Saturday, July 31, 2004

Reality Bites

I'm beginning to think that there's some place out there that i'm not aware of where Channel 4 pluck Big Brother, Wife Swap and all it's other reality TV contestants from.

I've only ever met a few people like this in my lifetime, yet Channel 4 regularly manage to find enough of them to make a series out of.

Is this place near London?


Friday, July 30, 2004

Wa-ter Spider

Peering up at me this morning from his bath prison cell was a rather large, black spider.  

He was very still as though any movement would draw my attention to him - if a big, black insect in a white bath wasn't enough.   I wonder if he was holding his breath, telling himself not to cough.

I hadnt been in the house for a while and this spider had obviously taken advantage of a couple of days of dry pipework to go exploring in search of the spider holy grail, before realising that the light at the end of the tunnel was in fact my plughole.  When spiders are in the bath and can't get out why dont they just go back the way that they came?  It wouldnt take long would it.

Then it got me wondering how many spiders actually try and make the pilgramage up Watksi's drain pipe only to be caught half way inbetween when i use the shower, and are flushed back down.  Maybe I'm a spider mass murderer, wanted in Spider world for crimes against spiders.  Is my face on a wanted poster?  Do they use the web? 

Do the spiders use my drain as fun - as some sort of spider water park, and because of the dry few days the spider that appeared in my bath was the spider water park handyman who had gone to have a look at why the water on the big slide had stopped, maybe all the junior spiders were queuing up at the bottom of the drain with their floats, armbands and water wings waiting for the water to be switched back on.

I wonder if they are all concerned about his disappearance.  Maybe if i hold him hostage for a few days then the spiders will stop messing around and get back to the job in hand of catching flies, which they seem to have overlooked recently.  My house is echoeing to the noise of 'Bzzzzz da' as a fly mistakes a closed window for the exit.


Thursday, July 29, 2004

Meep Meep

A Reja is loose on the Isle of Wight.   I think it's spelt like that, I've never heard of one before and I just couldn't find a link to the story or any info on the bird itself.   

"Oh no" you say.  "Not a Reja""What is it anyway?"  you also say.  "Am i safe" you add.  "What about my children?" .  "Hang on, I'm nowhere near the Isle of Wight" you remember.

Before you all panic and head for the bunkers, a Reja is a Emu like bird that is capable of speeds of up to 45 mph.  It would beat you there anyway, after giving you a head start, if it so wished.

It's a real life roadrunner if you will.

Its owner doesnt seem to bothered about its disappearance, although she is ultimately responsible for its retrieval.  I dont fancy her chances much of catching what is effectively, a hairy motorbike.  With a beak.

But in her pursuit of her odd pet she would do well to learn from the mistakes of Wile E Coyote when stalking her Reja:   Dont use ACME products, dont sit on rockets and dont push big boulders over the edge of cliffs and if you and the Reja come face to face on the edge of a cliff, make sure the cliff isnt crumbling.  


Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Sweet F.A

Just what the blazes is happening over at FA Headquarters?  Or otherwise known as TKS (The Knocking Shop).   No sooner has the Chief Executive Mark Palios finished having his wicked way with one of the secretaries then old Mr Burns himself 'Knobber' Eriksson decides that he'd better intervene and talk strategy with said secretary.     

This, not long after showing Ulrika his inside leg measurements at the same time as being saddled with the Italian saddlebag Nancy.  You couldnt write this, it's like Carry On England.  All we need is Kenneth Williams mincing on stage left.  It's not bloody Holland you know Sven.

If he spent half the time he spends on his love life on the football training pitch then we'd be world beaters.    Where does he get it from?  Do any women really find him attractive or is he hiring Max Clifford to give him a bit of an edge?

Maybe Sven took the meaning of FA too literally.  


Tuesday, July 27, 2004


I feel strangely liberated. In a righteous, sticking up for the the small guy kind of way.

And the reason why?

I've just parcelled my first bit of ripped up junkmail back in its prepaid envelope and sent it back from whence it came.

The smallest things...


Catstick 4

Read this first, then this, then this for previous episodes.

Well the love affair is over.  New cat is no more.  

I dont mean that she's a goner, although the temptation was certainly there.  There would have been a good prosecution case against us if new cat had been found weighed down with bricks in the stream - swimming with 'da fishes'.  We definitely had the will, absolutely had the means and were certainly minded.

Nope, we've not done her in, but the freestlye meowing and clinging cat has ceased to be part of our lives.  She doesnt know this yet, but she soon will get the hint.   She's an old new cat, mutant cat was sat back with her pipe watching it coming.

New cat had taken to following CJ around like a 4 legged shadow, wherever CJ went, new cat went.  If CJ sat down then new cat sat down and expected to be stroked, if CJ went upstairs then so did new cat, if CJ got up then new cat got up and expected to be fed, and so on.  It got exhausting.  CJ began to let her into the house less and less, and new cat meowed more and more.  Then we stopped using the back door totally.  Which made putting rubbish out a pain.  And it always seemt to be my job.  Hmmmmmm....

And if new cat wasn't being velcro cat she was being singing cat.  Her perpetual meowing outside the door and window finally broke CJ the other day.  "I dont want her any more, i want her to leave me alone, she's annoying" she said.  And it was easy to understand why.  New cat had sat outside the back and literally meowed all day, and probably most of the night too as she was doing her croaky, deflated, i haven't seen a movement in 7 hours version as i woke to go to work at 6am the following morning.  But she soon perked back up to full velocity when she saw the curtains twitch.

I tried to reason in my own way: "but she loves you, you're the only one who takes care of her, she's paying you back in the only way she knows how - and now you're disowning her.  Poor new cat, destined for a life of no love and loneliness".  You get the idea.  "But she just wont leave me alone"  The lady was not for turning.

So there's no sign of buckling on CJ's part, new cat is in the doghouse, and if i know CJ the doghouse is where she's going to stay.  CJ wont break.  I know.  Trust me.   So for the moment, new cat keeps singing to the God of lonely cats, and still CJ continues to ignore the meows.  I knew it would end in tears.


Monday, July 26, 2004

An apology

Apparently Google was down for a spell in some areas today.  It must have been due to the sudden rush of people searching for "absolute shite".

I am sorry...


Restore the peace

Reading Shrubs blog, i noticed that he'd written a piece about the restoration programme on the BBC, and thought that i'd do my bit too.  The basic theory of this programme is that 30 projects that could do a with a lick of paint are showcased and viewers then vote for which one of the 30 they would like to see restored to its former glory.

It looks from his piece that Shrub is backing Sheffield Manor Lodge, I assume that's because he is from the Sheffield area.  Which is an entirely correct thing to do.   I havent seen the programme but i have gathered that Newstead Abbey, the home of Lord Byron, and more importantly for Nottinghamshire tourism purposes, after the Watski ancestral home in terms of popularity, is one of the places in the running.   So therefore it has my vote.  None of this most deserved rubbish, most local is my thought process.   And I'm not alone...

I say that i dont watch the programme but i would had to have been living in a cave to fail to miss all the activity that is going off locally surrounding it, which is how I came to know that Newstead Abbey is in the running.    Local radio and tv have got involved, the word is spreading and people are getting wound up, someone is going to burst before long. 

But more importantly, the grey vote have got involved.   And they aren't a group of people to be messed with.   Remember Emily Bishop from Coronation Street going up that tree in the red rec?  The council tax demos?  I rest my case.   G7 demo's are going to look like a game of rounders.

It all has the potential to descend into anarchy.  When areas are pitted against one another in a competition where there is only one winner then there's always going to be trouble - it's going to be a fight to the death.   Clearly defined tribal lines have already been drawn inadvertently by this programme, You're either with them or against them. 

People up and down the country are putting the finishing touches to their attack plans.  There are no rules when local pride is at stake.  When peoples back yards are involved then it gives them another level to their fight.  Motivation is high, the cause is honourable. 

It could to develop into the worst domestic violence this isle has seen for many a year.  Forget football violence, restoration violence is where its at.  Regions versus regions, towns versus cities, all in the name of history.   Organised restoration violence is going to be the next disease to plague this country, it'll become the scourge of the middle classes.  The National Trust will have its assets frozen in shame and people will be banned from travelling abroad. 

