Sunday, 30 April 2006

On a Ragga Tip...

Last night, two friends and myself went and provided the sound for a band playing in Malvern called 'Dubmerge'. (They're a great reggae band and have ties with the likes of Zion Train. Last night they appeared as an 8 piece)

We were asked by a work related friend if we would provide and set-up the PA for this Saturday night gig (for a small fee, of course), so at the end of last week I got together and prepped all that was needed for the gig.
Midday yesterday, we hired a Foley rental van (with tail-lift too, woohoo), loaded the gear up and set off to find Malvern's Youth Centre.

I messed up the navigating in the middle of Malvern due to partaking in a rather in depth discussion about ladies kissing like horses, so I really should be forgiven for the mistake in such a circumstance.

When we arrived, I noticed a sign on the main entrance and thought to myself, wow, I go to the loveliest of places. [I presume this meant on the ground rather than at one another, but I didn't go into too much detail over what this evidently problematic habit was actually about]

After an intense callous building session by lugging lots of heavy speakers, amplifiers, cables, processors, monitors and a mixing desk into position, the fun really started once set-up commenced.

As normal, a good head scratching session entailed, when we had a problem with monitor send 2, and after trial and error of all components, Andy [right] found it to be one side of an amplifier had gone down. Grrr. Luckily we brought along two spares. Phew... I had my own simultaneous problem with an RS485 PC control data line going down, but thanks to Lewis [left] for cooperating and putting up with my ranting and orders, to get it fixed ASAP.

Once we had sound coming out of all the correct places, the band turned up and the stress inevitably built, as a deadline had to be met and the band had to be happy with everything in order to perform.

I tend to do this section, as I'm actually good at handling the stress of all this, as the sheer quantity of requests and mix preferences is a preposterous task to transfer to the mixing desk at speed, so monitor / front of house engineering at festivals, from main stages at Glastonbury to small Welsh festivals, makes me quite au fait with it all, luckily. The other two ferrit about on stage, acting as artist liasion or drink beer, depending if the latter is available. Dogga after finishing set-up, keeping his kewl

The eight piece had set-up their instruments and we had plugged most stuff in, so I started to line check, by asking the band to hit, strum, blow, shout or whatever it takes to make a sound in turn to make sure evryting is OK at the mixing desk end. Not too complex, one would presume, but with 24 lines [different instruments] coming off stage, artists being artists and many requests for extra lines to mic up a drum thingy or electronic gizmo, it all kicked off.

On larger events / bands, there are 'normally' two mixing desks and two engineers, thus spliting the work load:

Front of House [FOH]

This is the mixing desk out with the audience and is the mix the audience hear, so the engineer is mixing for the punters and keeping it all sounding 'nice'. This is the most common sound engineer job, and requires a good ear and a touch of finesse. (There are at least 100 FOH engineers to 1 good one though) Last summer I was the FOH engineer on a one day festival in Manchester called 'D-percussion' and I had never used the particular mixing desk they had supplied, so I had to read the manual from cover to cover on the way up to Manchester, which made me a tad nervous to say the least, but I only made one mistake all day! The desk had exactly 3289 controls and buttons on it. That's more than 8 times that of a cockpit in a Boeing 747!


This is seperate mixing desk, normally situated just to the side of stage and is responsible for getting the sound on-stage correct, the mix in the artist's monitors OK and to prevent feedback. Without monitors, it would be a bit like trying to sing or play in tune with headphones on. You must have heard somebody doing this and it sounds awful, as they have no reference / can't hear themselves. [Monitors are the 'wedge' shaped speakers on the floor of the stage or sometimes they are in-ear monitors, like TV presenters wear] monitor engineers are a lot less common, but actually have the hardest job (that's probably why) as they temporarily become a member of the band and have many mixes (not just left and right) to deal with and it requires brute force, balls, a cool head and concentration more than finesse. Most engineers learn FOH before even considering monitors. I love doing monitors, although it never fails to get the old adrenaline pumping.

All big tours, most festivals and events use this standard two console set-up, but being a smaller gig and taking logistics into account, we did both monitor and FOH from one mixing desk!!! Perfectly possible, but not ideal and double the trouble.

