to their land of birth. obviously i understand the sentiment entirely, since the links to my own home country are and were always going to be very strong indeed.

did i vote in UK elections during my time in SA? no. i looked into it, but i was rather dubious about what i saw. for a start it seemed to be possible to do only via an organization called 'Conservatives Abroad'. they wanted what i would consider an unreasonable amount of money to allow me to vote, and there was no indication of exactly how my vote would be allocated. it didn't seem constituency-specific, as i would have expected, so i feared that the ruling party would simply take my vote and apply it wherever there was a "shortfall".

with SA's proportional representation system i imagine everything is a good deal more transparent and clear in regards of what vote goes where. maybe.

i expect images like these will, in the absence of Oscar trial juice, cause some senasational headlines here and there. "the sad face of those forced out of their country", "the true scale of the brain drain", "are you happy now, Bono?", that sort of thing. it would be misleading.

London (innit) has of course been a draw and an attraction for many, many thousands over the years. in terms of national populations, for instance, London is France's 4th biggest city. and Bono never ever got upset about the French. quite the opposite, in truth, if rumours of his [REMOVED ON LEGAL ADVICE] are founded, nice as her Bowie cover was.

that these people have sought the life they want elsewhere but still care about the future, immediate and long term, of their place of birth is admirable and to be celebrated. and, of course, to be exploited by South African fast food outlets operating in the area.

Spiros, by the way, is absolutely thrilled by the large number of French in London (innit). "Les Hommes" he calls them, believing himself to be quite the kindred spirit.

anyway, off to watch the last moments of John Terry not needing his shin pads for any finals this season, then off to bed.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

travels with Spiros

hi there

well, i was waiting for some clarification off me mate Spiros as to what exactly it was that he wanted me to do with these pictures he sent me. i got a touch bored waiting, though, and assumed then that his wish and will was to firstly appreciate them and then secondly to post them on here. Spiros does, from time to time, like to use me as a conduit to express and share his observations and visions with the general world.

just what visions and observations Spiros shared with me were as limited as they were quite possibly legally tricky to share here in an exact, verbatim like way. it is, i fear, on the whole rather safer to suggest you consider mostly the lilac green, or is it lime green, pole things. very visible, they seem to be.

also the chap that seems to have a lot of biro on his forehead. i wonder if it was all different ones, or if he had one of them special multi-ink pens that you can select different colours off of by clicking down the one you want. we have a couple of class Star Wars ones here, ones that i am assuming resemble the pens that they would have been shown using had those scenes made it to the final cuts of the films.

or maybe it is marker pen, actually. possibly even some sort of traditional, ritualistic paint.

i am not entirely sure that those pants, socks and shoes were supposed to exist at the same time as each other, either. and that is coming from me, one of the most spectacular fashion disasters ever to learn how to handle the basics of dressing themself and mostly getting it all not as bad as it could be in the appearance of it.

shoes, and the lack thereof, are a matter that Spiros has a fine and proud record of association with. a rather obtuse, statistic defying number of known confidants and contemporaries have experienced the loss or theft of quality footwear in frankly bizarre circumstances, although i must hasten to add that Spiros has never been a suspect. he just seems to attract to his good self people who are rather good at having a parting of the ways with their shoes by means seldom related to choice.

where exactly was it that Spiros was on his travels to, or indeed from, as he obtained these pictures? i have no idea and little interest. it could reasonably have featured Luton, Watford or Margate, though.

most of his life, it seems, is these days centred around roaming about in search of a pair of pants, or trousers if anyone reading this is of a mind to be pedantic, that are substantially less soiled and thus in a better state of repair that the ones he happens to have on. he has, look you see, recently discovered something called White Ace, a liquid of major refreshment advantages in every possible sense, it would seem.

since we were discussing Star Wars just now, sort of, here's that cast picture of them for that new one of the fims they are doing. looks like they have scripts and that, which will no doubt help.

i think that the little green one that had the funny ears will be absent, and also those critters that looked like teddy bears but tried to cook people alive will be, but hopefully it all goes well anyway. if they have them smart sword things that are also torches, well then so much the better.

Spiros, meanwhile, has shared with me this third and final image. or final for now, at the least. i am not sure if i am supposed to be admiring the bag, the sensational laces on that one shoe you can see or the tattoo things. if the later, i have no idea who those people are, but presumably they are of substantial and indeed assured permanent importance to the chap whose arm that is.

i have to mention that Spiros seems to have got rather a touch sensitive over my class haul of Viz pens and pencils. he is, i believe, considering writing to the Viz and advising them about what a twat i am, according to him, and how they should not send me any more stuff.

it would not be nice if he did that, and most unfriendly. but then Viz do not have anything else on offer i want at the moment. they do some sort of crossword thing, right, full of rude words as the answers, but the prize there is money - fifty pounds, i belive. that's nice and that, but it is not a unique, distinct Viz. if it were a pencil or something i would have already fired of an entry form for it. also they seem to have stopped that "deface a textbook picture" competition; presumably on sound legal advice from some solicitors.

anyway, will probably post again in May.

