Friday, 31 March 2006

Germany - Day 4...

The distributor bash was a good laugh last night, although unusually tame and I even got to bed before witching hour!
Halfway down the stairs, on my way out, I crossed one of the waitresses from the exhibition who was also working at the venue, so I gave her a friendly smile. She reciprocated with an equally friendly smile and said "Are you leaving already?" with a rather cute German accent and look in her eye. I replied with, "yes, bye bye" and carried on walking. I'm a master with the ladies!

Being at an international show opens a massive can of worms for typos and bad translations.
The best company found, so far, is 'Ningbo Seagull Wipe-less'! Do they sell self cleaning birds?
The best product description, taken from a badly translated Chinese company is, 'The top sound system, can make the compressed signal reach the most clearly and by absolute "silence". What? LOL

Tonight, we're all off to my fave restaurant, ever, ever, ever: The Steinernes Haus, in Braubachstr
[Click 'History' at the top for a picture]
It's not a fancy place at all, in fact it's a bustling eatery in a very traditional building, although extremely dingy and it smells like an abbatoir. I'm not selling it am I folks?
The restaurant serves huge chunks of raw beef, served on a very hot lava stone, allowing you to cut bits off yourself and cook them to your liking. Phwoar.
They also serve beer in 1-litre-difficult-to-lift-with-one-arm-jugs... Superb!

The 'Silver Fox' is returning home tonight, so will be sadly missed by all this evening.

Today, I'm most angry about: Being deffed out, this morning, by the previously mentioned waitress. :-)
Grrr-O-Meter: 1/10

Thursday, 30 March 2006

Germany - Day 3...

This morning I woke up rather jaded, shall we say. Last night's party was fun, the food superb and white wine was being continually poured all night, free of charge, meaning your glass never fell below half, before it was enthusiastically refilled by a German waitress. This led to a slight over indulgence of the fermented grape juice and much merriment.

I was taught some useful phrases, last night, by my friend Andreas, the vertically gifted happy German. The phrase I liked most was, "Ich muchte ein shnauser mit mein schweineschnitzel", taken from the spoof film, 'Top Secret!'. This, roughly translated means, 'I would like a dog with my pork escallope'... Don't ask.
Grrr, I managed to bite my tongue last night too; it bled lots, but I got some good macro shots of the self inflicted injury.

Ha, ha. I just asked a colleague, "Who paid for the taxi back to the hotel last night?", only to be informed, "We walked"... Oh!

This mornings digital photo purusing revealed some interesting shots; most of which causes you to rotate the camera through 180 degrees, trying to make out what the picture is of. Will post some highlights soon!

The exhibition is going well; plenty of customers and familiar faces alike around today and lots of pretty women walking by, which is unusual for a professional audio exhibition, oddly enough! Not that I've been looking, much. Honest! I haven't even noticed the girl working behind our bar who looks just like Racheal Weiss. In fact, I haven't even stared at her once.

Tonight, we are all off to our German distributor's party at Robert Johnson's in Offenbach, which is over the other side of the city.

Today, I'm most angry about: Suffering from aching exhibition yeti flat foot syndrome from standing all day.
Grrr-O-Meter: 1/10

Wednesday, 29 March 2006

Germany - Day 2...

This morning I noticed a CAT5 cable just hanging around on the floor of our exhibition stand. So, I plugged it into our laptop to see what it was, and after a little bit of tinkering... WOOT, a free broadband connection!

A colleague left his digital camera on the restaurant table last night, so I took the liberty of taking a photo down my trousers and returning it before he got back. He then discovered the picture this morning, while browsing through yesterdays photos. LOL

A steady flow of customers have been dropping by the stand, including our Japanese distributor, Kunitaka Fukatsu, who had bought me a traditional vessel of Saki and matching receptical; which was very nice of him.Shall I get him a bottle of Bells from the West Midlands Co-op to present tohim on his return visit? Hehehe!!!
Our Singapore distributor, Glenn Wong, dropped by too and asked for our latest brochure. He then informed me he will be reading it on the toilet, as he does not understand the German papers!

How bizzare. I've just been aproached by a work colleague who asked me to smell his hand, but after he refused to tell me why or where it had been, I politely declined his offer.