Artists always get really arsy when they realise they have little time to get everything set up to how they like in a short period of time. The fact they will be playing to the several hundred paying punters shortly, so don't want to mess anything up and want to be as in-time and in-tune as possible never helps either. It's funny and quite normal as the artists turn into quite unreasonable people for this period (although afterwards, they are very grateful and nice as pie) becuause they are trusting this complete stranger with 'their sound' 50 foot away at the back of a hall, and you always get classic lines like:

"The guitar ain't loud enough in my monitor..." "No that's too loud..." "No gone again, a bit louder..." "Too much mate" etc etc etc, at this stage I just stop adjusting it and they still carry on with the same rantings, but it's just how hard the guitarist is playing. They soon stop asking once they realise this.

You also get my favourite line and last night it came from the drummer and it went like this:

"I've got no keyboards in my monitors" "I need keys in my mix, man" He then leans right over his monitor and angrily grimaces and shakes his head while straining to hear the keyboard. If he had of cared to look to his right, he would see the keyboard player isn't actually playing anything and is busily rolling a cigarette instead. Now what am I supposed to do about that? Duh

It was all inevitably sorted, although through the usual convoluted routes, and a good time was had by all. The music was great, the sound was superb, much beer was drank and the punters loved it. Result!

I got back at 2am and decided to walk the few hundred yards back to my front door from the drop off point in the middle of the main road, because I could! :->

Try this: Say 'beer can' without sounding like a Jamaican saying 'bacon'! Hehehe...

Today, I'm most angry about: Crushing an egg with my hand as I picked it out of it's box to put it into the fridge and it went everywhere in an eggs' weird stringy way. Grrr, what is it with me and eggs?

Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 1/10

Friday, 28 April 2006

The Bad Label...

Amongst many 'photos I shouldn't have taken' and 'photos taken without permission of the subject', this one I thought was rather funny.
At Disney Land, my sister pointed out a woman strolling by, who somehow had failed to notice a four inch 'The Good Price' tag hanging from her obviously recently purchased head wear. This caused me to snigger like a naughty child, leg it off at break neck speed and set myself up pretending to take a picture of something, while actually zooming into this woman.

Now, a polite and decent human being may of delicately pointed out the ladies fashion mishap, but as she was with her family, I thought it their job and best left alone!

The label may have been attached with one of those impossible-to-remove-by-hand-plastic-ties, and scissors were not at hand, but she could of tore off the cardboard label from the tie or something. I mean it's hardly the usual Gucci or FCUK that's being shown off here, now is it! ;-> Or, maybe she just may not of cared of course, so hats off to her*.

I also saw a responsible father writing down a mobile number on his 2 or 3-year-old son's arm, in one inch blue biro numbers, presumably in case he looses the child in Disney Land. Crude but effective I guess? It looked something subtle like this [MOBILE - 01234 567890]. Not that number of course, duh.

[See what I did there?]

Today, I'm most angry about: Mislaying *cough* someone "borrowing" several needed cables and adapters at work, thus me not being able to find them for a gig tommorow night.
Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 2/10

Wednesday, 26 April 2006

Euro Disney...

A mostly successful and enjoyable trip to Euro Disney was had, with a few surprises, many laughs and long days (oh, and much French girlie ogling).

The first minor event happened at Birmingham airport, where we had forgotten to put luggage labels on all our suitcases, so my sister thought it would be a good idea to Biro her last name all over the top of her suitcase and add a large squiggle or two for good measure. Nice idea; however, the suitcase was mine and she had mistaken it for hers! Cheers Sis. I will graffiti your maiden name all over YOUR case next time! ;-)


We flew there and back on a BAE-146 after all, woo hoo, and it was great. Here it is on the runway in Paris after we had landed:


Car Hire:
After wandering aimlessly around Paris's humongous Charles de Gaulle airport, we eventually found our baggage (mine had now become rather unique and easy to spot) and went to find the hire a car place, using very ambiguous directions.
Putting my bestest Frenglish into use, it went surprisingly smoothly and away we went on our one hour drive to Disney Land.
Driving a manual left hand drive on the right hand side of the road always causes entertainment, especially at roundabouts. Keep to the right, right, left, no right...