many thanks indeed to Spiros for sending these pictures, for whatever hell reason you did send them on.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Rico Slade

hi there

blimey, for some reason April appears to have been quite prolific on the blog posting front. sorry for that, or you are very welcome. either way, here's another post at the least, and no doubt one or two more will follow over the next few days.

or see you in May, maybe.

anyway, as for the reason for this, yet another post, it's another one of them Bizarro books that i read. and read quite quickly, as it happens. despite my hectic, home husband transformed into one of them yuppie things lifestyles, i managed this one it two days. or nights, but you know what i mean.

to use the finest of the BBC's approach to censorship, then, Rico Slade Will Funning Kill You was a book that caught my eye, funnily enough, on the basis of the title alone. the somewhat "cheeky" use of someone that looks a bit like a well known Austrian political enthusiast on the cover was a bonus.

this book, or novella if you insist as it barely clocks in at much over 100 pages, is brilliant. brilliant, at least, if you have a love of action movies, the surreal, and things that have a ridiculous surface appearance that belie the true genius underneath. if i have the spelling and words right in this regard; no doubt the child of the condiment phoenix will let me know.

hard to say too much without giving the fun and joy of the hundred and a bit pages away, really. if you were, and who was not, frustrated with the lost potential of the film Last Action Hero,  Bradley Sands shares your pain. in short he decided to fix it by throwing a good deal more violence at the story, and indeed a fair amount of Fight Club at it. and oh my word yes indeed, it really does all turn out as brilliant as that sounds it could be. it would not be unfair to suggest that the "real or imagined" side of, say, American Psycho exists in the pages of this book too, albeit not as cluttered or as Phil Collins obsessed as that spectacular work by Mr Ellis was.

this brief, fast read was worth every penny asked of it, and it is certainly one i shall revisit and read again for the sheer fun and brilliance of it all. impressive it is that the UK amazon store has it available, as they seem to be reluctant to wave around all that many of these so far mostly ace Bizarro books. although the link in the title of the book above whisks you away to Mr Sands' site, where i am sure you can order it from pretty much anywhere in the world.

right, off to bed. yes, quite possibly to instantly start re-reading this magnificent adventure of Rico Slade once more, to be honest.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Noasis for Glasto, then

hi there

well, that would seem to be that, then. over on NME Emily Eavis is reported as saying that Oasis are not playing the Glastonbury 2014 festival. presumably Noel believes that the big pile of money he currently has is quite sastifactory and thus he has no need for any sort of 20th anniversary reunion cash-in.

the mind boggles, then, at just what act will be announced in May 2014. why exactly contractual obligations and secrecy surround the naming of the act will be interesting to see. i mean, keeping it secret if it was Oasis makes sense, if it is any other act, less so.

for many, really, whoever gets announced is going to be a disappointment and a letdown with the news that it isn't Oasis. going on previous years, it would not be a surprise if the Eavis family simply continued their obsession with Coldplay and just booked them again.

or maybe Jedward have been booked and they are waiting for all tickets to be sold before saying.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

ace reporting

hi there

so, yeah, the Daily Mail has "a bit" of a reputation for this sort of slight exaggeration and possibly misleading stories, but this is like a whole new level. as in blended for britain shampoo level.

in fairness, i am off the top of my head unaware if either David Moyes or Louis Van Gaal has ever managed a team that has risen to the challenge of being Norwich 4-0. so maybe this is more impressive than i assumed, i don't know.

if next week somehow Giggs finds the tactical skill and managerial ability to beat - or at least draw - with the powerhouse of Sunderland then i think that's the manager of the year / decade sorted out.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Val Kilmer on that twitter thing

hi there

many, many, many thanks indeed to Cracked for this insight into what Val Kilmer does on that twitter thing. i suggest you click that link in blue to go and read all about it.

for those of you that do not wish to, or cannot be bothered, yet still have some interest in it for some reason, here's an insight or two. well, two.

that's a formidable amount of retweets, that is, assuming that the above number means that it has been retweeted 4,555 times.

that was, i am led to believe, his tribute for Lou Reed. works quite well really, better than those "why Lou Read was the greatest and most important ever in the world" articles written by people who had seldom, if ever, heard his music.

meanwhile, to give you a break from Val action, here is now what amazon think i wish to buy after my search with them for love bead toothpaste.

amazon, if you are interested, do not stock love bead toothpaste. i have probably mentioned this before, like, but there it is again. that's amazon that sells everything it can, by the way.

back to Val, then. i am pretty sure that he has never gotten "out of character" from one of his greatest, sadly mostly unseen roles, that of Gay Perry in the brilliant Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. go and see it now. this is indeed a film that amazon offer, possibly because it has not got love beads in it. well, not that i remember.

being Gay Perry would certain explain his apparent proclivity to create - and i urge you to check the dictionary on this front - massive giant works of art that feature someone out of that show Friends.

i see. Val Kilmer's twitter could well be the next best greatest thing since Steven Seagal went all country & western and started selling 'Native American Medicines' about a dozen or so years ago.

i like Val. i always have, always will, to quote one of his finer roles and bonus points if you can work out which film that's off of. i never bought into this "Val Kilmer is a dick" business on the basis that Joel Schumacher, he who made Batman & Robin, is the one that said it. to me that's like giving instant credibility to any sort of character reference John Terry gave someone.