Good news. I've found a cafe just opposite our stand that sells 'Shnitzle' (pork escollope) in a crusty roll; a real fave of mine! Phwoar, that's me sorted for lunch every day.
The meal was good last good and I tried [vegetarians look away now] wild boar. Very much like pork, but with a bit more grunt!Get it? Grunt! Ahh.

Tonight, we are all off to a speaker manufacturers party at The Villa Leonhardi. Where?

Today, I'm most angry about: Work mates zooming into the afore mentioned picture and playing guess the body part with the other people sharing our stand!
Grrr-O-Meter: 1/10

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Germany - Day 1...

Hello from Frankfurt folks!

I found the hotel has Internet access from the lobby! Excellent...

The 1 hour 40 minute flight this morning was rather good, although a little rough at times shall we say, due it being quite windy. Being tired too, it was a bit uncomfortable until cruising altitude was reached, but fun, and I didn't fear it at all! WOOT!
Remind me to Blog about the in-flight sandwich they served; it needs pictures to say the least.

I've been out, looking round Frankfurt's high streets and the Main river today, with four of my work colleagues; two of which had flown out yesterday.
I've just met up with three other friends in the trade and we're all going out for a meal tonight, well in a about half hour should I say. They're all nattering in the bar, so I sneeked off to Blog!

Actually we are missing one main member, 'The Silver Fox' (grey hair - although very young and very handsome), who's currently on a train heading this way. He would have been here quicker, but due to his boss being incredibly tight, he has had to travel via train and foot. His boss would simply hit the roof if he gets a taxi from the airport to the hotel, due to the high fare!
N.B. His boss is staying in a fancy hotel 20 mintues from the centre of Frankfurt... 20 minute taxi ride that is! LOL

By for now...

Today, I'm most angry about: Finding it difficult to wee on the plane when going through turbulence. It has a 'clenching' affect on me! Yes, I was in the toilet too :-)
Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 1/10

Monday, 27 March 2006


Tomorrow I'm flying off to Frankfurt in Germany to attend the Musikmesse exhibition, for work, and returning on Saturday night.

I will be staying in this hotel: which is about a 15 minute walk from the show.

The flight is from Birmingham at 9:30am, so I have to be there for 7:30am, which means leaving at 6:30am, so I'm getting up... err, well setting an alarm for the ungodly hour of 5:45am!
I'm flying out on a Boeing 737-300, as I did to and from Finland. Ooh, too much Microsoft Flight Sim showing through there me thinks!

The Musikmesse is an annual audio / music exhibition in which the company I work for exhibits every year.
Basically I just have to liase with existing customers and distributors and demonstrate our gear to anyone who comes by with a question.
The whole place is fascinating though, as it is sooo large. The whole exhibition has moving walkways around it, as each of the exhibition halls is approximaetly the size of a football field and they are strewn across a massive complex. Some halls contain solely guitars for example, and others just pianos, it's stunning. You will have never come across so many varieties and sheer quantity of instruments in one place, ever.
Being in professional audio, I will be in the with the live PA and lighting halls along with studio and broadcasting equipment.

I am going to try and Blog from Germany; by using Stefan's laptop (our German distributor) as he normally has it WiFi'd up. If not, I might try from my phone. Now that's ambitious!

Auf wiedersehen folks...

Today, I'm most angry about: Getting a crap nights sleep and suffering for it today!

Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 6/10

Sunday, 26 March 2006

Fear of Flying...

Today, I believe I've actually conquered my fear of flying. Yay...

The first flight I ever took was to Jersey on a twin prop (Douglas DC-3 at a guess) for a family holiday. I was 11 at the time, so I can't really remember much about it, other than it was really exciting and the air hostess gave me a boiled sweet to help with my ears popping. Ooh and I came back with an awesome pair of red slip-on shoes and a penknife.

The second flight I ever took, (bar the return flight from Jersey duh) was to Amsterdam for work several years ago and I absolutely crapped myself.
I don't really know why, but not liking roller coaster rides etc and knowing absolutely nothing about the physics of flying led to several changes of underwear (metaphorically speaking) and me believing I was going to die and wishing I had never agreed to put my life at risk.