1st day... Mind The Step:
The first day, turned out to be a bit of a disaster, as my graceful sister didn't notice a curb, a mere 10 yards into the park, and falls down it twisting her ankle really badly. She dropped like a sack of spuds and caused much confusion as to what was wrong and what had actually happened. Before we knew it, Disney's French fire and first aid crew, who couldn't speak a word of English, surrounded her and they whisked her away to an on-site hospital. She then had to be taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
I can't see what the fuss was all about! ;-)
This affliction meant my bro in law had to accompany her to the hospital leaving me to entertain these two terrors all day...

Yes, me look after children, all day, me, children, pfff.
It was good fun actually, wandering around fantasyland, eating toffee apples and they thought it was most entertaining to refer to me as Dad all day. Grrr

2nd Day... Whoa:
Day two comprised of doing everything, bar the big 'Rock 'n Roller Coaster', in Disney's Studio park.
One of the best sections is a road train ride around lots of large props from many famous films, but half way round, the trains stops and your involved in a mini disaster set, where they simulate an earth quake by heavily tilting and shaking the carriages, setting fire to an oil tanker and then dumping a humble 265,000 litres of water at you for the effect of a dam bursting!!! Scary, but so cool as it looks impossible that that quantity of loud roaring water at speed could actually miss you.

One minute your in an earthquake and a tanker explodes...

The next, hidden sluice gates open, dumping thousands of litres of water directly at you, flowing over the entire scene, with a loud rumble, looking like this!

The water drops away just short of you giving only slight spray! Very impressive.

In the afternoon, we all went to see a car and bike stunt show, where mad, but highly skilled Frenchmen drive Vauxhall (Ooh, sorry, Opal) cars at stupid speeds performing handbrake turns just inches away from one another. The show was split up into many scenes, to build up an action mini movie that was shown at the end. This included setting themselves on fire, shooting at one another, driving through windows and up ramps, falling off roofs etc.

The presenters were asking for audience participation and walked in front of us, so I appeared on the big screen for a moment:

THE Photos:
Well, here's what you've all been waiting for, the picture of me with Mickey!
As I was going to be goaded into such photos anyhow, I decided to see how many I could get, BUT look as sullen and remorseful as I possibly could, rather than grinning inanely as everyone else seems to do.

It's remarkably hard to keep a straight face with a life size Disney character next to you and I burst out laughing as soon as most of these pictures where taken:

Dogga & Mickey (For Sarah!)

Dogga & Ariel

Dogga & Minnie (for Boo!)

Dogga & Nemo

Dogga & Baloo

Dogga as a lady... How did that get in there?

Dogga & Captain Hook

Dogga and a mini Eiffel tower

Dogga & Kim Possible

Dogga & Prince Phillip

Dogga & Pinocchio

Dogga & Narnia throne

Dogga & Friar Tuck

Dogga & Woody [That was '&', not 'with a']

Dogga & Cinderella's Castle

Dogga & Mr Incredible [My fave pic]


Thanks to my bro in law for joining the Disney dark side and becoming my evil sidekick with my sullen picture quest and taking them all for me! :->

Best Lines:
While a bit stressed and navigating across Paris's convoluted motorway system, my Niece appropriatly leans over from the back seat and sticks her oar in by asking, "Is that a map of France your looking at?"
Nooooooo, we thought now's the time for a leisurely peruse though a map of Bulgaria! [Insert tongue behind bottom lip and push]

One evening, at that time the beers come out to play, the kids had been put to bed in their bunk and given their usual 15 minutes calm down period before lights off. However, about a minute after this curfew, we all hear a loud call come from the kids bedroom:

Niece: "Moooooooooooooom, he keeps telling me to kiss his ass.

Mom: "Oi, stop telling your sister to kiss your arse."

Nephew: "I'm not"

It all went quiet for the remainder of the night, but I was almost in tears hearing this!