more people should be like Val on twitter, then it might be more interesting.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 25, 2014


hello there

well. this post, in my mind, was intended as a homage at the altar of a sensational, brilliant advert for a sensational, brilliant concept of a sensational, brilliant product. it has however expanded somewhat from the "little think" stage. this may be a good thing or it may be a bad thing. that's up to you, really, but if you prefer my blog posts for some reason to be quite specific and all separated out, sorry for that.

to start, unusually, at the start, today began as a misty, nippy, overcast day. it has turned into more of the same, only with the added bonus of rain; that drizzling, spittling rain which lacks the courage to be strong full on rain that so beautifies England often.

as i stood by the bus stop, then (yes the earlier one, those who troubled their life with a whiny post a day or so ago) (maybe two), i thought it would be nice to take an image of the mists and that. sorry, probably does not look quite as good or picturesque via the medium of blueberry camera as it does in real life.

indeed i should possibly take the iTwat along with me on one of my frequent, regular bus trips to capture such scenes in the majestic glory of Commodore 64 mode. i will see what i can do about it next week, or the week after. or when i remember to.

anyway, on my travels this week - actually as of yesterday onwards, or if you like yesterday and today - i noticed, i did, a new advertisement thingie beautifying the streets of my journey. it's just sensational, it is, and would fully warrant a blog post all of its own either here on any, other, arguably better blog.

i am sure by now you are tired of reading of it and really just wish to see it. so here it is.

yes, it's a shampoo advert. i know here that i have covered shampoo before but this is not just any shampoo. oh no. this is an advert for blended shampoo. blended for Britain, no less. respect, man.

this appeals on two levels, really. firstly, my quest to get a decent shampoo, with Colgate (they of love bead toothpaste fame) (and by the way it costs 50% more than the actual price of the love bead toothpaste itself to post it to an unnamed gent going through a mid-life crisis about it in New Zealand) (hello, Dad) Apple shampoo apparently unavailable to me here and Timotei with the lemon shoved in it like what Jason Donovan advocated apparently banished from this earth, one of these has appeal.

secondly, being a bit of a writer of sorts myself, i can just sooooo appreciate the "creative session" that came and went as they devised the 'blended for britain' slogan. it would have featured an amazing amount of laughter, giggles, cups of tears, sore sides and the very tears of humour dropping onto fingers that tried to type as they trembled with the reverberations of what silly, funny nonsense the phrase is when applied to the world of shampoo.

genius, it is. i like it. i like it possibly more than you may well like the next image of it, which was for no good reason at all taken from across a road with the legendary abilities of the zoom on the blueberry being deployed.

how far away was i from that to use the zoom to get it to do that? quite a bit, really. across from what by Middlesbrough standards is a "mega multi-laned stretch of road". but you will see that in a little bit.

in the mean time, since i am mixing things up for you, a little bit of a special, super duper sort of ace-ish and hopefully helpful consumer advice. advice on lunch matters, no less.

i have, as several of you are all too aware, recently revived the idea of this whole verk thing. i have ended up in a position doing something that i really love doing, and am in an excellent environment with a group of amazing people. good fortune has smiled on me with this, as indeed it did with all the encouragement and support i got as i sought verk. so my thanks all around.

anyway, lunch. the finest lunch that i have yet had on my travels in and around verk has at the sort of cafe / bistro sort of place very near it. which is of no general use, and not as much of a viable option as it could be until i am in the cycle of being paid, as it's a touch pricey, it is.

£3 seems to be very much the base rate for lunch deals, or if you like deals that one can get for lunch. a bit like a recent post i did on class things you can get for a fiver, except for £2 less than that and more food related. 

you people get quite upset when there is a lot of text not broken by pictures so here is what i got from Greggs today. for an amount of £3

i was rather curious about this whole Greggs thing to be honest. i mean, i remembered it in passing when i lived in England originally, but not with any significance. over the years my only knowledge of what has become of Greggs is based on what them off of the Viz have included, and they pretty much claim that Greggs is responsible for the decline of the UK in general and the increase in the weight of people in the UK specifically.

somewhat disappointing, then, to discover that Greggs actually supplied me with a decent, very tasty sandwich that did not seem all that unhealthy, along with a distinctly average (as in good and fine) coffee. for, as i said, £3.

on the £3 lunch front, however, Subway is the winner. they have an excellent range of sandwiches (anything with Italian in the name gets my choice) with a drink (water, juice (i think) or tea/coffee) that tend to be just more filling. nowt against the Greggs, but Subway for me i think. 

