Monday, 31 December 2007

2007 Awards

Website of the Year:

Tough category. To win, Boingboing beat Facebook, Flickr and del.ici.ous, as well as the BBC and Guardian sites. Its combination of great content – copyright based news, hi-tech geekery, gadget reviews and great art – and an admirable principle of always acknowledging contributors pushed it to the fore. It has changed my views about ownership, the web and attribution. Without BoingBoing, I’d have never heard of Creative Commons.

Song of the Year: Fluorescent Adolescent, Arctic Monkeys

I haven’t exactly discarded all of my naughty nights for niceness, and I don’t feel like I’m in any kind of crisis, common or not. But I do have a degree of empathy with the voice of this song, being much better behaved now than I have been in the past. Killer riff too.

Film of the Year: Notes on a Scandal

A brilliant story, Judi Dench oozes _____, with an excellent supporting cast, particularly Jim Broadbent.

Book of the Year: The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly

No spoilers, I’m afraid. In my opinion, almost anything you know about a book before you start to read it could spoil it in some way.

Best Surprise: My Ghetto Blaster birthday cake – thanks Pip!

Worst Shock: Dad’s Heart Attack

I’d been in a bad mood with my dad for about eighteen months. But when I was met with the terror of maybe losing him forever that suddenly faded away. My father is exactly twice my age.

Biggest Disappointment: Glastonbury Festival

The weather was terrible, so I didn’t really push myself into making the most of the festival as a result. I tried to see too many people, and not enough bands. I don’t know if I’d go again.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Impress me job, you've got 12 days.

I've not been enjoying my job for quite a while, and I found out last week that I've got an interview for something else that I applied for. The interview is on the Thursday 17th January. I start work again on Monday December 31st. Taking into account the Bank Holiday for New Year's Day, I've got twelve working days before the interview.

If my feeling about my current job after those twelve days is overall better than worse, I'd be very surprised. If my job was in a relationship with me, this would be its last chance.

Avast antivirus has gaydar?

Saturday, 29 December 2007


Click here for a beautiful, erie set of close-ups of irises. It's called an Eyescape by Rankin, the artist who created it.

More details from Boing Boing.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Parma Ham and Grapefruit for starters, anyone?

The worst thing that happened on Christmas Day was that my mum bought the pictured massive grapefruit instead of a honeydew melon, and so the planned starter for Christmas dinner had to be reconsidered. Small beef really.

Dad spent most of the afternoon being as curmudgeonly as ever, in between bouts of dozing. The Private Eye Annual went down very well with Dad. He was about to go off on a rant about Madeline McCann's parents at one stage, which the Eye diffused.

My often runny-nosed niece Ashleigh thought that Boggle was pronouced Bogle. Sorry Ashleigh, but it's not.

Monday, 24 December 2007

What Lewis and I ate on Christmas Eve:

Breakfast: fried eggs, bacon, beans and toast. Served with a scowl by Lewis' still-grumpy mother.

Lunch: Double Whopper from Burger King in Wellingborough. A break from last-minute shopping and errands, taken on the balcony of the Swansgate.

Tea: spaghetti bolognese, reheated, with cheese. Served in a relaxed setting at the Fitzpatricks' house.

Snacks: nibbles, crisps, etc. Eaten whilst beating the Fitzpatricks at Cranium, with generous helpings of red wine.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

"I'd like six 16oz T-bone steaks, please"

"That'll be £81 exactly, please."

The Coach and Horses, Wellingborough, has been done up since I last visited (c.1992 with my dad, probably). I met up with the best of the lads from school for a steak lunch, a few beers and a catch up. We've spread out since school - with Whitehouse and Drakey in London, Ben and Lewis in Northamptonshire and James and I in the North-West - so these occasions are rare, and rightly savoured. We all had T-Bone steaks, all medium-rare.

NB: This photo is temporary, until James uploads the actual picture of our meals.

James crashed his car ten miles from Wellingborough, having driven 140 miles from Chester. He persuaded the breakdown driver to drop him off near the pub before pulling his crashed car back to Ellesmere Port. Drakey is finally close to writing up his PhD. Ben's printing company don't print Razzle Readers' Wives: Naughty Forties any more. Lewis is pissed off about being unemployed, to the extent that he was questioning the worth of his university education. Whitehouse has broken up with Rachel, but didn't much want to talk about it.