Funniest Sight:

The first night, we all ate out at a German style steakhouse, which was great and remarkably authentic.
At the end of quaffing much steak and lager, a waiter walks past carrying an astonishing amount of used plates and uneaten food, all delicately balanced on one forearm. As he's cornering rapidly, by our table, centrifugle force pulls a knife and stray chip from the pile, both landing on the floor, and he carries on walking.
However, he was being followed by a little girl in a pink dress, who bends down to pick up, I presumed the knife, but she goes for the chip and consumes it there and then! LOL
Nothing like a strangers left over food, eaten from the floor eh?

On the last day, I decided to pay 12 Euros to go up in a Helium filled balloon:

Disney Land from 300 feet upNow that's what I call a car park!

Today, I'm most angry about: Rude French people pushing into queues and physically elbowing you out of the way if needed. I had a few blood boiling moments while away, and this made me think of them. Grrr
Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 7/10

Wednesday, 19 April 2006


Today I'm off on a five day trip to visit EuroDisney. Yay

I've been before, back in 2002, so last night I flicked thorugh the video I made, which was interesting having not yet watched it, plus the last time we all drove, we visited the white cliff's of Dover and went through the Chunnel.

You never know, I may come back with a lovely photo of me being hugged by Micky Mouse this year. Although if I do, it would be becuase my sister badgered me into doing it.
Mmm, I think it's going to be a mission now, I can feel it!

[See here Monday] ;-)

I really hope we're flying out on a BEA-146, as they are my fave planes ever and usually it's a Boeing 737, which is OK, but dull in comparison. Zzzzzzzz [Sorry, techie moment there]

Better finish packing then... See you soon folks.

Today, I'm most angry about: Waking up at 5am and not getting back to sleep until 6.30am. And no, it wasn't because of excitment... I don't think!
Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 1/10

Tuesday, 18 April 2006


Being a nice day, I thought a lunch time walk along the river Severn was called for, but it was all spoiled when I noticed this outrageous and rather un-PC sign on the 'putt-putt' boat jetty.Now just because the owner of these boats is openly boybandist, I think it would be greatly disconcerting to the likes of 'Il Devo' and 'Take That', to name but a few, if they happened to be in the area. Pfff

Today, I'm most angry about: Trying to wash my hands in works kitchen, but not being able to get soap to come out of one of those squirty pump bottles. After much inspection and cursing, I gave up on the brains technique and switched to brawn instead, which worked, but because of the angle I was holding the bottle at, it caused a high powered projectile jet of blue liquid soap to fly across the kitchen and land up the wall, narrowly missing an innocent colleague who was making a coffee! Rude similes where then made, of course! Grrr
Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 1/10

Monday, 17 April 2006

New Notices and New Neighbours...

Not having any plans for this bank holiday Monday, I decided to go into work for the day and catch up. (I wonder if anyone's auctioning a life on eBay? Mmm).

Sad as it sounds, going into work on a bank holiday is actually quite good, due to there being no one around to interrupt me, ask silly questions or continually pass technical support calls on to me. It also means I can play ambient MP3's really loud, but this practice always leads me into having the $*?% scared out of me, as someone inevitably comes into work for one reason or another without me knowing. They will see my car is there and come into my office to say hi, but having no idea they are there and facing away from the door, it makes me jump real bad, so I made this sign:

It actually worked too! Two people came into work, and on both occasions they knocked before poking their head round the door to say "Hi". Excellent; I wasn't made to jump and wasn't forced to physically bite anyone either.

(The sign above it is something our Sales guy bought me. I still don't know why, but it looks rather fetching, in a corner shop kind of way)

A couple of weeks ago I had new neighbours move in and I haven't seen or met them yet, but when I got home tonight, there was a guy out on the drive, so I told him to get the hell off my land! LOL, kidding, he was on his drive, so I introduced myself and he seems a very pleasant chap. After the usual politesse, he told me they have a young Cocker Spaniel dog called Meg and right on cue, she shot out of their side gate to see who I was, so some serious fussing was dealt out, while he was trying to tell the dog to get off my drive. I had the upper hand! ;-)

Today, I'm most angry about: Inconsiderate drivers, again. The traffic was a little busy on the way home from work because of Safari Park traffic and a cheeky bint pulled out about five cars back and pulled back in right in front of me before I could close the gap. Grrr... (It's coming people)

Grrr-O-Meter rating: 5/10

Sunday, 16 April 2006

Hoppy Easter Everyone...