I can foresee fights organised at jumble sales, WI meetings being infiltrated, nature trails will have their directional signs turned the wrong way, country fetes will be ambushed, apple crumble recipes will have salt switched for sugar, country pubs will have their chairs knocked over and lights will be left on in churches.  

Nothing will be off limits.    I fully expect songs to be made up to sing at each other.  Future films will be made of the struggle.   I dont want to be near the knitting circle when the wrong colour wool is delivered.

For the sake of this country, this programme has to be stopped.   Before it's too late.  

Check the link to Newstead Abbey if you think i'm joking.

PS. Ignore Shrub and vote Newstead - you know it makes sense.   3rd August, BBC2.  Or else I'll send my Gran round. 


Sunday, July 25, 2004

Watski's attempt at a book review...

Although no book reviewer, i do however, read mine, yours and your neighbours share of books.   And have your brothers share of books in a pile to read.  I buy books quicker than i can read them so consequently the pile gets bigger, much to CJ's amusement.  But i thought i'd take the liberty of mentioning a really, great, humbling book that i have just finished.  One that i think you should buy.

It's called 'The New Moon', narrated by a guy called Andre Hue.  His story is that he is of Welsh-French parentage (how unlucky can one person be?), living in war-time France he was conscripted by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) to help co-ordinate organised French resistance in German occupied Brittany around D-Day, mainly due to his fluency in both French and English.

The book takes the flow of a diary and centres around D-Day itself, charting in detail the course of events.   I've never really been interested in wars especially but after a recent visit to Northern France i thought i'd try and read a little bit more about D-day and the second world war, and the resistance kind of appealed to me.

It really is a fantastic book from start to finish - just a book that i couldn't put down, the only book i've read from behind a cushion.   I had nerves reading it, wondering what was going to happen next - and we're talking about real peoples lives here.  It makes you feel sad and glad at the same time,  these people went through so much and i really dont think that I could have done the same.  I wont go on too much about the humbleness and gratitude as people who write far better than i do have written far better about it, and i couldnt do it the service it deserves.

But you've never read a book you cant put down until you read this one.


How to win friends and influence people

Godfrey Bloom, one of the UKIP Members of the European Parliament caused a bit of a furore today, not by disclosing that the party had actually any policies of note but by suggesting that: "No self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age."  Does he have a point?   Maybe under that Dickensian bluff he does.

Before all women visitors to this blog start to climb the wall, this is not all he said.   I feel like i'm telling tales, "miss..miss....Godfrey just said stuff about women miss".  He carried on by saying he wanted to deal with women's issues because: "I just don't think they clean behind the fridge enough".    

He then went on to say that he was: " to represent Yorkshire women who always have dinner on the table when you get home. I am going to promote men's rights".  Stop it Godfrey,  please stop it.  My sides are splitting. 
Please don't be fooled by this act.  The man is a legend, a comic genius.  Clearly plying his trade in the wrong profession.  He's obviously a man who has disguised himself as a politician with the aim of getting elected and infiltrating the dull, grey walls of the Eurpoean Parliament to promote fun and laughter.   He's there to put the entertainment back into politics, he's not a politician at all.  Hurray for Godfrey.  

England are short of comedians to fill the very large boots of Bernard Manning when he pops it, or is shot - this man has to be the favourite.  Tell us a racist joke Godfrey - lets see your full repertoire, see how you face up.

How to win friends and influence people the United Kingdom Independence Party Way.  I look forward to hearing more comments in the future that will brighten my day.


Saturday, July 24, 2004

Search Me!

My life is complete,  I've achieved what i set out to do.   Although i might not have known it before i achieved it. 

I've noticed through the web referrals thingy that keeps sending my template widths all over the place (who'd have thought 2 months ago that I would know what a template width was, never mind include it in a piece of writing) that some visitors to this site are coming via Google searches.  It appears that this blog is being linked to by the Grand Master Google.  Is this a good thing?  God knows what they're searching for - "absolute shite" probably.  I bet i'm No.1 on that list. 

I suppose i was going to get linked sooner or later with all the rambling I do.  I must have at least one of all the phrases known to man among these lines.  Perhaps its a sign to tell me to shut up, or write less.

My work here is done.  I must rest and reflect.  Go back to your families.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Dont phone home

Most of the mobile phone carrying population of the Nigerian capital Lagos appear to have gone ever so slightly mad.  

There is a rumour sweeping the place that suggests that if a certain number rings their mobile phones and they answer it, then it will blow up and kill them.  

It's not the first time they've fallen for something like this either.  They fell for a rumour before where they believed that shaking the hands of certain people would make some of their vital organs disappear.  Like their brains with the sounds of it, if they had some.  Some people were hunted down and killed as a result.  Can you imagine the scene at the pearly gates:

"Hello son, and what reason brings you here?" 
"I was killed in Nigeria sir"
"Crikey (for i guess God might have spoken with a Nottinghamshire accent, its my blog and i do what i like right?),  That's unlucky, how did that happen?"
"Well some people thought that some of their insides had disappeared after i shook their hands........ God.......................God"
"(wiping tears of laughter from his eyes) That is a joke right?"
"I wish it was Sir"
"Christ, ooops sorry, taking my own name in vain there.  Unlucky bugger, go on then, go through the gates.  Guards, give this man a room with an Eden view - i think he deserves it"

The Nigerians apparently are a very superstitious race, which could make for a bit of fun if you were that way inclined, and they're superstitious enough to make everyone frightened stiff of answering their phone for fear of having their listening ear taken off.  Which would be a problem,  as you will understand.  Especially if they wear glasses.

So dont expect your favourite Nigerian relative to be answering your calls for a few days.


Thursday, July 22, 2004

Schools Out

Today the latest years crime figures were released, well two lots of crime figures were actually released.  I wonder if the only reason they have two is so that they can choose the one which shows the lowest figures.    Of course it is.  You really couldnt make it up.

Of the two surveys one is from the police which shows statistics of actual reported crime, a pretty safe way of measuring you would have thought, although not all people report all crimes - its not worth the bother sometimes.  This year these figures from the police show an increase in crime over last year.    So thats obviously been discounted.

The other survey is exactly that:  a survey, a questionnaire to a sample of the general public:

"Hello, sorry to bother you madam.  In your experience has crime affected you" 
"Great, thanks"
"Hello, sorry to bother you Sir. In your experience has crime affected you?"
" Sorry, cant hear you"
"I said yes"
"Still cant hear you.  Is that the time?  Sorry must dash"

Not a great way of measuring i would suggest, but the key thing here is that these surveys show a reduction in crime, and as they promote such good news these are the figures the government are pinning their strategy to. 

So let's get this straight, in case i'm losing you - the police say they have caught more bad people than last year and they say crime is going up, where on the other hand a few market  researchers have questioned a sample of people and they deduce that crime is reducing.   Who would you pay the most attention to?  

Apparently the figures from the survey is comprehensive proof that the governments   crackdown on crime and the fear of crime is coming to fruition - just as the election looms, how fortunate.  I'm glad we've got Tony running the show - arent you? 

Alcohol related crime apparently is a big problem, there's been a big increase of bad behaviour in towns up and down the country on a weekend night, and its all down to people falling over blind with the effects of happy hour.  Some town centres have become a no go area for many and the police arent happy.

Its a bit late for that plod, crikey.   It's due to the lax attitude of the police and magistrates in the first place when approving licensing applications for pubs in towns that are already overcrowded that have caused this problem.   These places full of hostelries then offer cheap drinks to young people to get them in, get them drunk and keep them visiting.    A few scraps and broken windows is a price worth paying.

And the police and magistrates wonder why alcohol related crime is up?  I could give you a few leads officer - not rocket science now is it?  Would you like me to show you the difference between your arse and your elbow while i'm at it? 

I notice that the Houses of Parliament have broken up for their summer recess, and will back in what seems like 23 weeks time - their summer seems to last the same length of time as most peoples years.  Maybe we'll all get something done now.  In my next life I want to be an MP. 

