Thursday, November 30, 2006

Definitely Offline....

OK, broadband went dead last night - finally.
I spoke to BT Wholesale this morning and the line will be cleared down on Tuesday night allowing us to re-apply with Sky next wednesday.
Clearly I can blog from work but don't expect much activity from Rena for a while.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Click this link if you have audio. A bit OTT towards the end, but funny.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Exorcising Demons

After yesterday's post, I actually bit the bullet today and gave up my seat on the tube to a woman who looked about 75% pregnant. I felt morally very strong afterwards and didn't get too many weird looks. What weas even better is that the person next to her left at the next stop so I got to sit down again!

Monday, November 27, 2006


I am completely knackered this morning as Lauren is still not well and we have had very little sleep for three days.

Anyway, today's CAD comic really cheered me up. Upon reading it my first thought was "Inferno" which always makes me smile.

Is she or isn't she?

It's the eternal tube dilemma!

Is the women standing next to me 5 months pregnant or slightly podgy? Getting the wrong answer could be painful, but doing nothing makes you seem heartless.

Since I was standing I didn't have too much of a problem, as I just needed to not take a seat when once became available, but there have been times when I have been sat down and needed to keep my nose buried in my book, lest I catch their eye!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Bye Bye Tape Deck

Ever since I got my 40 Gig MP3 player I have been using a Tape Deck adapter to play the files back in the car.
I have been looking at buying a replacement radio for the Mazda and the number of decent setups that include a tape deck is becoming extremely small.
Now that the "iTrip" phenomenon is becoming legal I can forget about it and pick a decent DAB/FM/CD system.

Colour Palettes

I haven't played with the Reformatted Ramblings site for a while as I have been too busy.
I did just find this useful site though to help me pick a palette of colours.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

BSG Season 3

Sky have finally confirmed that BSG Season 3 will start on 10 January 2007.

Medium Rare

Well we were all up good and early this morning as I not only had to run Lauren to nursery but had to drop Serena off at the tube for a training day.
I got back home and to my normal bus stop pretty much on time and found it mobbed.
We have road works back up the bus line that are causing traffic chaos, so this is ther result.
Eventually three of my bus turned up, however the first one was packed (as you would expect), the second told everyone to get off and then turned around and headed back the other way and the third bus was therefore hugely over required.
I managed to squeeze on and we sat there for 5 minutes whilst the driver argued with the last guy to get on (he jumped on after the driver said the bus was full). Anyway we eventually get to Shepherd's Bush and into the Central Line...
The platform is full. The board shows the next three trains are due in 7, 12 and 18 minutes respectively (so much for one train every 2 minutes!).
I can see a very long commute stretching ahead of me (as the trains are normally quite full when they hit Shepherd's Bush). Deciding that there is enough time, I squeeze onto the out of town platform and station hop out to White City, where I dashed up and over the foot bridge just in time to catch the training heading back to the Bush.
Pretty full but still room to get on and back to the Bush we head. Well it was murder on that train! I reckon I was well on my way to being coooked. It was so packed that I could have lifted both my feet off the floor and not fallen over! Thank goodness I had skipped breakfast.
Well I am slowly cooling down and will start work when I don't feel quite so "icky".

You never know

The IT guy who has sat opposite me for a couple of months now and who has been kicking around our office nearly as long as I have is in a band.
Now this is normally something that you nod your head and assume they play the odd wedding or birthday party on a friday night and think nothing more about it.
Well Lee is the Bassist for To-Mera who are a bit like Evanescence and since he is a nice guy I suggest you check them out!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Byebye UK Online

After much mucking about I have cancelled our broadband.... Now to see how quick BT can be with the reconnection.

We're on dial-up for a while, so there will be little in the way of blog updates from Serena.

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam!

My Inbox and Monty Python have a lot in common today!

Three pages of this crap:

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Royale Flush

So I managed to use some serious capital from Serena being a dirty stop-out (she passed her exams and is now a Fellow of the College of Emergency Medicine) and buggered off to see Casino Royale by myself.

The cinema was a little quiet (an early showing) so myself and three others settled down to a "bit of bond".

