Friday, April 29, 2005

Beware the teddies...

Read here and here for details, courtesy of Woja.

You have been warned...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Here comes summer...

This coming weekend marks the pagan Beltane holiday and is their way of celebrating the arrival of summer.

(Un)surprisingly enough, it is also a time of year when we have chosen to celebrate every year, firstly due it (almost) coinciding with the birthdays of my Dad and my old schoolmate Rob, but secondly because it is the time of the Annual Cleethorpes Beer Festival.

It used to be hosted by CAMRA until a few years ago, before they stopped for a while, changed venue and then deferred the event to September. Fortunately, the Grimsby & Cleethorpes Lions Club took the reigns and started holding their own beer festival every May Day weekend instead.

This year - who knows? It seems to be shrouded in mystery. With only two days to go before the traditional Friday opening, I have yet to see anything advertised. Relentless in my pursuits however, I have discovered after much surfing that it is actually scheduled for Friday 29th to Sunday 1st, with over 50 beers and ciders and a jazz band each evening. The North East Lincs Council website claims "this is one not to be missed" so perhaps it might have helped if they had advertised it a bit more widely and confirmed some opening times on their site, as we usually prefer to attend the Saturday afternoon sessions.

I am full of praise for the Lions Club and commend their efforts to keep the tradition alive, but am equally unsurprised at the NELC who are famous in local parts for their ability to organise a piss up...

Monday, April 25, 2005

Commuting monotony...

By means of passing the time on my daily commute I am slowly running out of ideas for things to spot having found numerous bridges, rivers, churches, villages, speed cameras, maniacal car drivers, lonely HGV drivers who travel in pairs side by side for miles and of course, magpies.

My latest targets are slogans on vehicles, by which I mean real ones, not "Also available in white"or "I wish my wife was this dirty". My only criteria is that they have to show a bit more imagination than "Bert's Fresh Grimsby Fish". Two of my current favourites are:

Business Express (carriers)
"A promise means nothing until it's delivered"

Atlet Ltd (fork lifts)
"The best trucks in the British aisles"

Until I see any better examples, I guess I'll settle for watching where the hell I'm going...

Search results...

I must confess that I frequently keep an eye on the main search engines, just to see how easily this blog can be found, a case of blog-ego I guess.

As of today, a Google search for "Seany" places me second in the results, whereas searching for "Seany blog" not only links to me from the first result, but so do all but one of the others on the first page.

I also look out for the searches that lead people here. Plenty for "Seany" as you would expect, there's quite a bit of interest in magpie rhymes, but rather disturbingly this weekend, people have arrived here looking for pictures and videos of a certain athlete "taking an unexpected break" during the London marathon - all I did was rant about it.

Although depending on what you believe, I suppose that was a no.1 or no.2 posting of a different variety...

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Cheers George...

Yesterday was St George's Day and yet again, it seemed to pass almost without mention in the media, hardly any local events organised in his honour and still no sign of a national holiday (not that I'm bothered about the holiday thing because my latest contract states that I am required to work "if there is a business need")

Well I wasn't going to let it pass without tribute so I nipped out to the local Sports Soccer store and bagged a couple of bargain England shirts. The first one being the new football shirt and the second a generic rugby shirt. Why the bargain? Well the football shirt was £32 (not particularly cheap), but came with a £5 voucher off your next purchase. The rugby shirt was on a clearance rack for £5.99 so effectively, I got it for just 99p!

As for the rest of the day, rather unsurprisingly, it was spent in the homely environment of our traditional English local, enjoyed a traditional lunch of Cumberland Sausage, washed down with several pints of traditional English ale and we even indulged in a few gin & tonics as it was the only traditionally English drink I could think of other than tea.

Pretty much like any other Saturday then...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

What a resource...

Even though I have been using the internet for many years now (and must confess it was a great contributor towards my Management Diploma research), I am still astounded sometimes at the wealth of information out there and the ease at which it can be found.