We went back to Irchester to stay with Lewis' parents. His mum was being, frankly, a bit of a dick. Yes, he was drunk. Yes, her house is lovely. No, of course she didn't want to clean up his vomit. But there was no need to be so rude. Poor lad.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Taxi Driver, Kangaroo Court

At the barbershop, a guy walked in, pulled down his hood and said,

"Can you sort this? I watched Taxi Driver last night when I was drunk."

I got back to Wellingborough, tired and hung over, and was drafted in to act as the defence lawyer at a light hearted Kangaroo Court at the rugby club. The old combination of Owen and Dave went down a storm. I'm a good sidekick.

Bank balance

Sometimes I find myself wishing that I could withdraw all of the love I'd 'deposited' with one person and cash it in with another. Think - all I gave to Liz, Sonya, Kate, Pippa - in a dish in my house, waiting for me to give it to the next one. But who will she be? And will she like the 'taste' of what I offer? I don't know.

Friday, 21 December 2007

tornado potato

tornado potato, originally uploaded by superlocal.

Yum yum!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Russian Space Age Christmas Cards

I found these via the excellent Boing Boing blog.. There are more like them at this cool site. These are my favourites.

Party plan 6.50 - 8.00 8.05

When I was at Caroline's house on Sunday, I found this party plan which belongs to my neice, Ashleigh (that's her in the picture). She's in the Brownies, and this is for her 'Hostess' badge. It's tightly regimented, as all parties should be.


Party plan 6.50 – 8.00 8.05

6.50: Arrive, take off jackets, dance to music until everybody is here

7.00: Say a speech, and everybody is thanked and told to have fun then dance again

7.15: Play pass the parcel and under and over pass the parcel

7.30: Have some food and talk with friends whilst eating food

7.40: Play musical statues and prize is mobile phone charm

7.50: Dancing competition, prize is medal certificate

8.00: Say goodbye, another speech for coming

8.05: Go home!


That's a lot of dancing and competing. Check out this bar chart.

She's eleven years old.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Who won the 57 Decorations Contest, 2007?

Of these three entries, which do you think won the contest?

Tall Trees

Tall Trees, originally uploaded by chiptooth.

Beaver House

Beaver House, originally uploaded by chiptooth.

Old Lansdowne Road

Old Lansdowne Road, originally uploaded by chiptooth.

It was a heart attack.

After the away day at work, I met Pip for a drink before she started work and my Christmas party kicked off. In Sam’s Chop House, mum called and said that dad had been moved from Kettering to Glenfield hospital in Leicester because he’d had a heart attack. It turned out that he’d had a heart attack before when he’d had chest pains on Thursday, but it wasn’t as severe as Friday. Everybody was flustered, not least me, and so the facts aren’t clear: was it two or three attacks by Friday night? Anyhow, I ditched the work party and went for a quick pint at Trof, then headed home to sleep, via the best part of a bottle of Jack.

Saturday was bitterly cold. Taking out my headphones to talk to mum on the phone meant putting two ice-cubes back into my ears afterwards. The announcer at Leicester station said, “First Class is reported to be at the back of the train,” as if he didn’t trust the information he was getting. Neither did mum, it seemed. She's seen a lot of death, having worked in so many old people's homes. She'd emphasise the "...they say he's..." in a way that - weirdly - wasn't distressing, as if she knew all the tricks in the book, so things weren't so bad. The platform announcer wouldn’t refer to St Pancras by its new name either, preferring ‘London St Pancras,’ to the shiny new ‘St Pancras International.’ Out with the new and in with the old, I thought. The sun danced on my notebook as we passed through Market Harborough. My dad, at 54, is exactly twice my age.