You can break Casino Royale down into three parts.  The beginning is vintage Bond:  Action, Girls, Fast Cars and some good Bond / M interplay (no Q in this film).  The middle section is new ground for Bond, being all about characters (specifically Bond, Vesper and Le Chiffre) and works really well.  I though Daniel Craig and Eva Green had real chemistry and that Mads Mikkelsen's bad guy routine was nicely vulnerable.

Finally we come to the last segment.  Here we break the golden rule of films and novels...  new characters with no back story just thrown into the mix.  It doesn't work.  The final set piece of action is no where near as good as the free running at the start of the film and the plot twists are telegraphed with big "TWIST COMING" signs.

There is some violence in the film and it deserves its 12A certificate.  I would like to see a Director's Cut with the original 15 certificate version released on DVD.

Is there something for the ladies?  Most definitely!  I am seriously jealous of Daniel Craig's physique and the female characters are all strong enough to more than hold their own against Bond.  The girls will love the torture sequence too (trust me).

I really enjoyed this film.  Caterina Murino was excellent as Solange (as were most of the bit parts), although Ivana Milicevic as Le Chiffre's girlfriend Valenka should sue the art director and costume designer for making her look ugly!

The ending did spoil the whole package but I reckon that the franchise is heading back on track and I look forward to seeing what the producers can come up with for the next outing.

Overall I give the film 7/10.   (9/10 if you leave before the last 1/2 hour!)

PS  Gillian - please take Gareth to see this film!  You will enjoy it and it will stop Gareth sending me abusive texts!  Plus think of all the "chick flick" capital you will earn!  There are lots of Jude Law films coming out soon!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Feel the Force

I hope even Gareth thinks that this is taking Star Wars too far!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Missing in Action

What do you do about lost friends?

Before I started blogging I would spam all my friends' email inboxes with chatter on a daily basis, and just occassionally those who are slack at keeping in touch would drop a response that would trigger a conversation.

I have lost that with blogging. At least three of my old friends have gone quiet and I haven't heard from them in over three months.

I suppose I should email them but I don't feel like writing a life update email when all that is me is sprawled across these pages.

I caught up with one briefly on Messenger last night (purely at random)... Now I need to be good and keep in touch! As for the others... I actually rang a couple of the them a few months back and got the standard response... "Oh, I've been really busy... I'll contact you soon for a chat."

Maybe I need to look at myself - maybe they don't love me anymore?

Wife Faction v Needs

For those of you who have never played online roleplaying games you will not have a scooby what I am talking about in the title so bare with me!

I "need" to go and see Casino Royale as soon as possible.
Serena is working every weekend until Christmas with me looking after Lauren, so the only chance we have of going is on a week night.
Our only baby-sitter is not available at the moment, so I am left high and dry with the only choice being to catch it over Christmas.

I could go and see CR without Serena, but is my "wife faction" high enough to avoid recrimination / guilt? It's one hell of a dilemma!

You'll find out my decision based on when the review appears on this blog!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It's happening again!

Guess what is starting to make my eyes leak????

Click Me!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Slight change of plans...

Looking at the way Serena's job stands it looks like we will have to stay in London a bit longer than we hoped, before departing down under.

What this does mean though is that we will now be here long enough to make it worth our while to change a few of our contracts / mortgage etc (as we will still be around in 12 months time).

The biggest thing you may notice is that I am going to switch ISP, and associated with that we may loose Broadband for 3-4 weeks (hopefully less, but you can never tell).

Obviously I want to do this whilst I still have internet access at work, but it does mean that I won't be able to work from home and our blogging may fall behind a bit (certainly no photos or videos for a few weeks).

Just thought I would let you all know.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

James and Sally - Pull your fingers out!

Just a quick note to try and get the pair of you to HURRY UP and plan your Laaandaaaan visit at New Year.

Serena and I want to invite you round for lunch and ideally we want to coincide the meal with Alex's birthday on the 2nd. However we can't plan it if you don't let us know when you are coming!

Plan B is to feed you all on the 31st, but we either way WE NEED TO KNOW SOON!

