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Take That China!
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Give Me Your Voice
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My Way of Losing My Mind is Quite Constructive
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Wednesday, July 31

In the response-to-gravitation-field department, I've hit a -1. This is good, since I'm back down to the -20 level. However, it's no improvement on two weeks ago... so much work to do. How about a target of -2 for next week? Let's see.

Tuesday, July 30

Classic how these email frauds fool people who should know better. Even funnier when you see them described in the cold light of day - in this article men from the North East of England are suitably deceived. The last line of the article really does it for me. The old saying a fool and his money are easily parted is so true!

Found an online CD trader I've not heard of before in the guise of Not used them yet - they seem to have an interesting range and pricing policy. I'll let you know if I ever use them.

Note to self... remember to read through the list of tag lines at Duncan's site. One-liner tastic!

Monday, July 29

An internet classic here. I remember this from about ten years ago, which is a long time in internet terms. Pooh Goes Ape Shit, not by A.A. Milne, I'm sure!

Thanks to Alistair for yet another excellent link - read about some poor sod's arguments with his girlfriend. If she's that much trouble, perhaps he should either get a saint-hood or a book on how to dump a girl and make her think it's her fault.

Fun at the garden centre... I thought I'd lost the battle of wits, when the till assistant, having emptied my trolley of everything except the chipped bark, said "I just need to get your bark" and I responded with "Well, it's worse than my bite". Instant regret... how on earth do you get out of that crap one-liner? She seemed to appreciate that I knew it was a crap line and forgave me, even suggesting that she'd never heard that before.. perhaps she had, or maybe she had not because noone else would have dared say something so crap.

However, my parting comment of "Right, now to get these home, dig them in, and see which ones die!", seemed to hit my usual cruising speed. It's a comical thing to see a middle-aged woman snorting and sniggering in a Garden Centre on a Sunday afternoon - this was the task of the lady behind me in response to my quip. Perhaps I was being too truthful, but I don't mind. I shall be watching intently to see exactly how much of my hard-earned cash turns into expensive compost in front of my very eyes over the next few months. Now I know what the tags on plants are for - they're a memento of the money you spent, for when all you have left is a patch of weeds.

Just found another mail from Mrs W. I'm not going to tell you what the Young studs she mentions in her other subject line get up to, but I have to say that I'm surprised at Grandma for putting up with it.

Just received a spam message which made me giggle. I didn't open it, but the sender/subject was enough to chortle at. The sender is Mrs. W and the subject Dirty Moles Take it up the Wazoo!... well, the mind boggles and it sounds like Mrs. W should be ashamed of herself.

Saturday, July 27

Are there any women between the ages of 25 and 35 who are both famous and attractive? It seems like this is the real no-man's land of lady-celebs at the moment. Every time I check up on a lady who I've seen on a film and thought "hello, this is someone worth stalking", she's turned out to be outside of my "have car will stalk" age range... weird.

I don't really stalk them... just research them - from a safe distance.

Okay, so the Austin Powers movie made me think of Burt Bacharach - among all the other high-profile celebs who appeared in "Goldmember". However, my biggest laugh of the day has unexpectedly come from the Burt Bacharach fan site. You'll have to visit the link to find out the comedy name they've thought of for this site... it's a beauty!

I've been trying to give myself a bit of night-time break from the computer over the last few days. Deciding not to watch TV last night, I went coastward in search of a movie and "Austin Powers in Goldmember" is what I found. Admittedly, I was just spending another night staring at a screen, but it's a different sort of screen. The film was very entertaining. Perhaps it had too much in the way of plot, when compared with the other films, or perhaps it was that I'd watched this film sober and hadn't noticed the plot in the others. It's worth watching, at the very least, for the first 10 minutes and the final song (over the credits)... as well as a completely shagadelic middle section.

Friday, July 26

Thursday, July 25

If you have a spare year then read this slanging match between ex-boyfriend and girlfriend, with a host of onlookers egging them both on. I hope that I'm the sort of person who would never act this way in the face of ending a relationship... but it's fun to read!

