Thursday, March 31, 2005  

We're building palaces of fortune in the sky.

I don’t normally dig deep into my stats, I check every now and again to see where my hits are coming from. Today I had a really good ratch around the go stats page and found this really useful information. (Yeah right)

More people used Linux to view my blog than used Windows '95, and there were more webTV visitors than FreeBSD, whatever the fuck that is. Page views from the People’s Republic of China was double that of Lithuania, and the Netherlands, Turkey and Belgium were level pegging. This one is interesting though, my highest referrers. You’re all fabulous.

337 - Zoë.
122 - Steve.
100 - DrD.
93 - Brian.
48 - Gert.
43 - Lyle.
31 - The Chairman.
29 - Lynn.

I have no idea over what period that was, but hey fuck it, they all count.

| posted by Simon | 7:32 pm | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 30, 2005  

And the bright light of salvation.

Have you ever seen the film “Weekend at Bernie’s” ?

It has occurred to me that the Pope died weeks ago, and they’re keeping him in a wheelchair and just moving him about, string tied to his arms so he can wave at the crowds.

Just a thought.

| posted by Simon | 10:27 pm | 0 comments

The face of Jesus in my soup.

My first reaction was “what the fuck was she thinking ?” But then I thought about it and it occurs to me that this problem isn’t a new one. It’s just that the solution is so much more complex nowadays.


If this sort of thing had happened when I was young, the school teacher would have given us a clip round the ear and told our parents, who would have then hit us again. It’s not enough to say kids have no respect these days, kids have never had any respect for those older than them, what they had was fear. Fear of what would happen to you if you got caught doing something you shouldn’t, as you got older this fear turned to respect, because you realised that they were right to insist you didn’t do certain things. Parents and schools no longer have the deterrent of any form of useful punishment, and the kids know it. If you confront a group of kids about something they just stand and look at you, because they know they are untouchable. We would run away, because we enjoyed the chase, and because we didn’t want our parents to find out what we had done.


I’m just thinking aloud, because I have no solution. I understand the thinking behind banning smacking children, even if I don’t agree with it. I really do believe that schools need a suitable punishment, but they also need the backing of parents, and I think that is sadly lacking these days. I don’t really have any ideas other than bringing back corporal punishment, but I know one thing, if we leave things as they are, in a few years our society is going to be totally fucked.

Is this just a by product of getting older, or have we got a real problem ? Because I seem to remember my dad saying much the same thing when I was young.

| posted by Simon | 12:19 am | 0 comments

Sunday, March 27, 2005  

Trumpets in the wind are a’ blowing.

Three years ago today I had just driven back from Anglesey with things on my mind. I had decided to start a weblog, and I did. The rest is here for everyone to see. It’s been hard at times to keep the enthusiasm up, and obviously it’s hard to write things down sometimes for lots of reasons. Mostly though, I have got loads of pleasure from being here, both writing this and reading yours. I had made a decision to try and post more this year, I had become really picky about what I thought was blog material, and I don’t know why, I usually have so much to talk about.

We don’t eat much fast food. In fact we thought back to last time we did, and it was Burger King in Cancun airport on our way home on the 27th of December, we were really hungry and it was the only place open. Before that it was a kebab after the taxdodger’s birthday party last August 21st. Not bad but could do better I suppose, but I haven’t had a McDonalds for longer than I can remember. I’m telling you this because last night we watched “Supersize me”.

It was quite a damning film about the fast food industry in America, particularly McDonalds. This bloke ate nothing but McDonalds for an entire month, it had to be on the menu or he couldn’t have it. He put on loads of weight, his cholesterol levels went through the roof and his liver and kidneys all but packed their bags and fucked off. It took him over nine months to get back to his normal weight and health levels.

It fits in with what Oliver has been preaching recently, kids eat too much shit…. Well we knew that, but I don’t think we realise the amount of damage this stuff does to our bodies. Watch the film, you’ll never eat this crap again, I know I’m not going to.

| posted by Simon | 11:23 pm | 0 comments

If we all hold hands and very quietly shout.

I suppose it’s fitting that I rant about religion on Easter Sunday, but this wound me up, and then Steve tipped me over the edge.

Most of the problems I see around the world have been contributed to by organised religion. Dr. Williams suggests that modern culture is to blame because we have become obsessed by ageing and mortality. I’m pretty sure we have always been obsessed by these things; they are two of the reasons why we have religion, to make sense of the unknown. To then blame those things for the ills of our society is a bit fucking rich if you ask me.