Annual Neologism Contest

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. The winners are:

  1. Coffee (n.) the person upon whom one coughs.
  2. Flabbergasted (adj.) appalled over how much weight you have gained.
  3. Abdicate (v.) to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
  4. Esplanade (v.) to attempt an explanation while drunk.
  5. Willy-nilly (adj.) impotent.
  6. Negligent (adj.) describes a condition in which you absent-mindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
  7. Lymph (v.) to walk with a lisp.
  8. Gargoyle (n.) olive-flavoured mouthwash.
  9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
  10. Balderdash (n.) a rapidly receding hairline.
  11. Testicle (n.) a humorous question on an exam.
  12. Rectitude (n.) the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
  13. Pokemon (n) a Rastafarian proctologist.
  14. Oyster (n.) a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
  15. Frisbeetarianism (n.) (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
  16. Circumvent (n.) an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

The Washington Post's Style Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are this year's winners:

  1. Bozone (n.) The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
  2. Cashtration (n.) The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
  3. Giraffiti (n) Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
  4. Sarchasm (n) The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
  5. Inoculatte (v) To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
  6. Hipatitis (n) Terminal coolness.
  7. Osteopornosis (n) A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
  8. Karmageddon (n) It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
  9. Decafalon (n.) The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
  10. Glibido (v) All talk and no action.
  11. Dopeler effect (n) The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
  12. Arachnoleptic fit (n.) The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
  13. Beelzebug (n.) Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
  14. Caterpallor (n.) The colour you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

    And the pick of the literature:
  15. Ignoranus (n): A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

Silly News Day

Several news reports lept out at me from today's Metro.
I thought I would share the headlines with links!

Miracle Seeker in Jesus Plummet

The 'heart-attack' burger to die for (That one is for Sally)

Will anyone love me with my tiny penis?

Non-invisible bank robber caught

Jesus image appears on dog

Nude man has anal screwdriver

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vista - Going Once... Going Twice... You're Fucked!

Microsoft gets a lot of bad press and generally I don't think it is deserved. They do make some immense screw ups though - don't mention DRM to Gareth for instance!

Anyway, the latest Gatesism that has crossed my path has left me bewildered!

Each copy of Windows Vista will only install twice! Full Stop, No More! So if you bugger your system up more than once or decide to switch a few key components (mainly your motherboard) then you are in deep do-do! (And we ain't talking extinct flightless birds.)

Now Serena and I have been good citizens for quite a while now, owning three fully licenced copies of Windows XP. The laptop copies aren't an issue, as you aren't going to switch your hardware around much in there, so restoring from the original back-up disks is the way to go every time (followed by a 6 hour session of patching Windows).
Let me look at our desktop though:
So far that copy of Windows has been reinstalled 3 times. Once following a motherboard death, once just to clean up a slowing system and once following hard disk failure.
OK, assuming I was a really organised good boy then I would have taken a Ghost Image straight after the core install and patch and could have reverted to that image for two of the three reinstalls listed above without needing to "reinstall" windows. However if we suffer another motherboard death, then we would absolutely have to reinstall from the base disk, and if we were running Vista then Microsoft would not allow us to verify the install and download future updates as our number of installs had been exceeded.

Unlike Norton, who just reset the clock (so to speak) if you phone them up stating that you have been forced into a reinstall, I don't see Microsoft bending on this and it will make Vista a bloody nightmare to maintain in the long term. Surely in this modern day and age we don't need to start locking software down to a fixed number of installs in an attempt to stamp out piracy. If you read my rant on one of Gareth's DRM posts you will see that I am all in favour of games platforms like Steam and surely Microsoft are more than capable of setting up something similar for your Operating System and other applications.

Actually - how cool would that be... You install a really basic OS and connect to a website. It checks some details and then during a nice overnight session all your applications, drivers and whatever extra bits of OS you need would be downloaded onto the machine. No disk swapping, no 300 character licence keys and no incessant patching!

I don't like piracy. If I do use something "dodgy" and I like it then I will buy it and dump the dodgy copy. I consider that my right as a consumer to try before I buy!

Buying something that is critical to allow me to use everything else I have bought and to find that I can only use it twice is just plain wrong. Come on Microsoft - play nice!

OK - rant over and time for some humour!

Since I got up this morning, I have had the niggling feeling that something wasn't quite right.
I couldn't put my finger on it, but I have felt kind of distracted all day.
Anyway, I just discovered that I have had my pants on back to front since getting dressed in the dark!!!! At least the mystery is solved!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Blond, James Blond!

Casino Royale opens next week. It is getting rave reviews and I can't wait to see it. I reckon Daniel Craig will be excellent having enjoyed nearly everything I have seen him in! I even managed to drag Gareth to see Layer Cake at the cinema and he hates Gangster films!