My third flight was to Germany and then New York on which they never turned the seatbelt sign off during the whole seven and a half hour return flight from hell due to turbulence. Grrr
Having then stopped flying because of finding it too stressful, a couple of years ago I agreed to fly to Majorca for a holiday and although it was good, I still didn't like it one bit. I then flew to the south of France, Italy, Spain and again to Germany, so not bad for fearful flyer, but that prompted me to do something about this irrational fear.

I decided to buy myself Microsoft Flight Simulator*, to learn how to fly various planes and learn what all the jargon, sign, lights, mechanics and codes meant. (Because in disaster movies, there's always a stewardess who shouts, "Can anybody fly the god dam plane?")
I also read 'Flying without fear' by Keith Godfrey followed by Allen Carr's 'Easyway to Enjoy Flying', which I finished today.

I used to believe I risked my life when flying, and that the pilots and air stewards were just flippant about loosing their own. I used to look at the air stewards if there was a patch of turbulence, and if they looked OK, I knew we weren't about to drop out of the sky... This time. That brings me to my old belief that if a plane's engines were to stop, the plane would just fall like a brick from the sky! LOL, from cruising altitude, they can glide for about 150miles to the nearest airport. Also, 'air pockets' grrr, what a modern day old wives tale they are! Thinking back now, I actually feel foolish how I used to believe all the Hollywood disaster movie brain washing.

I actually enjoyed my last flight to Finland, due to some fine grade A smack and a willing air hostess! Just kidding, I enjoyed it because I'm no longer afraid and do not need to take Valium anymore, which only confused the fear, rather than got rid of it.
I have also developed a sad habit of taking multiple pictures of the plane wing, for some unknown reason. (Perhaps to convince myself they are still there, hahaha, just kidding)

[* I now have my 'First Solo Flight' and 'Private Pilot' certificates! How sad.. err, I mean exciting]

Today, I'm most angry about: Old men, E.G. my Dad, deliberately not understanding how to text from a mobile phone, after approximately 145,000 demonstrations.
Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 3/10

Saturday, 25 March 2006

Little Britain...

Last night I went to see Little Britain live at the NIA.

It was an excellent show, especially as I somehow managed to get last minute tickets* with seats 7 or 8 rows back from the front.
The show started off with the 'Lou and Andy' sketch and Matt Lucas made his stage entrance by flying across to his wheelchair with the aid of a jet pack, (erm, wires) while Lou was obviously oblivious to all of this going on behind him.

The Mr Mann sketch had to be my favourite as they messed it up, but kept in character when bantering to each other about the mistake. It was incredibly funny when David Walliams spotted the slip up and said to Matt Lucas, "Your stroking your moustache to cover up your laughter aren't you?" still in his characters deadpan face, and then Matt Lucas completely lost it, started laughing out loud and then said, in his whining character voice, "I hate you!". It all went very ad lib for a moment and then they started the sketch again.

Audience participation was higher than I would of expected, the highlight being when 'Des' (David Walliams) picked two blokes out of the front row (one old, one young) to go on stage with him and he then started 'feeling up' the younger of the two and then made them play 'hide the sausage'. The recovery of the sausage led to 'Des' kissing and molesting the younger member of the audience and finally pulling his trousers down as he was walking off stage! Poor bloke, but what a sport eh!

They then ran through all the usual sketches, one after another; 'Vicky Pollard', 'Daffyd' etc etc etc.

The penultimate sketch was the 'Sebastian and Michael' sketch where David Walliams took all his clothes off, put his winky between his legs and danced around the Prime Minister (not Tony Blair) pretending to be a girl. Seriously funny and that guy really doesn't give a monkey's! Hats off to you Mr Walliams and for any female readers... 'like a horse', compared to me anyhow!

[* 'Cough' I phoned the PA hire company and got guest tickets, shhhhhhhhhh]

P.S. Don't forget to put your clocks forward, back, forward, back... Nope definitely forward!

Today, I'm most angry about: DoGGa's usual unexplainable monthly mood swing.

Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 7/10

Friday, 24 March 2006

When Certificates Go Wrong...

Last week, I went out for a drink with a friend and he was telling me how he's got to attend a first aid refresher course. Working by himself as a colour web printer, in a unit to the side of the main business, he is required to be his own first aider, but wasn't particularly keen on attending the course, although it was one of those things that had to be done.

