Sunday, September 27, 2009


Full disclosure this is the third time I have tried to write this it appears the new blogger editor doesn't like me very much. I feel a bit like Ellen Feiss

Saturday was Martin's stag do. It kicked off with a BBQ at Martins house. Endo brought the food Simon did the cooking. There were burgers, sausages, chicken and some wonderful pork chops which Endo had marinated, a total meat feast not a spot of salad in sight :)

Martin showed off his home improvements, the house has changed a lot since I last saw it, there is plaster on the walls and the garage is pretty funky, complete with painted red floor a buggy lift!

We stood and chatted, there was Charlottes brother Loz, Simon, Endo, Steve Mellor, Adam, Jim, Phil, Martin O, Bruce, Myself and of course Martin in attendance.

After the barbeque Simon and Endo had arranged go karting. We went to a go karting track up in Buxton, on the same industrial estate as the Health and Safety Institute. It was running 45 minutes late, so we loitered played with the dogs. We had been booked in for two sessions, but as there were so many of us we ad to split into two groups. Each session lasted something like 20 laps although we got more like 25 which for £20 was an absolute bargain.

Bruce, Phil, Steve Mellor Martin O and myself were in the second group. Young Martin took everything really seriously bringing his own protective gear. He was the fastest on the track during both sessions. During the first session I was fighting hard to get past Bruce, when I spun slightly only to have Phil drive straight into the side of my kart actually writing it off!

After each session we were handed a slip of paper which recorded the cars time, number of lap's fastest lap and various other details which you could argue over. I had to change cars so needless to say I finished last in the first session. Unsurprisingly petrol head Adam was the fastest in the first session. Thanks to the delay and having a job in London Phil's brother Jim had to leave straight after his first session. During the second session I managed to be a lot faster though unable to keep up with Martin O I managed to come second.

After the go karting the plan was to go back get changed and go out for a curry in Poynton. Unfortunately Martin realised at this point that his wallet and keys were in Jim's car. Fortunately Jim had driven home and taken a train to London so we were able to stop by his house and get his girlfriend Jules to let us retrieve his possessions. Thanks to the delays at the track then having to get Martins wallet, not to mention the road closure everything was running a bit late. Fortunately a phone call to the restaurant confirmed it was fine to be an hour late.

The meal was at the Deeba, Phil Bruce and I arrived first and the manager ushered us to a rather large table upstairs, totally alone. In fact needed have worried as the Deeba wasn't busy at all. The curry was pretty tasty, we joked and drank Simon tormented Loz. Thanks to Martin's discount card it was pretty cheap too coming in at £16 + tip each.

After the meal we decamped to the Farmers Arms, Martin had booked part of the pub and as we arrived, despite the fact we were running late, part of the pub was indeed sectioned off for a party. So we waltzed upstairs found a table and started drinking. After a few minutes a rather drunk young lad started mouthing off about how it was his party. We later found out that he had also booked this part of the pub for his going away party. He is a solider about to fly out to Afghanistan. He actually calmed down later and we were chatting, I think he thought we were a bunch of soft lads. He was especially disgusted that Martin was having his stag part a month in advance of his wedding.

The rest of the evening vanished in a haze of alcohol I remember ogling some of the girls at the soldiers' party and drinking a lot. I think I also knocked over Bruce's Vodka, oops. He didn't rush off to buy another though!
Adam and Endo were trying to convince everyone to decamp to Manchester to go and join in the Fresher's week party, but I think Martin wanted to stay close to home.

We ended up walking back to Martins, during which I remember a drunken Loz jumping on me causing me to lose the button holding my trousers together; I really need to get on a diet!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Undisclosed Desires

I had the Friday as day off to do some work on the house; as it is Martins stag do tomorrow the weekend might be something of a write off.

I spent the morning trying to remove the old paint from the stair rail, its particularly difficult because the surface area is small and there are several layers of paint to remove. The base coat is this horrilbe green stuff which melts and smears when burned even the chemical remover doesn't take it off easily.

