Friday, April 27, 2007

The weekend approaches

Even though the weather forecast is good, I doubt I'll be doing this...

But I will surely be eating some of this...


Thursday, April 26, 2007

I’m a masochist

Okay, well I don't necessarily mean in a sexual sense. I mean, we all like having our nipples tweaked, right? I'm talking more about the way I treated my body yesterday when faced with the shitty day I had.

Yesterday's post was put up in the morning. Then for lunch (and this was prearranged) we had pizza. Not the most healthy of foods perhaps, but it could be worse. After eating that, I opened the gas bill. Big mistake...

Our last two quarterly gas bills were for £50-something and £80-something. This new one clocks in at a massive £212! For three months. And not even the year's coldest months! What the fuck is going on?!

Then I come back upstairs to work, mightily pissed off about this, only to find a new e-mail from Paypal:

"... the funds in question used for this transaction were possibly fraudulent. We did an investigation and it was determined that the funds, indeed, were fraudulent. As such, we had to return the funds to the party that had them taken from them without their authorization. You are not protected from this reversal of funds under our Seller Protection Policy..."

Wow, that's nice. So I'm fucked, then? I replied:

"And so the person who took these funds fraudulently gets away with the goods for free, while honest dealers like myself lose out... Well, I will be certain not to sell anything on eBay again, that's for sure. And I shall be very careful not to use Paypal to receive any funds either."

What else could I do but have Chinese takeaway and a couple of bottles of beer for dinner? In my defence, I did go for a 20-minute walk after work, but I know I shouldn't abuse my body the way I did last night, especially when I'm sort of on a diet/exercise regime and not doing too badly. I take comfort in the fact that this morning I am still weighing less than 75kg (165 pounds). I want to get down to 70kg (154 pounds) by the end of August. That should be doable, right? Just gotta kick that beer to the kerb...

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Elvis said it best

In the film G.I. Blues, Elvis sang a song called "Didja Ever?" In it, he asked:

Didja ever have one of those days, boys?
Didja ever have one of those days
When nothing goes right
From morning to night?
Didja ever have one of those days?

Well, it looks like I'm having one of those days right now, Elv, ol' mate.

So far, essentially, today has cost me £531 (that's US$1,064 or Can$1,193 or €779 or Aus$1,276). Now that, my friends, is a whole hunk o' cheese.

First, I turned on my e-mail to see that Paypal, cunts that they are, in their infinite fucking wisdom, have decided to reimburse one of the people I sold some tattoo magazines to on eBay. Why? I don't know... I sent the mags to a confirmed address SIX WEEKS AGO, and she left me positive feedback, so I know the mags got to her. And now she's requested -- and been given -- a full refund. So I'm out of pocket to the tune of £19, and I no longer have the goods either. What the fuck?

Second, I get my Visa bill. Yes, the one I had paid in advance yesterday. And I see I've been charged £12 for missing a payment. A discussion with my Visa card provider ended in me discovering I will not get the £12 reimbursed, despite the fact the bill never came to me last month. It also ended with me advising the girl that, therefore, I would like to cancel my account, asking her why her company treated its customers like cunts (freezing my credit card because I missed a payment of £5 despite the fact that I pay it off in full every month), and telling her to fuck off when she gave me her shitty standard excuses.

Third, a job that I have lined up, which is proving to be a complete ball-ache: I've negotiated them taking a part of it back, but of course that means my fee gets reduced by £500.

Okay, so the last one is fair enough, I suppose...

... But if the proverbial fool and his money are easily parted, I guess I must be the prize fucking sucker right now.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tuesday stuff

The day is fast disappearing, unlike my workload, and I fear I won't get a post done today. That makes me frustrated. Luckily, though, I did post a review over at Such As They Are first thing this morning, so that's good.

In other news: my Season 2 DVDs of Twin Peaks arrived today, and I couldn't be more excited. Well, I could be, I suppose -- about going on holiday and spending some quality time with the missus, for example -- or getting a new tattoo, but I'm still pretty psyched.

We went out after lunch and ordered some tiles for the kitchen, which we are getting redone in a few weeks. Bloody hell! £240 for a couple of walls' worth of tiles. I hope we've seriously overordered, cos they have a returns policy, thankfully, so we might get some money back after the job is done.

Oh well, I've got to get my ass to the post office now and pay my Visa bill. How lovely that is, huh?

