Sunday, November 30, 2014

a silly list that upset me a bit

hi there

yes, OK, i know, it's supposed to be called WWE these days. however, i am writing for a future audience. one in which the last of the renegade, or if you like rogue, panda bears have been hunted down and eliminated. which will be a time, look you see, when the term WWF can be used properly again.

one of the magazines i bought for the boys today featured a list of what it claimed were the best or most iconic wrestlers of all time. here, have a look.

you are, i imagine, currently seething and quite angry at this list. other than the laughable idea of Stone Cold even being in the top ten, let alone the top, this list is a disaster area, is it not? there are many legends of the sport which should be there instead of that lot. here, let us have a gander at some of them.

the most glaring omission on the list is, of course, anyone who isn't a white golden boy of the sport. this would be understandable if all black wrestlers were crap, i suppose, but they were most decidedly not. my mate Shaun, for instance, won't have a word said against Bad News Brown. at least i think it was Shaun that said he was class a few years ago; i am afraid i really don't follow all this wrestling much.

Bad News Brown did, in all likelihood, more towards the look, shape and sense of the world today than anyone is probably aware. would we, for instance, have a president Borat Obama today if it were not for whatever the hell it is that Bad News Brown did to pave the way for his rise to political power? the jury is very much out. actually, i probably should have done some google - for all i know Bad News Brown is Borat's Dad, which would make him all the more responsible.

the most important thing about wrestling is, as you hardly or indeed seldom, need me to tell you is paying the correct level of homage to The King, Elvis Presley. no one on that list does this. well, maybe The Rock with some of the shades he wears.

but none of them paid homage to the extent or in the most excellent way in which The Honkytonk Man did. 

so what if he was total crap at wrestling? The Honkytonk Man looked smart in all his sequin outfits and that, and it was absolutely boss whenever he smashed a guitar over the head of a lesser wrestler. has Steve Austin ever stone cold done that? no, of course not, he is far too busy sulking that no one can see him and has a bizarre fetish about smelling food that is being cooked.

as much as i love The Honkytonk Man, i have to admit that the single biggest name missing off of that list is, as you may well have thought yourself, the one they called the Ultimate Warrior. well, some of you might have said Jake The Snake, but most will have gone with Ultimate Warrior. 

when it comes to quality tassels on garments and in modern society, Ultimate Warrior only really has Daltrey out of The Who as company. had he not had the tassels, right, he would have just been Warrior, which would not have been as smart as being Ultimate Warrior. i mean, Ric "no tassels" flair makes it onto this list yet the Warrior of Ultimate does not? just what exactly is all that about?

there's loads of others too - Jesse Ventura and all that - who are not on it. what a waste of a list.

hope you have all had a splendid weekend.

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

Saturday, November 29, 2014

hums the theme from Space 1999 and other Christmas Classics

hello once more

well, those in the know, as in those who bought the ace books by the Thorne of David, will get the reference in the title there. this post really isn't about that, although yes it is, look you see.

my good, versatile and vastly talented friend who does the music and that has unleashed, as is of course usual, his first ever Christmas Covers Album. yeah, click on the writing there and you are whisked away to where you can listen to it and, as point of fact, obtain it.

this album contains, as you would expect, a stack of songs which simply scream, or if you like sing, Christmas. each and every one of the nicely decimalised ten tunes evokes all that is yuletide in nature, so long as the songs on it are the ones that you happen to like listening to in the season of goodwill.

highlights? try all the songs. but i will indulge you with one or two comments.

Pink Floyd are, in many respects, a band U2 must surely envy. U2 go about their business, are honest and transparent with their finances, and give the fans what they want. they regularly get slammed by the press for it. bizarrely, Pink Floyd sit on huge piles of money, are eager to get as many more coins of money as possible by constantly re-releasing the "best version ever, honest" editions of their albums. this exceptional p!ss-taking recently hit a brand new height which saw them release 20 year old out-takes from an album which was so bad to begin with no one has ever actually managed to play it all the way through. no doubt the band are as pleased with the insanely good and fawning reviews as they are with all the lovely money. the Christmas sentiment at the heart of the Pink Floyd corporate machine, that of how it is better to give than receive but f*** me isn't it brilliant to receive money for a pile of sh!t, is represented here with an amazing cover of Comfortably Numb. this is, of course, a song from a time when Pink Floyd still actually cared about the music they made.

also included, to give you the link once more, on the Christmas Covers Album is a stunning reading of Jesus He Knows Me. granted, for many, references to Jesus, religion and the Nativity do tend to fly in the face of what most celebrate at this time of year, but JG has never been one for niceties or bowing before the altar of convention.

what can one say of this version? well, should Phil Collins ever hear it, he will probably retire in disgrace and shame. there are many that will have read that and instantly started working out how to get a copy of it to him to test this, but i believe Sharpy, who has a good working relationship with his management (he got the address off of google), has already done this. so don't be at all surprised if you don't ever hear any new music off of Phil Collins ever again, the JG recording of the highlight of his career has pretty much brought the curtain down on it all. not so much Mike Rutherford, though, he has a somewhat slightly more well balanced and rational approach to this sort of thing - he knows when he is beat and just gets on with it.

and finally the cover of Enola Gay is brilliant; a reminder of just what an amazing band OMD were and how more people should listen to them more often.

nice work, JG. and for all you readers, just because the Christmas Covers Album is available for any price you like - free, even - doesn't mean you should take it for free.if you pay a pound or some nominal fee for it, you will feel good about supporting an artist and you will also allow JG to carry on his good work in helping orphans and saving mistreated donkeys or whatever it is he does.

stop reading this and go give it a listen!