Case in point, I was taking a shower a while ago and a tune entered in my head for no apparent reason. The more I started humming the tune to myself, the harder it became to recall what it was. It was something to do with an aboriginal lullaby I heard years ago on a Rolf Harris show whilst he created one of his "can you tell what it is yet" pieces. Suddenly, I could visualise his painting of children in a boat sailing across a lake under an orange sunset towards the "land of dreams". Come to think of it, I remember the schoolgirls singing it in "Picnic at Hanging Rock" so I should be able to find it on the IMDB film credits. Usually an invaluable resource but not this time, so I had to resort to Googling. A few clicks later and there it was.

The song is called Carra Barra Wirra Canna, based on an aboriginal tune but with English lyrics translating the phrase to "Little Star upon the Lake". The full lyrics are as follows:

There's a lake in south Australia
Little lake with lovely name

And the story woven round it
From the piccaninnies came

Every night the native mothers
Croon this lovely lullaby,

Croon across the moonlit waters
To the star up in the sky

Carra Barra Wirra Canna
Little star upon the lake
Guide me through the hours of darkness
Keep me safely till I wake

Piccaninnies' heads are nodding
Drowsy crooning fills the air
Little eyes at last are closing
And the boat of dreams is there
Guide my boat across the waters
Cross the waters still and deep
Light me with your little candle
Safely to the land of sleep

Carra Barra Wirra Canna
Little star upon the lake

Guide me through the hours of darkness
Keep me safely till I wake

More incredibly, I managed to find a copy of the actual picture.
Quite a result all round, although why exactly I had the urge to sing a lullaby first thing in the morning still escapes me, but it's hardly surprising that I couldn't remember the song title...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I should have seen this coming...

OK, I hereby declare this post a rant-free zone (honestly, this isn't a rant - just an observation)

The usual banter continued after the news and weather on Wake Up To Wogan this morning as the Togmeister declared "Well, a real harbinger of spring you are again". Well firstly, I don't really expect the BBC weather forecasts to be too accurate and secondly, I wasn't at all surprised that we were forecast lousy weather throughout the UK on an April morning.

No, I was suddenly caught by the word "harbinger" (I only stated rant-free and never discounted mindless) which according to, can be defined as one that indicates or foreshadows what is to come.

So why have I only ever heard of "harbingers of spring" (e.g. cuckoos) or "harbingers of doom" (e.g. Party Political Broadcasts)? Surely the flashing lights at a level crossing indicates that a train is to come, but never yet have I thought to myself "Aha! Those intermittently lit bulbs would be harbinging a locomotive".

Of course, if we were talking about "hard bingeing" that would be a matter upon which I am infinitely more familiar, but then you probably saw that coming - especially if you are a harbinger...

More on art...

(or more accurately, moron art)

After my little rant yesterday, I really wanted to opt for the more tranquil approach this evening. How about another art review? It is quite a while since I posted my last one.

Well I'm sorry but almost five months on and I've apparently learnt nothing - I still don't get it. I heard on the news this morning of an chap called Mark McGowan who will be exhibiting pictures of himself scratching the paintwork on 47 cars in London and Glasgow. What a talented individual indeed. We have gangs of the little tossers who perform the same act regularly round our way with no yearnings for artistic fame whatsoever.

The poor victims are supposed to feel priveleged that their vehicles have been chosen as part of his project. Really? I hope they manage to track him down and work on a collaborative piece entitled "bat to face"...

Monday, April 18, 2005

Getting away with anything...

I had a strange day yesterday, in recovery mode for most of the morning following a rather heavy Saturday session, cut my Dad's hair (to be blogged further another time maybe), did a bit of birthday prezzie shopping on-line (oh dear...) and generally very little else. As a consequence, I missed the London Marathon which I usually try and catch.

I can't admit to being a huge sports fan and couldn't usually give a monkeys' how the athletes get on, but I'm always really impressed to see the thousands of people running to raise money for good causes. This year however, two athletes caught my attention long after the race had finished.

Firstly, while catching up on some reading over the weekend I saw on Birdman's blog that Kelly Holmes apparently wouldn't start the London Marathon this year when they refused to pay her £20,000! She has since denied the story this evening on BBC News which I hope is the truth as otherwise she will have gone from heroine to zeroine in my books for that sort of attitude - what happened to the "people's athlete" we saw winning the medals last year?