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy St George’s Day

The St George's Cross is the flag of England (as opposed to the Union Flag [or Union Jack], which is the flag of Great Britain).

Some people see the St George's Cross as some sort of neo-fascist emblem. This is a great shame, because it denies the English their patriotism.

Were we to fly our flag, we would discern a tacit disapproval from passers-by. (Imagine that, if you can, my fair readers in the States.)

I don't think this is the case with many other national flags.

Perhaps it's because we appear to be saying we don't want to be part of the British "union" (or of the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland").

And maybe we don't want to. We share a land mass, that's all. The Welsh and Scots are, rightly, reclaiming their independence through governmental devolution and reclaiming their languages before they go the way of Latin et al. Good for them.

France shares a land mass with Italy, Germany, Spain... No one's telling them they have to fly the same flag or speak the same language.

Let's get sensible and get back to basics. And let's start with a national holiday for St George's Day (even if he was a Turk, and the Turks are currently busy killing Christians, but that's a whole other story...).


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mmmm... doughnuts

Here are some pictures of our local Krispy Kreme doughnut shop, taken by my missus.

This picture was taken just after the "proofing" stage, during which the doughnuts rise to the required size. The pictures prior to this stage suffered a little with glare from the window...

Once they land in the very hot "shortening" (icky-looking oil stuff), they cook on the underside before going through this contraption, which flips them over to do the other side.

Then the doughnuts make their merry way along the conveyor belt to the glazing section. The energy-saving types among you might be interesting to know that the glazing just keeps on being pumped through regardless of whether or not any doughnuts are coming through. Why? Who knows... But it's okay: All the "wasted" glaze is recycled and pumped back through again. Yummy!

And now look: hot glazed doughnuts good enough to eat. Well, when I say eat, I mean not eat. And when I say not eat, I mean really do not eat. It actually makes you feel quite queasy watching the whole disgusting process. And it's so damn slow, too!

Labels: ,

Friday, April 20, 2007

A upbeat story for the end of the week

The theme of this story is "My greatest moment involving music". I wrote it as a fill-in post for a blogger when he was on holiday, but he never used it (sufferin' succotash!). Never one to throw anything away that can be recycled, I present it here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy...

Once upon a time, in 1996, I was in Charing Cross Library*, central London, looking for the Blade Runner soundtrack CD when I caught sight of an attractive girl browsing the library computer for something. It looked like she was on the Manic Street Preachers page. As she made her way to the counter, I took my CD and joined her there.

"Oh," she said, looking at my Manic Street Preachers T-shirt, "did you go and see them last night?"

"No," I replied, "the night before."

"I was there too," she countered, enthusiastically. "Great, wasn't it?"

Then the counter guy asked her what she was looking for. She told him The Holy Bible by Manic Street Preachers, on tape. (Tape, eh?)

He typed some stuff and told her it should be in, according to the computer, but that it's not.

"Okay, thanks," she said, and walked off, saying bye to me as she went.

I paused. It seemed like a long time, but I suppose it was only a few seconds really. "Hold on!"

She stopped, and I walked over to her. "I can tape it for you if you like."

We arranged for her to call me at work a couple of days later, from which point we could arrange to meet up and I'd give her the tape.

And you know what? Reader, I married her.

* NOTE: No, the gorgeous library pictured above is not Charing Cross Library; it's the library at La Real Academia de la Lengua, in Madrid, apparently.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, April 19, 2007

No, “we” didn’t make you do it

Those who know me and my views best are probably those people who read my blog. I don't write everything that crosses my mind, not quite, but I do write a good amount of it.

Blogs everywhere, like newspapers and TV reports everywhere, are devoting a lot of time to the VA Tech massacre. I probably won't do any more than this one post and a few comments here and there.

In the package he sent to NBC on the morning of his crazed shooting spree, Cho Seung-hui said (among other things):

"You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today. But you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off.

"Your Mercedes wasn't enough, you brats. Your golden necklaces weren't enough, you snobs. Your trust funds wasn't enough. Your vodka and cognac wasn't enough. All your debaucheries weren't enough. Those weren't enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything.

"You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul and torched my conscience. You thought it was one pathetic boy's life you were extinguishing. Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people.

"I didn't have to do this. I could have left. I could have fled. But no, I will no longer run. [...] When the time came I did it. I had to."