It would be nice for once to hear these holier than thou fuckers have a go at the real reasons that our society is rapidly disappearing down the shitter. But it’s hard to take seriously an organisation that has a massive stock portfolio, which includes shares in arms manufacturing companies. The Catholic Church is no better, forbidding people to use condoms in countries ravaged by AIDS.

It’s about time we did something about these evil minded bastards. Outlaw organised religion, and make worship and faith an activity to be carried out in the privacy of ones own home. I’m actually being quite conservative there, what I really want to do is jail anyone who incites religious fervour or teaches creationism. While we’re at it, someone from the Vatican, preferably the pope, should be jailed for abetting murder. Countless thousands of people have died all around the world because the Church will not allow them to use condoms. They told the bare faced lie that condoms were porous. How do these people fucking sleep at night ?

I really hope that there is a moment, very close to death, when everything becomes clear. An epiphany if you like, when there is a realisation that we exist for our life, then we cease to exist, that there is no god or afterlife and definitely no singing of the choir invisible. Maybe that will be the only time that these people will realise they have done a grievous wrong.

| posted by Simon | 10:07 pm | 0 comments

Saturday, March 26, 2005  

I'm counting up the cost of time.

It’s that time of year again when I have my yearly rant about the hoards of tourists that descend on this little part of the world. Last week we drove through Ambleside on our way home from Manchester, it was dead, not a soul about. Today we came home from Barrow via the Lakes, and Ambleside was fucking buzzing. We obviously misjudged the timing. I was enjoying myself throwing the beast round the bends and tight country lanes and all of a sudden….20 miles per hour. There is a worrying new trend developing, RVs or recreational vehicles (Pronounced vee hicle) seem to be replacing caravans as the preferred mode of transport for your weekend tourist to these parts. They somehow manage to go even slower than the shit boxes usually do. Tony Blair and the Labour party could have gone a long way to redeeming themselves in the pre election budget, if they had taxed the fucking arse off these mobile bungalows. Bastards !

I couldn’t post today without mentioning the new Doctor. I don’t need to dissect it, it was ace. That’s all there is to say about it.

| posted by Simon | 9:41 pm | 0 comments

Thursday, March 24, 2005  

For here, am I sitting in a tin can ?

This is another little puzzle, and I think it's better than the last one. It's a lot older and the url had moved, but it was well worth the search. Enjoy.

| posted by Simon | 11:37 am | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 23, 2005  

And he never gives an answer.

This is doing my head in, but it's very adictive.

| posted by Simon | 2:24 pm | 0 comments

Tuesday, March 22, 2005  

Suspended in the atmosphere.

Yes I know. I must be really bored. What's yours ?

| posted by Simon | 10:40 pm | 0 comments

Sunday, March 20, 2005  

Except the dreams of soft machines.

I love watching people. I really enjoy observing body language and all the facial expressions that people have, and how people interact with their surroundings and with others. Today we travelled back from Manchester; taxdodger has been to stay for the weekend – hence the lack of posts. I was engrossed in GT4 which is absolutely ace…… anyway, we got off the motorway early and drove back through the lakes, stopping at the Travellers rest at Grassmere for something to eat. It’s a pub, so you find a seat, go and get some drinks, then order your food at the bar. We sat near an oldish couple who were there when we arrived. We did the usual – find a seat, take it in turns to go for a piss, then peruse the menu for ten minutes. All the time we were doing this the oldish couple sat in virtual silence, like they were waiting for a bus. The only word, from a very small conversation, that I caught was “waitress”. It occurred to me that they thought it was a waitress service, but I didn’t hear enough to intervene. After we had ordered our food, and a nice young lady had brought us our cutlery and condiments the oldish couple looked very uncomfortable. Then, the oldish bloke noticed the instructions at the top of the menu, telling him to order his food at the bar. A brief conversation ensued and he was dispatched to the bar. So, my question is this: “I had nothing to do with the oldish couple not reading the menu properly, so why, when our food arrived before their's, did the woman sit up and fold her arms with a look of anger on her mush ?

Another thing we always find amusing is the couples that sit in restaurants or pubs, or anywhere that couples sit for that matter, and don’t talk to each other. They usually sit staring off into the middle distance, lost in thoughts. Why don’t they share those thoughts with each other ? We’ve been married nearly twenty-two years and we never run out of things to say, sometimes we can’t get to sleep at night because we have so much to talk about. I wonder if these couples have the marriage equivalent of the thousand yard stare, so uncomfortable with each other they would be anywhere but there. Sad.