Now this made me cry with laughter... once it clicked! Genius...

Bonus Blog:
I've just done my Easter bunny duties by driving to Bewdley (Sister #1) and Stourport (Sister #2) to hand out choccy eggs to my Nieces and Nephews. It all went smoothly, until naughty children ATTACKED.

I bought my youngest Niece one of those Lindahl bunnies, just like the ones pictured above, and only being 3 years old*, she thought the gold foil wrapped bunster, complete with little bell tied around its neck was great. And so did I come to think of it!

Not being able to enter my sister number 2's house, due to me being highly allergic to cats and her owning the largest Persian moggy on earth, means we have to converse on the doorstep.
So, while this was happening, the kids had gone suspiciously quiet. We then both jumped when my bro in law Tim gave out one of those short and sharp Dad shouts, as he had spotted the kids hiding behind the sofa cramming the afore mentioned Lindahl's bunnies ears into their mouths with no permission and it was dangerously close to their dinner time.
(The now maimed bunster looked identical to the one on the right above, strangly enough!) LOL

This resulted in a burst of excruciatingly loud crying and two children approaching my sister up the hallway looking to console themselves in Mum with chocolate smeared all around their faces, although it rapidly being diluted by the streaming tears and snot. At this point, and understandingly so, the cat shot out of the front door to get out of the way, so my sister had to rapidly retrieve the monsterous feline from next doors bush, before attending to the kids and the whole situation turned into one of those 'now I remember why I choose to live by myself' moments.

My, now laughing, sister picked up the youngest and said to me, "Sigh... This wasn't how I pictured family life!"
I laughed a lot, and some more, and then a little more at my sis's misfortune and told her that's my reason number 36 why not to have children. (That sounds like a Morrisons slogan)

[* The child, not the egg]

Today, I'm most angry about: Rubbish and inconsiderate drivers. (There's a such big ranting Blog entry regarding this heading your way folks. I can't contain it for much longer! Grrr)

Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 4/10

Saturday, 15 April 2006

An Appointment with the Rev. James...

The first half of this double double bank bank holiday holiday has taken the form of me scooting off to the land of Cymru - North Wales, camping *cough* caravanning and climbing a few mountains; plus drinking copious amounts of beer of course...


Day 1
Climbed: Cnicht
Height: 2527 feet
Distance: 7 miles
Time Taken: 5.5 hours

View from the top of Cnicht looking out towards Porthmadog and the sea. Actually managed to get slightly sun burnt up there! First time this year.

View of the Snowdon horseshoe from inside an ancient dwelling on the descent from Cnicht. Snowdon is the big black one to the left.


Friday evening consisted of eating out at the Ty Gwyn Hotel, which is an excellent eccentric little pub on the way into Betws-y-Coed

The food and drink is stunning and the whole place is a Health and Safety officers dream, as there is wiring strewn everywhere, curtains that are far too long and just lie across the floor and there are candles very precariously placed around the establishment. Superb! ;-)

A footbridge in Beddgelert:
A tranquil village, with a great name, if you care to read the legend of Gelert from this site.
(I love this story, although it has been used in many different forms around the world)


Day 2
Climbed: Moel Siabod
Height: 2569 feet
Distance: 6.5 miles
Time Taken: 4.5 hours

The main path towards Siabod's ascent. It looks so innocent and small from here, but trust me, it's a humongous killer! View from the top of Moel Siabod, looking in towards England.

I have my boots off because my feet are a tad warm.
The friend I went away with is a walking monster and he can run circles round me when it comes to getting up mountains. He strolls up them like he's popping upstairs to the loo at home, and has also taken to listening to his 'Pod' on the steeper parts, so it's not uncommon to see him periodically stop to bust a move or two when a song he particurlarly likes comes on. Nutter... Absolute nutter...
Meanwhile, I'm drenched with sweat slogging it up there after him! LOL


So, my appointment eh... Well, before you think I've turned all religious on you, Rev. James is the superb beer served in the Ty Gwyn and a table had been booked, so an appointment it was and one that just had to be kept...