I wonder whether they get to wear their own clothes on the last day and are allowed to bring games in.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Motorcycle Emptiness

Aren't motorcyclists the ultimate illusionists?    
Summers here, almost.  The flowers are in bloom, the sun is out and so are the bikers.  As they growl and buzz all over the back of your car like a swarm of wasps, weaving in and out of the traffic to get to nowhere fast, you get the impression that they are big growling monsters of men.  All with life membership of the Hells Angels they are certainly people who you'd do best to avoid eye contact with.  
The big bikes and speed create an image of real hard bruising men and big muscley guys who would crush mere mortal car drivers in the palms of their hands if they had the temerity to not mount the kerb to let them pass.
Now contrast that with the reality of the perimeter wall outside various country pubs the length and breadth of our green and pleasant land on a warm summer Sunday evening.   These monsters dismount their trusty steeds in their hundreds and peel off the sweaty leathers from the helmet down exposing not the hairy goliath type men we move to the side of the road in fear of, but an army of puny, bow legged, middle aged accountant style men with white t-shirts who wouldn't scare my Gran.  
Dont let the big machines and leathers fool you next time.  


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Laboured points

As David Blunkett announced his crackdown on crime in the Houses of Parliament today he also mentioned that he, himself was a victim of crime when he had his car scratched on a trip to the Lake District yesterday.
Now i dont know about anybody else, but i'm really worried that the guy owns a car at all.  It's not the brightest idea anyone has ever had is it?  Is it like Knight Riders car and drives itself?  And how did he know it was scratched?
Maybe he scratched it himself trying to put his key in the lock.  His dog could have done it as revenge for being fed Baked Beans instead of Pedigree Chum. 
Awwww...come on.  He's fair game.


Monday, July 19, 2004

Car Sticklers

Car paraphernalia is the subject on my mind today.   Especially carstickers.    Car stickers have a special place in my Room 101.  I just can’t understand the reasoning behind someone wanting to put one in their car window, as much as I have tried to.
Who cares if you’ve ‘Been to Lightwater Valley’ or whether you ‘Love Cornwall’?  The chances are that nobody other than you cares.   So why tell everybody?  Surely it’s something more appropriate to keep within your own four walls.   My life certainly isn’t any more enriched with that little snippet of information about you.  
I don’t even know you, so why do you think I would want to be informed that you ‘Do it in a caravan’?.    It’s just not something I need to know when I’m following you down the road.  
Why do people feel like they need to tell the whole world these things?  To put excerpts of their life on view?  I’m sure a lot of people like Cornwall too, but most of them don’t feel inclined to broadcast it to the world.  What were you expecting?  A thumbs up from people in a traffic jam?  A pat on the back?  A conversation ending in a long-term relationship?  A knowing wink? I don’t think so.
‘My other car is a Porsche’.  It’s not really is it?  No its not.  So why lie?  It’s not a little lie either, and you’ve gone and stuck evidence of your deception in the back of your car.   If your other car were a Porsche then why are you driving a Micra?  To save money on petrol?  If I had a Porsche and a Micra then I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t be driving Japans finest small car.   It’s not true,  and it’s not funny.   So why bother?
‘Slowing down for horses’  is a very commendable thing to do, I do it,  most people do.  What have we all gained from you telling us that?  Telling me that is as likely to affect my driving as a ‘Baby on Board’ sticker.   I drive carefully anyway.   I’m not going to become more alert just because you may or may not have a baby on board, or give you a bit more distance because you will slow down for a horse in the unlikely event of you going past one while I am driving behind you.
On the way into work this morning I followed a car for a while which had ‘I’m a love machine baby’ plastered in big black letters across it’s back windscreen.   Not in small letters, in really big ones.  It wasn’t a mistake, it was a deliberate act.    These people don’t get out of theirc ar, throw their hands in the air and shout "who the hell has done this to my car?", because they themselves did it, they meant to. 
It’s not normal.  Do you think that improves my perception of you or not?  What do you want me to do - agree with you?  Introduce you to my most eligible friend?  Or shall i just shake my head in total disbelief? 
Its wanton destruction of property, but the irony is that it’s not illegal, as they are defacing their own property.  Its akin to graffitiing the front wall of your house.  But this person had gone one further and decided that bog standard car stickers weren’t wacky enough for them and had got one custom made to fit in the back of the car. 
At what point did they have this thought?  Did no-one try to talk them out of it?  Did this person go into the shop and order it wearing a false moustache and glasses?  Because I would have fallen about laughing if someone ordered that from me.
I saw a similar one a few weeks back in a car park in Sheffield that simply said 'Bass...How low can you go?', all the way across the back windscreen.  I didnt know whether it was a statement or an advertisement for a Fishmongers.  Although this person seemed to have some fluorescent blue lights underneath their car too.  Maybe it doubled up as a sunbed.
Then there are the people who have the nodding dogs in the back, or the fingertips or half a cat hanging out from underneath the boot.  Please believe me:  its not funny, it never was funny, its never going to befunny.  Its rubbish, its the Joe Pasquale of car decoration.
The thing is that putting a dodgy sticker or the like in a car takes lots of conscious efforts.  No one does it unconsciously.  It’s a conscious effort to buy a sticker and a conscious effort to actually stick it in the car.  If it wasn’t, if the sticker magically appeared in your rear window as soon as you chuckled at it in the shop then its excusable, although finding a car sticker amusing should be punishable by death. 
But there are lots of thoughts involved, lots of times that a person can decide that telling the world that there’s a ‘Super bitch driving’ isn’t really that good an idea.    Loads of points where you can opt out of the commitment to a sticker, where you are given the chance of cooling off.  But lots of people see it through. 
I wonder just how many people have actually thought better of it after cooling down.  Its a mercy that we dont see as many nowadays.  Maybe we're lucky just to have the tip of the iceberg.  Maybe i should just be grateful that i dont see many more 'Toucha ma car i smasha your face' stickers than i could have done.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Britain, THE place to play sport?

Watching a bit of the golf this weekend i heard a few times the comment that The Open is THE golf tournament, THE one that everyone wants to win, THE most special one. 
I've also heard similar comments made about Wimbledon, also that the FA Cup means so much to people across the globe and I used to hear it mentioned that playing at the old Wembley stadium was the pinnacle of any players career.   Lords is also said to be the home of cricket, St Andrews the home of Golf, Ascot the home of Horse Racing, Frimley Green for Darts and the Crucible for Snooker.   Rugby was invented in err Rugby.
You've probably got just about every major sport around that Britain has claimed as its own, even though we arent that good at them anymore.    Is there a swimming pool or hockey pitch or Netball court that i havent mentioned either?
It got me thinking whether or not this outlook was actually the generally accepted opinion or whether it was just our British way of thinking that our way is the best way.  Maybe the foreign sportsmen make these suggestions as a way of getting home support on their side.


Saturday, July 17, 2004

Catstick 3

Read Catstick and Catstick 2 first for full perspective.
We have a dilemma, CJ and I.  I could easily abdicate responsibility and say that it's only CJ that has the dilemma but i am currently a main player in the story.  Knowing the kind of person I am, I probably will end up doing the former though. 
The dilemma surrounds the bombshell that new cats owner (CJ's next door neighbour) has sold his house.   It was certainly a surprise as we didnt even know it was up for sale, how dare he not tell us. 
From our lookout position behind the curtains we'd already deduced that he lives alone, he works away in the week and he only returns at the weekend.  And that he has a cat which is fond of beef and meowing.   The house sale seems to be moving pretty quickly as last weekend he moved lots of furniture from the house. 
We assumed that new cat was among that little lot and felt a little sad, err i mean CJ felt a little sad that she didnt have chance to say goodbye to her friend, and not a little bitter that new cat didnt come to bid farewell and give thanks for the company and beef - I comforted CJ by reasoning that new cat probably only had 2 minutes or so to say goodbye to her friends and went to say goodbye to all the other houses that we're feeding her.  I think those words of wisdom helped. 
The familiar sound of cat meowing at back door greeted CJ on her return from work on Tuesday.   New cat was sat there as though nothing had happened.  She had either not been taken or had escaped from her new dwelling and returned, spurred on by the thought of fridge dried beef and ham.   We knew that the place the owner was moving to has a couple of rather large, angry dogs and this reality would spur any cat on to hide in the engine of a passing lorry.
Without knowing the situation fully, self appointed investigator Watski and sidekick CJ deduced that the next door neighbour doesnt really want new cat, he would have taken her with him if he did.  And its a fair bet that the dogs certainly wouldnt want new cat, not even to accompany their lunch.    So theres a better than even chance that new cat might end up at a home for cats that people dont want anymore. 
With the thought of this ringing in her mind CJ blatantly broke Rule 2 of casual cat ownership:  Do Not Buy Food For The Cat,  when having emptied the fridge of cat friendly meat products CJ took it upon herself to add a bit of cat food to the weekly shopping.  New cat certainly enjoyed that and thanked us by staying longer and meowing louder.   Although i'm sure she'll suss the 'putting treats just outside the back door to tempt the cat to leave the house' trick before long. 
Rule 1:  Do Not Feed At All was broken within minutes, nay seconds of first meeting new cat.
CJ was quite happy with the relationship as it was before, new cat popped in for tea and sympathy then popped out again.  A pet without the responsibility.   New cat was quite happy with the arrangement too - until it was time to go.  She didnt like that.  But the emotional bond was getting tighter with each broken rule.   
I had broached the subject of new cat ownership a few weeks ago and asked whether CJ would like to keep new cat if there was a chance, CJ responded by saying that she was happy with the relationship as it was as she didnt have a responsibility.   CJ and new cat were both as fickle as each other.
But now the situation has changed and thats where the dilemma comes in:  CJ doesnt really want a cat to keep, but she doesnt like the thought of new cat going to a home for ugly cats or a home full of dogs with teeth.   There is also the chance that the neighbour does actually want to keep new cat and has everything sorted out, in which case everything will be ok. 
But who knows. 

