Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Proof you can blog about anything...

Suffering from the usual mid-week bloggers block this evening, I was inspired to see my Mother in the kitchen wrestling with an trapezoidal chunk of steel whilst attempting to prepare Dad's pack-up for tomorrow. Then the thought hit me - what the hell is corned beef anyway?

I'll happily confess that I love it and have been eating the stuff ever since I was a kid (well, not consistently, but you know what I mean) and not once have I ever bothered to stop and wonder exactly what corned beef consists of. Is it a bovine equivalent of corn fed chicken? How exactly do you treat beef with corn? How do they get it to turn the same colour as your legs do when you sit in front of the coal fire for too long?

Just in case you were interested (ok, not likely), I've discovered this evening that it refers to cured beef; originally rubbed with pellets of salt (alledgedly the approximate size of corn kernels) in order to preserve it. These days, they choose to use brine rather than dry salt, so effectively, what you are buying is a tin of pickled beef. Hmm, suddenly not so appetizing eh?

Then of course there is the pre-war tin design that they still insist on merchandising the stuff in. How many times have you got home from the supermarket to find the key has fallen off the bottom of the tin? I am famous for hoarding rubbish, but would never dream of keeping a spare key "just in case". Worst still when you've got the key, just got the little band started and it snaps. Now how the hell do you get into it now? Having said that, even with the fully functioning container (which you always seem to have to pierce at one end in order to release the contents), once emptied it becomes the sort of weapon that any self respecting ninja would be proud of. The last DTI stats I could find at short notice were from 1994 when there were a staggering 9216 injuries caused by people opening corned beef tins. Assuming we spend 8 hours per day either sleeping or in another non-corned-beef-related activity, that's one accident every 38 minutes. Apparently, there are a few companies selling ring-pull cans now, but why not all of them?

My main fondness for corned beef is that it always reminds me of an amusing incident during my shelf filling days as a youth in our local Presto supermarket. Busy topping up some display or other, I was stopped by an elderly lady who asked whether we sold corned beef. With my most customer-focused head on, I left what I was doing and accompanied her to the tinned meat section where we had a fine selection on display. "Oh no", she said, "I can't eat any of that tinned rubbish - I like to buy mine fresh from the Deli counter..."

Monday, March 28, 2005

It's about time...

I've been trying to find a way to crowbar a link in to The Human Clock since I stumbled across it a few weeks ago. They always say that the best ideas are the simple ones and this struck me as a typical example of "I wish I'd thought of that first".

While I'm shamelessly linking to recent finds, I frequently find these graphics on blogs stating what percentage of good or evil they are supposed to be, apparently based on various text patterns within your blog content. Well, I've tried to be fairly honest since I started this blog and although have been prone to the occasional rant, I think I've had some good things to say along the way too. The verdict?
This site is certified 71% GOOD by the Gematriculator This site is certified 29% EVIL by the Gematriculator
Well it could have been a lot worse.

Like a lot of you, I spend a lot of time sat here waiting for my pages to load and have often wondered if there was an effective way of speeding things up. Seems like these guys have found it.

There are many people over the years who have questioned my ability in picking up the members of our fairer sex and of course, I couldn't possibly comment. However, here is someone who made me feel a bit better about my recent level of achievement.

The next site is from our friends across the pond and is another that has apparently been around for a while, but it made me think twice about credit card security over here. A variety of credit card companies have battled against one another over the years touting for my business, but fortunately, I hardly ever use the things. Having read about this prank, perhaps it's just as well. Or, perhaps it would be fun to play?

Finally, in the bottom left of the site you will see I have been busy establishing my official link whore status by signing up to any web-ring or directory that I thought might be interested. Unfortunately however, if I'm really going to get these hit counts up there is no real substitute for original content...

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Another ambition realised...