Last night, I went round to pick him up for another pub visit, but before we left he sifted through some post on the kitchen worktop and found an A4 sized envelope that he thought must be his St Johns first aid certificate. He opened the brown envelope and roared with laughter to discover a slight error:


Not wanting to go on the course in the first place, this only rubbed salt into the wound, so I couldn't resist asking him not to blow up and if he had any strategic plans on what to do about it!!!

Today, I'm most angry about: Having aching thighs from too much circus training.

Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 2/10

Thursday, 23 March 2006

Hot for Teacher...

Today at work, the accounts lady came in wearing a skirt and yellow blouse, so I'm sure it was unintentional, but she looked rather like a teacher (to me anyway, or am I just pervy?).
Anyway, it instantly became my sport to ask her questions like, "Ms Shaw, is math club on after school this evening" and "I have forgotten to do my English essay homework Ms Shaw, but will have it tomorrow" etc etc.
At lunch time, on my way to the loos, I asked her if I could use the Library at dinner time, but she just looked at me in a way that said *%$£ off. This just encouraged me more, so I asked her if she was coming as a student tomorrow with pigtails and virgin socks. Hahaha.

Somehow, I don't think that's going to happen.
She did help me with a Microsoft Excel question I had later in the day, so she hasn't fallen out with me, I don't think?

Today, I'm most angry about: The council blowing spending funds on maintaining bits of pavement by the river Severn and doing a bad job of it.
Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 2/10

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

A Tax on Fools...

Last night I couldn't get to sleep, so I decided to watch a bit of TV and stumbled across ITV's delightful 'Quiz Mania'. I have never seen or heard of this quiz show, so for those of you with me on this one, it's a quiz show where you are required to call the number on the screen to get the chance of guessing the second half of the word 'Free'. E.G. freepost or freelance, to name but a few. There where six valid winning answers with prizes ranging from £100 to £25000.


The luring cheesy quiz show host banter started and calls started to flood in with several wrong answers, but a few correct ones, which where 'Willy', as in the film Free Willy, winning the caller £700 and shortly after that a caller won £2000 for the correct answer 'Radicals'.
After watching for 15 minutes I couldn't believe the intelligence of the callers or should I say lack of it, and how tacky, badly presented and false the whole show was; so I rang up and had a go myself! :-)
The first time it was engaged, the second time I got a recorded message saying, "Welcome to Quiz Mania, this call will cost 60p... Sorry you have not got through this time, please try again." followed by the bleep, bleep, bleep of being disconnected.
I was flabbergasted to discover that you do not even go into a queuing system and that you just get charged 60p for trying. So, I did the sensible thing of trying again, just to make sure I had got this right, but got the exact same result... Darn.

At the start of the show, the blonde presenter gave you some useful (*Cough* chuffin' obvious) tips, like, "Write down the wrong answers you have heard as not to repeat them."
This quite obviously meant nothing to 99% of the callers, who seemed insistent on repeating most of the wrong answers over and over again, the most popular being the guess 'Freeloaders' to which the presenter would say, "Ooh it's good, but we need the exact word" every time this was guessed. It very quickly became a tad obvious she was after the intransitive verb 'Freeload', but this didn't stop countless callers giving it a go anyway.

Perhaps they where going on the same principal of asking someone foreign a question, who does not understand you, and then simply asking them the same question again, only a bit louder, thus obviously making yourself all that bit easier to understand!
At this point, I got annoyed and tried again, if only to put them out of their misery, but got the same pre-recorded message. This I thought, along with lotteries, is a tax on fools*.

However, someone then got through a few minutes later and with the guess 'Freeload', walked off with several thousand pounds. Grrr

[^ The picture was liberated from the Internet and not taken at the time]

[* Taken from Samuel Johnson's quote, "Lotteries are a tax on fools."]

Today, I'm most angry about: Being fleeced £1.80 last night.

Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 3/10

Tuesday, 21 March 2006

Sorry, What Was That..?