Friday, July 16, 2004

Grand Pricks

How boring has Grand Prix got nowadays? I happened to catch a bit of it on TV last Sunday when bored out of my brains. It nearly pushed me over the edge. Who took all the fun away? The only thing thats worth watching now is the first corner to see if anybody totals themselves.

You may as well switch the TV on for the first corner then back on again at the end to see if anybody has managed to beat Schumacher. The bits in between just arent worth the time, unless you need help falling to sleep. I reckon Schumacher pretends to go round then just hangs back and waits near the finish line until the race finishes, then nips out and wins just as the others come round the last corner. Its so predictable that even the cameramen now focus on whats happening elsewhere.

When did overtaking get banned?, the only way you seem to be able to win now is if you do quicker pit stops, thats not car racing - thats car stopping. More people setting fire to themselves - thats what the place needs, or more people getting run over. That would get it interesting again. Or letting sheep roam onto the track. Grand Prix with a twist - now thats the future.

And as for going to watch a grand prix, how bored with life do you actually need to be to go and watch one? Zzzzzzzooooom, there goes one. Zzzoooooooom, there goes another. That'll be Four Million Pounds please.

Even the blokes who present and commentate are the most boring people you'll ever wish to meet, the kind of blokes i always end up getting lumbered with on a train or on a training course with. 'And what do you drive? I've got a Ner, ner, ner ner ner with a lower dooda and a fiddly dee with a...GET LOST!!!'. The archetypal car nerds. No wonder theyre commentating on Grand Prix, theyve bored their only friends to death.

Then imagine the people that think its fun to go on the non-grand prix days to watch practice:

'What do you fancy doing today dear?'
'I dont know about you but I really fancy queuing for a few hours on an 'A' road in Northamptonshire before watching a bunch of blokes practice driving cars'

You might as well stand on a bridge over the motorway or in Tesco car park. Stay at home and save yourself the money and ten hours stuck in a car park.

Yet, bearing all this in mind, loads of middle aged men with driving gloves, ferrari caps, worryingly tidy cars and the entire Dire Straits back catalogue make the pilgramage each year, before speeding back home pretending they're driving racing cars. These are the kind of men with a tidy boot, a luminous triangle in case of breakdown and a leather bound car atlas.

Then they proceed to bore the skin off their work colleagues for the next few days with their tales. And we wonder why us men get a bad name.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Super Witch

Claire Raynor today said, that because of the recent problem with the MRSA super-bug in British hospitals, that she would never set foot in an NHS hospital again.

Well thank God for that. If we're ever unfortunate to be in hospital it at least gives us the relative comfort of knowing that we wont be faced with that oversized Afghan hound yapping in the bed next to us when we open our eyes in the morning. If only we can get her to give other institutions a miss that might make her better, like Private Hospitals and Doctors Surgerys, then we'd be getting somewhere.

Now all we need is for Jim Davidson and Paul Daniels to make good their promises to leave the country if Labour came to power. We're still waiting.


I've come to the conclusion listening to the radio the last few days that high profile spokesmen type people arent really good at the things that they do.

The only thing they are good at is not answering questions properly.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Balls of steel

I thought i'd seen the best first line in newspaper history when my attention was drawn to this article in a Herfordshire newspaper the other week, it would take a lot to better this:

A HERTFORD heroin addict killed a 38-year-old father with a DESSERT SPOON after stealing a mobile phone from a one-legged man, a jury heard this week.

Just how good is that? Made up? Who knows. I didnt bother reading the rest as it would have only been a disappointment. I dont want to know the details, that paragraph is quite enough thanks very much. Although i did find a possible equal today:

A South Yorkshire man who shot himself in the testicles with a shotgun has been jailed for five years.

The man involved surely wishes now that he'd decided to stay in and clean the oven instead of:

"... going home to get the shotgun after arguing in the pub with lifelong friend Stuart Simpson about whose turn it was to buy a beer."

Come on!  There are simpler ways of settling arguments than shooting yourself in the bits.  At least shoot the other guy first.  What was his thought process?:  'I'll show you'.   You're not showing anyone.
Expensive round eh? Five years for shooting yourself in the nads? Crikey, hasnt the poor man had quite enough pain in one lifetime without having his sentence doubled at the request of Her Majesty? Talk about kicking a man when he's down.

He's fallen out of the 'unlucky tree' and hit every branch on the way down. Have mercy on the poor man. I bet the courtroom was full of men with tears in their eyes or pained expressions. Not one of those men in the jury would have found him guilty. No-one should be made to listen to that.

I'm only glad that it was an accident and that he didnt do it on purpose.

"After the shotgun had discharged he placed it in a rubbish bin and crawled back to his home address."

Placed what in a rubbish bin?  The gun or the remains of his bits?  Either way good on him for having the presence of mind to keep Britain tidy whilst in the most severe pain he will ever be in. That deserves a more lenient sentence doesnt it? Was the bin on his route home or did he go out of his way to find it?

Poor sod. How entertaining it is to laugh at others misfortune, however painful.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Spend a Penny?

I was out in Nottingham the other night, the nice side this time. The right side of Nottingham at night is a beautiful place. It was my brothers birthday therefore tradition dictates that we must drink and be merry in the City of Merry Men.

There arent many more disconcerting things to be faced with than a male hanging around in the mens toilets. They'd be in serious trouble hanging around toilets in my home town but this man was hanging around in an altogether more accepting place. Hanging around in toilets in a pub was his job.

He sells 'nose powdering services'. I know he's there, i've encountered him before, in this pub. I feel distinctly nervous walking in past the bouncers, they're probably already on the walkie-talkie as i walk by telling him that another lamb to the slaughter has baa'ed by.

I dont feel nervous because he's a man working in a mans toilet, i feel nervous because i feel pressured to use him and pay for his services. I know that he's there, at the back of my mind whenever i'm in that bar, and that knowledge seems to precipitate the need to wee. I may not have drunk liquid for a whole year before entering this bar, but i can guarantee that i would need to wee within minutes of being in there.

I normally do all i can to avoid going to the toilet in this place - i thought i'd done all i could this time, I'd even been before i came out thinking that it would tide me past this bar. But it didnt. I needed to break the seal.

Its easy to tell yourself to ignore him and not pay for his squirt of handwash and the passing of a few paper towels, especially when the drink gives you the added bravado. Its simple to deceive yourself into believing walking out of a toilet without washing your hands is an easy thing to do. But on my descent of the quiet stairs which took me away from the hustle and bustle i realised that the bravado had done a runner and it was me and my conscience against the King Hustler. And my conscience was scaling the fence of desertion.

I did actually check in my pockets before i went that i had some change. What would i have done if i hadnt - not gone to the toilet because i didnt have change to pay the hand squirter? Hopped around? Crossed my legs? You know me too well.

I walked into the toilets, damn, i was on my own, i was the only wee'er there. I would have had a chance if the toilet was busy. Perhaps the main bar was full of men crossing their legs waiting for the next pub. They'd smirked at my naivety when watching me follow the signs to the toilet.

