Thursday, December 31, 2009

con amore

Three engines from 1938. All designed to quietly just do a job - and to rarely be seen by a human being. The first two, Chrysler and Dodge, are American and were grubbily built to a cost to meet a then burgeoning market. The final (French/Italian) is a Bugatti, and was built to have dazzling sculptural beauty - but still, remember, to remain unviewed. This says something.

It probably says woftam. None the less - it is an immensely appealing object.

Mmmmmmm not.

The menu said - "Delicious Homemade Soup served with Fresh Warm Roll".

The reality was half a tin of bland cannellini beans tipped into a tin of pureed tomato - tart, acidic and inedible. The Fresh Warm Roll was half a dozen triangles of plastic sliced white.


The waitress was suitably apologetic and removed it from the bill, but still - I'm not overly inclined to return. This was "Care in the Community" standard cookery.

In fairness they can manage breakfasty things like eggs on toast and a bearable coffee.

The Breakfast Club - St Albans.

Apple Computers

Yes, you pay a premium - but the design is more carefully thought out. They just work better.

A better Brass Monkeys Video

Matt has a trick HD camera. Best if you pause the playing and let the download get ahead a bit.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Is it just me? Or ...

... is this the most naive logo design ever:

I humbly suggest something like this instead:


Michael Jackson's music will last forever. So will his face.


Look, it's only the Bible. It's not gospel you know.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Alternatively, if it will stream properly for you, you might get a better view here on Vimeo.

Friday, December 25, 2009


Come, they told me, pa ra pa pa pum
A new born King to see, pa ra pa pa pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa ra pa pa pum

Backwards run sentences until reels the mind.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

James's Commuting Route

James has the *best* ride to work - here is some of it on bikely.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009


Paintballing - one gets dragged along to it for stag dos and such.

A colleague once complained that in a match he was hiding behind a tree - stepped out for just a second - and bap-bap-bap three balls across the chest, inches apart.

He had fallen foul of that most dubious of creatures, a guy who loves paintball so much that they buy their own gun and bring it along.

Hire paintball guns are invariably tired and ping balls off quite slowly with curving trajectories. A good one will shoot straight, fast and hard - still, in essence, it's a waterpistol. Look at this (believe it or not, it's a paintball gun):

Sweet Jesus, some people are deluded.

Hey, RAP4 Phantom guy - this is you:

Shock and awe.


I found this word for word translation of a Queen song both interesting and beautiful.
Had I found it earlier I would have called a recent post about night time mountain biking "Hikario tomoshi."

Teo Torriatte konomama iko
Let us cling together as the years go by

Teo: hand/hands [doesn't distinguish between number]
Torriatte: hold
konomama: as it is
iko: go

Aisuruhito yo
Oh my love, my love

Aisuruhito: to a loved one
yo: dear

Shizukana yoi ni
In the quiet of the night

Shizukana: silent
yoi: night/dusk
ni: in/at

Hikario tomoshi
Let our candle always burn

Hikario: light/lamp
tomoshi: turn on; conected with fire [very poetic expresion]

Itoshiki oshieo idaki
Let us never lose the lessons we have learned

Itoshiki: lovely
oshieo: a word from God/instructions/something given by a respected or
highly educated person or persons [a very religious word]
idaki: keep/have

Sunday, December 20, 2009


She's the new face of L'Oreal
but unfortunately the old thighs of McDonalds.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009


"Dad, Dad! I need a lift to school."

"Tsk - you should ride your bike - I'm busy blogging"

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Another precious saying I'm giving to you for nowt. I spoil you people.

Back story: You may know that the best way to cook crayfish (perhaps you call them lobsters) is to drop them into boiling water - unfortunately it is best if they are live. Don't blame me - this is just the way things are. Allegedly they flap about for less time if numbed in a freezer first.

Anyhoo, chilled or not, when you drop them in water they give off the most awful shriek - they have no vocal chords, this is the super heated air whistling out vents in the front of the carapace. Given an upset witness, an experienced crayfish cook will invariably say "It's just the air escaping"


Should a small child be upset by something (perhaps a fall, a small injury or some other petty injustice) they will give off the most awful shriek. You see where this is going surely.

Feeding the birds

Gif Created on Make A Gif

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Finally got the tree up.


In this post I give you a valuable phrase. Mutter it to yourself when a group of other people are needlessly stressed.

Some background to the phrase: sometime ago, somewhere, in some media I learnt a tiny piece of trivia about zoo-keeping.

Boredom is one of the greater difficulties with keeping wild animals in captivity. There are many ways to alleviate this - one neat one is that you never just give an animal its food - you hide the food in different places, making them hunt or forage for it. Another trick I've actually seen done, with bears, is to freeze food in a garbage can full of water - they seemed happy rolling this block of ice about, worrying away at it - winkling out treats with their claws. Again, life made a little harder was actually better for it.

A surprising technique for primates was also revealed. Based on the doctrine that a little boredom-alleviating stress is actually good for you - the keepers take some excrement from big cats (handily they had some tigers nearby) and plonk it in the primate enclosure. Although it is unlikely that the apes know what animal the poo is from they do know that it means something foreign is about. Lots of hooting and jabbering - retreating to safety - perhaps slowly coming out to investigate the offending matter, running back to safety again - eventually deciding that all was somehow OK and settling back to normal.