Wednesday, July 24

The hebdomadary visit to the massometry centre proved an aggregate gain: +1. However, taken in the grand scheme of things, that ain't bad, especially since I ate out more than once, twice or even three times this week. So, we're at -19, which is some sort of achievement, probably.

At least I'm not in Microsoft's shoes at the moment - they have trouble with language and lesbians - all the l's.

Tuesday, July 23

I found my plectrum! And I lent it to a hamster, who plays his banjo and dreams of nothing but escape.

Sooner or later in life, you have to come to terms with loss. I cannot find my upstairs plectrum anywhere... I've tried cutting some credit cards into shape, but it's not the same. Surely I won't be forced to replace it?

I have to laugh. I watched a video today of when I was quite young and in a choir. We had to sing a song which had the embarrassing refrain "Yah ba ba ba baye" in it. Don't ask why! On one single repeat of this phrase, I sang, clear as a bell (and I think I was directly in front of the microphone, so you can hear it) "Yabba Dabba Doo". You can even see it on my lips, despite the blurry picture. Once was enough. It's a joke I may have made over 10 (maybe 12) years ago, but it brought a tear to my eye.

Monday, July 22

What a day this has been. I heard a fantastic Frank Sinatra song today - at least he was singing it, it was a Rodgers and Hart number I Wish I Were in Love Again... exceedingly cynical.

I went for a walk in Tynemouth this evening and then a drive along the coast, seeing St Mary's Lighthouse with its floodlights. You were able to find a picture of this lighthouse adorning Mal's site, but he's now gone for some excellent wind-powered electricity generators.

I had a wealth of parcels delivered in my absence during this weekend (officially known as the "Weekend of Joy, 2"), including a CD from Streetsonline, who have decided to send me my discs as soon as they have them individually, despite only having charged me a flat rate of £1 for my entire order's delivery, and having charged me next to nothing for each disc in the first place. Bargain! Plus, I found a package from Cotton Traders, who had decided to give me a free holdall along with my three shirts. Nice one guys - you should have mentioned it when I ordered, it might have given me more of an incentive to buy... or is it one of those secret gifts that you give for the sake of altruism, rather than to attract more custom? Either way, it's good!

I've had a haircut, walked round Newcastle a bit, done some shopping, performed various laundry duties and cooking... if this is a day off, then I'm looking forward to the zen-like calm of going back to work tomorrow!

Saturday, July 20

Very naughty behaviour today in the massography department... but I can't resist temptation when it's so cheap. Still, I shall try to be more careful in future.

"Out" won the "shirt in/out" competition - so now I shall be hiding behind a swathe of flowing material. With a bit of luck, this will allow me to further my aims of being able to offer hot air balloon rides to strangers - they'll think my shirt is the ballon and my trousers some sort of basket or riding device.

Friday, July 19

Pretending to be French... what a fantastic way to both take the piss and also spread some pseudo-european joy. ;)

Thursday, July 18

My hebdomadal massogram became octo-diurnal... however, the results are in and it's -4 this week, total so far = -20. Way to go me! I plan for -1 next week, though 0 would be good; I detect a stout weekend's intake ahead.

The quiz... why we ("The Shining Wits") won it, of course!

Wednesday, July 17

Excitement!!! I've booked my accommodations, I'm really going! Woohoo!

The strike that has also affected my parking, has prevented my hebdomadal massogram from being performed. Therefore I am five pounds lighter (sterling)... I accidentally bought a Peter Sellers film on sale in Woolworths.

Tuesday, July 16

Next time I want a tropical holiday, I'm going to spend it in my bathroom! Boy is it hot in there. I could spray a bit of water around to get the humidity up and I would be laughing. Sure it's a bit closed in in there, but there's a fridge full of beer within easy reach and I can relax in the cool atmosphere of the hall between bouts of sweating.

"I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it."
---Groucho Marx

I love Marxism!

Don't get swallowed by a mountain of credit card debt... revel in it.