Worse still, Paula Radcliffe was estimated to earn between £275,000 and £600,000 - how can that be money well earned? Although it was possibly enough to spur her on to keep trying instead of giving up if it looked like she'd only get second place *flashback to Athens*.

I heard today that this time, she's really done us proud, not by winning (I think I could run a lot faster with those sort of incentives!) no, she managed court that little bit of extra press attention by taking a piss on national TV - BBC no less. Gee, why won't the press leave these people alone? Because they keep pulling stupid stunts like this. Don't even get me started on footballers...

I appreciate a lot of sports people have limited career spans, but they can earn fantastic money for the short time they are doing something they purport to love. In my opinion, we should keep events like the London Marathon for creating revenue for truly deserving causes...

Latest Results...

I'm proud to say it's now 108 days since my last cigarette and it's also two weeks since I started my new "healthier lifestyle" routine. As I think I have said before, I am very much a creature of habit and as long as I have a routine to stick to, I seem quite capable of accepting change.

There's no major science behind it, I'm just following the Slim Fast diet, a few gentle exercises first thing in the morning and half an hour on the treadmill in the evening. In fact, some nights, I even switch the treadmill on for the last minute or two.

The important thing for me is that I'm only following this from Monday to Thursday which gives me Friday night and all day Saturday to do all the "bad" things (plenty of beer, steak dinners, etc) and Sunday as a recovery day.

So the results after the first two weeks:
Weight: lost 11lbs
Waist: lost 2 inches
% Body Fat: down 2%
BMI: down 1.5 points

If you're interested in how any of these measures are calculated, take a look here.

In the meantime, I've still got a long way to go before people start mistaking me for Kate Moss, but perhaps that's something to do with my goatee...

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Last Wednesday I posted on here about a night out ten pin bowling where we had such an unpleasant time, I felt moved to put pen to paper or more accurately, fingers to keyboard.

Shock news just in... I received a completely unexpected reply yesterday. An extremely apologetic and articulate letter providing quite understandable reasons for each element of my complaint, except for the attitude of three individual people of which they intend to investigate further.

In the light of such a prompt and professional response, there's a good chance now that they will get our custom back again and I will supress my initial urges to post the fine details of our complaints either to the local paper, or on here where they could have had some worldwide bad press.

Everyone is entitled to an off-day, but a little training in the basic principles of Customer Service would have avoided any of this unpleasantness in the first place...

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Happy Birthday dear family...

It's fast approaching the time when I get to do the whole Christmas shopping thing all over again.

Now even though I try to be organised, I don't buy my Christmas presents eight months in advance. It's just that apparently, whenever the stork has ever decided to drop a little bundle of joy in connection with our family, it would appear he only passes over during one month of the year. Let me explain:

29th April - Dad's Birthday
15th May - little Nephew's first birthday
22nd May - little Sis' birthday (she's a few more than one)
27th May - Mum's birthday (apparently she's had twenty more than one)
30th May - Brother-in-law's birthday

It seems there is only me and my adorable little niece who had the decency to spread the birthdays about the year at all and anyone who has been following this blog from the very beginning will recall the fun I had shopping for everybody's presents last Christmas. I might even tempt fate and have another go at an internet shopping fest.

I must also make a note to see whether there really is nothing on the TV during August...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Stick it in your ear...

I ought to apologise to any non-h2g2 fans out there for the title, but I couldn't resist it. Perhaps this will offer something of an explanation. Better still, go and buy the books.

By way of gratitude to the people who drop in here from all over the world, (and in excuse for my typically English lack of muti-lingual skills) I've added a Babel Fish Translator to the blog.

I'm now gratified to know that at anytime within a 24 hour cycle, someone could be sat there thinking "What on earth is this guy talking about now?" in any one of eight different languages...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Just to prove a point...