Anyway to keep you going how about a quiz.

I got 9/10 as I would hope!

Village Life (aka Bums out for the Girls!)

I am suprised that Serena hasn't already blogged this, but she showed me and it made me laugh.

Here is a new story about my Parents' sleepy little village outside of York called Skelton.

Another Monday morning

The speed at which Mondays seem to appear you would think they occurred every week!

I could tell instantly that I stepped out the door this morning that it was the 6th November... The faint odour of the previous two nights' bonfires was sat in the air under the blanket of fog.

We had some fairly impressive local firework displays, both official and back garden based, over the weekend and apart from the clown who was letting off fireworks close to midnight last night the entertainments have passed without much incident. A couple of loud bangs woke up Lauren, but she settled back down quickly, and the Acton display on Friday night fascinated her as we watched from her bedroom window.

Friday's lunchtime session with the image consultant was vaguely interesting... definitely much more there for the girls. I can't say I learned terribly much, as it was all pretty standard fair. I will be going out to buy some make-up though as apparently I am more likely to get paid up to 25% more if I bother to get made up for an interview as opposed to turning up without!

After a couple of weeks of testing the ground Lauren finally has started walking much more frequently without help. I managed to grab some footage on the video setting of our still camera and I stuck the 3 films on Google (and linked on the family blog).

I finally got to play a bit of Neverwinter Nights 2 as well. The reviews I have read are fairly spot on. It is a great game that plays somewhere between the original NWN and KotOR 2. I haven't progressed too far (Lev 6) but it is very pretty and manages to tax my PC so much in outdoor zones that I am going to have to crank the video options back somewhat. It plays like Baldur's Gate, in that you start out alone and pick up party members as you treck around. Max party size of 4 is a huge drawback though! I reckon that to play a character outside of the Holy Tetralogy (Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, Thief) will be quite taxing and you'll have to sacrifice some aspect of the game. BG 1 and 2 and the IWD games allowed you to have six characters, which allowed you to balance out a few odd choices. I'll see how the game progresses before I write much more. I hope the multiplayer works well.

This week is Serena's final exam week so hopefully she will relax a bit come Thursday night. I think a big restaurant blow out will be in order!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Quiz of the week

Misters Butcher, Baker, Carpenter and Plumber are currently attending an annual convention. Nobody is currently, nor ever has been in the same profession as their name and no-one has had the same profession twice. Charlie has never been a carpenter and Mr. Butcher is now a plumber. Dave used to be a butcher, whereas Mr. Brian Baker never has. Mr. Plumber is not called Eddie and Mr. Carpenter did not used to be a butcher. Can you determine the full names of each of the attendees, along with their current and previous profession?

You may find this helpful:  (don't say I'm not good to you)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

No Time to Blog...

OK, that's not completely true! But we have been really busy this week.
Serena has her final exams next week (and they are REALLY final if she passes them!).
I have been doing my examiner job, where I get one of her books and pretend to have a disease / ailment whilst she goes through the motions trying to come up with a diagnosis.
Last night was practicing the neurological exam of the legs and arms... By the end of it I could name all the nerve stems and dermatomes! (And so could Serena!)

Today I met my new lifestyle and career guru (I can't think of another way of describing him - he is helping me make myself as attractive as possible - job hunting wise). We had a one hour chat about me (always fun) and we did a bit of reality checking (i.e. the market is quiet so I may not walk into a job in January, however if I market myself right there is no reason why I couldn't earn £500 per day as a contractor). I feel energised!

Now people know that I am leaving I am getting really off the wall questions thrown at me about applications I worked on years ago (some before Sydney). Clearly knowing that if something went wrong I was still around was too much of a comfort blanket and people are having small kittens! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and allows me to get petty revenge on people I never got on with! :P

We had a nice meal at Pacific last night... Lauren enjoyed herself, either looking out of the window at the buses, eating chips off her own plate (and refusing to eat anything else until the ice cream arrived) or staring at the huge log fire as if mesmerised.

Congratulations to and fingers crossed for Alex who has agreed to sell his flat in Twickenham and has agreed to buy a new 2 bedroom house in Kingston upon Thames.

Streetmap of the new place here and an aerial piccie below.
His is next door to the place with the blue tarpaulin in the back garden!

Expandable version here.