The truth is, though, despite all the shit you think was inflicted upon you, Cho, by some nameless assailant, you were just a dumb fuck who couldn't handle the day-to-day stuff that we all have to deal with at some point.

You think you're the only person who ever got bullied? The only one who ever felt alienated? The only one who ever wanted to kick the shit out of someone? The only who ever felt dejected, rejected, unloved?

You know who else was oppressed? Liviu Librescu. This 76-year-old man who taught at VA Tech lived through the Holocaust. Yeah, I don't think that was much fun. Spending time in a labour camp under the Nazis. Maybe he could teach you a little about oppression, do you think?

But that wasn't enough. After the war, Librescu was for many years disallowed from leaving Romania under that country's Communist regime. Is that oppression enough for you? Does that compare with your inability to fit in with the cool boys?

And then in his twilight years, Librescu it seems was diagnosed with cancer. Reports say that he was over the worst...

Until you came along.

I thought you might like to know this, though, Cho: For me, you will not be the person I remember in all this. For me, yours will not be the face that comes to mind when I think of the damage you wrought.

I will think of Liviu Librescu. A man who lived through the Holocaust, who lived through oppressive Communism, who lived through cancer. A man who spent his retirement years teaching kids in a free country...

... only to be shot down while blocking a doorway so his students could escape from you and your arsenal.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Let’s play Happy Families

So, there's this bloke and this woman. They are in their late 50s and they were together for nearly 40 years. They got divorced last year, after a long, difficult two-year break-up game, and each of them now lives with a new partner.

It is hotly rumoured that the woman is getting married within a month or so, but nothing is confirmed.

The man has just told me that he's leaving his partner (and her two young kids) and that maybe he was better off as he was three years ago.

No kidding, right? I mean, every single person who knows him pretty much told him that at the time, but did he listen?

This looks like it could get messy. Did I say anything to either one of them that could have led to this? Did I offer bad advice? I don't think so, but you never know. I know also that people will take what they want to hear from any advice offered and disregard the rest. And so they should. But they don't always take the bits you think they should. Sometimes they disregard the wise bits. I guess we all do.


Good night, sweet bedshirt

Back in 2000, on a trip to New York City, Wife and I bought several T-shirts from a shop trading under the name of (and we didn't realize this until our next trip two years later, when it had several signs stressing that this had always been the shop name) Ground Zero. I don't remember where it was. Down south somewhere I think. And they had lots of discounted shirts by Paul Frank and other cool stuff.

One of the shirts I bought was a far-too-big Bettie Page one. Upon realizing (on my return back home) that there was no way I could wear something quite so enormous, it became one of my bedshirts for those cooler spring and summer evenings.

But its "ventilation holes" have now become simply ridiculous, and minutes after this photograph was taken (a few days ago), the shirt headed into the bin.

Thanks, Bettie. It was fun while it lasted, but your holes have stretched too much.

Labels: , ,

Monday, April 16, 2007

New posts


Cat: A Blog of Disasters and
Movie Reviews (such as they are).

Got to head out to "the mall" now, but I'll be back later to check out all of your blogs.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Colour me happy

Well, Friday the 13th was not unlucky for me, since I went to tattooist Xam and got my newest tattoo finished (with the exception of perhaps a little bit of touching up later to hide the old covered-up tattoo as well as possible).

Here's the finished job:


And here are a couple of details:

panther head

snake head

The one bad thing about my day was my dietary intake. I ate a pizza before leaving home, a burger before getting tattooed, and a Chinese takeaway when I got back. Eww, that's a very bad day's food by anyone's standards...

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Movie review

The Family Stone is reviewed over at Such As They Are.

A (long overdue) video for Lee

For Lee. With thanks to Red for her assistance behind the camera.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Back in the saddle

So, that's Easter over and done with then. At our house, Easter meant taking a couple of medium-length walks on Friday and Sunday, going out for Sunday lunch, and eating a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg each. We also watched a few films, which will someday get reviewed when I catch up with my backlog...

Other than that, it was business as usual. What we've found, over the course of almost six years of working from home, is that public holidays are the best times to get on top of our workload. These are the days when we are often at our most productive. See for yourself:

• No work phone calls.
• No work e-mails.
• No work meetings.

So, while all of our business contacts are kicking back and enjoying themselves, we are sat at our desks making money off of their lazy asses. Heh heh heh. Wait up, that's not funny. It's sad, is what it is.