Nothing to do with alcohol this time, (although by 1 o'clock this morning, I had occupied 24 of the previous 36 hours in the consumption of some intoxicating beverage or other, but perhaps that's more to be pitied than admired)

Little Sis decided a short time ago that she was going to give up her current job and fulfil a lifetime ambition by training to be a teacher. With her interview only a matter of weeks away, her PC has decided to play silly buggers (as they are want to do when you need them most) and unfortunately, the most convenient access to the internet she can get at present is through the TV. Apparently the service is very basic, and although I'm not sure whether I should name the company in question, you could probably guess it by their iNiTiaLs.

Just as an aside, doesn't it really annoy you when people type like that all of the time? No, just me again? OK.

Anyway, there is about a 6-8 week waiting list for the keyboards compatible with their set-top box, by which time, she's hoping her PC will be back from Santa's workshop, so she's struggling on using their on-screen keyboard. If you've never had the pleasure, this basically involves navigating your way around the on-screen keyboard using the arrow keys on the remote control, entering one character at a time and having to toggle between different screens to achieve shift, control, numeric keys, etc. Hardly economical on time. To add to the fun, apparently they don't have an address bar detailing the page you're reading, neither do they have an effective back button. Other than that, you'd never know the difference.

Now I know that this isn't really what Blogger was designed for, but I thought, why not create one web page with links to all of her most frequently accessed sites to save a load of time? At least it's a more genuine use than those really annoying ones that repeat the same paragraph time and time again, explaining how "If you're looking for life insurance/investment opportunities/Mercedes lease agreements/prom dresses/bestiality for beginners accessories, then you've come to the right site". Now they really irritate me. I eagerly await the day when Blogger finds a way of tracking these sites down and deleting them, clearing heap loads of cyberspace for those of us that use it a bit more responsibly. Back to the case in point, I threw this page together and although it took me several minutes, hopefully it will save her several hours.

Little Sis is obviously delighted with the results as I found this waiting for me when I eventually surfaced this morning. Quite a surprise seeing as she lives over 250 miles away. Of course I was genuinely touched by the gesture, but also in my naive little world this is tantamount to payment in return, which means that after a career spanning several months, I'm now a professional website designer. How cool is that...

Friday, March 25, 2005

Normal service has been resumed...

I'm pleased to report that Wednesday evening's incident was obviously a one-off and last night's capacity was back to the usual ridiculous standards, although I didn't quite manage to stay long enough to hear the time bell ring. Still, there's all weekend to get back into training.

So Easter is upon us and I ought to have found something topical to blog about. Kiddies minds will be filled with thoughts of chocolate, Mums will be busy planning the for a traditional roast dinner for Sunday, whilst Dads (and in my case, uncles) minds will be filled with thoughts of chicks and bunnies.

The more righteous amongst us will also be partaking in religious celebrations. As one of my uncles once famously said "Why do they have to bring religion into everything?"

Whatever your preference, I hope you have a very enjoyable Easter.

In the meantime, in the words of Scaryduck, "One way ticket to hell please..."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

They said it couldn't be done... I didn't bother trying.

No seriously, tonight, I think I may have made personal history. The strangest thing happened - I got home from work, rather later than usual, parked up the car, exchanged a few words with the folks at home, nipped out to the Tap for a pint, went home and ate tea, spent an hour or so tidying round and sorting things out for tomorrow, then turned in for an early night.

Anybody who doesn't know me that well may struggle to spot the historic event amongst those. I often work late, I am generally a creature of routine so frequently keep things tidy and organised, in advance where possible and if I've been busy at work, it's not unusual for me to get an early night. "Nipped out to the Tap", hardly a historic occasion*, "for a pint, went home", I'm sorry, that is hitherto unheard of. Stopping for one pint when there were the usual friendly regulars at the bar, I had enough cash on me to indulge further should I have chosen, or to have had a bite to eat in there. No, for some reason, I decided that I would leave after just the one - hmm, most disturbing.

On the brighter side, we have a long weekend approaching and apparently this week, Thursday is the new Friday. I've a few things planned so I'll try and find the opportunity to make amends...

* gramatically correct or otherwise "an historic" never sounds right to me, even if they do say it on the BBC...