Anyway, GT4. Fantastic ! Not just the graphics or the soundtrack, or that there are more cars than ever that handle like the real thing, or that the tracks are the best yet - taxdodger bought a Fiat Panda, spent a good 80 grand on it and it was still a turd, it’s so much fun. The feeling of satisfaction when you get a corner just right, or nudge the race leader out of the way on the last bend gives it ten out of ten from me. Even better, you can actually see what happens when you try to take a hairpin bend at 174 mph, in a 400+ bhp Toyota Celica GT4, after having several large Margaritas. You don’t survive, which is why the drink drive laws are much needed.

Game over.

| posted by Simon | 10:50 pm | 0 comments

Saturday, March 19, 2005  

Two fat persons, click, click, click.

Back at a new place after a long time away. Welcome back mate.

| posted by Simon | 8:05 pm | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 16, 2005  

Boomshakalaka weddings and wakes.

If you always thought George Michael was singing "Last Christmas I gave you my arse" then you need to check out this site.

| posted by Simon | 10:50 pm | 0 comments

Monday, March 14, 2005  

All right doll face.

Which file extension are you ?

[via DrD]

| posted by Simon | 11:46 pm | 0 comments

Sunday, March 13, 2005  

Take a step that is new.

Recently, and a few times in the past, I have had dreams of things that later happen. There are plenty of mumbo jumbo names for this, but I’m not claiming anything here. Recently they have been more frequent, and quite specific, and strangely they have moved from my dreams into the waking world. Now they are just thoughts or things that occur to me. I’m not talking about plane crashes or kidnap victims, but mundane things, things specific to me or those close to me. Annoyingly, so far, I am never aware of which thoughts until the event has taken place, then I think “Oh yeah, that occurred to me yesterday”. Which is a bit of an arse, especially if I can do it with the lottery numbers.

Anyway, I want to do a little experiment. I have a winamp playlist of 2181 songs. Put a number in the comment box between 1 and 2181, and I’ll tell you the song you chose. Then, see if it has any significance to you. Let’s see if you have some psychic powers.

| posted by Simon | 11:09 pm | 0 comments

Oh beat me with the pumice stone.

During our recent excavations into various walls in our little house, we discovered that the person who built it was a complete twat. So we have decided to completely replace the waste pipe system, separating the kitchen and bathroom waste. Which, if the fucking idiot who built this house is reading*, is how it should have been done in the first place.

It was decided that because all the pipe work was being changed, that we might as well put a new bathroom suit in, and renew the tiles. A relatively small job has been turned into a large and daunting one.

I don’t have a good track record with DIY, as I may have mentioned, but so far so good. I have got the old bath and sink out, and most of the tiles off. The pipe work has been botched for tonight, there was nowhere open this afternoon when I realised that the connections I bought were the wrong fucking size. Necessity being the mother of invention, I used an old U bend to blank the bathroom waste from the kitchen, so we didn’t get dish water all over the fucking place. Actually I was stood scratching my head, thinking “Oh fuck, what am I going to do now” when Tracy pointed out that maybe I could use the U bend until I can get the proper parts.

This is how it looks now.

This is the hidden room under the stairs.

I’m beginning to believe that a toolbox is like a fucking Ghurkhas sword, you have to draw blood every time you get it out. First injury, a very sharp tile sliced open my finger. Second injury, burr (what an excellent word) off a newly cut copper pipe sliced open another finger. Being a fully trained first aider, and able to calmly clean and dress a wound, I shouted Tracy and asked her to do it. Well when you do it yourself you don’t get nearly as much sympathy.

* Not that I think for minute he can actually fucking read.

| posted by Simon | 10:26 pm | 0 comments

Saturday, March 12, 2005  

Dragged a comb across my head.

Why is it that the person in front of me in any given queue stinks of cat piss ? Is it so hard to have a wash before you go out and mingle with others ?

Why, when I emailed ebay to ask a question about policy, do they send an email back that does everything except answer the fucking question I asked ?

Eating Revels is like the Russian roulette of the sweetie world. Tonight, first one out, *BOOM* coffee. First one ! That's harsh.

I was looking at a map of Scotland today, and part of it disturbed me, can't think why.

You ?

| posted by Simon | 11:59 pm | 0 comments

Riot shields, voodoo economics.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesise with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who that it's namin'
'Cause the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'

| posted by Simon | 12:40 am | 0 comments

Thursday, March 10, 2005  

I will give you my finest hour.