Look how my Gematriculator rating has changed since my last goody-goody post:

This site is certified 73% GOOD by the Gematriculator This site is certified 27% EVIL by the Gematriculator

A swing of 8% to the good guys (where is Peter Snow when you need him?)

Right, now I really must delete that site from my bookmarks before it gets any further out of hand...

Goody two shoes...

Thanks to a link I found on Birdman's blog last night, I'm feeling quite pleased with myself this evening because I have:

~ provided 1.1 cups of staple food to the hungry
~ funded the preservation of 11.4 square feet of endangered rainforest
~ helped provide critical health services to over 1000 children
~ helped fund free mammograms for women in need
~ provided food & care to an animal in a shelter
~ helped provide books for children in need.

All in the last five minutes. I did the same yesterday and will probably do the same tomorrow.

What did it cost me? In monetary terms, nothing - just less than five minutes of my time which isn't worth a lot after 5pm (and not that much before). In fact, it's probably the most valuable five minutes I've spent all day.

How? Take a look here and click yourselves silly.

That is of course unless you had more important plans for the next five minutes...

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Three for a girl...

Sorry, my supersition being as it is, I couldn't leave just one magpie on the page and anyway, I was curious to learn a little more about the rhyme.

If like me you grew up in the 1970's, you may well remember an ITV Chldrens magazine programme called Magpie, pitched as a cooler alternative to the BBC's Blue Peter. For me this is memorable for a few reasons:
~ Susan Stranks - famous for her seldom choosing to wear a bra
~ Jenny Hanley - just for being lovely
~ Christmas appeal - where they blatantly asked for money instead of stamps, spoons or milk bottle tops
~ the rocking theme tune by The Murgatroyd Band (actually The Spencer Davis Group, Murgatroyd being the somewhat overweight magpie in the show's logo)

The intro (a copy of which you can download here) was a vast array of psychadelic imagery and the lyrics to the accompanying theme tune went:

One for sorrow, two for joy
Three for a girl and four for a boy
Five for silver, six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told

I only discovered recently that this rhyme actually continues:

Eight for a wish, Nine for a kiss
Ten for a time of joyous bliss.

How sweet. However, The Dictionary of Superstitions (published by Oxford University Press) quotes a more sinister sounding variation:

One for sorrow, two for mirth
Three for a wedding, four for birth
Five for rich, six for poor
Seven for a witch
I can tell you no more

I think I prefer the more recent version somehow (if only because it reminds me of Jenny Hanley)

As for waving, saluting, greeting etc. I will simply direct you to The Lone Magpie Page which lists a whole multitude of examples of how ridicuoulsy we behave up and down the country when faced by one of these creatures.

The final word has to go to the USGS where I found a fascinating bit of trivia about the black-billed magpie pica hudsonia

"The black-billed magpie can be told from the very similar yellow-billed magpie by it's black bill"

No shit Sherlock...

Friday, April 08, 2005

One for sorrow, two for joy...

OK, what was your initial reaction when you first saw this picture?

"It's a magpie" (fair comment)
"Oh ****, bad luck" (hope I'm not tempting fate)
"What a fit looking bird" (it's Friday, go out tonight)
or like me did you suddenly get an uncontrollable urge to salute?

I have my mate Gary's wife Julie to thank for this ridiculous habit (both of whom incidentally have since left the country). The three of us used to share a lift into work every day and one morning she suddenly yelped "Magpie" and saluted out of the window.

"What the hell is all that about", I asked.
"It's bad luck if you don't", she replied

Unfortunately I am a sucker for superstition and became certain that I whenever I neglected to fulfil this duty, having witnessed several of these chaps most mornings on my journey into work, I could guarantee that I would endure a crap day. Unsatisfied, I did a bit of research on the internet and it appears they are abound with superstition, largely due to their evil sounding cackle and their notorious thieving habits. For the full routine you are apparently not only supposed to salute, but also say "Good Morning Mr Magpie, how are the wife and children today", or something equally ridiculous. Even my gullibility has it's limitations.

Strangely though, in Chinese mythology, they are seen as a symbol of good luck. Make of that whatever you will.