It's also a quiet time in blogland, so there are fewer distractions from those people on our blogrolls. And you know how easy it is to get distracted by blogs.

But after three days of not posting, I'm dry. My spring has been blocked by some evil Frenchmen. I did shoot some video footage in the woods on Friday, though, so I may get around to editing that in the coming days. And I'm going to the tattooist on Friday. So there's stuff happening. Maybe I get inspired soon. Or at least I can get on top of those movie reviews.

And whaddya know? No sooner do I take advantage of a quiet moment in my day than my e-mail pings, informing me of the arrival of some more work. Better get to it, I guess...

Labels: ,

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Serving our country?

You must have had your head under a rock for the past two weeks if you aren't aware of the "international situation" in which the UK found itself with regards to its sailors apparently venturing into Iranian waters.

But you know what? This whole story has really got on my tits.

I have held off from posting about it before because I really don't know where to begin. And even now I'm not sure where I'm going entirely. I'm not one of those bloggers who plans out his posts and then redrafts it a dozen times before posting. Almost 100 per cent of the time I type and post, making a few minor amendments here and there as I go. I like to feel "in the moment". Plus, I don't really have the time to dwell on one post for a week or more.

So, yada yada yada, it's go time!

We saw footage and photos of our brave men and chain-smoking woman. Sometimes they were together; sometimes videotaped separately. Sometimes they were eating; sometimes they were telling the camera, and the world, how sorry they were to have crossed into Iran's waters.

By and large they seemed to be in good health, and they even told us they were being treated well. Within minutes of their release, they were telling news cameras that they were treated well by the Iranians. At their meeting with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the sailors thanked him for looking after them during their "stay".

But now, back on British soil and, more importantly, after having been debriefed, their stories have changed dramatically. They claim they were kept isolated from one another. (In fact, one of the sailors claims they were isolated; another claims they were not allowed to mutter even a word to one another, which I would think was pretty hard if they were in isolation anyway. So much for sticking to the same story...) They claim they were hooded on one occasion and that guns were being cocked behind them; they feared for their lives.

But we are also told that they were allowed to eat and drink and to smoke. That must have pleased the sole female among them, Fay Turney, who seemingly couldn't even make a televised appeal to the British nation without a fag in her hand. I mean, show some decorum, woman.

Am I'm starting to think, "Hold on. These people are supposed to be serving our country. They are supposed to be defiant in capture. Instead they spilled their guts like slaughtered pigs. 'Okay, we'll say we were in your waters. We'll do whatever you say. Please don't put us on trial. Sure, we'll tell Blair to get out of Iraq.'"

I'm not saying they don't have the right to be afraid. Of course they do. But they have behaved like big babies. And now they are coming out with "the truth" all of a sudden? Do me a favour.

I believe that as part of their debrief, they have been told to deliver a load of bullshit now, in order to justify Bush's imminent attack on Iran. An attack that is otherwise almost impossible to allow by international law.

And it's not just me who believes this. President Ahmadinejad claims the same thing too. I wouldn't ordinarily perhaps stand up and be counted alongside such a man. Equally, though, I don't wish to be counted alongside Blair. Or Bush.

No doubt the controvery will rage on. And we'll go to war. And thousands more lives will be lost. Whereas, right now, all that is needed is for us in Britain to shut up. Our "heroes" our back, safe and sound. They have served their country and we should be proud. My only concern is that they might have served their country right on to Bush's dinner plate, ready to be fed into the mouth of another unnecessary war.

We would do well, as a parting shot, to consider the fates of those people in Guantanamo Bay in all this. Compare and contrast what we know about the detention conditions of "our sailors" and those held in Guantanamo. From where I'm standing, I'd say "our sailors" had a fucking easy ride, or a "compulsory vacation", as Ahmadinejad has called it.

Related news links of interest:
Key quotes
What next for captives?
Iran dismisses sailors' accounts
Released sailors tell of ordeal
Mystery shrouds sailors' saga
Iran seeks goodwill over captives
Film pulled from TV schedule

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Who moved my cheese? No, I mean, Who changed my coffee?

My e-mail to Cafédirect:


I'd like to ask whether any changes have been made to the Cafédirect blend when you rebranded it from 5065 to Classic. To my palate it does not taste as good any more. Indeed, I am unable to finish a cup, it's that unappealing. And not only that, it is not as attractive in the cup anymore, looking like a cheap greasy-spoon-cafe type of coffee, leaving a nasty film around the cup's rim.