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

nintendo a go go

hello there

about a year or so ago - might be close to two, look you see - i got one of them nintendo ds thingies that you play the games and that on. it has, just as pretty much everything does these days, a camera on it. two, as point of fact, i believe.

it is a camera i have never bothered with, but i was aware of the fact that the boys liked messing around with it. i had not had a look at their efforts before, since it needed something called an SD card reader to get them off of the nintendo and onto a computer. as the pound shop happened to be selling such a thing, for a price i cannot recall at the moment, i decided to have a gander at the pictures they have taken.

here, then, for your entertainment are some of the pictures they have taken. be warned, for it seems that the nintendo offers some sort of picture editing stuff on it.

so, for your viewing pleasure, here we go with one of me seemingly staring at something rather intently, or however one would say it so it sounds fancy.

a most impressive bit of editing that is by the boys! my attention, as i would suspect is the case for you, is drawn to the smart t-shirt i had on in that picture. it features some sort of afrikaans slogan. i do not recall what exactly, but it is not one that troubled me - it just happened to be a big, baggy t-shirt and i couldn't care less what it said on it.

but enough of me, for now at the least. you are all probably much more interested in seeing the aspects of my family that you like more than me, which is reasonable.

the means by which nintendo made their money, of course, was via some sort of avant garde, renegade italian plumber. as if there were any other sort of plumber, you might say. kindly, the nintendo thingie allows one to beautify a picture of a person to make them seem as if they were that plumber, mario. this is something that William discovered.

very smart, that one is! let me have a fiddle with this machine, actually, see if i can do one of me like that. no, not right now, i am busy writing this.

on the subject of mario, one of the things that i was looking forward to playing on this nintendo was Donkey Kong. it seems, alas, that one cannot get the old fashioned version of it for the machine. a great shame. well, you can, so long as you are prepared to do all sorts of dodgy things to your device. i am not really of a mind to do such things.

any images of my (considerably) better half? why, of course, with James lurking around.

quite a bit freaky voodoo sort of thing, that one is. sort of, at the least. i think that one is a "mirror" effect, or something like that. another one i might play around with myself, should i remember and be able to work out the controls.

does the nintendo do normal pictures? yes, it does. all of these have been, and then altered on the device. but i alluded to that. oh, i see, you were asking if i was going to post any unaltered images here. well, sure, why not. here's William going for the close up and, in an interesting reversal of the last picture, my (considerably) better half lurking. 

well, ok, partially interesting that she is doing that. she does an awful lot of lurking, you know.

i am sure you have noticed that the quality of pictures off of the nintendo is serviceable, but not all that spectacular. a bit like the ones i take off of my blueberry or iTwat from time to time, i suppose. the answer to this, dear reader, is of course that if you want to have decent pictures, buy a proper camera.

but let's put mumbles and grumbles aside and look at some more pictures that have been artistically altered. like, as it happens, this smart one of James. 

excellent work, son! he really is quite the master with this thing. he's just about pretty amazing with all he turns his mind to, as his most recent school report indicates.

another one of me to finish off?  why not, as it can be one that you can make all sorts of "double trouble" comments in relation to, should you have absolutely nothing else better to do right now.

no, i am not sure why i was pulling my best "Paulie out of GoodFellas" face of displeasure there, but there you go, i was and somewhat obviously did.

it has been quite a delight to discover several (hundred) pictures that i had not seen before. i trust that one or two of you have liked them just as much!

right, time to go and watch some repeats of classic 80s TV game shows.

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


hi there

well, i had at hand a few more coins than usual whilst out and about doing some post-black friday, or if you like perfectly normal, shopping today. usually this would mean either the boys or my (considerably) better half, look you see, would score a nice treat. instead, though, i opted to get myself a minor, inexpensive shiny thing. shiny things make everything all better.

look, behold and admire

yes. Star Wars stationery, now all of course emblazoned with the Disney logo. well, ok, yes i know this is not as exciting as the Star Wars : Mission To Moscow trailer, but as everyone else has already posted that on the internet i thought i would not bother.

are them stormtroopers out of Star Wars a favourite of mine? not particularly, but all of this does look rather smart. i am of course hoping that Disney in their wisdom start plastering Boba Fett over stuff, but this shall most decidedly do for now.

yeah, that is one of them 3D cover things on the notebook. smart, it is.

anyway, that will do for now. should i commit any further bourgeois crimes of indulgence, i shall most assuredly consider posting them here.

yes, the Spiros parcel is on the way to Spiros. more on that when he gets it.

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

Thursday, November 27, 2014

sending spiros stuff - preview

hi there

well, as things turned out, i will only be sending a "mega" parcel to Spiros on Saturday. this, look you see, means that he will only get it on Monday. i know many of you are excited about seeing a blog post of what i am sending him, but i am afraid i cannot spoil the surprise.

except, of course, for one exception, hence this post.

as a number of you regular readers are all too aware, Spiros really likes fuses. they are like some sort of alien technology to him, for plugs in his native land were bereft of such a thing in them. so fascinated by them, he is, that he has taken a shine to collecting them. i am perfectly happy to assist him in this regard, sending him a packet of fuses every now and then when i see some that i believe will fit in with his general, if somewhat extensive, collection.

what is it that Spiros finds so amazing about fuses? beyond, that is, their useful and practical application? to be honest, i am not sure if it is the different A numbers on them, the different colours they come in or a class combination of both of them factors. all i really am certain of is that Spiros is a mate, and so if it is fuses he wants, then he shall jolly well have fuses.

to leave fuses aside for the moment, what did i have for lunch at verk today?  Subway, thanks for asking.