Subway also do an ace breakfast thing for a mere £2 that features the excellence of bacon. people have suggested that in my life of walking around and eating a bit better i have lost a touch of weight. i may well be putting it back on as a direct consequence of some of the things said here, or at least spoken of.

but you want shampoo stuff. blended shampoo. for Britain. surely they mean British people, though. yeah? i mean, how do you supply shampoo to a whole land area, and why would you?

yeah, that's the picture of the area i stood from to take the zoomed one above, or something like that. i think you might well understand why i opted to take a zoom one, seeing how that one does not really show off as much as it could of the poster.

what excites me the most about this shampoo is one of them, the green one on the end (left or right depending on which side of the equator you are on), has lemon in it. yes! at last there is a shampoo that has a fruit in it like what Jason Donovan approves and uses. unless he is bald or something now.

granted, it has that green tea nonsense in it too, but i am sure i can simply ignore it or filter it a bit. and yes, as you will have worked out, i will be buying some. i suspect it may cost slightly more than £3 as it is not lunch related. it may even be over the "class things for a fiver" range, but so be it. shoving fruit into shampoo is what Jason Donovan is all about, so it is what i am all about.

BREAKING NEWS i just an email from my beloved Mother-In-Law in which she tells me that she has just today, towards the end of April, received her birthday cards from us. the ones that we posted as recently as mid-February in the wild hope that the SA Post Office would deliver them in time. a mere 6 - 7 weeks late, as it turns out, but that they got delivered at all is a sign of some brave new idea the South African Post Office has taken to about simply doing the f****** job which they are both paid and legally obliged to f****** do instead of spending their days on f****** strike in the hope of being given more money for doing nothing at all of what they are supposed to be f****** doing. bravo, i say.

which ties in very nicely indeed with the next segment of this blog post that has shown a remarkable level of clarity and focus in respect of staying on topic.

today i returned home after finishing off my (almost complete) first week at verk to find an unexpected, unidentified and unsolicited parcel waiting for me. blimey, yes, that is a sensational level of un in my life. it seems as much un for me as Rik in The Young Ones wished for Una.

but anyway, that what arrived in the post for me.

yes, that's right. an anonymous gift of goodwill that was impossible to trace due to the packaging and stamp being unfranked, or not franked to give my life a bit of a break from this un business.

i know who sent it, but will respect the anonymity of it. except to say nice one MS for it. and a big up to SS for revealing it to the world when discussing ace fiver things. and JG for bringing the merry gang together.

what, you may well ask, is it? it's one of them beer mat towel things one finds in pubs and that (or you used to at least) promoting the sheer excellent and brilliance of Lager Of Lamot.

Lager Of Lamot, which used to feature a sabre-toothed horse of excellence on the can and adverts, was the chosen drink, of course, of legendary, near-mythical-except-they-were-real band Bad News. thus, Lager Of Lamot became my drink of choice.

only they stopped making and selling it not long after Bad News made it popular. i suspect the two are related, honestly. perhaps the makers of Lamot just had no sense of culture and said "if the best our product can be is being the stuff what Bad News drink then the world shall not taste it". which is a shame.

dear me. £7.90 to post £5 of toothpaste loaded with love beads to New Zealand. at least with the Viz pencils thing of mine it was that you could only get the pencils off of the Viz; i suspect there are perfectly acceptable styles of toothpaste freely available in New Zealand. blimey.

if you have nothing better to do, have easy access to a stamp, stationery and/or postal services, then do feel free to write to the following :

PO Box 3964
NSW 2001

when you write to them, well, write what you want, but if you could slot in there a request that they stop being quite so "bastardesque" and immediately start selling Colgate toothpaste with the mouthwash beads in it to the people of New Zealand. not mouthwash crystals and not mouthwash strips, but mouthwash beads, as in love beads. apparently there is a big, big difference between them.

no, i have no idea why my Dad hasn't simply contacted them directly to ask about it. apparently it is easier and more efficient to pester me to send the stuff to him than it is to ask the manufacturers to sell it to him. go figure.

so yes, i am now the proud and very happy owner of an item that relates fondly to the world of Lager of Lamot. the important thing, though, is that someone took me quite by surprise with that thing that i love the most; getting things in the post.

yeah, bed time i think.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Oasis at Glastonbury 2014? or Liam vanity?

hi there

well this is interesting. techno boffin and one of the last rock stars standing took to that twitter thing today to send this message letter by letter

O A S I S  L G

got something on your mind or that you want to say, Liam?

it will be quite class if the "LG" stands for Live Glastonbury as i suggested in my wild guess post on the subject. however, with this being Liam, methinks that LG simply stands for Liam Gallagher.

as Liam loves the band and the music and Noel really, really loves the money he could make off of an Oasis get tothether, one off or otherwise, it will happen one day. this year? who knows.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

in the post

hi there

well, how good and kind the postal system was partially towards me today. on the down side an item or twelve i fired off last Monday has yet to make it to the address indicated. hey ho, hopefully it is delayed due to the Easter holidays around the world. as it did not involve the SA Post Office and their hectic schedule of holidays and strikes i do have grounds to hope it lands.

the good turns out to be very good, in fact. good for me, and good for those of you looking for concrete, tangiable and very real evidence of just how sad, empty and shallow my life is.

here i am, with a bow to some strategy, waving off that which i got in the post today.

what is it? i think you might now. either you have been on this journey, odyssey if you like, of ambition and desire with me in spirit for the last ten or so days or perhaps you have simply scrolled down already to look at the pictures in order to glimpse at what nonsense i am bothering you with now.