I've been involved in software development projects for many years now. In the past I recall discussing an impending client meeting with colleagues. The clients were going to be told that they were going to get what they initially signed up for, rather than the quite different features that they now wanted. Being a common problem in software development, we knew that it would lead to hooting and jabbering.

Thus, the impending meeting was referred to as "Tiger shit in the monkey cage".

So - there it is. "Tiger shit in the monkey cage". Probably also useful if there are children in your life.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

This says something ...

... although I'm not sure what.

Perhaps: "Have you come far?"

Steyr Puch Pinzgauer


- you sit up high and get a better view of the road

- I feel my family are safer in it

- I live in St Albans and thus need it for the school run

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mola mola

They are gigantic and a bit bizarre - I find Ocean Sunfish interesting.

The German name is Schwimmender Kopf, or swimming head - which is neat.

Faffing about reading on them I struck a claim that they are indeed all head and possess only a vestigial spine.

This was puzzling as, if true, I couldn't see how they would move to swim at all. The macabre museum piece below proves the claim wrong:

Do NOT Karate Chop Fire

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Surprise! (you oik)

Very few things have surprised me about the UK - but one of those that has is the lingering class system. I was aware of it of course but the fact that it staggers on with increasing complexity was unexpected - it's really a mucky parallel of the Indian caste system.

Part of this is a self indulgent sense of ascendancy over oiks from the provinces - a deluded, poisonous and false ascendancy of course - but palpable in the most learned and otherwise admirable people.

This is why the "Hobart, Tasmania" jingle I mentioned earlier was lingered over with such delight. (In fact, the jingle was a syndicated one - in trying to find a copy I found the same tune for "Des Moines, Iowa". The merits of Des Moines turn out to be very similar to Hobart's - in metre if not exact wordage.)

People will always ask "where are you from?" - "from" seems to mean where you spent the majority of your childhood. Like the caste system you are born to this and can *never* escape it - ever. God help you if you are from Wales.

I never troubled people with the fact that I am from Tasmania - my first claim was to be Australian. An interesting thing used to happen when my true origins were discovered: "But... but... you said you were from *Australia*"

Tasmania is seen as a funny little country completely separate from Australia - Aus is held in high regard and promoting yourself from Tasmanian to Australian is equivalent to a Dalit claiming to be Brahman. This will just not do.

I quickly gave up on trying to explain that Tas is a state of Aus as it was seen as being whiny. Eventually I hit upon the analogy of being from the Isle of Wight and being on hols in the US. Surely you would just say you were from the UK. This seems to be an acceptable explanation - forgiveness is usually granted. Unsurprisingly, expressing delight at an Australian sporting victory remains wholly unacceptable though.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Never try to teach a pig to sing

See what happens if I get bored? Not good.

I stumbled across a fairly infantile chat group (in Facebook as it happens) the topic was pretty much "let's talk about why Australians are remarkable at sport"

Herewith my heretical post:


We're not.

Finland, of all places, would appear to be the best - and even New Zealand is better:

We are top 10 obesity though:


The reply was a polite but baseless reassertion of the topic - so, this was looking a bit like Richard Dawkins debating a believer - with the exception that Dawkins is clever, whereas I'm just being wilfully annoying.

So, best left alone I guess.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Folding Plug

A lovely design.

Merciless hack of promotional Youtube vid:

A bitchin dentist

Continuing my habit of pointing to time-wasting websites

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Too much mulled wine,

If you're going to take part in something god-awful then you might as well be ironic about it:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A piece of music that I found down the back of an old sofa

Ole Staveteig seems to be able to do the "this sounds like two guitarists but really it's only me" trick.

Friday, December 4, 2009

One song to the Style of Another

The Puppini Sisters are a trio of singers who do 1940s close harmonies a la Andrews Sisters or the wartime British equivalent whose name I've forgotten. They do the usual suspects, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, In the Mood, Mr Sandman - blah de blah. Quite well I think. Their party pieces seem to be style-shifted contemporary songs - Blondie's Heart of Glass and Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights among them. Here is the latter (no video, unsurprisingly the studio recording is much tighter than any live I've found):

I hope they eventually do a version of Hey Joe:
"I gave her the gun, I SHOT her - ba da-da dweee-aaa"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Brass Monkeys

I'm too mean to buy a pic this time. So if you want to see me trying to look under control and not exhausted in freezing rain search Gallery 1 for number 650

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


To anyone who has ever written the comment Great "Capture" on a Flickr photo:


Their uppance will come.


I posed nude for a magazine this morning. The newsagent said he would have preferred cash.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Farmville be gone

Your friends play games - Facebook tells you about the results. This is fine and quite-the-opposite-of-fine respectively.

I discovered how to kill off the game updates - but leave the friend updates in Newsfeeds. There has been a small burst of requests as to how to do this - so ...

Having previously set off on a Sherman's March through my Newsfeed, mercilessly slaughtering every game update in sight - I have had to try to find out how to bring one back to life for the purposes of this post. I don't know how to do this. So looking back deep into Newsfeed history I found this:

I'm interested in what David has been up to in the real world - but anything to do with Fishworld leaves me cold. Am I alone in this? Apparently not.

When you hover the cursor over a Newsfeed item a "Hide" button appears to the right of the item. If you Hide a game update then Facebook seems to get the hint and you get a message like this:

Bahahaha! No more Fishworld.