so anyway, fuses. some of you might have noticed that the fuses were resting upon what looked like it was a CD. that is because they were. in the same, somewhat versatile, shop that i got the fuses off of, they had the seminal album 13 by the Blur on sale. as this features the song Tender, one of particular significance to my (considerably) better half and, well, i, i suppose, i decided to pick it up.

but i appreciate your concern is more about the fuses, so here you go, here is another look at them.

i do hope that these fuses - and the other items i shall be sending (not the 13 CD, he can f*** off if he thinks he is getting that) bring a little bit of cheer to Spiros. he is having a hell of a hard time at the moment. his Norwegian (or whatever) house boy is being rather insolent; giving him lip when he should be giving tongue and, presumably vice versa, or if you like the other way round.

to that end, this is all win, really. if Spiros likes the fuses well then that's just great. if he does not - should he feel they do not belong in his class collection - then no matter, he can just throw them at his quasi-Scandinavian houseboy in the hope that he learns some respect from the incident.

i know you are all excited about seeing what other delights are in the parcel. bear with me, dear readers, do bear with me. all shall be revealed next week.

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

books from the bus

hello there

book review time.

it feels like quite a while since i posted reviews, look you see. my reading levels seem to have dropped off a bit. perhaps a bit of fatigue, maybe it's just because i have hit a run of slightly larger novels with somewhat smaller print.

as luck would have it, three pretty good novels for you this time. all had flaws, but were all the same really enjoyable, which is to say i would with delight read something or anything further delivered to the publishers by these particular writers.

weirdly, there's a most peculiar link in all three to the extent that the titles of them, whilst not bad, are of little relevance to the actual novel. what, you ask, are the three books? here you go.

as usual, some links are thrown in here for ease of reference if for some reason you want to purchase any of these novels. no endorsement from me, just using the global shipper. i certainly don't get paid to link; chance would be a fine thing.

and, as is usual, i will do my best to avoid them but mild *** SPOILER WARNINGS *** are yours to either take heed of or ignore as you read on. sorry for the lack of scrolling text on the spoiler warning, by the way, i simply cannot be bothered to type in marquee on the html editor. onwards then.

i have no idea at all why Sandstealers is called what it is, as it is never explained in the book. all i know is that it was a thoroughly enjoyable, if at times harrowing, read, and not just because it covered a world which features what would have been my dream job.

plot? a renowned war correspondent type journalist dude is kidnapped in Iraq. a curious crew of fellow war journalists descend on the scene and, being aware of it possibly being the last time they are together, reminisce of an earlier war where they all first met and sort of formed a highly dysfunctional quasi family unit sort of thing.

this book hits all the buttons. it has a stack of melodrama and soap opera like stuff to keep a plot going, whilst at heart it gives a stunning insight into the world of the war correspondent. if for some reason you stopped to consider what the toughest part of being a journalist in a war zone is, it's not the risk of being shot - rather it is the risk of temptation to rush in and help those who sorely need help, despite your job being to always stand only as an objective observer and reporter. not an easy thing to do if you are human. i would have rather liked to have done the job, but i suspect that there's no way i could ever have done it and not got myself involved with whatever i was reporting on. also, as the waffle across this blog shows, editing is not a particular strong point of mine, i am not at all sure i could have ever delivered properly.

but enough of me, you want to know of the book. this would seem to be the only novel Ben Brown has written so far. as this is really rather good, one can only hope that he feels obliged to write another at some point.

i am sure i had read a Tess Gerritsen novel before, but looking at the list of ones she has written i can't work out what. let's assume, then, that Gravity is the first instead, and i will most certainly read more.

why is it called Gravity? no clue, except it happens a lot in space, as it were. no, it was not as far as i know the basis for that film with her out of Speed and him that did the coffee adverts and married Bono's lawyer.

plot? somewhat convoluted and contrived. a car crash means that an astronaut has to get back from the space station thing (ISS or something) and be replaced by someone else. when the replacement gets there, strange things seem to happen with an apparently innocent scientific experiment that has gone rather wrong. as the cover somewhat suggests, it involves a little bit of massive blood loss from certain crew members. oh dear.

on one level it's a whole load of science fiction, horror and spacey-space type stuff that we have seen before time and again. you can complain about that if you like, or you could just enjoy the novel for what it is, which is a thrilling read despite a rushed and very obvious ending. it was fun and thrills to read, and certainly made the bus trip more entertaining for a week or so. i shall certainly read more of Tess Gerritsen.

and finally, again with a title that does not really relate to the novel itself as such, The 500. a debut novel, i believe, and as it turns out the first in a series of books featuring the same protagonist.

plot? a former hoodlum who went into the marines (or something) ends up in law school and is so brilliant at it he gets recruited off of a powerful lawyer firm that apparently pulls all the strings controlling the American political scene. protagonist likes the money and all that comes with it, but starts getting a bit dubious about the lack of morals. you can guess the rest.

the most baffling thing about this book is the number of English references. it's an American story by an American, and yet we get comparisons of stuff to things like The Kinks, rugby and the North Sea. fine by me, but i am wondering how all of that went with a rather more American than me audience.

this was amazing fun to read, despite the preposterous premise of the protagonist and the idea of an ace conman landing the big time and gaining morals. the narrative, in fairness, at least acknowledges the preposterous nature of it, in a rather brilliant first person style.

it is, be warned, exceptionally flimsy. things "just happen". it's like the writer knows that we know how all this sort of thing goes in the world of "conspiracy thriller" so doesn't trouble us with writing about it. a bit of a shame, that, as more of it would have been even better reading. still, overall, very good fun for a book that cost all of two quid as was bought mostly as it happened to be sat at the cigarette counter in Morrisons.

i see there is a second book of his out, with the same protagonist. yeah, i may well get it.

and so there we have it. allowing for the fact that Gravity is purely going to be for the sci-fi, sort of horror fans, all three books are ones i would not hesitate to suggest others read, despite the flaws. hope this information is of some use or other to anyone!

as for a preview of the next novel, well, it's a rather short one and is an enjoyable yet very fast read. here we go with the not so sneak in nature sneak peek.

i picked this one up a few months ago, but now seemed to be the more appropriate time to read it.

what am i doing when not reading on the bus? listening to the pod of i. mostly Split Enz at the moment. in fairness, i have in the last 6 or 7 months been able to read more books than i have in the last 6 or 7 years, which is ace, but maybe i am getting tired now, perhaps it is time to take a break and people watch.

happy reading, listening, or whatever it is you do!