I've seen the link to Flickr all over the place, so I thought I'd have a look. I must say I was so impressed I signed up. Go and have a look at the first batch to be uploaded. I'm going to have a play with it, and see what it can do.

| posted by Simon | 11:12 pm | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 09, 2005  

Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing.


Imagine, if you will, the blogmeet to end all blogmeets. One blogosphere under a groove. A sea - nay, a veritable ocean - of "LOVE your work!" hugs, "Darling, you were ROBBED at The Bloggies!" air-kisses and "WHEN is someone going to PUBLISH you?" schmoozes, where tout le monde and their blogroll are getting royally rat-arsed on Vodka Red Bulls, and bopping around like maniacs to the sound of... WHAT, precisely?


So here’s my song for the playlist:

Chocolate Jesus – Tom Waits.

| posted by Simon | 9:31 pm | 0 comments

Don't talk politics and don't throw stones.

Blind people get Seeing Eye dogs, deaf people get hearing dogs. I wonder how many deaf and blind people there are in the world ?

It has occurred to me that there are far more stupid people than those with obvious disabilities. So why don’t we have:

Thinking Monkeys for the stupid.

They could help with all those difficult decisions, if the stupid person was going nail electric fairy lights to a window sill, the Monkey could stop them. If a moron was going to feed a big Mac to its six-month-old baby, the Monkey could poke him and wag his Monkey finger.

Providing thinking Monkeys would relieve a massive strain on the emergency services, both for the morons who hurt themselves, and the innocent victims of everyday stupidity.

I’m going to nominate people who I think should be given a thinking Monkey, and the first nomination goes to Trevor Phillips, head of the commission for racial equality, for this brainstorm.

| posted by Simon | 11:54 am | 0 comments

Sunday, March 06, 2005  

Well, you ain't too young or pretty.

Imagine this in hand painted red lead, with two doors.


It was our first car. It cost £40 off Joe the Turk. We had to tow it home because it wouldn't start. It was a couple of weeks before Christmas 1984, we parked it up the side of t'father-in-law's garden, and there it stayed for a while. A few days later we were given another car that had been in an accident, some slight dodgy dealing later and we swapped the damaged car for an older, road worthy one. The Avenger was redundant even before we had got it going. Tracy gave it to her dad as a Christmas pressie, and Ernie was born.

Ernie was like Trigger's fucking brush, it had more engines than any other car I have ever known. It had doors, bonnet, boot lid, seats and all manner of bits and bobs from other Avengers. T'father-in-law managed to keep Ernie on the road for well over ten years, and it was still running well the day it got written off in an accident. OK, so the exhaust was a patchwork of baked bean tins and copper wire, and the accelerator arm on the carb' was held in place with an elastic band, and if you braked hard the driver's seat would tip up dangerously, but it had been seriously modified.

The engine had been swapped for the tiger version, which the rally car in the picture used, the rear differential was taken off a 1100 version of the Avenger. It was so powerful that the first time it was used after the mods, the brakes set on fire. It was clear that would need to be changed as well. I think disc brakes were knicked off some heap of junk, and Ernie was complete.

It would beat most cars away from a standing start, and was only bettered by those with a lot of power at their disposal. Because a professional paint job was way above the available budget, Ernie was hand painted with some red lead paint that is usually used for coating the inside of industrial bulk vessels, this made it almost impervious to bodywork damage, any slight bump would not bother Ernie, whilst usually causing major damage to the other car (no crashes whilst I was driving it, I may add).

It was a sad day when Ernie was towed off to the scrap yard, I'm convinced it would still be running today had it not been totally fucked up in a side impact crash. Avengers always had a bad press, but it was one of the most fun cars I have ever driven.

I'm going to try and find a photo of Ernie, he was a thing of beauty and he will be a joy forever.

| posted by Simon | 10:19 pm | 0 comments

Saturday, March 05, 2005  

How shall I fill....

We have a new room under the stairs, the question is, what the fuck am I going to do with it ?

Tracy suggested a panic room. I suppose if anyone ever broke into our house whilst we were in they would need somewhere to hide. The site of me, bollock naked, weilding a pickaxe handle and screaming at the top of my lungs, would be enough to scare anyone. No, breaking into my house should be something no one would forget in a hurry. Not a panic room then.

A server room, this would maybe tidy up all the wires and general computer parts from the living room. But then I wouldn't have anyone to talk to while I fuck about on t'internet. Not a server room then.

A secret distillery. I could make my own moonshine, it's warm enough under there. I was banned from making home brew after the fiasco with the double fermented wine. That was about fifteen years ago, I wonder if the ban has been lifted yet. Maybe not a good idea, access to that much free booze would probably kill me. Not a distillery then.