Today, I'm most angry about: Loading up my fridge with food and dropping an egg on my kitchen floor, then letting the fridge door go to attend to the mess and the door crushing another three eggs that where sat in the egg holder. Doh...
Grrr-O-Meter rating: 2/10

Tuesday, 11 April 2006

Car NOT for Sale...

This evening, after work, I popped round to my parents for tea, which was very nice. Sausage and mash… Phwaor!

During Home and Away (don't laugh; I happen to like it) I asked my mum if anything had been happening and she said no, just the usual stuff really, and was then interupted by my mobile going off with a message from Severn Trent about a date for my water meter fitting.
Anyhow, this call triggered a chuckle from my mum and she said it reminded her of a strange phone conversation she had yesterday with some random grumpy old man.

The conversation went like this:

Ring ring... ring ring... ring ring...
Mum: “Hello”
Man: “Hello, I'm calling about the Rover for sale”
Mum: “I'm sorry, I don't have a Rover for sale”
Man: “Yes you do, it's shown right here in the paper”
Mum: “???????”
Man: “Hello”
Mum: Erm, no sorry, I don't have a car for sale”

Man: “Well, why have you advertised one for sale then”
Mum: “I haven't advertised any car for sale, you must have the wrong number”
Man: Well this is 01562 *****0
Mum: No, this is 01562 *****3
Man: “Grunt” and hangs up! How rude?

Today, I'm most angry about: Having to wait over two hours for my car to be fixed, when it should have been one hour!
Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 2/10

Monday, 10 April 2006

Two by Two...

Straight after work, I went to do my weekly Sainsburys shop in Kidderminster.
This is normally done on the weekend at a quiet time, as I despise busy supermarkets, but I was otherwise detained, shall we say! Making life taste better. See what I did there? ;-)

It was rather busy and the only trolley I could find, was one of those massive ones parents use to shop for a family of five and fill it full of oversized boxes of Persil and broccoli florets (normal size broccoli that is, duh).
There were all the usual supermarket delights going on that I love so dearly, so here's my top 5:

In 5th place:
Screaming child that parent can't do anything with, even after several attempts at bribing with the promise of sweets and then failing that, threats of being put back in the trolley if they don't behave. All of which has zero effect.

In 4th place:
Smelly person, who seems to keep walking past, leaving you to endure their rancid wake on every pass. (Like someone’s fridge I know too!)

In 3rd place:
Hearing a description of your car being announced over the Tannoy. (See March 13th Blog entry)

In 2nd place:
Person who stops to look at something right in the middle of an aisle, blatantly disregarding any knowledge they are blocking the path of everyone with their trolley. This results in them being asked to move several times, in which they do, but only by about an inch, making no difference whatsoever. Grrr

In 1st Place:
Checkout attendant who will say absolutely anything to make idle chit chat, including commenting on what you've bought. Tonight I had, "Ooh, that looks really nice!" It's a jar of coffee for chuff's sake.

Anyhow, while stood in the queue tonight, I noticed something interesting.
Now I normally hate standing in a checkout queue, really hate it, a lot, but tonight the middle aged couple in front of me had one of those massive trolleys full of duplicate items.
They literally had two of EVERYTHING! You name it, butter, bleach, toilet roll, milk, newspapers, tea, bread, sausages, the lot, everything duplicated. Now this I thought was bizarre. I can understand buying stuff for stocking up, or maybe doing an elderly persons shopping at the same time, but they had two of absolutely everything, from fresh produce to tinned veg!
Odd, very odd, but it kept me sane for the ten minutes of queuing hell I normally go through.

Today, I'm most angry about: Forgetting to bid on a mint condition retro handheld electronic game (Grandstand BMX Flyer) on eBay that ended half an hour ago! Whoops.
Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 2/10

Sunday, 9 April 2006

What a Weekend...

I've just made my weary way back from Bristol after visiting friends.
The trendy* couple live in a lovely flat that looks over the Clifton suspension bridge:

As you may have seen on the news, last night was the celebration of Brunel, the bridges' designer, so fireworks where being let off from the bridge in one of the best show of pyrotechnics I’ve seen in a long time.