With a quick nod of acknowledgement to each other, he'd engaged me. He was clever, he'd made eye contact. I was in his territory now.

I did my business, i cant say it was a comfortable experience. And i'm pretty sure that i can speak for him too. I didnt think about much else other than my toilet exit strategy, and it wasnt clear in my mind as i turned - i was confused as i started to walk, but his positioning was good. The gap between him and the wooden partition was inches and he had the residual space covered with an oustretched arm clasping a bottle of handwash, offering it to me. There was no way past - i was headed off at the pass.

Do i say 'no thanks mate' and risk the toilet man, who i had known for less than a minute and would know no more once in the safety of the other side of the toilet door, thinking im a dirty toilet non-hand washer? Or do i surrender to the hustle, pay my money, wash my hands and spend the next hour wishing i'd not have done? Why should i pay to wash my hands?

'Say no, say no, say no, say no' something shouted at me from inside. It was drowned out by the sound of my conscience, who had now switched to the toilet mans side and was sat on his shoulder taunting: 'he's going to think you're a dirty toilet non-hand washer, you are!'. Typical conscience.

'Thanks mate' i said as he squirted his cheap Boots own label handwash into my hands. Mate? He was no more my mate than George Michael was. I washed my hands and was offered a couple of sheets of kitchen towel to dry my hands on. His foot then stepped on the pedal bin offering a home for the used towels.

I looked down at the little ashtray on his gold coloured hostess trolley, two lonely pound coins looked back up at me, so i ferreted around in my pocket for something smaller. I know his trick, take all the lowest denominations out to give the impression that anything less brands you as a cheapskate. For the love of God man please let me leave this place with a little bit of my dignity intact from the robbery.

It's just one heist from start to finish in this place. As if the price of a drink wasnt extortionate enough, i'm also getting charged for expelling the expensive drink that i've just bought. Shall i pay to breathe too? What about rent for the floorspace i'm taking up? There's probably some laboratory the other side of the toilet re-bottling the stuff to sell back to me.

Then i detected a coin in my pocket and pulled it out, amongst the plethora of silver coins i'd pulled out the only pound coin in my pocket. Great. No going back from here, i've shown the dog the rabbit. I dropped it in. A pound? For a squirt of hand wash and a couple of sheets of cheap kitchen towel that just moved the dampness around my hands? I'd probably paid his overheads. It was all incremental profit after me. And yet i was the one that did all the work in this little transaction.

As i made my way to the door i noted out of the corner of my eye that, in amongst the washing products on his trolley there were pieces of chewing gum. My chance to at least get something back from the crime. I turned round and chose one. 'Thanks' i lied, and made my way out of the toilet, congratulating myself as i went on showing the toilet man that he couldnt mess with Watski.


Monday, July 12, 2004

Coffee of Mass Destruction

Starting a new job is one minefield after another. Its bad enough having to wait days for access to a PC, networks and email accounts, whilst you certainly can do without wondering what the lunch arrangements are, if you need money on a card or whether you are welcome to join one of the cliques.

Its even worse having to try and remember all the names of the people you've been introduced to, impossible to read and digest the forest worth of reading matter dished up and a dead cert that you will take a wrong turn in the unfamiliar corridor maze.

But the sole worse thing about starting a new job must be the coffee machine etiquette. There should be a British standard for it. A level which all workplaces must operate at before being given their Klix worthiness certificates. Should workplaces install their systems? Instead of giving guidelines for workplace equality the government should be concentrating their resources on Coffee Machine Etiquette, its a vote winner i tell thee.

All hell breaks loose with no hard and fast system for caffeine re-fuelling in a workplace, resulting in an each man for himself policy and a breakdown of working relationships just because of the absence of a simple protocol. Communist Russia fell after an argument about whose round it was escalated, several Bosnian Serbs have been indicted for coffee crimes.

New groups and cliques are formed due to coffee machine tactics, coffee drinkers with similar tactics go onto form their own splinter groups and stay within that group for life. Its very difficult to infiltrate these gangs once set up, they suspect everyone. Others are outsiders.

There are many small factions of drinkers: there are the people who bring their own coffee, mugs and milk in and those who sneak to the machine and come back with a drink just for themselves. Then there are ones who cant handle the idle gossip that going down that route brings and end up waddling back down the office with an armful and an empty pocket even though they didnt want to.

Every office also has at least one tray hugger who will spring up and sing 'right, whats everyone having?' whenever they fancy a drink and not mind the cost, and then theres the free water brigade shamed into buying a round of coffee because its their turn to fetch the drinks.

But the fag room gang are the hardest of the coffee drinking groups. Its best to have a friend among them. Even if it means smelling of smoke for the rest of the day. A seat at the top table awaits.

An etiquette would make all our lives easier in a job, resulting in a happier, more productive place of work: "here's your log on, your employee handbook, your desk. Oh, and a copy of the coffee machine etiquette. Dont lose it".

Mail Hail

I've been away from the house for a few days. Everything is as i left it except for the big pile of rubbish thats been tipped through my letter box.

The amount of junk mail delivered is getting to absolutely ridiculous proportions. I counted 15 pieces of mail left since Friday and not one was a genuine letter to me (i was so incensed i had no alternative but to count the mail). The items delievered range from offers for loans, credit cards, sales magazines, estate agents, etc. Since i've been back tonight 2 more people have shoved things through.

Its surely trespassing. Why do these people/firms think they have the right to invade your own personal home life space via your letter box? Surely i should have a say in what gets put into my house. The Royal Mail are the main guilty party, flying junk mail carpet bombing sorties every morning.

Its the same as sales companies ringing up on the home phone, its getting to the point where im sat in the house surrounded by the sound of the phone ringing and the letter box flapping. LEAVE ME ALONE!!!

Everything is geared up to assault you at all times, i was shopping for less than an hour on Sunday in Nottingham City Centre. In the time taken to walk through a shopping centre i was accosted by a woman wanting me to register for a Next directory, then i was stopped by another woman trying to sell me a credit card, and then a man wanted to talk to me about Rover cars. That was all in the space of just 15 minutes.

I was glad to get out into the fresh air and within a matter of seconds had a Big Issue waved in my face, i was given a leaflet about some clothes sale and another about a mobile phone offer, an elderly woman asked if i had a few minutes to spare and a man with a funny haircut did the same a lttle further on.

I then walked into Carphone Warehouse and when i was told that they didnt have my desired phone in stock the assistant said 'do you have a BT landline sir?'. 'No i dont' i lied. I walked further down the road where someone tried to sell me a scooter before a beggar brought my hour of hell to a close.

I dont want to be rude to these people because I'm a pretty civil person, but i just find no alternative. Is it just me that this happens to?


Friday, July 09, 2004

Adult alarm

The neighbours have had a baby. Well the female in the relationship has.

Throughout her burgeoning girth I was worried that my peace and tranquility would be ruined by a bawling child at all hours of day and night. I need not have worried, in the 6 months the child has been in this world it has been perfection personnified, i was actually beginning to worry whether it had any vocal chords at all. The adults are a different story however.

The only noise eminating through the walls is that of adult visitors trying to communicate with the young cherub. "Aaaaaaaaah da da da da da da da da", "yes you are, repeat" and "yayyayayayayayayyayayayayay" seem to be the visitors top 3 at the moment.

Why do adults turn into vocal imbeciles when faced with a baby? The child must be thinking 'they didnt say it would be like this in the handbook, i thought i was meant to make the noise'.

And if its noisy where i am, the young lad whose face the adults are gurning in has my total sympathy. I bet its thankful of some peace and quiet itself when the slobbering adults go away. No wonder it doesnt cry.

If it could talk, i can guess what it would be saying.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Learning to work again

I've been thinking about work a bit today. Probably because today is the last full work day doing nothing that i have off before having to return to a salaried occupation on Monday. This time next week....

It's now that having all that time off and taking it for graned really hits home, now i want to have more time off to do the things i couldnt be bothered to do when i did have time off.

I've been wondering whether you can forget how to work? Remember how it used to be weird to write again after the school summer holidays? Is going back to work like that? Im getting a little worried that it'll take me and my brain some time to catch up and get back to speed, a while to get the work lingo back. I'm sure there's nothing to worry about.

I kind of assumed i'd just jump back into it, but the more i think about it, the less likely i think that will be the case.