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

on falling out with HMV

hi there

so, i think, alas, HMV and i are finished. a parting of the ways seems to be in order. there goes yet another part of the life i knew. no matter.

quite sad and pathetic really - them, for sure, but perhaps me too, look you see, for clinging on and trying to support them. what's gone on? well, read on.

today in the window they had a reasonably ace special advertised. observe.

your attention should be on the DVD of the rather splendid film Guardians Of The Galaxy. £7.99 for it when one buys the rather boss soundtrack - which as of last week they had for £5.99? that sounded boss, that did. so off i went at lunch time to pick up both.

the really sad thing is that i was expecting this before i even set foot in the store. can you guess? yeah, that's right, HMV had gone right ahead and put some rather crude new price stickers on the soundtrack CD, increasing the price of it to £7.99.

so the idea that HMV have of a good deal is to take £2.00 off of the price of something if you buy it with an item that they have just bunged £2.00 on to the price of. do they think all of their customers are stupid?

this is at best a really stupid promo idea; at worst an attempt to deliberately trick people into believing they are getting a deal and in all likelihood spend more than they intended. at either end of that spectrum, and any other reason in between, i cannot help but feel nauseous at the idea of offering any further support or business to my beloved HMV anymore.

amazon, for the record, will deliver both the DVD and the soundtrack CD to you for £1.00 less than the HMV "deal". if HMV's "deal" had at least matched that, this post would not be happening.

anyway, that will do for now, kids.

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

Monday, November 24, 2014

deflector shield

hi there

a rare treat for us this evening. well, a rare treat for my (considerably) better half. more of an education for her, i suppose, look you see. for me this is all part and parcel of my life.

yes, i think you know what i am talking about; we had devonshire scones with cornish clotted cream on them. as is befitting the life of us English.

i of course take these as a given in life. they are part of my heritage, my traditions if you like, and they are the very thing that make us English great and the envy of the world. this is not so much the case for my (considerably) better half, who of course was brought up on the peasant Afrikaans version, which in many ways explains her uncouth and rather trashy ways.

no devonshire scones and cornish clotted cream for her. no, for her it was a world of lower class nelspruit scones and potchefstroom cream. ghastly stuff.

you are welcome to admire all of that above if you want, but i suspect some of you want to see the deflector shield that the title of this post promises. well, here you go then.

this is another of them non-booze version of the AA things. apparently this works to keep the frost off of (most of) your car window. quite handy, i suppose, with the somewhat substantial levels of frost which graces cars on a morning at the moment.

does it work? my (considerably) better half said that for the most part yes. it does not keep the ice or frost away completely from the window, but does leave it in something of a better state than if the deflector shield had not been present.

is that info of any use to you? probably something that you could work out for yourself, to be honest, but if this has reaffirmed some ideas you have had, well, so much the better.

if you are wondering, yes indeed i have commenced purchasing things for a "mega parcel" for Spiros. it will be a week or so before i can update here, as i will only finish it and get to post it at the weekend. but it will be worth the wait.

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

Sunday, November 23, 2014

shovel, scratch, snowman, smoke, stuff

hello there

i was thinking about doing all this stuff as two posts, right, but as it features my (considerably) better half i thought i would do what she does best with pizza with it all and just go right ahead and consolidate it into one mega sized post. or medium sized. if this upsets you, well that's fine, you can read a bit now and then a bit more later. Bono didn't write The Joshua Tree all in one go, look you see, so what's good for him is probably OK for you.

to start off with, then, i got very excited indeed last night with one of the repeats of Bullseye. well, yeah, sure, i get excited by every repeat of it, except for them episodes they show when it is not Jim Bowen hosting it but someone else who is not Jim Bowen. here, have a look at who the guest dart player was throwing for charity and that.

oh yes, that is indeed Phil Taylor, or Francis as Jim Bowen decided to call him. this was, as point of fact, his first ever appearance on Bullseye. quite an honour for him, and in many respects one can understand why he always looks so grumpy these days. this was, as it is for every player, the zenith, perhaps even the zeitgeist, of his career, after all, and he has spent the last 30 or so years trying to rekindle this magic.

before all that excitement, as would be usual for a weekend i took a stroll around the village and went to see Gran & Gramps. this visit was a good one, for they always are, and was in particular made all the better by us getting to watch a steamroller belt on down the road past us. well, when i say belt, it went about as fast as a steamroller can.

it was, as i believe you can see and have no doubt that you can understand, something of a conversation stopping event, as we all did indeed stop to watch as it went by. a beauty of a machine it is, and it might not quite have been going as all fast as i may have suggested earlier. the cars behind it certainly wished that it was going somewhat faster, looking at the faces of the drivers.

what did i have for lunch yesterday? well, i can show you, if you like. i appreciate that this is an extremely 'twitter' thing for me to be doing, but perhaps some of the younger kids who like all of this 'twitter' stuff will be interested and pleased to see this.