but to clarify, yes. a gap in my life is there no more. a wish has been met - with unexpected generosity, i must add. i am now the exceptionally proud, very delighted owner / "winner" of one of them "i spotted Jimmy Hill" pencils off of the Viz. actually, as it happens, a bit more than that, and certainly a bit more than one.

yes, as that picture reveals (almost), i own 4 (four) Jimmy Hill pencils, 2 (two!) Viz pens and a lovely compliments slip to put in a frame and treasure.

i have no idea if this is standard for them or if they simply felt a great deal of pity and sorrow at the pathetic, sad letter i sent to them. i do know for a fact that i now presently have more Viz items than my mate Spiros, so in that sense i am better than him. but in another sense, my mate Spiros is currently living in a shed and throwing his soiled trousers over random hedges, so he is living the 8 Ace life and thus is ultimately much, much better than me.

not that the two of us are in contest, mind. far from it. we are fine and dandy bum chums and sort of egg each other on to greater heights of excellence rather than enjoy the plight and misery of the other.

but i do have more Jimmy Hill pencils than him. look!!!!

for those of you who are for some reason interested in exactly what i wrote to the Viz, and i am sorry but i cannot be bothered doing the italics thing every time with their name, here it is.

Dear Mr Viz

It was with sheer delight that I spotted Mr Jimmy Hill twice in edition 234 of your fine publication. He was in Nobby’s Piles on page 47, featured with a saucepan on his head for unspecified reasons, and then he cropped up again on page 50 in, as it were, Mrs Brady, in which he was seen leaving an optician wearing a new set of frames, square ones befitting the stature of Mr Hill in modern society.

On the basis of my victory in spotting him, I not only compose this letter of triumph, but I also enclose an SAE with a “LARGE” 2nd class stamp affixed. I hereby claim my pencil as a trophy for doing this.

I respect the fact that Jimmy Hill spotting is the preserve of the socially inept and assorted basket cases. I boldly claim, however, to have raised the bar for this. Not only did I spend my Saturday night searching through your publication for sight of Mr Hill, but it has also taken me three days to pluck up the courage to write to you and tell you all about it. I am still unsure if I am brave enough to use a 1st Class Stamp to send this letter to you or if I should go 2nd Class to allow some time to pass between me sending it and you getting it in order to calm down a little bit.

Needless to say, owning a Jimmy Hill pencil is going to increase my sense of self-worth somewhat disproportionately from how you would presumably intend it to.

Many thanks

PS. I have a friend. He is called Spiros and he also likes your magazine, Mr Viz. But he is no good at spotting Jimmy Hill as he has no idea who he is.

whether the pathetic and troublingly true content of the above inspired their generosity or if they usually just bung a handful of things in an envelope i do not know.

anyway, i suspect you are wanting a close look at the pen detail, so here it is, in the best quality that my blueberry camera can deliver to the world.

the quality of the pens and the pencils is way better than the "el cheapo" image that the Viz like to portray themselves as masters of. i suspect they have been specially manufacturered somewhere unusual and exotic, to be honest - somewhere not usually associated with pencils or ink based instruments. perhaps Belgium, maybe Singapore, quite possibly Seaton Carew.

i trust that this blog post has been seen as being as much of a love-in for the kindness, generosity and apparent sympathy that the Viz has visited on me as it has been for a what a sad and frankly peculiar life and set of ambitions i have.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

moany whiny first world problem related getting it out of system post

hello there

a really moaning, groaning post, this. one to gently get it out of my system and throw it out into the world so it does not bother me anymore. you would be wise, then, to just skip it really. unless you are all that fascinated or simply want something to read for amusement or to underline how vastly more interesting your own life surely is by comparison.

behold, ladies and gents, a bus what i rode on earlier today going on its merry way.

i say merry, but i was left far from impressed this morning with the ways of the bus. i had, perhaps with a foolish notion that it could be trusted, trusted the bus to do exactly what it said on the timetable. this, alas, it did not. by some important distance, really.

according to them on their official things the bus i boarded in good faith this morning was to arrive at the main station for Teesside's petro-chemical wonderland at 8:45. this gave me the margin of 15 rather Warholian minutes to get where i needed to be. ample, really.

except, alas, by 9:00, as in the time i was meant to be where i really needed to be, it was nowhere near that point. so i had to get off and - get ready for the shock - sort of run to get where i needed to be. still late. not good, not good at all.

that this bus takes a stupid, roundabout and windy route for no apparent reason, as no one gets on or gets off the bus at the places it twists and turns, does not help, but what is one to do? i am not sure where one takes the protests to for the inconvenience me and i am sure many others have with the increasingly dropping level of service.

their answer will possibly be the suggestion you have in mind, which features the below.

yes. poor, poor, pitiful me, moaning about buses when i could drive. but i do not wish to. i don't like driving, and driving really does not care for me at all. plus, that would mean my (considerably) better half would be robbed of the chance to go bombing around like one of them joyrider boy racer things.

that the 12 mile journey (19kms or so, metric fanatics) on the bus takes about an hour due to the twists and turns the bus people insist on (cheers for that) is somewhat impressive. it is not like the bus drivers i experienced today had any quarrel or issue with running reds, either. minor traffic and the fact that some people wished to have a philosophical debate with the driver about fares did not help.