Today, at lunchtime, a known customer rang me for technical support, but I was out at a local lunchtime circuit training class, so works receptionist informed him of this and took a message for me to return his call.
When I returned his call in the afternoon, he answered his phone and greeted me by humming the traditional circus music, "daaa, daa, daaa, da, da, da, da, da, daa", which made me laugh at the surreal greeting, although slightly confused until he explained what he had heard. He had mistaken the receptionist saying circuit training to be 'circus training'.
He rang again for more assistance, later that day, and the start of the phone call went something like this:
Customer: "So what have you learnt today at circus training?"
Me: "Well, today we learnt how to accurately throw custard pies".
This I feel is going to be a common opening line theme for some time with this particular customer.

This reminded me of a time when I first started work and every day we would pre order food from a local generic sandwich delivery shop. It was my turn to take and place the order and the last item on the list was an egg mayonnaise and cress sandwich on white. A fairly common order and ordinary sandwich, one would presume.

However, the lady on the end of the phone sounded confused and asked me to repeat the last item, not once, not twice but three times! Strange I thought, but we completed the order and asked for delivery as normal.

When the order arrived, a colleagues egg mayo and cress sandwich, turned up with no cress on it. He was slightly annoyed, but tucked in regardless. Although, when he came to eat the second half, he noticed a small foil package in with the sandwich. He opened the suspicious looking package, to discover several off-cuts of bread inside.

It took several confusing minutes to discover she must of misheard egg mayonnaise and cress as being egg mayonaise and 'crusts'!

It then took a good while to resume normal bodily control from laughing so much.
Surely this could only happen in Stourport-on-Severn... I hope!

Today, I'm most angry about: Not being able to get the backlight to work on my PDA at home, although at work it works fine! Go figure!

Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 3/10

Monday, 20 March 2006

Pin the Piercing on the Colleague...

Today at work, we played pin the piercing on the Lewis.
Lewis is a work colleague who has recently embarked on becoming a trainee Research and Development engineer, but due to his sub 20 years of age, making him the youngest in the department, he immediatley qualifies to be the subject of pranks and banter. This will continue to be the case until he is superseded by a younger employee.*
Today, he was telling me a gruesome story about some of his friends who went to have their tongues pierced. There followed the predictable story about one of them bleeding profusely and having to attend A&E. Strange that!
I asked Lewis why he hadn't had a piercing done himself, and then took the liberty of making up the game 'Pin the piercing on the Lewis' so all colleagues could have a say in where they think he should get a piercing. It doesn't take too much imagination to gather where all the suggestion markers pointed to! (Younger son of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha)
Here is a picture of the piercing template and the boy wonder himself, Lewis:

This leads me onto a BIG welcoming of an old friend to work, who started today after 15 years at his former employers.

This friend is now called, 'The Enforcer'. I don't really know why, but the sales and marketing manager spontaneously came up with the name for no good reason. Maybe it has something to do with him being about 6'4"? Who knows, but lets see if the name sticks!

'The Enforcer' will be working with myself and other colleagues, including a current employee who we now call, 'The Economiser'.

'The Economiser' turned up at work last week in a Mercedes C class and then later that day, justified his purchase with a sentence comprising of, "Well, I bought it for its low running costs and good fuel consumption". This lead to much hilarity, several references to the Honda Jazz and the fitting name.

[* Yes, this is standard legal procedure, and yes I was once there too and experienced many a joke-at-DoGGa's-expense. Plus, due to there being a fellow employee with the same first name as me, I ended up with a 'little' prefix to my name, as to distinguish us from each other, which has kind of stuck ever since. Grrr]

Today, I'm most angry about: Not being able to get my Belkin USB Bluetooth adapter to work.
Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 2/10

Sunday, 19 March 2006

When Signs Go Wrong...

On yesterdays outing (see Saturdays blog) I came across a group of signs in Carding Mill Valley's Car park that I found rather amusing. Due to the unique illustrations, they could be seen in many different lights.

Sign 1:

A: Is this sign suggesting we have a problem with rabbits littering, and thus the sign has been put here for their benefit?

B: Is this sign suggesting that the local Leporidae population has developed a taste for junk food, so we should be extra vigilant about litter depositors, as so the bunnies do not get a cholesterol level problem?

C: Is this sign suggesting the Long Mynd has employed a group of mafia type rabbits, who will come and 'deal' with you if you are caught littering?