yes, indeed it is curried beans, off of Heinz no less, on toast. i just fancied them.

this 'twitter' thing exists, as far as i can work out, for some minor things to have a conduit, or if you like forum, for expression. mostly it seems to be there for Stephen Fry to tell the world how amazing being gay is and how everyone should be. he may well have a point, actually, as he seems to get an awful lot of money from doing it and gets to go to the cricket, which is boss. also this 'twitter' exists for people to show off what they are eating, and to express how not racist they presently are, except of course for those people and things that it is presently perfectly socially acceptable to be racist about. i think, to bring this to some sort of circular event, it is in fact Stephen Fry who gets to decide what is and is not racist.

you would imagine that Phil 'The Power' Taylor has no time at all for all this 'twitter' nonsense; it is something that i can only imagine would distracting him from his arrows, that he is good at. perhaps the Taylor of Phil is on twitter, though, i don't know. if he is then perhaps i should "twat" this picture at him as some sort of message thing.

oh yes, by the way, you are seeing right. he does indeed have one of them "bum fluff" moustaches on the go; one of them which is more commonly referred to as a wanker's tache in certain social circles. that's not an abusive term as such and should not be read as one; that's just the peculiar name which this certain style, or if you like brand, of moustache has. he does not, as far as i can recall, wear a moustache of any description these days, so maybe this is all a little pointless.

there are, of course, certain people who do indeed have a wanker's tache and are in fact wankers, which makes it most appropriate for them to have one. you can usually tell which ones they are as they are heavily involved in advertising and are dead clever at having "good marketing ideas".

these people, known also for their ponytailed hair, power ties, shiny pants and in fairness impressive proclivity for cocaine, keep having all these dead good ideas which, like, totes impress we, the people, and make us buy stuff. they then go off and have awards for themselves in which they celebrate how good they are at doing all of this, with one or two of them, if they are lucky, scoring appearances on provincial radio stations to say what they think does and does not count as a good advert.

this is a packet of cigarettes which has been blessed by a, like, totes brilliant idea by a ponytailed, shiny pant wearing wanker's tache displaying advertising genius.  they have, as you may well be able to work out by yourself, gone right ahead and put one cigarette in this packet of Chesterfield upside down. the text with it reads "upside down or the right way up" and encourages one to "think Chesterfield".

i do not understand the point of this exercise. i would imagine that whoever has purchased a packet is already thinking Chesterfield, so who is it aimed at? also, most smokers would get quite cross at this. i know for a fact one ardent Chesterfield enthusiast, DDK, would happily punch in the face anyone that did this to his packet of cigarettes, and i would be there helping him.

snow might be coming our way. a wise gent, sadly no longer with us, spoke of us always getting snow within a couple of weeks of American being touched by it. as various news reports have shown, aspects of America have indeed been touched with snow lately.

i thought it prudent, then, to get some items for the car should some snow hit. in the last week or so, for certain, there has been a familiar icy feeling to the rain which has touched me upon the face region as i have walked around about my business.

well, when i say prudent, i mean of course that my (considerably) better half wanted some stuffs for cleaning the car window and that with, and i spotted a snow shovel, or if you like shovel of the snow, going for a pretty reasonable price.

i don't particularly expect her to get snowed in somewhere and and actually need to use this shovel, but yes, i am indeed highly amused by the idea of her ploughing through the snow and digging herself out of some sort of avalanche.

speaking of my (considerably) better half and amusement - two factors in this universe that are not always quite so distant as you would think - my reporting on some chap doing a scratchcard awakened a burning desire in her; one that i was expected to extinguish as such. yes, indeed i was instructed to purchase her some of her very own "scratchies" so that she may scratch her way to fortune and glory. well, fortune i suppose, for i do not think she's too fussed on the glory element. 

did she in fact win an awful lot of coins of money off of these "scratchies"? well, that would be telling, but also that i am writing this instead of being out spending coins of money might give you some sort of appropriate clue, really. the important thing, i guess, is that it is further evidence that she has come to embrace the English way of doing things by having a passion for "scratchies".

i may well purchase a further "scratchie" and send it to Spiros. i have one or two items here to send him during the course of the week, and intend to get some more to send him too. not that he has sent me anything recently, but this is understandable. his days these days seem to involve pretending to be Australian and interfering with some sort of Norwegian house boy that has been entrusted to him.

going back somewhat to power ties and ponytail hair, one is surely never at an end of surprise when it comes to discovering exciting new marketing opportunities. like, for instance, combining much loved, in a very real sense classical children's stories with toilet paper. 

The Snowman is a story which is, of course, much loved due to that Aled Jones fellow doing all them songs and that about it on a film version which had some fairly rudimentary animation in it. nothing at all that i recall from the film, or the career of Aled Jones, ever said to me "combine this with toilet paper for the win", but someone did, and so i bought it as a gesture of appreciation about how much cleverer they are than me.

yeah, i would agree that this is probably quite enough for one post, so it is time to leave you with one final picture of Phil Taylor on Bullseye.

that is indeed the hand of Jim Bowen reaching out to shake. wow, man. touched by the hand of Jim Bowen. that's a career high of note, that is, and one that i imagine he appreciates greatly when he thinks back to it. even if the score he got was total rubbish.

righty-ho, more as and when that it happens, and of course as and when i get the chance to write about it all here.

hope you've all had a most splendid weekend!