Monday, July 15

I was impressed when I read about a Mr Andrew Goodwill's lone crusade against credit card fraud. Less so when I saw his website URL - - surely it should be Or is it about things of you that have been nicked?

Quick joke I thought of in the sandwich shop:

A man goes to a Greek restaurant and asks the waiter for a salad. The waiter asks him whether he'd like some nice Greek cheese in the salad and the man replies - "No thanks, I prefer my salad unfettered".

It's quite satisfying, after having rhubarb in the garden for 3 years, finally to have reached a stage where it can be harvested. I have harvested all 8 ounces of the stuff, stewed it, added it to apples and made it into a crumble. Just call me Mrs Beeton!

On the domestic deity front, can I issue today's ironing awards? Of course I can! So, top of the "things I'd most like to iron" hit parade, we have <drum roll> The Pillow Case. It's rectangular, small enough to handle and just, basically, gorgeous. And, top of the "things I'd most like to work out how to iron without getting depressed" hall of shame, we have <sound of an old man coughing> The fitted sheet. That little blighter... it changes shape as you go alone and has built in wrinkles!

Sunday, July 14

I lied about being invigorated by the gardening - I'm exhausted and my bum hurts!

Yes, computers have stolen my mind - I have been doing some major-league gardening today and, when talking to my neighbours about it, I referred to the need to go out and buy things to "plug in". My neighbours, thinking I was going to do something clever, asked what this would entail. I replied "You know, with the plants... er, plugging them into the ground... what's that called? Ah yes, planting!".

Mother earth is not a motherboard! D'oh!

However on the up side, the stint in the garden, in the nice sun, with the radio and a reasonable amount of effort, has both invigorated me and made the garden a much better place. Maybe I will see what the garden centre has to offer.

Friday, July 12

At some point, I hope to start writing longer articles again. However, I really cannot be bothered - I'm working too hard and I'm simply too tired to do it.

However, since I just sat down and watched Blues Brothers 2000, I thought I'd offer my opinion via this weblog.

Those people who have seen the first film will think that its character and quality could not be equalled, nor perhaps should be equalled. Most people I know, who have seen Blues Brothers, think it is a fantastic, unique film. How can there be a sequel that is not an embarrassment to watch? It is for this reason that I watched Blues Brothers 2000, which I now own on a double-DVD with the original Blues Brothers, before I re-watched the first film. I have not seen anything of the Blues Brothers in quite a few years, so was able to stop myself making too many comparisons.

However, you cannot help but make comparisons. If I described a film that is full of Blues musicians, has a huge-scale car-crash stunt, has something of the road-movie feel to it, is filled with comedy, and surreal, physics-defying scenes, you would think I was describing the first Blues Brothers movie. Well, the second movie takes the same elements and does them bigger. I'm not saying that it does a better job, since the original film had its impact in the fact that it was the first to do that sort of thing. However, as a Blues Brothers fan, I was not disappointed. Indeed, once you get into the film, it's very entertaining indeed.

I was concerned about the fact that there's a kid in the cast. This didn't seem to match the style of the film and looked like an audience puller, rather than an important way to make more of the film. In fact, the child actor performs well - he's not overused and when he struts his stuff, it's inspiring.

I seem to remember that the first film contained a record 37-car pile up. This new film has an absolutely hilarious 50-car pile up in it. The stunt makers found it a privilege to do, I found it an honour to watch - never before have car crash scenes been so ludicrously funny.

But the real tour de force comes from the sheer number of high-profile musicians who wanted to be in the blues supergroup that performs in the finale of the film (and throughout the film). I'll quote some of the cast - B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Bo Diddly, Dr John, Isaac Hayes (hey children!), Aretha (again) Franklin, James Brown (why he had virtually nothing to sing amazed me), The Blues Brothers band (a good group in themselves), Steve Winwood... the list goes on.

I still believe that the Blues Brothers would have been quite complete if there had not been a second film, but watching the second film is quite the opposite of the embarrassment I thought it would turn out to be. Just don't watch it back to back with the original!