I have been drinking Cafédirect since way back before it was rebranded as 5065, so I think I have a good grasp on the way it should look and taste. On that note, why rebrand it anyway? The new look is very bland and generic and caused much confusion to both myself and the supermarket staff when I was trying to buy my usual jar.

I look forward to hearing from you on the points raised here.

Yours disappointedly on several counts.

Their reply:

Dear _____,

Thank you for your email. We greatly value consumer feedback. As part of our continuing improvement programme we have improved the flavour of the freeze dried coffee to make it more similar to ground and 5065 has been replaced by Classic Blend. The residue you have found around your cup is a sign of the coffee's quality. We will not be reintroducing 5065.

You may like to try our new Intense or Special Selection freeze dried coffees. I am sorry you do not like Classic Blend and I will pass your comments on to my Brand manager.

Thank you for supporting us from our beginnings; I hope you will continue to and that one of our new coffees is to your liking.

Kind Regards.


Despite having been told by Sainsbury's that these two coffees are one and the same, patently this is not the case. The coffee I have enjoyed for the best part of 10 years is no more. I rue this day. What cunt made this decision? And why the fuck was I not consulted? The swines.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Search me

I'm bored today, hating my work, not feeling very cheery, disinterested in food (although I'm suddenly feeling peckish)...

So I thought, what can I post? I'm uninspired... Oh, I know, I'll have a look at my sitemeter and put a list of search terms that have brought people here recently. Who knows, while doing that I might even get inspired to write something more substantial.

And whaddya know? The search terms bringing people here are all really fucking dull. Perfect!

Well, here they are anyways:

"you better stop before" lyrics
Bill Turnbull
sian williAMS ON SCREEN pictures
"the green and the grey"
Lena Headey
"still busty"
Absinthe Brouilleur
busty ladies
pearly kings and queens
24 minutes to Tulse Hill carter lyrics
sian williams, bbc
baise sex teens
busty blogs
susan powell weathergirl

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Freephone fun

On the subject of telephones, and also partly inspired by this post by Will, I have had a wee blast-from-the-past moment that I'm going to share.

When I was a boy, the summer holidays were the cause of lots of fun. Discovering pornography was just one of the ways in which young boys amused themselves at this time of the year. Another was via the gift of the telephone...

It all seems so wrong now, as an adult, but in those halcyon pre-1471 (*69) or caller-ID days, we would make anonymous phone calls and hang up, for example. What fun!

One time I even managed to call the White House. Yes, that White House. I don't remember where we found the number, but we got through to some sort of switchboard there.

But the best thing was learning that you could make free phone calls from any call box. How was this feat achieved? Well, instead of using the dial to make a call, you would pick up the receiver and use the little buttons in the cradle. So, if you wanted to call 67538, for example, you'd bash the button six times in quick succession, then briefly pause, seven times quickly, brief pause, and so on, until all five numbers had been dialled.

You had to count correctly, of course, or you would get the wrong number. But that aside, it worked like a treat. Freephone fun. And it worked at home too, so we could make our prank calls without our parents ever being charged for them. See how considerate we were...

I've just tried it on my home phone now. It still works! Whether or not it registers as a paid call these days, though, I just don't know.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monday, April 02, 2007

The modern man

Urban Dictionary has several definitions for the term metrosexual, just as it does for most words. If I were to define myself with one of these, it would probably be number 3: "Men with taste & style who know about fashion, art, and culture".

It is with this understanding in mind that I might ask my wife before I go out, "Does this shirt look okay, not too creased?" or "Do these shoes go okay with this pullover?" And occasionally I might even be seen carrying a man bag. So what, right?

In this day and age, I think more and more men are conscious of their appearance, and rightly so.

So if we are to assume that men care what people think, why does the following conversation never seem to take place?

Him: "Dear wife, do I look okay to go out in public with this tiny mobile phone affixed to my ear?"

Her: "No, sweet husband of mine. You look like a total cunt."


Sunday, April 01, 2007

My latest absinthe toy

This is my latest absinthe toy, which I got for Valentine's Day: a see-saw brouilleur. It's so hypnotic, I could sit and watch it for hours. Well, for a few minutes anyway, which is about as long as you need for the water to trickle through.

Labels: , , , , ,

Who links to me?