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

Friday, November 21, 2014

lace, scratch and coffee

hi there

yeah, i know, i am sorry, updates have been far and few between here recently. i hope that the quality of the posts has at least made up for the lack of volume. sorry, just not much of interest and not a great deal of time to compose my thoughts.

that said, watch this go right ahead and be some really poor writing.

to play footloose and fancy free, or if you like three, with the title of this post, let us commence with an insight into the world of scratch. that would be, of course, what with this being England and everything, the scratch of a card, look you see, or scratchcards, or even "scratchies".

i took this picture for the benefit of Spiros, who as many of you know is quite enamoured with the ways of English men and wishes to emulate them. to this end he has taken to gambling with some formidable passion. as far as i am aware he has limited this to squandering coins of money on the outcome of sporting events he barely understands and cares rather less for. i felt, then, it only fair to give him a look at the phenomenon of the "scratchie", as he would have a fighting chance of comprehending if he had won or lost.

if the above picture to you looks like it is a gent walking along doing a "scratchie" at around 8am whilst the rain falls all around him, that would be because this is precisely what it is you are seeing. one can only admire the dedication this chap has to the chance of winning a few bob off of one of them.

do i do scratchies? no. i don't do much in the way of gambling, if any at all really. nothing against it as such, just never really felt any great pull or desire to do it. best of luck to all them that do it, i guess, in particular of course Spiros, for if he wins then that is one less thing for him to moan about.

have i by any chance found a reason to go back to the haberdashery store i mentioned in the previous post to this one? why yes, of course. a friend requested "some lace". when i asked for specifics they said that they were not at all fussed, so long as i went to the same haberdashery store.

i understand why they did this and i can understand you are getting all hot under the collar at the thought of me telling some stories about sordid exchanges from the ladies there. alas, it was all rather dull and sewing business this time, sorry.

here is some lace that i did not buy for that friend, but did get for my (considerably) better half so that she may fashion something or other from them. 

those of you who have an understanding or insight of me will appreciate this somewhat. i have fulfilled a long-standing ambition of mine in that i have been holding earnest business conversations with, to be frank, pimps. as a consequence, i have gained some understanding and insight into how they do things.

here, then, are my findings from dealing with pimps in selected areas of the United Kingdom.

Cardiff - quite straightforward and businesslike. something of a no-nonsense approach - no niceties but also not rude. no constructive business has been conducted as such as yet, but it has been a thoroughly productive exchange of business information and concepts thus far.

Norwich - no response as such as yet. my first thought was that they did not do "that sort of thing" there and the lack of replies suggests that i was perhaps correct. my knowledge of the place is limited to Alan Partridge and that football team that plays in the vicinity of the place, the name of which escapes me for the moment.

Scotland - abrasive, crass, vile, rude and offensive. a major disappointment, really. i was not surprised to discover after the fact that they attracted very little in the way of business opportunities, for the stats do not lie, going on the way they made threats - yes threats - about "ignoring" me. still, they took the time to suggest i was working in the wrong art form, which was an act of kindness i suppose. perhaps if they were any good at their chosen vocation they would not have so much free time available to dispense career advice.

Kent - actually i cannot recall if i made contact in this respect but if i did they have not replied.

London - truly, a surprise and an eye opener. although we were unable to conduct any business at this time, they were most agreeable, very polite, complimentary and positive. the pimps of Scotland can learn much from their counterparts in the capital, look you see. i was expecting some sort of cockney barrow boy, east end hard man stuff, but this was not the case at all. a genuine pleasure to discuss pimp business with.

i am not convinced that the above is of use to anyone, but i trust that it was all the same of some interest to at least one of you. if i have reason to discuss any further business, i shall surely do my best to remember to give further updates here. obviously, perhaps, i shall not be discussing business with any pimps in Scotland.

anyway, coffee. as Christmas is coming ever closer, loads and loads of places are, like, totes doing all the Christmas stuff. my coffee proprietor of choice is very much in this mindset, and it's a jolly good thing that they are. behold, for here is my morning Christmas coffee.

i understand the above gives some information about my morning routine away; information that could make life a good deal easier for anyone wishing to embark on yet another assassination attempt. well, so be it. i mean, let them try. by virtue of the fact that i am not yet dead i have a theory that i am in fact immortal anyway. also, as i have always made it clear that i am not against state sponsored assassination, so i can hardly with a straight face cry foul if i find myself on the business end of it.

anyway, that will do for now. if we are all lucky, i will have something of interest to tell you the next time i get the chance to post!

hope you all had a smart week and go onwards to have an ace weekend.

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

where the wild women are at

hello there

something of a particularly busy day today, really, dear readers, look you see. for various school projects and leisure reading activities i had to do a bit of a dash around several shops to secure numerous items. all, you will be delighted to read, were in fact secured.

one of the merchandising stores i had to frequent was one that is, in many respects, a natural home from home for me. yes, that's right, i required the services of a haberdashery expert. i am not inclined, for reasons of fear of causing some sort of hormonal stampede, to reveal the name of the most splendid haberdashery store i visited. it doesn't really matter, i suppose, for i am, as we have seen on the pages of this blog, a frequent visitor to many, if not all, haberdashery stores going.

i can at least show a picture of what i purchased today at a haberdashery store. pretty much the same as i buy every day, really, but here you go.

yes, just one or two basic items for a minor haberdashery related project i have on the go; nothing to concern yourself with.

what was of concern was my somewhat unexpected thrusting into being the, as it were, alpha male in a store full of what can only be described as stimulated ladies. cougars, i believe is the correct term for them these days. MILF would be inappropriate, for, as the conversation a number of them were having informed me, one or two of them were both single and without child. they were not quite so elegant or eloquent in voicing this current status of some of their number. quite graphic, in truth.

my alpha male status came about rather by chance. other than a security guard who looked perplexed by his surroundings, the only other gent was well into his 70s, there apparently at the behest of his good lady wife and of little interest to the, so to speak, pack.