On the plus side I have managed to choose some wallpaper for the hall stairs and landing. I am planning a feature wall on the longest drop (on the stairs) witht he rest white anagylpta. This will help cover the terrible state of the walls and as there is very little natural light the reflect the light better.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I just returned my digi box because I got tired pressing yellow to get rid of the message asking me to retune. Thanks to the digital switchover. The switchover in the Granada take place in two stages. The first on 04th November 2009 at which point BBC2 goes all digital, the second full switchover takes place on 2nd December 2009, at which point you will need to have a set top box, digital tv, sky digital or NTL connection to receive a television service in the Granada region. So plenty of time before I need to retune the box but unfortunately the BBC seem to have added an irritating popup reminded requiring me to press the yellow button to make it disappear. I rather reminded me of the most hated Microsoft update which prompted every 15 minute until you relented and restarted the computer.

The switchover means more channel space being freed up, indeed there are a new bunch of channels already, including a Russian News channel Russia Today. I looked them up on wikipeadia basically it is funded by the Russia State media company, I guess their attempt at the BBC world service.

While I was googling Russia Today I found that the Japanese state broadcaster NHK has an English language channel, and website complete with some free Japanese tutorials awesome!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Like something from Final Destination after escaping from a lift a devout Catholic man is crushed to death by a church alter.

White Bathroom :)

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Much as I enjoyed the nicotine stained yellow on the ceiling and grey purple colours, I think white looks a lot better :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

End of an era

I just read that Woodford Aerospace will be closing down in 2012. I have found memories of the Woodford Air-show as a child, I remember getting so excited watching all the plains, I remember one year there were two soviet pilots in the village shop buying chocolate, they were flying the rather awesome Beriev Mermaid. The last air-show took place in 2000, repeated years of bad weather and the increasing cost of using the site, such a shame.

My Great uncle worked for Avro / BA for years, if he were alive I am sure he would be much saddened by the news.

BAe have spent the last few years busily relocating to the United States in order to get more of the US defence spending, I guess it was inevitable that Woodford days were numbered.

"free" is not always the primary selling point

IT World have an interesting discussion about why users choose paid for propritary software over free. I must say I agree with the points about features and polish being major turn off especially for people who just want to get things done not spend hours tnkering with configuration options. Not sure I agree about the Gimp though, for the last few years its seems more and more of a credible alternative to the ruinously expensive photoshop.

Monday, September 14, 2009


According to this article in the Telegraph computer engineers are the most likely to make an insurance claim following a car crash, yikes!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Phil and I were given some tickets for Alton towers, a friend had got free tickets courtesy of the Sun newspaper. He wasn't able to go and let us have the tickets instead.

I woke up with a terrible hangover having gone out for drinks last night with Ian Faye and Nick. I had to delay leaving for Alton Towers until I was able to make myself more human.

Even after breakfast and a long long shower I was still feeling pretty awful, but I decided not to pass up the trip. It has been over 10 years since I last went to Alton Towers, so I have ridden on Nemesis but not Oblivion.


This was the first ride of the day, as we saw on the monitors that the wait time was zero Minutes. Oblivion is a vertical drop roller coaster, you go up then stop for a few heart stopping moments before plunging 60 meters straight down into a black pit. It was quite an adrenaline booster, and woke me up from my hangover. Its over pretty quickly but you do get a couple of seconds where there is a feeling of weightlessness, oh and top tip keep you head back.

Rita Queen of Speed

We queued for 30 minutes to get on Rita, and looking at the coaster I didn't imagine it was going to be anything special, I was very wrong! The initial acceleration was quite simply phenomenal. There is about 4.7g of force during the acceleration is simple breathtaking, I was actually tingling when I got off the ride.

At this point Phil and I went for lunch opting to eat at the Rita bar and grill; the restaurants have certainly improved from the drab hot dog vendors I remember to proper bar & restaurants, even branded outlets like KFC and Berger King. Phil had a ribs and chicken combo while I had a cheese and bacon burger. My burger was tasty but Phil really made the right choice he let me try some of the spicy chicken which was really delicious.

We came back for another go on Rita before leaving the park, it was my favourite of the ride, the feeling of speed is just amazing.


This is an interesting ride in which you are effectively laid forward and fly over the ground. While not as fast as Rita or even Nemesis you are only a couple of meters off the ground which. The flight is so close and fast to the ground that the feeling of danger and speed is more intense than the actual physical sensation of the g force. The rider is treated to views of the open sky followed by a flipping down to earth seemingly careering into a wall only to fly over it, very well done.