Collective noun? Could be a tiding, gulp, charm or murder depending on who you believe. Come to think of it, if these are evil cackling, robbing little bleeders, I have to wonder how we ever ended up giving the collective noun of "parliament" to the wise old owls...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Hardly bowled over...

You may have read my recent post about my beginners luck at ten-pin bowling, well last night we thought we'd give it another go and this time, invited my Mum to join us 'cos she's always up for a bit of a laugh.

The fact that I got my arse well and truly kicked is of no consequence at all in the overall scheme of things to go awry that evening. I won't go into detail just yet, but I doubt that I have ever been faced with such a barrage of piss-poor customer service in my entire life. Having worked in a Customer Service environment for over 20 years in some form or other, I never cease to be amazed at the levels some people these days can stoop to and apparently get away with. Verbal complaints on the actual evening seemed to be falling on deaf ears so further action was required.

Inspired by Mosh, who frequently puts pen to paper to vent his wrath (and more often than not, with effective results) I decided to do likewise. Now in the name of common decency, despite the appalling way we were treated, I will extend the courtesy to the manager in question by not posting a copy of the letter until he has had fair chance to read it (although given his attitude on Tuesday night, I doubt he will bother to reply).

Seany rants. It's official. Watch this space...

On the run...

It seems like ages since I was last clogging up the blogosphere with my rubbish, but apparently my last post was Monday morning, shortly after which the whole Blogger dashboard and commenting thing appeared to pack up completely. I know my post was a bit crap but I hope there's no connection.

I took the day off Monday to take delivery of the 21st Century's equivalent of a medieval torture device - yes, the Reebok treadmill has arrived. Sorry, I can't resist another show-off picture, although mine has the updated techy console. Regrettably, the equipment arrived without the model from my previous post, so I'll have to keep working on the thing until I can attract a real one of my own. Following my weigh in, percentage body fat calculation and BMI reading on Monday morning, that could well mean that I'll have to go into hiding for anything up to 376 years. I was dripping with sweat just unpacking and assembling the thing which surely ought to constitute a workout of it's own.

For some bizarre reason (no suggestions thank you), it reminds me of another one of my favourite letters to Viz on the subject of keep fit that went along the lines of

"I've just bought that new Cindy Crawford workout video and it's f*cking amazing - I've only had it three days and I've already got a right arm like Arnold Schwarzenegger"...

Monday, April 04, 2005

New characters...

So the search is on for a new Doctor Who - don't fancy my chances there although I can exclusively reveal the latest Mr Man and South Park characters (thanks to Emma for the links)

"When I became a man, I put away childish things"
Not likely...

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Results just in...

Sorry, I couldn't wait. I had to see how the results had changed at the mere suggestion of evil behaviour:

This site is certified 65% GOOD by the Gematriculator This site is certified 35% EVIL by the Gematriculator

There would seem to be something in it after all. Or perhaps I'm just taking this trivial bit of fun a little too seriously. Still, the Hobgoblin bit still seems like a good idea...

There's no justice...

Admittedly, it's been a bit of a quiet week on the blogging front since Monday with only a couple of contributions, but out of curiosity this afternoon I thought a I'd pay a return visit to the Gematriculator site. If the results are calculated according to page content and this week the content has changed, I ought to get a different result. The verdict?

This site is certified 68% GOOD by the Gematriculator This site is certified 32% EVIL by the Gematriculator

That hardly seems fair. Since the last test, I have waffled innocuously on the merits of corned beef and having seen a particularly moving campaign video, urged people to sign up to a very worthwhile charitable cause. I even avoided the great temptation of the "April Fool" posting but now my site is 3% more evil than it was before.

So my quest today is to drink as much Hobgoblin as humanly possible, steal sweets from small children, shout abuse at passing elderly folk, perhaps take a piss through somone's letterbox and generally make as much commotion as possible on my return to bed. Completely out of character I agree, but the theory is that if I tell you all about it in a forthcoming blog, it will be interesting to see how the results change...

Friday, April 01, 2005


No "April Fool" - serious one tonight.
Please watch this and sign up...