the ambitions of these ladies, expressed as we queued to wait for the nice lady to measure our materials and cut them to order, caused me to quite nearly feint with shock. i had no idea at all that haberdashery outlets, of which i am a frequent patron, had become a hot spot for ladies to attempt to lure men of the male variety into assisting them with some distinctly hormonal related relief.

i am now, of course, in two minds. my fine moral standing suggests that i should hence forward, or however you say it, cease from conducting business in haberdashery stores, lest i be solicited into some of the ideas these ladies have. ladies, i should say, who have clearly tasted some of their better years, but have many better years to come too. that said, i am considering actually running to the store every lunchtime from verk, just to see what happens. depending on the legal aspects of doing so, i will let you know how that works out.

away from that den of seedy iniquity, or whatever the right term is, there were some roadworks going on near the Bongo. here, you people like images of roadworks, here you go.

oh yes, it is November and yes indeed we had a sunny, partially warm in parts day today. what strange and peculiar weather, indeed. no doubt this sudden rush of heat in the air in some respects inspired the expression of emotions from the ladies in that haberdashery store.

and let us not overlook the fact that the haberdashery store itself was at fault. fancy letting so many ladies of certain desires in a location, all at once, in which they would be surrounded by seductive, stimulating and provocative items such as lace, furry materials, ribbons and them things what you do sewing with.

blimey, or indeed strewth for my more Australian readers, i did indeed get a little hot under the collar with it all. if haberdashery stores are any sort of reflection of what is going on at coffee mornings in quaint little villages - and i have every reason to believe that they are - then it is little wonder that so many vicars and minor provincial politicians are getting embroiled in - there is no other word for it - sex scandals these days.

i trust your Tuesday, if indeed today is Tuesday, i am all flustered, was good.

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

Monday, November 17, 2014

Nothing has changed.

hi there

well, indeed, nothing has changed. that is the name of the new Derek Bowie compilation, released as of today, and as it happens that is the status of my David Bowie collection if one were to ask for the difference in it between yesterday and today.

i quite like, as many of you will know, Derek Bowie. i do not have some blind devotion to him, in which i claim everything he does is genius, for it has not been. mostly, however, there has been considerably more good than bad. last year's exciting surprise return was very good indeed. the two new tracks released this year, well, not so much.

i was somewhat dubious about yet another Best of Bowie being released - surely only Queen, Bryan Ferry and Rod Stewart have had more out. dubious thoughts grew when it was revealed but one of the two "new" tracks were to feature, and the tracklisting was not quite the "definitive" they promised, but a rather dull and uninspired survey of his career.

here is how HMV have promoted the release of this set today. yes, that's right, that's the 2 CD version of it stuck in the corner, below One Direction and next to Neil Diamond. not even HMV are particularly excited about this release.

if the 3CD set is dubious, the 2CD set is entirely pointless. you get the 1 (awful) new track that Derek has allowed to appear on CD on it, and then some very peculiar selections from the 3CD set. it also puts it all in chronological order, where the 3CD set seems to go backwards. an awful lot of effort for something that really only has a very impressive cover picture going for it.each to their own and all that, of course, but the tracklisting for the 2CD set does not say "buy this" at any level. if one simply wanted a greatest hits set, there are already 2 or 3 variants out there which do the job better and, i would dare say, cheaper.

but the wish to have the complete works of Derek Bowie, good and bad, saw me of course head to HMV to have a gander. and i did have a gander, i did take this picture, and i did not buy. £15 for a 3 CD set - in packaging looking little like what he has flashed on the web - that features 1 bad new song and about 5 somewhat rare versions of other tracks is not something i could on the spot justify as a purchase.

somewhat frustrating really. in a time when music seems to be of less relevance than before - refer to the debacle that is the line up for Band Aid 30 - when someone you like releases something it's rather annoying that you cannot in any way, shape or form justify showing support for music by purchasing it. i know the chap has several castles and mansions around the world that require money for maintenance, but it would be somewhat easier if he just went onto that facebook thing and asked fans to send him £15 rather than expect them to feel an obligation about purchasing this not even good enough to be classed as "this will do" compilation.

it is not like i am against the idea of throwing money at him for the same thing time and again, either, going on my iTwat or, look you see, Twat of i account.

the test of any "best of" set is "if someone you knew liked the artist and had nothing by them, would this be an ideal starting point?". the answer from Nothing Has Changed is no. any of the other Bowie best of sets would get you an answer of yes.

oh, the two new tracks? they are two songs knocking about not considered good enough to be on either (for there has been two) of the special editions of The Next Day. and it shows.

never mind, here is a calendar. well, a few, but one in particular.

it has not, oddly, been an entirely all that bad day for me and music. on the whim of nostalgia i placed an order for a best of Crowded House last week, and today was the day that it arrived.

no, i bought the Starburst separately,  lest you think predominantly New Zealand based artists have started issuing sweets what have been sung at my Michael Bolton randomly with recordings of their selected songs.

i seem to be going through a phase of wishing to listen to a lot of Split Enz and Crowded House presently, not sure why, beyond it all being good music.