Plagiarise, plagiarise. Let no-one else's work evade your eyes

Of course, I didn't write the above myself... it was Tom Lehrer. However, he's absolutely right - you can solve 90% of software problems by following that simple principle.

Thursday, July 11

I should probably review Minority Report in the reviews section of this site. Perhaps I will. However, for now let me agree with much of Matt's comments on Frownland - the film did wrap up too well; if it had stopped about 2 minutes sooner, panning away from the rooftop scene with the end narration, I would have been happier. Some of the final images were too playskool happy ending for me. I did enjoy the movie overall, and found some of the dialogue to be exceedingly amusing. Top tip: get an old person to swear on film, it works like a charm.

I think I nearly got the twists in the plot; for those who haven't seen it, I don't think I'll be spoiling too much if I say that I hadn't seen it coming when Tom Cruise's character turned out really to be a woman from 90 years in the past.

I know I've not written any articles of substance for a while - there's a good reason for this, but I'm not going to bog you all down with it. However, looking back a year, we see a classic backlash - the incident with Tesco and a slug infested salad proved to be a good source of bile.

It seems odd that a big hulking fellow such as I would choose to walk a West Highland terrier. However, I have an excuse - I'm not in a position to own a dog, where my next door neighbours are; it is their dog, which they seldom are able to take for long walks, that I am able to choose a company for my two hour treks around Newcastle, and I'm glad of his help in training my legs to move me around.

Perhaps West Highland terriers are often found in the centre of odd behaviour. Take this website, for a Westie called Oskar, as a prime example. Surely you would find it very strange to think that a Romanian dog-owner needs to spend time making a home page for their mutt? Well, perhaps. However, there was a perfect explanation for this owner setting the site up. They wanted to find a mate for Oskar, who didn't get on with the local female doggies. Apparently, Oskar is now a happily married dog and it's all thanks to the 'net.

... and they're so white and fluffy!

Wednesday, July 10

Okay, so I've managed to counterbalance last week's +2 with this week's -2. Not quite what I wanted, but good enough. Next week, the target is another -2, and the total so far is -16.

It's not normal for someone in my position to be sitting in such fearful anticipation of a trip to the weighhouse.

Very odd - just searched google for Charity Bungy Jump UK and got a hit on the front page for my own site - I wasn't expecting it.

Perhaps I should not have overdone it when I extolled the virtues of the Windows CD player, and its new online music database. Look what it's done to one of my CD's - the very wonderful double-CD of Saint-Saens music on the Deutsche Grammophon label, which I recently acquired:

The printer in the sandwich shop - "CB's" - is still working. Phew. When I offered to fix the computer for them, I wasn't sure if I would do more harm than good. Luckily the problem was apparent from when I turned the machine on - somehow the printer port had become disabled and needed reenabling - a job that takes seconds. I then installed the printer driver and it was basically done. They left me in their plush downstairs kitchen (you can always tell a lot about a place from its kitchen) to get on with the task on my own. I enjoyed the chance to produce a comedy test print, which read:

I went downstairs at CB's and all I got was this lousy printout

Well, I thought it was funny.

Tuesday, July 9

Saw the Shipman dramatisation on ITV just now. Not bad - I've never seen James Bolam play a dark role before - I remember him from comedy programmes and the enigmatic Beiderbecke Series. Actually, for an ITV drama it was done quite well and their 20 minute break for the news was an ideal moment to do the washing up and make a frothy coffee - frothy from milk, not soap suds.

Having been reminded of the John Prescott punch up, it was a pleasure to find a game of it on the internet.

Monday, July 8

You cannot put a price on friendship... unless the friend is an international telephone call away, in which case there's a definite bill on its way.

As I reported last Sunday, I had ironed 9 shirts, thus doubling my shirt-ironing-total. Well, last night I ironed a further 18 (though some had been washed since the previous week and were being ironed again). Essentially, I've doubled again the number of shirts that I have ironed. This trend cannot continue for too much longer before the house will be full of shirts.