I had bad memories of Nemesis from my last visit to Alton Towers. I had queued for about 2.5 hours on a hot day and the ride was over in seconds. Going on it again I realised that my feelings were clouded by the wait, this time it was less then 30 minutes, and its a great ride, the loop low over the water is very impressive. Though I did find one bit of the ride batted my head between the harness a bit.

To finish we had a go on the spinball wizzard a smaller coaster but an d interesting one in which 4 people sit in opposing quarters of a car. The car can spin round as you go round the rollercoaster creating some pretty strange sensations as you whizz around the track not really knowing which way you will turn. As there was still no wait time we walked back onto Oblivion for one last thrill before leaving the park.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Seems like Zynga are taking over Facebook at the moment, my feed seems to be full of people wanting me to join the Mafia or to start a farm. According to the Zynga blog FarmVille surpassed 11 million daily active users. That is some pretty amazing usage statistics. I had dismissed these games as a fad but it seems some people take it really seriously, check out Pablo Paniagua' in depth analysis of the investment returns of different trees.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Until It Breaks

Today I had several helpers at my house. As usual my dad came to help me, and I started in the mornign painting the bathroom. Now the yellow nicotine stain is covered it started to look better already.

Next Bruce arrived with his cable tester and wand (basically as device you can attach to one end of a cable then use the wand to find the other end). We traced out the first six sockets, discovering in the process we managed to get the backs on upside down!

In the afternoon Andy Gilmore arrived to help do some painting. Originally he had planned to arrive about lunchtime but a night on the tiles had left him a little worse for wear. I gave him the grand tour then set him to work putting another coat on the bathroom. I started glossing some bits in the hallway, including the doors to the garage and kitchen.

Bruce suggested that we went to see Inglorious Bastards and as Andy was up for that too we went back to my parents house to get changed and have some food before Bruce picked us up. I was slightly worried about Storm, whether he would like Andy, fortunately after having a sniff he decided that he was OK. We even took him for a short walk.

My parents made a pasta dinner, with asparigus spears and cougettes. It was pretty tasty and I was hungry after the days decorating.

Inglorious Bastards played out like an old school spaghetti western, indeed the first Chapter is called once upon a time in Nazi occupied France. It marks a real return to form. It still the over the top violence and reference but somehow here it works better, I thought only the Mike Myers scene was really overplayed. Brad pit plays the over the top American with aplomb. There are a load of wonderful quotable lines and film references, ending the film with the understated line "this is my greatest masterpiece".

Dance Little Liar

The last week has been fantastically busy, I feel washed out and very glad its weekend. Tonight I went round to Phil's to drink beer and watch TV on his incredible TV room. There wasnt much on Sky so we ended up watching Last Samurai, which I think was Tom Cruises last decent film. It is loosely based on the events of the Satsuma Rebellion. The film much like Braveheart pit the Brave and noble Samuri against the Government forces, who are evil and corrupted by forign influences. This totally ignores the real history in which the Samurai were fighting to retain the feudal system which benefited them. Initially brought about by the arrival of the Americans, who humiliatingly defeated the Japanese; who due to an extended period of isolation failed to have modern weaponry. A rapid period of modernisation followed including the formation of a conscription based army (using the Franco - German model). After which the Samurai found themselves no longer in a privileged position. Yes there was government corruption but more than anything this was a class war which really proved the feudal system was a failure.

I walked home from Phil house, it was the most magical night, there was a brilliant nearly full moon so I took a short cut across the fields, bathed in moonlight. It was pretty nice except for the grass being wet.

Friday, September 04, 2009

419 goes YouTube

The classic Nigerian email scams gets all web 2.0. The Register has full covereage.
This is pure comedy genius

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Fabulous World of Jules Verne - Part 1 - Karel Zeman

Wired is running a series of best sci fi films (pre and post star wars) this one caught my eye, its a Czeck film looks pretty surreal

Proxy Auto configuration

I found a site which details away to have dhcp server out an address for a Proxy Automatic configuration.

It isnt a standard ICP Dhcp option but can be added with the following

#Create a new option
option local-pac-server code 252 = text;
#Pointer to the PAC file
option local-pac-server "";