Shaun and me went with my Mum & Dad to see Crowded House, in Johannesburg no less. went with my Mum & Dad. I am pretty sure Gillian went too, with one of her friends - possibly Kelly? For some reason I think Richard gave it a miss. my memories of it were just how pampered the ego of Finn the Neil is, look you see, for he staged no less that 5 - five - encores. also, someone near us bought a ticket for the gig simply to shout "you sheep shagger" in the direction of the stage for the duration of the entire gig and all of them encores i just mentioned. do what you like with your own money, i guess. 

there is every likelihood, then, that i shall be listening to the Crowded House on the bus during the week, providing i am not of a mind to read. it is unlikely that i shall be eating the Starburst that were blessed by the Michael of Bolton, however, as my (considerably) better half has taken ownership of this particular packet.

so there we have it. it does feel somewhat deflating and sad, really, to have a new Bowie release out that simply is not worth getting. i will be interested to see exactly how many copies of it he shifts, in particular the meaningless 2CD variant. well, meaningless bar the boss cover. but it is not £10 of cover boss.

if you went right ahead and bought it, enjoy!

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

Sunday, November 16, 2014

on dinnerware for the younger members of society, or if you like plates for kids

hi there

the rather shorter version of this is that my (considerably) better half said that we needed some more plates for the boys, which i promptly sourced at the shops - eventually. there's a little bit more to it than that, but if you would like to skip all the nonsense and just look at the pictures, well then there you go.

for those after the expanded version, then, here we go. the plastic plates that we have in place for the boys to eat from have proved, in the discerning eyes of my (considerably) better half, far worse for wear than she would like them to be. the boys tackle things with knives on them, look you see, so they are looking somewhat battered. i went off in search of some more, then, and was quite surprised to discover that plastic plates are a tricky thing to find.

yes, there was no such thing as a pack of four, or perhaps six, plastic plates for me to buy. i found some other ones then.

yes, the two above are the ones i found. you could argue, i suppose that this was a better thing to have done that found some round, circular if you like, standard plates in the pretty colours that children, from a marketing perspective, so dearly love.

smart these two are - boss, even, if you like. the boys are also rather impressed with them, which helps a very great deal indeed as they are the ones who will, for the most part, be using them.

the question remains, however, as to why it is one cannot buy a set of standard sized and shaped plastic plates for the kids. presumably it is a thing that they do not allow children to eat off plastic plates in England, and that is why i have been unable to find them. do i have some theories on why you can only find certain plates for kids here? why yes i do, here is a rundown on the types i have seen, and the thinking that is apparently in place behind them.

paper / cardboard plates -  presumably these are favoured for two reasons. firstly, the represent the disposable nature of the current world, where nothing at all is of permanence and everything is expendable. secondly, and for many more importantly, as a first world country there is an obligation to generate large amounts of trash and waste for landfills so that those in third world countries have something to complain about.

ceramic / glass plates - as used by grown ups. this no doubt harks back to a Victorian value where children are to be silent and are expected to have a maturity beyond their years. should they break, then the children should be beaten to within an inch of their lives and have sharp objects - pins, preferably - stuck into their feet to remind them of what their life as a chimney sweep will be like should they continue to break plates.

no plates - for what reason should children who have not earned the money to buy plates with be allowed to use them? they, if they are lucky enough to be given food, should eat it from their hands, and f*** them if they drop it or it burns them. no doubt a Victorian style beating should be administered if they do indeed drop any of the food condescended their way.

i disagree with the majority of the approaches apparently in place in respect of children and plates, to be honest. i have no issue at all with them having access to them, and further for conventional reasons and not as a conduit for a means of justifiable punishment.

that said, these ceramic ones i found were very smart indeed.

yes, they are plates with a face on, upon which one can craft their own look and style with their food. not playing with your food was, i seem to recall, another form of Victorian values imposed on children, so it's funny that it is encouraged with this more grown up sort of ceramic type of plate.

a brief break from things that one eats food off of and a glimpse into the current state of the life of Grant. Grant enthusiasts, starved of pictures for quite some time now, will no doubt be delighted to learn this, and happy to see him on here. well, then, here he is.

yes, indeed he is dressed as one of them Smurf things off that show, The Wombles or whatever it was, and has attempted to change his skin pigmentation to the blue preferred by them fellas on that show.

i do wish my midlife crisis could be going as excellent as the one Grant is having, and indeed most other people i know that share something of a generational era with me. mine is so very dull in comparison; almost truly like i am not even having one. it is not, is it, really much of a crisis of identity or confidence, sitting and reading on a bus.

did i purchase things that one can eat off of if you are a kid, but are not plates? why yes i did, as it happens. i figured, although i was neither charged nor mandated to do so, i could do no possible harm at all in getting bowls to go with certain types of the plates that i bought today.

monkeys are awesome, man. i would, if i could, buy everything that i do buy with an image of a monkey on it. now that i think, right, do you remember how for years and years them sort of scientist types made monkeys smoke to see what happened to them? why don't they take the brand of cigarettes that they made them smoke and rebrand them as monkey cigarettes? i would, like so totes, get them and smoke them. monkey fags would be one of the most amazing things, ever, man.

i am still not 100% sure why it is that they had all them monkeys smoke, to be honest. why would anyone care enough about what cigarettes do to a monkey to fund such comprehensive research into it? i mean, were so many monkeys smoking that some tree hugging do-gooder decided to see if it was good for them or not? i am not aware of such a thing. maybe all the monkeys that they got to go into space were smokers, and they wanted to see how their lungs held up, i suppose.

anyway, no doubt you would have something of an interest in seeing one of the above plates in, as it were, action. here, here you go, here's what William did with the face one. well, one of the face ones. 

rather smart, that is. no doubt, or if you like, undoubtedly better than what i could make.

actually, i have subsequently had a bit of a gander at this "internet" thing that people are talking about and it seems that one can get conventional, circular, somewhat round plastic plates in pretty colours that are important for marketing purposes with relative ease off of it. but i think the ones i have purchased already shall suffice in the mean time.

if you are presently in the market for some new plates and that, i really hope you "come right" and find some suitable ones.

and that will do for this, and indeed the weekend.

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