Its a Sat up..

The cassini-huygens mission reached the orbit of Saturn earlier this week, after a 7 year journey. Theres a comment in there about women drivers or male map readers, but im not brave enough to broach either subject. "Are we there yet?" must have grated.

Apparently it was a journey of 3 billion kilometres. But its been fairly simple to follow up until now:

Part 1: 7 years ago, rocket takes off,
Part 2: Forget all about it,
Part 3: 7 years later, rocket reaches destination. People think:'oh yeah, i think i remember that happening'.

Now the confusion starts. People in checked shirts and chinos with brains the size of footballs will start using words none of us recognise, then foam at the mouth about coloured pictures which look like theyve been taken by a 2 year old with a box brownie, in a cupboard, with the light off, at night. You've got to be making that stuff up right? Come on, we're not idiots. That's never a word.

There must be a group of people sat in a big aircraft hanger somewhere in the USA performing one big practical joke. "Send them that picture of a light bulb Dick, then tell them its heat clouds", "now tell them there might be signs of life, thats always a good one to keep them interested". Theyre seeing how far they can push the joke, it's some experiment into the gullibility of the human race, it must be. Nothing's 3 billion kilometres away. Although London seems it on a Monday morning. I guarantee you that there will soon be some news about saturns rings, thats the moment that the game will be up for me.

Apparently the rocket keeps flying past and taking pictures, then flying back again and taking more pictures and again and again, like papparazzi hiding behind bushes. "Will you hold this thing bloody steady" must be the cry, "i'm trying to take a picture of a cumulus above a wavelength next to a methane cloud near hydrocarbons that might be associated with a ground feature that would let people at home know absolutely nothing about stuff they never gave a monkeys about anyway". The mission probably ends when theyve used all 36 exposures.

But it got me wondering about 'light' years. Are light years the same as normal years with the fat taken out? Like a year without March, or May.

Another year..

Its my brothers birthday tomorrow. As an affluent young man he has got most things that he'll ever need, and lots of things that he'll never need. He buys the things that he hasnt already got but would like and leaves the rest of his scrabbling over what's left. Which is good of him. It doesnt really help anyone in the present buying stakes.

The phonecalls have been and gone: "what are you getting T?" they ask, "i was hoping you could help me" i reply. "What does he want?" we all cry,"you should know, you're his brother" i'm accused. "its so difficult, he's already got everything" we all lament.

Then the rest of the conversation takes the tone of exasperation as we lament about how inconsiderate he is have to have the temerity to buy the things that he wants when he wants them. We then all go our seperate ways and steal everyone elses ideas when its established that none of us can be of any help to the other, making a mental note to be sure to give him our presents first.

I always used to get him things that i like, we're very similar in tastes so it always worked out, but cds have been scratched from the shopping list since he nicked my cd collection from my hard drive. Maybe we just ought to try and get him to stop his spending throughout the year so that his family and friends have an easier task when it comes to birthdays and christmas.

Practical presents are now a favourite of mine: getting gifts that you like but wouldnt necessarily buy yourself. Thats a sign of age though. I can feel Teenage Watski bursting inside of me when i reply "get me anything" or "something for the house" to requests for birthday present buying assistance. Teenage Watski would be having money thank you very much.

Ive already got him a few things but could do with topping it up, so i ask him what he wants for his birthday: the first 2 things he mentions, people have got and he guesses that. Then he says 'oh, dont get me anything then, dont worry about it', which is a very tempting option at the moment. When people say 'oh dont get me anything', they ought to be taken upon their flippant word. "well you said not to bother, so i didnt" you'd remind them when faced with birthday morning and no presents. They'd think twice and be a bit more helpful next time.

My Dad used to be a real pain when it came to presents, not necessarily when buying gifts for him, but when it came to him opening them. He had a 100% success rate when it came to guessing gifts in wrapping paper as far as i recall. Tim takes it one stage further: he can guess which things he's getting and from who, without even seeing them, days before his birthday.

We'll see how it goes. It could be that he ends up with a Watski practical present of a garden spade and fork set or a set of pint glasses. He'll know to be much more helpful in future.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

CatStick, part 2

Read CatStick first for full perspective.


It didn't take long. I've just got off the phone from CJ, i'm at my house and CJ is at her house.

The second sentence to me in the conversation was: "did you hear that?" .

"Is that cat still meowing outside?" i asked, amazed.

"Errrr" Came the sheepish reply, "not exactly outside".

New cat was inside. I wasn't amazed any longer. The saving grace was that it hadnt broken in. And apparently there were no desperate cat shaped holes in the windows. Its meowing had made CJ feel guilty enough to let it in 10 minutes after returning from work. It had taken 10 precious minutes for CJ's will to be broken by a manic meowing new cat. And after i'd worked so hard this morning for the good of the cat free cause as well.

CJ's reasoning for this was that she was weaning new cat off us. She had let new cat in but wasnt going to feed it anything. She was just going to allow new cat to wander round and have some company, with the hope that it would get bored of us if there's no food on offer, and eventually wander off for pastures new.

I know I would.


Why are Cats so clingy? I dont mean clingy as in you can throw them against a wall and they will stick, not that i do know whether they would stick of course. They might well do, but i'd guess they wouldnt - i reckon you'd need a fair amount of glue to make it stick to a wall good and proper, and then a good run up. Err. You havent got the idea from here though if you do decide to test out the theory.

I mean that if you show a cat the slightest bit of attention then you're suddenly their human, the clinging starts. And thats the type of cling i mean. To a cat there must be 2 types of humans, humans that are ok and humans you must run from. Any 'ok' human is then up for grabs in the cat world.

I will now introduce my long suffering girlfriend (to be referred to as CJ) into my blog. She features heavily in this story so it would be rude to deny her her moment in the spotlight. CJ lives in a feline metropolis; both next door neighbours have 3 cats between them, people opposite have cats, people down the road have them too. All shapes, sizes, colours and species. Its so cat prolific that you have to slow the car to a crawl when driving down the road for fear of Tiddles martyring herself on the undercarriage. Well you dont have to slow down but i would guess playing cat-chicken could get you in serious trouble with the authorities.

I was putting some rubbish in the bin a few weeks a go whilst at CJ's house, when i noticed a cat at the bottom of the garden. I was bored and it was giving me the 'i am cute' look, so i gave it some of the chicken i was throwing away, then patted it gently on the head before returning up the path to the house congratulating myself on being a fine upstanding member of the community as i walked.

A little while later i went to put some washing out. A new man Watski is you know: washing, rubbish putting out, tidying, nice to cats, available for barmitzvas, etc. As i opened the door I tripped over chicken cat who was now camped out on the back door step. Not content with tripping me up the once, chicken cat tripped me up a few more times as it accompanied me in putting the washing out. Once this difficult task was completed I tried to go back to the house, but chicken cat was coming with me. Every turn, twist and fast movement i made chicken cat was within an inch of my foot.

There was no alternative, i didnt want to have to make a fool of the cat but i had no choice. I did the old 'pretend to throw something one way while going the other way' trick, then legged it into the house. That did it. Stupid cat. Not as clever as old Watski are you? In football parlance the cat had been 'old manned'.

Chicken cat then stalked the house for the next hour or so, every time i looked out of one of the windows it was there staring at me. It seemed to know where i was. I then rang CJ up and told her about my stalker, i whispered so the cat couldnt hear me, but i could tell CJ thought i was making little stories up in my head again. 'Aah, i like Cats'.

After returning to my own house I spoke to CJ a little later on that evening, she had apparently been having her own problems with chicken cat following her around, stalking the house, tripping her over, etc. And it was my fault for encouraging it. She had also re-christened chicken cat as 'mutant cat', for it had very weird paws, dodgy fur and horrible eyes. 'Oh i see' was my flippant response, not 'aaah, i like cats' anymore?. 'No, i dont like it'.

It took us about 4 weeks of continually ignoring mutant cats advances before we could go into the garden fairly confident of not being mugged. We compromised with mutant cat, had to get mediators in. We now allow mutant cat to sleep under the bush at the bottom of the garden on the proviso that it doesnt bother us anymore. It seems to be going well up to now.