Monday, March 21, 2005

Beginner's luck...

(I said I'd post something Lisa...)

Had a great time out this evening with Steve, Lisa and Daniel at the Cleethorpes Bowl. I would have usually posted a link at this point but they don't appear to have a website, so imagine the Hollywood Bowl, reduce it to a fraction of the size, remove any "auditorium type stuff" and replace it with 16 ten pin bowling lanes, a bar, a cafe and there you go.

I don't really go in for the competitive thing (ask anyone who was in our 2003/4 Tap pool team) so I wasn't at all surprised to score lowest in the first game. I was, however, astounded to win the second one. Although at a staggering 162 points, I suspect that the day-job isn't under significant threat.

As promised I will now confirm in writing that it is only the 3rd time I have ever played.

So now you know it must be true - you've read it on the internet...

It was only 4 days...

I'm sitting here this morning, full of guilt and like so many other bloggers seem to do, I'm trying to cobble together an apology for my absence. I could take the old "it wasn't you, it was me, I just needed a bit of space" approach, but that's not really original any more.

Why should I feel guilty anyway? Who said that I have to post something every day? For my part, I think it's because I've become a bit stats obsessed ever since I passed my first 1000 mark. I don't think a day goes by when I don't take a sneaky peak to see how many people have dropped by. It's only three weeks since I passed that landmark but I see we're already well on the way towards the next one. Even more intriguing are the locations that you all surf in from. It seems that Hitmaps and Extreme Tracking Geo information are a little out of sync but they usually fall back into line before too long and I'm amazed at how widespread the reader base is. I didn't have to pay too many foreign friends or relatives to get these results either. You may also notice an increasing number of little icons appearing in the bottom left hand corner in a shameless attempt to attract more people to drop by and wade through this rubbish.

Anyway, it's not like I haven't been around the place. I have done a little tidying up and moved almost all of my picture sources as part of the whole anonymity thing. I've also replied to a few comments and left a few amongst my favourite bloggers.

You all knew where I was if you needed me anyway. If you think back - Paddys Day, Friday night, last day of the Six Nations, what else was I likely to be doing on such occasions? However, in the interest of disrupting my predictable behaviour I ordered one of these yesterday. What was I thinking of? If things work out well over the first few weeks, I might get the treadmill aswell. Alright, I know, obvious comment, there I go being predictable again.

Anyway, it's 5:15 in the morning and now I feel that I've now atoned for my heinous crime, I'm off back to bed...

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

What's in a name...

I know it sounds petty but it always irritates me whenever I need to give my name (e.g. checking into a hotel, or confirming information over the phone) and I have to spell out my first name out to people and clarify that my surname is without an "e".

Worse still when people just guess. If someone's writing trying sell me something, they should do themselves a favour and not piss me off before I open the envelope. Or, if someone knows me well enough to send a Christmas or birthday card, you'd think they would know how to spell my name. I have obviously made more of a point of it at times than I had realised as in recent years, I have become known in our local as "No E".

It could have been much worse, for example look at some of the poor people listed here. What are some parents thinking of when they are chosing names?

In defense of my folks, I was named after my Dad's brother John and rather than directly copying his name, they chose the Irish spelling. Which very tenuously provides me with just the excuse I need every March the 17th to celebrate Paddy's Day.

I suspect that tomorrow will be no exception although during the day I will have little opportunity to pay tribute beyond listening to Terry Wogan on the way to work. On returning home it will straight into the Tap for a few pints of the black stuff (and possibly a couple of smaller beverages of the Irish variety, which strangely enough do have an additional "e"). Should my eyesight still be functioning when I return home, I will no doubt perch in front of the PC and catch up with the latest on the Twenty Major and Emerald Bile blogs.

Not the wildest of tributes perhaps but I like to make a contribution. So,

Happy St Patrick's Day!

as I probably won't be in a fit state to post tomorrow...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

And now the regional news...