The parking around Bristol is horrendous, and this event only added to the chaos, but I did manage to nip in to where someone had just left. RESULT!
Joke: "What do you do if you see a spaceman? Park in it man!" Ahhh…

Parking aside, a superb time was had, a good curry was eaten, several beers were drunk and the fireworks were great and the 'fireworks' were great!!!

I just need 56 hours sleep to recover.

[* They use the word “Pod” instead of iPod. Was it not short enough already? I.E. “Where’s my Pod? Oh, it’s over there on charge.” I thought they were talking about peas or something at first. Talking of which, their fridge reeeaaally mings! No honestly, it does. :-()]

P.S. The 'parachute jump' was great. Who knows; I may even get a taste for it?

Anyhow, there's an entry I can scrub off my 'things to do before I die' list!

Today, I'm most angry about: Buying a chocolate bar from the local Esso garage and dropping it in such a way, it shot across the counter and into the water cooler! This did, of course, cause amusement to the cashier. Doh!
Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 1/10

Friday, 7 April 2006

To Jump or Not to Jump..?

Friends have recently asked me if I would like to take part in something.
For the sake of this Blog, I'm going to use a metaphor to describe this 'something' as being a parachute jump!
Now this sounds exciting and could lead to a new and pleasurable life experience, as well as a bit of all round fun, if not
a tad nerve racking!

However, when it actually comes close to the date of the parachute jump, my nerves are kicking in when the reality of what I'm about to embark upon is actually going to happen, rather than it just being a nice idea.
The chances are I'm going to enjoy the experience and it's going to be a perfectly safe thing to do, but driving to the location and then actually going up in the plane to do the parachute jump is going to be a very nervous time; for me anyhow.
Once I've jumped out of the plane, I'm sure it will all be fine and there's a 99.99% chance it will go smoothly and I'm going to enjoy it all the way; so then I will be feeling rather daft for how much I wound myself up about it.

BUT... although I would love to do this parachute jump, what happens when you think your pre jump nerves are going to outweigh the fun of the actual experience?

So, to jump or not to jump: that is the question...

Today, I'm most angry about: Being jovially kissed on the lips, by a woman at circuit training, and not really knowing what to do, other than smile and say, "well that doesn't happen every class!"
Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 1/10

Thursday, 6 April 2006


At lunch time today, I went for a walk along the usual river-side route I take into Stourport-on-Severn, when half way round I passed a woman who I thought had excelled herself in the phenomena of plucking your eyebrows and then painting them back on.

Now I have never fully* understood this practice, as eyebrows really are docile things and very much tend not to get in the way or pose much of a problem, however, to some women (or men?) they obviously do.

The lady who I passed today, had excelled herself because not only had she plucked her eyebrows, but she had then painted them back on correctly from the bridge of her nose to half way across the top of her eyes, but then went off on a 45 degree tangent so they finished up touching her hair line at the top of her temples!!!
Now is this just plain bizarre or is it just me?

I'm thinking of having my ears removed and then repositioned somewhere a little more stylish.

[* At all, never, never, never]

Today, I'm most angry about: My car deciding to go on a wobbler in the middle of a road and not respond to anything until I reset it! Grrr
Grrr-O-Meter: 3/10

Tuesday, 4 April 2006

Google Earth Vs Microsoft's Virtual Earth...

I was sent a link today that took me to a preview of Microsoft's Virtual Earth.

Virtual Earth is a very nifty idea, but it must take a lot to gather the pictures and if they are trying to cover the world, or at least major cities, then it's going to take some time, shall we say.
Now I'm a big fan of Google Earth and use several of its features, but having ground level images would be the icing on the cake.
This kind of technology and information gathering is very much in its infancy, at the moment, and no one knows where it's going, but why don't Microsoft and Google join forces?
Is it going to end up like the space race? This would be a shame in many respects, as they are both taking a slightly different angle on the same technology and goal.
Combining these two would be awesome, but would it stop them improving it, as they will have no one to out do? Who knows; have a look and see what you think folks... Vs
(Go on, grab Virtual Earths little yellow car and pull it back and forth. I bet you go woooh!)