such a length of time for such a short journey is, of course, nothing new for me. that's mostly where my argument with driving stems from, to be honest. years of this below is what did it.

that, ladies and gents who are for some reason still reading, is a 32km (19 miles, imperial colonial enthusiasts) journey which regularly took me two - 2 - f****** hours to do. on that one i also got to see every possible illegal and frowned upon traffic manoeuvres (except bereft of skill) you can think of, as well as some you would have to see to believe, look you see. 

so there. a whine about not much as things could be a good deal worse. they could be better with either an early morning train or buses that do what the timetable says, but there you go. 

also the CD does not work on the car. 

be seeing you on the earlier bus, then!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The King, The Cliff and (sigh) Love Bead Toothpaste

hello there

well, here we are with another update. i probably possibly should be doing other things right now, but what the heck, before i try to get an early night i am sure i can squeeze in an update. 

first off, for those of you craving normal, sensible updates here (this would be my friends and family around the world), why not a look at the boys messing around at the house of Harlo. Ruby came along to play with them too!

a wonderful, lovely afternoon and early evening was had by all, i am delighted to say. all three in the above seem to have tired themselves out and are either actually or close to sleep, which is where i should be heading.

not entirely unrelated to the above events of the day is just what exactly was at the top of the album chart on this very day some 52 years ago. well, exactly 52 years ago. the answer would be these two fine albums.

yes, on April 21 1962 the record buying public of the UK (this was all pre-downloads, look you see), spoke with purchases to put Blue Hawaii by The King, Elvis Presley at the top. right there behind that one would find The Cliff, The Richard, the Cliff Richard and his many Shadows. The Young Ones is one of his better known and greatly celebrated tunes, due in part to the somewhat liberal use of the title in a sensational TV show. a TV show that, as it happens, my Uncle Colin introduced me to many years ago, possibly to the displeasure of my Mum.

people who do not spend large elements of their life pondering and pursuing very exact and specific forms of toothpaste should probably depart this post right now.

yes, here are the tubes of love bead loaded toothpaste all on a shelf.

that is an amazing price, man. i could get 5 (five) packets of that cool mint one Morrisons sells for the same price. i went along with my cousin Andrew, who advises me on musical matters, to show him what it looks like. he was baffled as to why there was also toothpaste with baking soda, strips and crystals all shoved into it.

we all know this ends with me buying the above and posting it. in the mean time, or at least until that happens, i shall try to avoid mentions of it in further posts.

right, off to do stuffs.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

in search of love bead toothpaste

hi again

right, more nonsense about love bead toothpaste for those of you who are interested in it (hi Dad). just so we are all clear on what challenges await.

i found a price comparison site, which you can visit by clicking here, that shows off my plight. yes, love bead loaded toothpaste is as expensive as it is selectively stocked.

what i particularly liked about the link above is the nice price fluctuation graph that someone has taken the time, trouble and imagination to produce.

what would be ideal, of course, would be getting to Asd.....actually no, what would be ideal would be him just using any bloody brand of toothpaste that they sell over wherever he is. second best would be getting to Asda to get their cheaper offering of the stuff.

i then had a jolly good idea about letting all of this be the problem of amazon, since they are so bloody keen on selling everything they can think of to anyone. everything that is, alas, except love bead toothpaste. oh, sure, they can do you strips or crystals in the toothpaste, but not beads of love. cheers for that.

i don't quite get why Colgate have to be rather bastardesque about this; why did they start making the stuff and selling it if they had no intention of making it freely available?

a friend has, as it happens, found themselves in a position where they do in fact "get" what the Colgate are up to. they read this document, a document that appears to give insight into Colgate's plan for world domination. enjoy, dear reader, if you decide to read all for yourself how one becomes king of the toothpaste market.

brushing your teeth is important and that, right, but at best it should take up 4 - 6 minutes of your day. how is it that my life seems to feature more of it?

i hope, as much as you, that the next post is not toothpaste related.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

love bead toothpaste returns. whether i want it to or not

hi there

once again, dear reader, i find it prudent to muse if not speculate about the exact makeup and agenda of the audience my blog right here has. outside of those who simply know me, i do get baffled when i see a high readership number for certain posts. there's a school of thought that says that google has led them here for some reason or another, but that doesn't quite educate one as to why they stay and have a gander further.

i would imagine it is more with pity than it is awe people look upon these moments, fragments if you like, of my life. wrestles with certain postal systems, naked desperation about getting a Jimmy Hill pencil and frustrations with the timetables of public transport system have, if we are honest, been pretty much it of late. i could understand entirely if one read all of this just for how it in comparison makes their life seem a good deal better than they had thought. if you are reading it and saying "man, that's pretty awesome, what that guy does", well, thanks and that, but i bask in no glory.

the point of this moment of reflection is the return of a sort of prison thing. a prison that one could never hope to gain freedom by release from, and escape seems unlikely. yes, it seems that whether i want it to or not, and i mostly do not, love bead toothpaste is about to become a significant enclosure of my world .