From time to time, I like to check out the latest amusing news stories on the Ananova site, firstly, because there's some good laughs to be had and secondly because I can usually dig up some fodder to beat the "bloggers block" when it rears its head from time to time.

However, I was more than a little disturbed to find a recurring theme to many of the stories reported within the last month:

We should be all be grateful for at least one thing we've learnt from our parents, but this is quite a unique one

A lesson learnt here for someone trying just that little too much to impress his other half

"With this ring, I thee ..."

"Boss, is this a good time to discuss my payrise?"

"Nevermind Sweetheart, accidents happen..."

"When you've gotta go..."

At least in the midst of all this madness involving peoples nether regions, I was relieved to hear that at least this woman has a sensible approach as to how to protest against increasing street violence. I wonder if she has any idea how bad the streets of Grimsby are getting? She may even want to encourage a few friends to join a mass protest...

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Lazy weekend...

I know I promised there'd be no more, but I thought these two were original:

You are .mpg You live life like it was a movie.  Constantly in motion, you bring pleasure to many, but are often hidden away.
Which File Extension are You?

You are Palm OS. Punctual, straightforward and very useful.  Your mother wants you to do more with your life like your cousin Wince, but you're happy with who you are.
Which OS are You?

It's been a really relaxed weekend with plenty of sleep, drinking beer and watching England finally win a match in the Six Nations. What better way to finish it off than with a bit of lazy blogging...

Thursday, March 10, 2005

It's good to talk...

I can't pretend to understand the current obsession with mobile phones and the people who seem to change them every week or so. I honestly thought that I had been as guilty as most as I can remember every model I've owned, but for 6 years, the list doesn't actually seem so excessive:

Motorola C520 - I wanted a mobile phone
Ericsson A1018S - it was a freebie and I could create my own ringtones
Ericsson T20S - I wanted a flip phone
Motorola V70 - no excuses, it was just something different
Sony Ericsson P800 - "toys for boys" 'n all that

I have had a P800 for a couple of years now and aside from being a bit bulky, it has enough gadgets and features to keep me out of mischief for a while yet.

In fact, before it appears on the comments page, I have owned two P800's but the first met with an untimely end following an unfortunate incident involving one of the toilets in the Tap. Strange, to this day, I can't even remember eating it.

However, the crime I am most guilty of now is that I cannot leave the house without it. For well over 30 years I survived without the need to carry a permanent comunications device but now it seems to have become an additional limb. I have seriously considered turning back after several miles from my way to work because I've suddenly realised my phone is still at home.

You would think that someone would invent a public telephone, possibly coin operated or something to help me deal with this angst...

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Day 68 and counting...

Apparently today was National No Smoking Day and to be honest, I'm a bit pissed off at the lack of publicity this year, as it seems that in my 20 previous years as smoker I was made to feel like a leper for the day.

Of course, deep down I don't really give a damn as I'm into my 3rd month off the weed now and so far, show no signs of cracking.

If you're looking for encouragement or inspiration, all I can suggest is give it a go. You may just get lucky and find it as easy as I have (so far). What have you got to lose?

I wonder whether Red Nose Day this Friday is some sort of subliminal attempt at warding me off the beer? I wish them luck with that one...

Just out for a couple...

Anybody who knows me outside of the blogosphere knows that the above words emitted from my mouth are tantmount to absolute tosh.

Case in point: having returned from a really enjoyable weekend doing the Mothers Day thing and catching up with the family, we returned on Sunday night to find our local somewhat quieter than usual. Amazingly, I opted for the early night rather than the stay out until 5 minutes before closing on the off-chance that someone who I may have spoken to briefly once would enter the premises and in so doing, justify my existence there.

Monday, I chose to relax for the day until about 3:00pm when I thought I would just pop out to the pub to see who was in. Honestly, it was a genuine intention to drop in, have a couple of pints, catch up with the weekend's events and then clear off early in accordance with the schoolnight rule having to get to work the next morning.