Today, I'm most angry about: Being overtaken several times in a 50mph zone, when I'm doing 50mph myself. Muppets! Grrr
Grrr-O-Meter: 4/10

Sunday, 2 April 2006

Airport Rigmarole...

After a superb time in Germany, the return trip was rather dissapointing due to a few minor factors... Ooh, oh, ooh, yes, no, yes, no, ooh, yup, I feel a rant coming on:

Firstly, the taxi driver, who chauffeured four of us 10 miles from the hotel to the airport, was an absolute Muppet!
For a start, he didn't seem to care it was throwing down with some severely heavy rain and that he was driving in excess of 140kmh with the windscreen wipers on intermittent! He then added to the hazardous conditions by weaving in between cars on the motorway like a life-size game of Frogger. We told him to slow down and that we where in no rush several times, to which he replied, "Ah, it's OK, we will be there in two minutes." Grrr, two pieces more like if he carried on like that. Once we arrived, I kept my calm, didn't tip him one cent and walked off without saying a word.
Next time, no more Mr nice Dogga.

Then, I got a serious going over by the usual stolid German airport security, as I set the metal detector off.
They ran a widgymagig detector all over me and it made a screeching noise around my feet and then around my arse, which was slightly worrying, but a quick search of the back pockets, just revealed a packet of chewing gum. He then told me to follow him and he wandered off; now I would be a liar if I said the image of latex gloves snapping on didn't pop into my mind, and with all the onlooking security gaurds carrying MP5 machine guns by there side, I was a little sweaty by now to say the least, so he really didn't want to go down 'there'. Luckily he just wanted me to sit down and take off my shoes, so they could be scanned along with my socks! Grrr

Then, the flight was delayed by 45 minutes.

Then, the Lufthansa provisions where appauling and they haven't changed in years.
Below are dissection pictures of the Lufthansa cuisine.

So, see how the artistic packing says, 'Enjoy your meal!' and the words 'Enjoy' appear thrice on the sticker? The words, meal and enjoy are not something that spring to mind when you are presented with this late at night, after being delayed, thoroughly frisked and driven here by a madman.

Next, you can see just how small this sandwich is, by the packet of chewing gum I've put next to it for scale purposes.
Mmm, see the half-hearted attempt at buttering.
The lettuce is slightly, well, rubbish and limp and it appears there is shortage of the vegetable?

Now I'm not expecting anything fancy, but this makes a 24-hour Esso garage's food selection look cordon bleu.

Grrr. Rant over!

Today, I'm most angry about: It being Monday...

Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 2/10


A white horse walks into a bar and the landlord says, "Hey, there's a pub down the road named after you!". The horse looks intrigued and replies, "What... Gordon?"

Saturday, 1 April 2006

Germany - Day 5...

Last night's Steinernes Haus experience was superb and a very German, very eccentric waiter added to it.
When we arrived, it took a moment to adjust to the smell and then we where asked for the booking name which resulted in the waiter physically poking a colleague, before ushering us in the direction of the table. He then returned with huge beers, slamming one down in front of each of us and then telling us what we where all going to eat! Rudeness at its best... Excellent; can't wait to go back. :-)

Today is the last day of the show and fatigue is setting in.
This wasn't helped last night, as the person I'm sharing a room with, effortlessly hit a sound pressure level of a 110dB with his snoring at 2:30am. I couldn't get him stop and he became more and more resiliant to my waking-him-up techniques, which resulted in me being awake for a good while, before I nodded back off in one of the very rare 5 minute windows of silence.
He then awoke this morning and told me he slept very well last night.Grrr. I just scratched a bit and plodded off to the shower, looking like a bloodhound.

The exhibition is full of 'tyre-kickers' today, as it's the weekend, so the place is crawling with leather clad spotty teenagers.

Eeewwwe! A colleague has just informed me that he has just been for his 4th pooh of the day, and when he glanced at the toilet paper, he thought he spotted blood, but on closer inspection realised it was a bit of raddish from the salad he ate yesterday. Niiiiice!

We are all flying back tonight on a late flight (Lufthansa - Boeing 737-300).

Today, I'm most angry about: Somehow loosing or being pick pocketed, a 50 euro note (£30)!
Grrr-O-Meter: 3/10