my Dad has been dropping hints for quite some time now that his class collection of love bead loaded toothpaste is "running low". this relates to the rather Roman number of 10 tubes that i posted to him over the course of August and September 2013; something you may wish to read up on.

these pictures you see are, for the most part, the level of emotional blackmail these hints have inevitably descended to. it seems "we" are down to the last packet of the stuff. you would think it's my Dad that is running low, since i have never tried the stuff, but it is of course "we" as i am presuming that i am to stop ignoring the hints and "do something about" the low supply.

not that he forwarded these pictures to me directly. no, of course not. he did not do that just as he has not at any point simply said "son, i am running a bit low on that class toothpaste with the love beads in it; please could you see if you could send some more to me, thank you". nope, instead he gets Gillian to take and send these pictures, along with a sob story about how Dad is beside himself with worry and plight because of the lowering nature of his supply of love bead toothpaste. like it's my fault that he brushes his teeth so often.

actually, he probably didn't get Gillian to send the pics and story. i suspect Gillian has resorted to just taking and sending these images with an accurate and troublesome account of how he is going on about it, presumably in the hope i "do something" to keep him quiet.

this was always a downside to coming home, really. it was inevitable that he would see me being here as little beyond a conduit or smuggling mule to open up a channel to deliver him toothpaste that has, for reasons i have never quite understood, had love beads added to it. the only surprising thing is that i have not had daily, hourly even, mails on the subject.

this is what i am presuming to be the penultimate, if not the final, tube of the stuff. see how he has squeezed with some force the last few drops of love bead loaded toothpaste from it, as if he were George Osborne tackling the neck of the last six remaining taxpayers here.

i really don't know why Colgate, or whoever it is that makes the bloody stuff, refuses to sell it on a general basis south of the recognized Equator. perhaps down south, in places where they will soon experience autumn change to winter, they have much tougher rules and regulations about introducing items that are usually controlled and monitored due to their potential sexual nature into the world of toothpaste. or perhaps market research simply spoke of their being no market for it; "get out of it with your fancy colonial tricks" sort of thing.

my Dad could of course consider contacting Colgate (or whoever) directly, arranging to get it from them, or to petition them to start selling the stuff in his vicinity so that he and everyone else could enjoy and appreciate a life full of as much love bead loaded toothpaste as they care to buy. it is, however, somewhat easier for him to just get on to me about the stuff.

let us take a moment to reflect on this rather relevant moment out of Hawk The Slayer, in which some chaps are about to perform some class ceremony or ritual involving arrows and fire. and robes, man.

yes, they in the picture above, are taking the best course of action that they think will get the result they want. them setting some arrows on fire and twatting them at something or someone is to them what my Dad hinting about the toothpaste thing is to him. except, so far as i am aware, without Jack Palance being involved at any particular stage of it. or, for that matter, anyone out of a Carry On film.

economically speaking, of course, it does make a good deal more sense for my Dad drop hints to me about how i could buy some toothpaste and post it to him than it does for him to simply nip down to a shop and get some for himself. there's also the potential legal angle to it all too, though.

if there are all sorts of strict controls and measures in place about introducing love beads to the world of toothpaste down in the south of the world, then they will surely have one of them smart, effective 'Operation Yewtree' like band of merry coppers on the case, watching out for any transgressions or violations. you would think that the constabulary might have more important matters to deal with, but if it is the law of the land that the two should not mix without permits, then they are to enforce it.

it gives my Dad, then, a level of quite plausible deniability if he can just turn around and say "i have no idea why my sone decided for some reason to send illicit and possibly contraband toothpaste to me. here is his address; it is his collar you wish to feel".

from a financial and legal perspective, then, one can appreciate how it is highly beneficial to my Dad if he just gets me to purchase and post the stuff to him than it is for him to trouble a manufacturer or shop proprietor directly. no doubt it cuts down a great deal on how often he hears variations of "fair dinkum" and "strewth" too, really.

i am unconvinced that my finances at this stage allow for me to go and purchase a large amount of this stuff - which seems perfectly legal here - and meet the tremendous costs of posting it, but i will see if i can sort a limited gesture out at some point soon. the trick is, though, that a nice gesture of it will be taken as a sign that i propose to post it on a regular, frequent basis. refer, if you will, to the prison points earlier.

i think he should start one of those "kickstarter" or "crowd funding" things, to be honest. if some lass can, after all, persuade a whole bunch of strangers to fund her boob job, then there is every chance that a similar number of people could be tempted to contribute and set my Dad up with as much love bead loaded toothpase as he can handle, and then some.

let it not be said, however, or let me not leave you with the impression that the plight of supplies of toothpaste is the only matter Gillian forwards me items on. in the interests of balance - and for a clearer understanding of "balance" you should read this thing i did on shampoo -here is a lovely card that she sent me very recently and, indeed, with good reason.

we know, ladies and gentlemen, what happens next. whether i feel i can afford it, whether i wish to commit to it or not, we know that i am going to feel obliged to purchase this toothpaste and post it to him.