But, there's always something isn't there. In this particular case, Dave and Dom were set to hit the town on a long overdue swilling session to celebrate Dave and Rose's forthcoming wedding. Honestly, it wasn't a stag night, but I was told that I had to go, refusal was not an option and it was going to be a session to end all sessions. Once again, anybody who knows me will acknowledge that I am famous for staying rooted to the bar of my local and never straying elsewhere, but what the hell, this was a special occasion and I wasn't about to let it pass. I will spare the blow by blow details, but for anyone familiar with the area, the itinerary went roughly as follows:

Tap & Spile (2)
The Litten Tree
The Melt Bar
[Taxi into Cleethorpes]
The No. 1
The No. 2
(N.B. the above two refer to drinking establishments rather than bodily functions)
Seaway Chippy for large cod, chips & peas
The Notts
The Queens (from which point we opted for large spirits rather than pints)
The Fish
The Smugglers
Kings Royal (3)
[Taxi back to Grimsby]
Lloyds No. 1, The Ice Barque

...after which point the beer fairies collected us all at ten minute intervals and deposited us in our respective homes with none of us any the wiser as to how we got there.

Miraculously, I still made it to work the following morning, but perhaps it offers somewhat of an excuse for my lack of postings over the last couple of days.

If that wasn't the stag night, I sure hope it wasn't a warm up...

Friday, March 04, 2005

Mum's the word...

Well I've found something to blog about every day for the past week, but I'm taking a break now for a couple of days as I'm away for the weekend.

This year, I've decided that instead of the usual flowers, meal and goodies I'm taking Mum away for the weekend to spend a couple of days "darn sarf" chez Little Sis. I thought it a much more appropriate gift to afford her the chance to spend the day with both of her "children", but probably more importantly in her eyes, both of her grandchildren too. I must admit, I'm quite looking forward to it myself.

So there you have it - no rants, no crap poetry, no corny humour, no lousy puns (sorry Woja), just genuine sentiment.

Happy Mothers Day to all of you Mums out there this Sunday...

Thursday, March 03, 2005

On a similar theme...

Today I wanted
To write a funny Haiku
But can't be bothered...

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Higgledy Piggledy...

Following the unbelievable [lack of] interest in my previous limerick post, I've decided today's inspiration will be "heavily influenced" by the numerous comments contributed to Anna's second post on 26th January.

So how about double dactyls? For those unsure of the structure (and that included me until 25th January), Roger L. Robison summarises:


Long-short-short, long-short-short
Dactyls in dimeter
Verse form with choriambs
(Masculine rhyme)

One sentence (two stanzas)
Challenges poets who
Don't have the time

Or for a fuller explanation check here. So here goes my attempt then:

Bliggety Bloggety
Seany O'Seany-C
Discovered poems at
Which he's inept

Such insecurity,
Kept him up blogging while
He should have slept

I thank you...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

There once was a poet from Grimsby...

Well clearly it wasn't me, I wasn't born here and I can think of nothing to rhyme my second and fifth lines with.

But, on the subject of limericks (crowbarred that in nicely) I've noticed tonight that Limerick Savant's blog has been quiet for the last couple of weeks, which is a shame as I often look in for a chuckle.

I did take the opportunity to follow one of his referrers links though which came from Wikipedia and along with the expected potted history, there were some great examples of this fine poetic form ranging from :

The limerick packs laughs anatomical
Into space that is quite economical
But the good ones I've seen
So seldom are clean
And the clean ones so seldom are comical

to the very silly:

There once was a lady from Bude
Who went for a swim in the lake
A man in a punt
Stuck an oar in her ear
And said "You can't swim here it's private"

and even sillier:

There was a young bard from Japan
Whose limericks never would scan
When asked why this was
He said "It's because
I always try and get as many words in the last line as I possibly can"

You can guess what's coming next.
OK, if you can do better, lets see something in the comments box!

So there once was a blogger called Seany
And despite how his friends would all warn, he
Could barely succeed
To get people to read
Cos' his humour's so terribly corny...