I saw him around six. He told me that he’d had an operation to re-inflate a collapsed artery involving a balloon. They entered the artery through his groin, and fed the balloon up with a tiny camera. He pulled his pants to one side and showed me the cut. He had black and purple inner elbows where he’d been on a drip, and holes in the tops of his hands where some monitoring device or other had been attached, but otherwise he just looked like dad in pyjamas. He was shaken, but looked well otherwise. I’d worried about seeing him looking ill, but he didn’t. The man in the bed next to him had grey skin. I was glad dad looked so normal. He said he’d be out on Tuesday.

Today I found out that he had another heart attack last night, and that he’d be in hospital for another couple of days. He’s diabetic too, my sister told me. One lager a day hereafter will be quite a downshift for him. He seems willing to make a lifestyle change, she said. He’ll have to, she said.

Everybody around me has been wonderful. Pippa, Louise, Clare, Paul, Woody, Sam, Robbie, Lewis, Julie, Tracy, Vince – my phone’s text inbox has never been crammed with good wishes. I'm still shaken though, and can barely grasp what's happening.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Lego I once owned

Technics Lego was, for two years, my favourite of the gifts I received at Christmas.

The motorbike wasn't as good as the JCB, but it was a tighter year for us then. The JCB stayed on the mantlepiece, gathering dust, for years after I'd stopped playing with it. Technics was too complicated to break down and throw in with the other Lego. I think it was still there when I left to go to Uni.

My dad's been taken into hospital with chest pains. I don't know how I feel about it. Scared, a little, and shocked.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Don't mess with Chris

Paul and I slipped in for last orders at the Lion, and decided one wasn’t enough. After 11, on the way to Fuel, we ran into YI Chris, idling his Cavalier by Subway. Paul and I played football with him about once a week for the best part of a year. My accursed knee injury is a result of a challenge I put in on Chris about three months ago, and – with me not playing – I haven’t seen much of him since. Like Rich Reason, he texts me once a week about an event, and I don’t end up going to it. We went over.

Chris was wearing a wrist support of some kind. We shoot the breeze –

“So what are you waiting here for mate?”
“Ee, well I fancied a Subway for breakfast so I thought I’d park up and wait for it to open, like.”

– and so on. He’s a funny lad. I like him. Talk of my injury, and of how I’d lost a fight to a damp towel in my own home last week, soon led to asking Chris about his arm. He said that he’d filled someone in. Was he joking?

No. He found out that his girlfriend had been cheating on him with Pires from football. On the pitch Chris wears a Middlesbrough shirt, Pires wears Arsenal, and their styles of play reflect their chosen team. Chris: hard-working powerhouse, box-to-box, all-action. Pires: a step-over here, a flick there, a stunning volley, a pass not made. Guardi thinks that Pires hogs the ball, which he does. I don’t know the dynamic of the Thursday football lads. In the car there we’d talk about football, Glastonbury or something inconsequential. Most of them know each other through University, I think, but I don’t know who likes whom and vice versa. Pires played every week, as did Chris, so I assumed that they were pretty good friends. I was stunned.

Things Chris has done since his girlfriend left him for Pires:

1 – Thrown her stuff out of his flat and changed all the locks.
2 – ‘Filled in’ Pires with a mate, injuring his wrist in the process.
3 – Discovered that what he thought was a joint credit card is actually in her name, with him as an additional cardholder, and that all liability for that card rests with her. And then he has subtly withdrawn £200 cash each day from the not-shared-after-all-actually account, up to the tune of about £2,500, and put it into his own account.
4 – Arranged a date with Pires’ (now ex-)girlfriend Danielle.

Afterwards, in Fuel, Paul asked if there was a lesson to be learned from all this. I think so. Don’t mess with Chris.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

What did Grandma get for Christmas??!!

I searched for my own surname in Flickr tags, and look what I found...

Paul broke a cup.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

xkcd meet

PICT2691.JPG, originally uploaded by Dan Bruno.

This came from the meetup for fans of the webcomic. I love the comic, as I've said before. And I love this list too.

Cheeky sign

Monday, 3 December 2007

At least 12 weeks of recycling

At least 12 weeks of recycling, originally uploaded by chiptooth.

Guiseppe Lo Conte brought that box of Foster's lager round to watch the first game of this year's RWC, back on September 7th.

and possibly even more, originally uploaded by chiptooth.

I found this on Boing Boing

and it made me grin.