Sign 2:

A: Is this sign suggesting you clean up after you have slung-shot your ill tempered dog into some sheep?

B: Is this sign suggesting you rightfully clean up after your 'gliding' dog? (That's some bodacious air it's catching there!)

C: Is this sign saying, "do not stand in a very mincing way and show some sheep your handbag while your dog gets a aerial view of the lovely scene"?

Either way, the dog does not look best pleased:

Personally, I think the Canadians have got it right, as usual:

Today, I'm most angry about: Microsoft Windows Bugs
Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 3/10

Saturday, 18 March 2006

Push-bikes, Mordor and The Shire...

Now there's a snappy title for you!
One summer evening, several years ago, I was out walking over Clent Hill with friends and an old man walking towards us stopped, pointed to his right and muttered, "Mordor", then to his left and muttered, "The Shire" and went on his way, leaving us all slightly bewildered.
To his right where the delightful, light polluted nighttime views of Birmingham and Dudley, and to his left where the calm and dim views out towards Wales. However, thinking he was some sort of J.R.R Tolkien obsessive, I think I now understand what he was really going on about.

Am I mixing up reality with fantasy here folks?

Today I went to the Long Mynd with a friend for a walk around Ashes Hollow and Carding Mill Valley and it was beautiful... Chuffin' cold, but beautiful. Hardly a soul about, patches of snow everywhere, icicles around the streams and not a big bore exhaust to be heard.

This I thought, was The Shire and having just come from the Kidderminster area, Mordor.

[These photos where taken near the Geocache, 'A Bridge too Far', for those of you in the know]

I'm increasingly wanting to move away from such built up areas and their provincial ways, to experience a more tranquil way of life and one evening last week, this idea was once again reinforced when I was out cycling with friends and returning home through Bewdley.

What is it with lager-fuelled teenagers, that makes them feel constrained to shout abuse at cyclists and make them feel threatened? I can't think of anything more innocent than riding a bike and minding my own business, but this seems to excite handfuls of youths hanging around in groups.

This week I experienced, "Go on, f'ing pedal it", followed by, "Stop, yeah you, f'ing stop", but one of my popular favourites is "Pop a f'ing wheelie", although this comes in close second place to "Get off and f'ing milk it. However, the latter has unfortunately become quite a rarity nowadays.

Today, I'm most angry about: Being shouted abuse at when cycling.
Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 7/10

Friday, 17 March 2006

Coffee Calamity...

Recently I've started experimenting with drugs! Well, caffeine to be perfectly honest.
After suffering from panic attacks several years ago, I stopped drinking caffeine and avoided it like the plague ever since, but over the last few weeks, I thought It's about time to give it a go again.
Oh boy, do you get a kick from an espresso or what; or should I say 'expresso' for any older readers who seem insistent on this pronunciation.

Anyhow, this morning at work, I did one of those things that only a human could do; I proved to myself, that it's quite possible to take the following 28 steps when trying to make a cup of coffee:

1. Leave office and go to kitchen
2. Load coffee into the machine
3. Fill water reservoir
4. Turn hot water switch
5. Realise no hot water is being produced by afore mentioned machine
6. Try hot water switch again
7. Vainly try hot water switch once again
8. Check socket is switched on
9. Jump to conclusion mains fuse has blown in plug
10. Return to office, retrieve flat-bladed screwdriver and mains fuse
11. Return to kitchen, remove plug, remove fuse, replace fuse, plug back in
12. Try hot water switch again
13. Curse out loud
14. Whinge to accounts lady (whose office is adjacent to kitchen)
15. Try different mains outlet on opposite side of kitchen
16. Curse again
17. Remove mains plug, coffee and water reservoir
18. Tip the machine on its back to inspect mains cable and futilely search for an RCD reset switch
19. Empty the contents of the drip tray (full from previous days use) all over yourself and worktop
20. Curse once more
21. Rapidly locate kitchen roll and frantically chase coffee dregs around afore mentioned worktop
22. Continue to inspect the machine to discover there's nothing wrong and there's no RCD
23. Curse lots more
24. Grudgingly give up and restore coffee machine back to original state
25. Notice the large mains rocker switch located on the front side of the machine is set to '0'
26. Flip rocker switch to 'I' position and watch coffee machine spring to life
27. Take mockery from accounts lady who has been observing all this happen
28. Make coffee, return to office as quickly as possible, lick wounds

Thursday, 16 March 2006

Farcical Sign...