Not having learnt our lesson, i went round to CJ's 2 nights ago and was surprised to see the side door wide open, I peered in. The cold turkey had failed, CJ had regressed; there was another cat in the house. Not just in the house, this cat was being fed beef and milk by CJ. It had its paws under the table. The cats around the area must treat us as the idiots we are: "im bored and hungry, think i'll nip round to No.18 and give them the sad eyes"

Im not sure who was doing the more purring: CJ or the cat. This was an altogether nicer cat apparently, no hint of any mutations. The cat was given the run of the house before it meandered off. Full and bored probably. Apparently the new cat is a neighbours cat, he's away in the week so the cat has no company other than a cat flap, dry food and an empty house. CJ made the 'aaah' noises again.

New cat was back again last night, only this time it stayed longer. It was fed, then it watched tv on my lap. It was then bedtime and therefore time for new cat to say its goodbyes. It didnt want to. It acted like a small child at bedtime: avoiding eye contact, wanting drinks, running off, etc. I felt like smacking it, but then i remembered yesterdays post and thought about deleting it. New cat was then forcibly put out for the night.

This morning i awoke to the cats chorus outside the house, in the position formerly occupied by the cat formerly known as chicken cat was new cat, having a good crack at breaking the cat world record for consecutive meows without taking breath. It wanted to be fed, or let in, or both, or something more. It wasnt having anything, but it wasnt taking no for an answer.

It didnt seem to understand me when i mouthed 'go away' from the bedroom window, and it didnt get the hint when i didnt open the kitchen door to it whilst in the kitchen. It pawed at the door to be let in but i ignored it. It still hadnt got the hint 2 hours later when i slipped away from the house. But its meow was getting croaky.

Its probably still there now...


Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Smack Heads

Yesterday the House of Lords wimped out of passing a law which would ban 'smacking of children' totally in the United Kingdom. The UK is now one a small number of European countries in which this practice is still legal. And we consider ourselves first world. What kind of country do we live in when the people who determine the legal framework in which we exist allow for children to effectively be assaulted by their parents?

If you smacked any other person than a child then you would be charged with a level of assault, so why is it legal for a parent to assault a child? Because theyre related? Because they are deemed to know whats best for their children?

There is a lemonade based compromise, the alcohol free version bestowed by the Whisky brigade. Parents can mete out their own form of discipline as long as marks arent shown on the childs body. A loophole in other words, ready, waiting and able to be exposed. A blind eye turner. Parents can hit their children as long as their are no bruises, cuts and scratches. So it's ok to hit a child up until the point when they bruise - then not after?

Its a form of progress i suppose, but it still allows for harm to be inflicted on the people we are supposed to love, cherish and care for. They havent done that much wrong surely. How can any civilised person think thats normal behaviour?

I'm not a parent, and havent been in situation that requires parental involvement, maybe thats why i come at it from this angle. Ive witnesses children being smacked though and in all situations it was about the parents temper threshold rather than anything the child had done deserving of a smacking.

Smacking children nowadays is done by the parents who dont know how to deal with indiscipline any other way. Its the lazy way out, an excuse to not finding out the cause of bad behaviour in their own family. Licensing it wont teach anyone any different. The children OR the parents.

Surely we have progressed as a society enough to have this prehistoric form of punishment banished to the dark ages. Surely we've learnt enough about parenting as a race to be able to run a household without the heavy hand of punishment hovering over the family.

Some people will summon up the excuse that 'a smack never did me any harm' . It probably didnt do the vast majority of people any harm, but it will have done a few people here and there some harm in both a) the physical scars they bore from the lawful beatings they had to take in the name of discipline and b) the mental scars they take into their adult lives and then interpret as they see fit as parents of their own children. This generations smacked are the next generations smackers. And so on. Where does it stop? Outlawing it helps everyone.

Children today ARE lacking in the discipline of their predecessors, of that there is no question. And the world is arguably a more violent place, this is more about the lifestyle we have. Allowing parents to continue smacking children will not improve things. Parents should be able to talk to their offspring without resorting to hitting them when things go wrong. We are giving out the wrong message in how to conduct ourselves to our children.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Nothing to see here..

This blog is pretty simple fare, as you may have noticed from the technology shyer article, or maybe the general layout of this site. Lets face it, its not going to win any prizes for design and layout.

Id like to promote this as being intentional, some sort of minimalistic blog style movement that ive accidentally founded. I could go all out and say that the words are all i need, man. But its none of the above. Its because i have no idea about how to design it any other way than on the template provided. Please dont think that i do know how to and that this is all i managed to come up with. Although i think it does the job.

As regular visitors (of which i have 5 - hello family!) will maybe notice, i've learnt recently how to link things to the site, as you will note from the array of sites listed down the right hand side. If i start showing off with the new thing ive learnt and start to list lots of links that makes it look too dodgy then please let me know.

There is much more to blogs than pretty pictures, graphics and code that only the tech snobs understand. My hope is that anybody who visits this site of their own volition likes reading the stuff eminating from my mind rather any graphics that they might find, and comes back to visit again occasionally because of that.

Thats bearing in mind that your only reason for visiting isnt because its the only site the warders let you have access to.

The Final Countdown

Im beginning to panic, there is now something at the back of my mind in whatever i do that i cant shake. Whenever i have a free moment i catch my mind bullying my conscience. Ive noticed it happening recently, my conscience is quite happy until it has an idle moment, then my mind catches up with it and teases it.

I start my new job 1 week from today. How could i forget? Im effectively at the end of my sabbatical now, in theory i'm now just 'on holiday'. And I've one week left of my 'holiday'. I can now say things like 'this time next week i'll be in my new job', or 'this is my last Monday as a free man'. I've already done the 'this is my last lazy Sunday evening', and so on...

Now is probably the time to at least start doing all those things that i said i'd do 13 weeks ago. Although theres not much chance of them happening now as my mindset has shifted from the: 'i can do all these things now ive got so much time off' outlook that i had 13 weeks ago to: 'i'd better take it easy now and appreciate my final week of freedom'. I cant remember there being a middle ground where i actually did stuff to allow me to appreciate my time off. Maybe i was sleeping then.

Although the use of 'mindset shift' in a paragraph would suggest that i have not been totally 'de-businessed' in my quarantine period. Maybe i need longer.

So the rest of my week will be spent appreciating the time i have left whilst reflecting on not taking more advantage of the time off. Expect the blog to be busy then.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Technology Shyer

Well im rapidly becoming part of the technological underclass, technology seems to have passed me by when i wasnt looking. Was there some sort of big technological training course one week when i was on holiday? Did the whole world manage to go on this course or have an implant in their brain except me in this week? Its most technology as well - im having trouble using my new digital camera, i cant programme the address book on my mobile phone and my PC must joke about me with its friends when im not near it.

My brother and i have fairly similar tastes in most things, so i use him to tell me what things i should be having - its a fairly lazy way of operating but it works to keep me updated, i'd still be buying head cleaning tapes for my walkman or using whiskey and cotton buds if i didnt have this help. The problem is that i cant use this new technology to its full extent when i get it home after purchasing it, recently ive bought an IPod - ive got as far as putting all my CD's on my PC, ive even rated a few tracks. Thats your lot. I cant go any further.

So anyway, 3 months after purchasing my own PC im now starting to investigate things other than my hotmail and Stagsnet. I got broadband around the same time because my brother has it and it looks the kind of thing that i might utilise - and i didnt want to be the dial up poor relation. One of the things i do know is that dial up is rubbish and broadband is better - or so ive been brainwashed to believe. So anyway tonight I downloaded a firewall, i had to ask my brother whether i had one already, and i also asked him if i needed one. Apparently i do need it, so i download one that a magazine im reading suggests and now i keep getting pop-ups telling me that something is trying to access my PC. They pop-up quite a lot too. I think i was far happier in blissful ignorance, now im concerned about burglars. I get the impression of the house being surrounded by spotty teenagers with screwdrivers.

Is this serious? And were people trying to access my PC before? And if they were and succeeded then why is it there no difference in performance pre vs post firewall. Is it all a big scam and im the only one thats noticed? I think im on to something you know.

As an aside and by way of a little break - i know this blog is getting long: Is 'PC' the right term to be using too? - or does the use of the word 'PC' single me to out to those in the know that i am a technology pauper and that they can use words i dont understand to confuse me even more or a signal to extort money from me for changing a printer cartridge?