it's not so much the case that i think this is quite enough on the subject of love bead loaded toothpaste, more that i am somewhat amazed that i have written so much. let me leave it, then, for the inevitable sad and tragic day when i have some of it, wrap it in cling film and post it.

yes, i do have some pictures of Easter Eggs and all that, but they are on the other, proper camera of mine. i will sort them out eventually.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

be prepared

hi there

i see our friends Chelsea are showing off what a big club they are again. which of course they are, for their lifelong fans say that they are and have been ever since football and the premier league were invented around 2004.

very wise of them to send out this letter, warning everyone about a parade they are going to have "if" they win not one, not three, but two trophies next month.

i am sure that will not backfire on them at all. quite a class map, if you type in the link on that letter.

meanwhile, here's a quick, not all that great picture of that haircut and trimmed beard i mentioned.

but, moving back, Chelsea's actions above are not exactly isolated or one off things. Liverpool famously had a bus painted in advance of their 6th Champions League win, which they did not do (yet), and then of course there was this one from Arsenal.

Arsenal didn't win that one, of course. not after the UEFA referee decided that against Barcelona it would be a good idea to send off the Arsenal keeper after 20 or so minutes.

of course, Liverpool and Arsenal at the least waited until they were in the final before planning victory parades. short-sighted of them, perhaps.



with thanks to Sky Sports for the above picture. perhaps Liverpool can borrow the wording off of that letter written on behalf Chelsea?

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

washing machine

hi there

blimey, this is getting to be quite a site for advice on hoying things that run on the leccy and that from South Africa to England. i can only hope that it helps out one or two people along the way. although this post might have a reasonable level of enjoyment for all.

since our arrival in England my washing machine joys have been handled at first by my Auntie Susan and then with a borrowed machine, with thanks to the kindness of other Lee. that machine had to go back today, but Lee is a top class bloke and happily arranged to help me get my dearly beloved machine out of storage and installed OK.

yes. that's right. my washing machine survived the trial by sea, trial by shark and trial by Somali pirate. it is here, at home, up and running.

watch and listen as it does its little happy song.


very nice to hear her sing away again after some four months! i mean, my Auntie Susan's machine is ace and the one that other Lee lent us did a superb job, but it is nice to have my lovely smart fancy LG one on the go once more.

from a practical perspective i would like to think that the above shows off that oh yes indeedy SA electronic equipment works just fine in the UK. i do refer you, however, to the previous post i did. bringing a TV set (even the fancy LED or LCD ones) or printer might not be all that wise, considering the issues i have experienced. plugging in and switching on is not, after all, working.

but enough grown up and sensible stuff, behold and indeed enjoy as it goes off on one to do something called a tub cleaning run, whatever that is.


i thought it best to run the tub wash thing on it as you just cannot have any idea at all what some mucky Somalian pirates might have been doing with it. 

will there be a lot of posts about my sensational washing machine and its return to use? possibly some, but i would not imagine they will be all that frequent.

i am off to wash some clothes and things then!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


hi there

a bit of a follow up to this post what i did on the subject of moving electric equipment from SA to the UK. a bit of a discovery of sorts in respect of Microsoft, the Xbox 360 and their odyssey of plug adaptor fittings.

the Xbox 360 has been working fine (except for me being no use at games) via using one of them SA to UK plug adaptors. however, they are pricey (seven pounds each, as point of fact) and not really a long term solution.

i went off to get a replacement cord to put in the power adapter / convertor / big black box things, which you can see in picture here, and made a somewhat interesting discovery. this two pin plug socket thing is far away from being standard in the UK. they are, then, not readily, freely or easily available. oh dear, whoops. it seems for the most part that UK Xbox power thingies come with that 3 pin or 3 slot sort of connector for the power cord, like the kind you once upon a time would have called a "kettle cord", or if you prefer like you put in the back of a proper desktop PC.

what to do, then? stick with the adapter plug thing? as i said, not a long term fix. i did think about simply cutting off the South African plug and attaching a UK one, as in theory this should work. i am reluctant to, however, as if it does or did not then i would be stuck with no means at all of plugging it in.

i am not at all sure if your circumstances involve informing children that a toy does not work anymore due to "Daddy trying something with it", but let me assure you that this approach does not usually end very well at all. so there is no point in taking scissors, a knife and a screwdriver set to a power cord as plan a if you don't have a very good plan b in place. trust me on this one, if nothing else.

the picture you can see there, however, shows and tells you that i found an answer. with some wildcard google search action i found the correct power cord to plug into the power box thing that comes with an Xbox 360 from South Africa. two pounds and twenty one pence pieces was the cost of it, which isn't too bad i guess. better, certainly, than the thirty or so pounds an entire new Xbox 360 power cord set would have cost.

would cutting the SA plug off and attaching a UK one have worked? no idea. i am reasonably sure that yes it would, but i wasn't prepared to gamble on it. quite happy that i don't have to, to be honest.

those two hole "figure of eight" plug power cord connector things are, i am delighted to report, freely available here at the least. so i am, oddly, happier with Sony than i am Microsoft at the moment.

quite a dull post, this, for my regular readers (which yes i know is saying quite a thing) but i can only hope this info helps someone somewhere.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!