Saturday, July 6

If something seems impossible to take, beyond the extremites of your very soul, ask yourself the question - "What if?" - what if you can deal with the inconceivable? What if you can do it well? Then you must imagine where you would be if you had been able to cope. From that leap of imagination, just work back through the steps you would need to take to get there. Take the first step, then look at what you have done and say those words which I have printed on a piece of paper and stuck to the top of my computer screen - "It's that easy".

Friday, July 5

I have pondered what people search the internet for. The webstats for this site shows some dubious search strings. Why anyone might be looking for "erotic child position" is beyond me - how they managed to find a page on my site was briefly disturbing... until I found the article they hit, a comment on the insanity that hit the media around this time last year.

Am I the only person in the world that likes Windows 2000's default CD player? Every time I install any other form of multimedia player on my computer, it tries to forcibly kill CD Player and it's irritating me. I don't want a CD player which wastes computing time by showing me pretty pictures while I'm listening to discs - I just want to be able to start, pause and stop my discs (perhaps switching track every so often) - I quite like to see the name of the track I'm listening to, and with the fix for the Windows CD Player online music database, this is also possible. Why do we need bells and whistles? and why does nobody ask me if I want my CD player ousted from its position of principal player of CDs?

The 12 string is excellent for song writing. This instrument suggests chords and notes to try - it just knows!. Alternatively, it's possible that the extra harmonics it gives me are enough to get through my unmusical skull to the vague abilities which I have hidden somewhere. Either way, it would be fair to say that the last three days' ownership of my new guitar have been an education - I've even put a tune to the song, whose lyrics I wrote on a train last month.

Thursday, July 4

What was it about English homework that gave me writer's block as a child? We had to write 400 word essays. 400 words - that's nothing! A single side of A4 or so. I remember counting the words in a letter I'd written to some girl and being quite impressed that I'd beaten the 400 word mark. But now read any article on backlash and you'll realise that a high word count is no problem - indeed, I wrote a couple of thousand words last night for something I'm working on and I barely even noticed it.

The same can be said for giving a speech - you think that five minutes would be a hard timespan to fill in a debate, especially since you're expected to compose your thoughts on the hoof. However, get up there and try it, and you can sometimes find that it's quite hard to keep it as short as five minutes.

Or perhaps I'm just a verbose son of a *****

...and you wake up and wonder "Is this it?" and whether life's meant to be like this - it's certainly not like that in books or on films - and you wonder if everyone else is asking the same question, or if they simply know a secret that has eluded you. Then you take a look in the mirror and ask "Is that really me?" and wonder if anyone else sees you the same way or if it's just the mirror. Then, you must look yourself in the eyes and say "This day could be the best day of my life".

Wednesday, July 3

Saw Spiderman. Pretty good film - not dissimilar in execution to Batman and it is not surprising that they have a score by the same wonderful composer, one Mr Danny Elfman (also composer of the theme to the Simpsons). Worth seeing the film, if only for the rainy scenes.

Although one of my favourite CD emporiums, CD-Wow has the disc of the Spiderman soundtrack, I will not be buying it: a) it is mainly songs that were never/barely featured in the film, and b) it will not play on PC CD-Rom. I listen to all my CDs using the CD Rom drive in my PC at work - I'm not going to buy a CD player for there just to satisfy a record company - so they've lost a sale!

Disaster!!! Today is +1.3, which we must count as +2, or it gets very confusing! Gives us a total of -14, which is good, but not what I was hoping for. So next week, the target is -3. Let's see if I can get even close.

Tuesday, July 2

The very wonderful Framley Examiner is an ideal read for lunchtime spitting-out-of-coffee-in-amusement.

Or for childish fun, try this link... though it may disturb and even offend; I have NOTHING whatsoever to do with it!

Bought a 12 string guitar today and found myself in contact with an old friend again, after over 6 years. I'll not say which is the most valuable to me... you might cry!

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