Whilst trying to educate myself to this new technology language i read in a magazine that adware, spyware and even intrusive cookies can monitor your online activity. This didnt sound like something i wanted to happen, but i wasnt really sure to be honest so i took the magazines advice and investigated downloading a suggested file. I read a few reviews when i got to where this file was located, this one for example:

" I think Spybot is working fine. However, it adds about 1000+ keys and 1600+ values into my Windows registry. After uninstall, contact Spybot support and use their reg clean script, there are still close to 1000 registry values left. Had to do manual system restore and registry edit and delete. I wish they can come up with a cleaner way to detect spyware without taxing the registry this much"

I recognise the words, but not in their current order. Its not English is it? There must be aliens on the planet and this is their code for contacting each other.

So i didnt bother downloading it because as much as i dont like the sound of cookies attacking me, it seemt far more attractive than having to do find out how to do a manual system restore.

My point is that there seems to be some language developed over the last few years that only the 'comfortable with computers' understand, it cant just be me that needs help and cant find a translation book. Or is it? Is it just job creation by the computer literate, if they confuse the hell out of everybody else then customers will just throw their hands up in the air and say 'i dont understand you - just fix it for me and send me the bill, i'll be in a dark room'. Im turning into my Dad with the way he used to mess around with the video recorder, i dont want to become a source of amusement to any future offspring i might have.

Im reading a magazine that kind of helps but they then go off into the language again and i turn the page and read the article telling me that i ought to visit, so i do and im far happier. I did want to put that bit as link but i cant get it to work, even though ive managed to do it in a previous blog, which kind of proves the whole argument.

Where can i find out more about what i need to do? Do i need to know more? Do i know enough already? Is there some magazine or tutorial out there that doesnt assume i know enough to get by? I know how to switch my PC on in the morning, how to connect to the internet and that typewriter is the longest word you can get from the top row of a keyboard. Thats it.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Circus comes to town

Saturday night used to be the lads night out, always was and always was going to be. During these nights we'd drunkenly talk about how Saturday night should always be our lads nights no matter what marital situation we were in, how we would be going out on Saturday nights for ever more and that nothing was going to change that. How dare anybody even suggest anything different.

We'd pour scorn on those who did anything other than join our band of merrymen on the descent into alcoholic oblivion. Any one of our group who couldnt make it for whatever reason on a Saturday night had their sexuality questioned and was immediately given the badge of shame, it wasnt something we would forget in a hurry.

These days pass though and you sometimes find yourselves with other priorities and commitments on these nights. Sometimes you are thankful because the weathers not nice and you arent the 'go out in all weathers' that you used to be. Staying in becomes the new going out.

Last Saturday night going into town i noticed that it was raining, we didnt fancy getting wet so we walked slightly faster to our destination. I put my cashcard in the machine and was given 2 tickets. To see Shrek 2. I was at the pictures.

Shrek 2 is a film for kids, as is Shrek 1. Shrek 3 will probably be targetted at children. Finding Nemo, Toy Story and all the other animated films that have been released over the last few years are all films marketed at children.

But they are also stories that appeal to adults too. This is especially convenient for me, as i have no children and therefore no genuine reason to see a film for children. I feel better that these films are aimed with adults in mind as I have never laughed at any film more than i have laughed at these films. Knowing theyre written with me in mind is a comfort.

Walking out into Nottingham after Shrek you are in your own world of animation and colours only to have the tranquility shattered when faced with Nottingham regurgitating its night. Being sober at 11pm on a Saturday night in a City Centre is like walking around a fairground hall of mirrors. Its a very surreal place to be. A circus almost.

First act up is the jelly legged women. See them perform their fabulous balancing act on very high shoes whilst crossing the road eating chips and adjusting their clothing. And with them come the hyenas, talking rubbish and cackling very loudly.

Driving by next are the clowns in their cars with the windows down and the music on loudly, circling the city centre like Eagles in flight. The ejector seat buttons seem to be stuck though. The amazing element defying woman will now show you how to expose the most skin in the coldest temperatures whilst at the same time the very large contortionist will attempt to get into the smallest outfit possible.

See the amazing drunken balancing man walking down the road in as straight a line as he possibly can while attempting not to fall off the ground. Next up in this double act is his brother, the world reknowned drunken magician who will attempt to make his kebab re-appear.

The pride of lions are strutting around in their cages, growling at people and other lions while the ringmaster does his best to round them up and make sure they all get to the same place without any trouble or casualties. Whilst the parading horses canter by looking down their noses at everyone.

The gorillas are the final act of the night ensuring that your foray into the citys nightclubs is a safe one before the monkeys take you home in a taxi before stealing all your money.

Hope you enjoyed your trip to the circus ladies and gentlemen, please be sure to visit again.

Roo do you think you are?

Its happening already. Rooney madness is here.

I read last week about a market stall holder in Mansfield who pretended to be called Wayne Rooney. I dont know why i should be surprised at this fact as fistly, Mansfield is my home town and secondly, actually the first one probably covers everything. It apparently started off as a wind up on his part, but got very quickly out of hand until he had to admit he'd made the whole thing up when faced with TV cameras.

The BBC and PA were apparently so impressed with how clever they were in finding a Wayne Rooney in Mansfield that they proceeded to interview him. No doubt they wanted to find his views on 3rd world debt, globalisation, Iraq, etc.

The thing that baffles me is that the BBC actually thought that the British general public would be the slightest bit interested in anything that a person with the same name as a famous footballer had to say.

Has news has got to such a sensationalist state in this country that this is considered newsworthy?. Why would anyone be interested in somebody called Wayne Rooneys views on anything unless it was the real Wayne Rooney and he was talking about football? This guys one and only marketable asset is the fact that he has the same name as somebody else. And he didnt even have that.

The BBC quickly became disinterested when it became apparent that Wayne Rooney wasnt Wayne Rooney. Which was lucky for everybody concerned if you ask me.


Thursday, July 01, 2004

Tiger Tim

Poor Tim Henman. Not only is his holy grail slipping further and further from his grasp after being put on his backside by the Croation carpet layer i predicted 2 weeks ago, but he also has to suffer being stalked every waking Wimbledon fortnight hour by haggard WI rejects.

When all the sports stars get home to their communal house at night young Timmy must take an awful ribbing from the rest of them. Michael Vaughan will be basking in the worship of the loyal Cricketing Barmy Army, Becks; at least until last week was a King among many Football supporting men and Lawrence Dallaglio will recall his own rah, rah Rugger barmy army. Tims fans are like your Mums mad friends who have now taken to sleeping out on the pavement.

The women who are fanatical Henmanites are the women who used to scream at the Beatles and dressed up in tartan for the Bay City Rollers. Then they got all sensible, grew up, got married, had kids and went into hibernation for a few decades. Only emerging from their mid-life slumber having found Tim, and for 2 weeks of every year they turn into the tennis hypnotics, losing all sense of proportion, perspective and self awareness.

They are this ages drunken female football groupies, the girls you see sat in the front row of an England game in a pub are pretenders to their crown.

They relate and latch on to Timmy in this world of fanatical support for British sport because they see him as safe, predictable, lovely. The kind of boy you would want your daughter to bring home. He's even got inoffensive hair. Did i mention he was lovely?

Little signs are carefully constructed out of cut up newspaper letters saying 'Come on Timmy', Hen and Man are coloured onto to seperate sheets of A4 and held up religiously and Tiger appears regularly in their vocabularly.

Red, white and blue bunting is tied to heads, to backs, to feet and into mouths. Flags are chewed regularly. Jesters hats and tennis ball earrings are de riguer. They jump up and down in their Macs and make up little chants about him, their faces twisted in contorted agony as another Henman return hits the net.

And when Wimbledon is over for another year they melt back to their suburban homes, pack away the bunting, finalise the scrapbook and prepare afternoon tea whilst listening to a Daniel O'Donnell CD.

As for poor Tim. Any 30 year old Tennis player would be well within his rights to be a little worried about this obsession, but Tim will never go short on Rhubarb Crumble and chunky Cardigans.

But youve got to give him some credit. He sticks at his game and consistently achieves at least last 8 finishes at Wimbledon. He'd be considered successful if he were a football team. But failure brings heavier hits with each year that passes, and the young Tim that was only a few years away from winning Wimbledon is now peering headlong into the final straight of his career. Its now or never Tiger.

But he'll be back next year. And so will his groupies.