An indoor shed. Living on the third floor I thought I would never own that bastion of maleness, a shed. A bolt hole would be nice, well sitting on the toilet for hours on end gives you piles apparently. I could fit in a couple of old squishy chairs and a small drinks cabinet. I could maybe set up a series of cameras around the flats, and watch people as they go about their daily lives. Maybe not.

An extra cupboard. You just know it's going to end up full of boxes of crap, an adventure playground for spiders and a repository for the European dust mountain. As always, when you utilise spaces like this for storing boxes of stuff, when you want something it's right at the fucking back under everything else. Not a cupboard then.

So far the indoor shed is winning, unless you have a suggestion.

| posted by Simon | 6:44 pm | 0 comments

Friday, March 04, 2005  

But all in all we soon discover.

So, out came the bath. Well actually I spent a good hour before all this clearing the whole bathroom so that the bath could come out. Then the wall was slowly dismantled into a pile of rubble on the floor where the bath used to be. We peered into the gloom of the void, we didn't see what we wanted, nay expected to see. The waste pipe disappeared through a whole into yet another void, this time into a space behind the stairs that lead up to our living room. I cleared the cupboard under the stairs and another hole was cut into another wall, what we found was almost worth all the fucking about.

In the space at the back of our stairs we found a small room, a small room that contained the soil stack, into which the offending waste pipe terminated. But, the room is large enough to be turned into a storage area, in a flat that has precious little of that in the first place. A little bit of fucking about with some wood and plaster board, and we will have just about doubled the space in which to store the detritus of our busy lives.

See, I was so excited about the new room, that I almost forgot the pipes. After breaking the waste pipe in three places and rodding it towards the new room, we finally got the blockage out. It was dry grout from when we tiled the kitchen. You see, we finished grouting the tiles on the Friday, and fucked off to Mexico for two weeks on the Saturday morning. That gave it plenty of time to set in the bottom third of the pipe. All the rodding I have since done has pushed it all to one point, which we found today when we split the pipe in the new room.

It fucking stank !

It's now all back together, and we have both had a nice long bath. The water fucked off when we had finished, and we haven't seen it since.

Our pipes are at peace, for now.

| posted by Simon | 9:35 pm | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 02, 2005  

Going on like a right geez, he's a twat.

Jamie Oliver has surprised me tonight, and in doing so he went up in my estimation. Some program that I wasn’t really watching, he was feeding some kids from the north east. Anyway, all of a sudden it changed and he was in a restaurant, Bill Clinton was there with his entourage causing a fuss and generally being an annoying cunt. Oliver refused to meet him, and fucked off home out of the way. Well done, you’re still a fat tongued mockney, but you’re no longer a cunt.

This in the same week that Delia made a complete twat of herself on live telly.

The topsy-turvy world of celebrity chefs, what will we get next ? Worrall-Thompson actually cooking something vaguely edible ?

| posted by Simon | 11:49 pm | 0 comments

A saviour nailed to every tree.

Every so often I see something, or hear something, that’s starts me thinking about organised religion again. One of the reasons why I try not to dwell on this subject is because I usually get really wound up and start ranting and raving about all manner of issues. This is what did it this time.

Over the last few days I have come across some places on the net that calm me a little. I found this at Steve’s place, and that led to a few really good links for those of an atheist bent.

In fact, I have created a little section down at the bottom of the side bar, this will be added to as time goes by.

| posted by Simon | 11:39 am | 0 comments

Tuesday, March 01, 2005  

“What's next?” is the question.

I had just watched a typical first half involving Manchester City, if we can find a way to make a match harder than it should be, we will. After conceding two early goals we had managed to claw back to two each just before the break. Of all the things I could imagine happening in the second half, what happened next was not one of them. During the half time interval Delia Smith (celeb Norwich fan) grabbed a microphone and started haranguing the home fans. I’m sure you have seen it on the news by now. I have never, in all my days watching football, seen anything like it. What puzzled me even more was the home fans complete lack of a response. If that had happened at any other league ground, she would have been ragged mercilessly throughout the whole of the second half. Maybe that lack of response is exactly why she felt the need to get up there in the first place.

Anyway, City came from behind to win, which is a first this season.

Here are a couple of links:

1. This looks really good, better than sw3 anyway. Via Smidsy.
2. These are amazing. Via Sarah.

| posted by Simon | 10:43 pm | 0 comments
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