Mmm, I think they may have blown the bunkers cover, but to be sure, perhaps the addition of some pink neon lights and a P&O ferry fog horn would help maintain the not so secret bunker too?

I was archiving last years photos, when I came across this little gem!

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body...

This is a slogan I spotted this morning while watching Blue Peter, bleary-eyed, just before leaving to go to work. I haven't seen Blue Peter for years, but I was stopping over at a friends' house and they only have 'poor peoples TV'*, so I wasn't exactly spoilt for choice.

The presenters had gone to Manhattan and the male presenter was trying out some sort of test at the NYPD. There was a brief shot of a bunch of officers all doing press-ups and I noticed a huge sign was hung at the back of the gym stating 'Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body', so I guess this is kind of on par with 'No Pain, No Gain', but with a little more grunt!

Reluctantly partaking in circuit training classes three times a week to A: fight the flab and B: lessen the guilt of not doing much in the way of excercise, 'no pain, no gain' is a saying I'm grugingly accustomed to. My fitness trainer is an ex-army fitness instructor and he was breifly telling me today, that he loved it when some of his militant colleagues where physically sick from his tough training regime and he used to have a sick list to check people off... Nice!
He then informed me this was especailly rife in the morning, as it was directly after breakfast!

I don't think I'll be telling him about the new slogan I spotted for the mean time, although I tend to train with several friends, so I shall be slipping this comment in now and again when it looks like one of them is about to pass out! That should make me poplular.

[* This is what my neice and nephew call terrestrial TV, as they say all their school friends have one million TV channels at their disposal and they have access to four! Not even channel 5!]

Tuesday, 14 March 2006


Today, I was reading an article on the dangers of heavy drinking; scared the hell out of me! So that's it, after tonight, no more bloomin' reading!

Monday, 13 March 2006


A couple of weeks ago, someone reversed into my car in Sainsburys' carpark.

This, I thought, was actually quite an achievment, given it was about 9.30pm, thus hardly a soul about and there where approximatly 5 cars in the entire carpark; so in the 225,000 acres of tarmaced carparking facility, a young lad manages to skillfully ding the rear off-side of MY car.

I was just leaving the checkout and in superb hi fidelity, the words, "Could the owner of a silver BMW, registration blah, blah, blah* please come to the customer services desk", came drifting across the aisles. My instant reaction was one of, 'Oh no, what have I done now?', but when I got there, there was a nervous looking young lad who gingerly informed me he had just reversed into my car. (I would like to add here, I've only had the car about month or so) We then went outside to assess the situation, but luckily the damage was minimal and only affected the aesthetics of the car. I embarked on asking him how he managed to do it, but all I got was a blank look and shrugged shoulders. I stayed remarkably calm, took his details and left it at that.

I was then immediatly approached by a trolley attendant, who informed me that he saw the youngster perform this manouver, went over to him and so made sure he went inside with the description of my car to report it at the customer services desk. A big thank you to the trolley attendant.

The next day had now become the dreaded insurance claim sorting out day.

Today I received this letter:

I write to update you on the progress of your claim.

Unfortunately, to date, I am still awaiting a response from Mr [Shall remain nameless], in my request for his insurance details.
I have attempted to contact him again today over the phone, without success, as such, I have sent out a reminder letter.
If I still have not obtained a response within the next 21 days, my next step will be to instruct investigators to visit Mr [Shall remain nameless] to obtain the required information.
I will contact you as soon as I have any further updates.

'Visit' This sounds very Men In Black to me and if I had wrote the letter, would have to of wrote 'pay a visit...', but I'm quite intrigued to see the outcome now, as I'm going to have to pay the excess myself if he turns out to be uninsured. Grrrrrrr

[* My car doesn't have a registration number plate that reads 'blah blah blah' by the way] :-)

Sunday, 12 March 2006


I've always wondered what I do when I'm asleep. For obvious reasons, this is not easy to find out. So, I thought it would be a novel idea to set up my digital camera to automatically take a photo, say once every 15 minutes or so, and I would end up with a collage of nocternal activity by morning. However, I then realised, unlike my old Samsung 35mm compact, my digital Pentax Optio S4i doesn't have such a feature allowing me to do this... So I didn't... Darn :-(
Instead, I filmed myself on my digital camcorder... Woot :-)
I awoke this morning to find one and half hours of footage of myslef asleep (no surprises there), although even on Long Play, it's not really enough time, but to be honest it wasn't very intersting anyway; and no, I didn't watch the whole thing through LOL, I just scanned it for movement.
I turned over once, shuffled around two or three times and made a few grunting sounds, but other than that, nothing. I was hoping to catch myself talking or doing something strange, but no such luck. I'm sure there must be strange things you do in your sleep without knowing, but after last nights experiment, I think I'm going to leave them hidden for the time being.

FYI: This day in 1858, the first electric burglar alarm was installed in Boston Massachusetts.
One peice of useless information to keep on board for a pub quiz, eh!

Bonus Blog...

I've just finished Dan Browns' 'The DaVinci Code'. What an excellent read. A truely exhilarating book, with twist after twist, ice and a slice. Highly Recommended!

Saturday, 11 March 2006

This week, I'll mostly be eating Reindeer...

Well, that's a lie actually, as that was last week.
Last week I was in Finland and experiencing lots of things for the first time.
Oh boy, sub minus 10 temperatures hit you fast, so zip up your coat before going outside! It was minus 30 most mornings and got no warmer than minus 10! You could of cut glass with my nipples at times. It’s quite novel to watch the weeks’ weather forecast where all the high temperatures are negatives!
The Finns are less polite and more direct; [thanks for the warning Stu], as I may have got shirty at times, as they really can be abrupt. Very entertaining once you’ve got the hang of it though.
Did plenty of skiing (blue runs only) my friend and I aren’t too hot on the slopes and on several occasions, gave way to pigtailed 5 year olds with pink hats flying down the slopes at break neck speeds unaccompanied… LOL.
My favourite part was Husky sledding across a frozen lake. Excellent fun and it’s amazing how four dogs can pull two herberts on a sled so fast.
Also went Reindeer sledding on the same lake which was superb, but rather random, shall we say, regarding them stopping to eat snow and then sprinting as fast as they can to keep up with one another. Very good they know where to go though, completely unaided!
Went snow mobiling too, and they are noisy and fast with a stunning amount of grip. Excellent fun too!
Walked up the Levi Fell a few times too and managed to spot the Aurora Borealis one night, which was stunning and a life ambition to go and see it. It appeared as a dim arc of light at first, stretching from one side of the horizon to the other, just like low cloud and then it burst into life for five stunning minutes and went again. It then reappeared, after almost giving up, for another five minute spectacular show of enigmatic dancing green lights. Caught a few minutes of it with my digi camcorder on supernight mode, but the colour and frame rates aren’t the best in that mode.
The food was good, but odd at times whereby raw pickled Herring was out at breakfast time and being tucked into as much as the cornflakes and eggs. (Not together of course)

I’ve mostly been living off Reindeer all week, which is available in so many forms: (Vegetarians look away now)
I indulged in sauteed Reindeer, Reindeer pizza, Reindeer steak, Reindeer meatballs, Reindeer pate and Reindeer soup. (You can look again now)
I smuggled several cans of Reindeer meat back too, although it made my case slightly overweight and my friend thought this was rather funny as some of the tins where his, but he didn't want to risk the Finnish customs dept at Kittila Airport! :-)
I also indulged in a massage, executed by a lovely young Finnish woman!
I fell in love with a Husky too at the Reindeer farm, but I don’t think I would have got it through Finnish customs somehow. The Husky was also in trouble for stealing sweetbread off the table and it knew it! Hehehe…
A thoroughly enjoyable experience, with many life ambitions achieved in one trip and I wouldn’t think twice about going back. It didn’t have the atmosphere and mountain views of say the French, Swiss or Italian Alps, but it did have something unique, special and addictive about it all. I could move out there quite easily.
Ahh, Kidderminster really has no appeal after going somewhere like Levi, but it gave me chance to ponder about a thing or two and starting a Blog was one of them; so here it is folks!