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18 April 2006  

Says it all, really.

9:20 PM
picture of the scoreboard at the Stadium of Light, showing the full time score of Sunderland 1, Newcastle 4
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11 April 2006  

Word Up

8:06 PM

No, that's not a reference to Gun, that Scottish rock band. It's a reference to that game you find in pub quiz machines that is by turns entertaining, annoying and mostly fiendishly addictive. Basically, it generates a grid of letters and you have to touch letters next to each other to make words. Similar to Scrabble, words using less common letters score more points. Using a Q, X, J, or Z will also gain you bonus time. The longer the word, the more points you score - so don't waste all your time going for three letter words.

As far as I can make out, the scoring is something like (add up letter points) mutliplied by the number of letters in the word. That's an approximation. I think you might also get an additional number of points equal to the number of letters in the word. My personal best word was snazzy which netted me 168 points.

It's quickly become the pub quiz game to play (although it's not technically a quiz) amongst me and my friends. Try it. You will end up wasting lots of money on it, but it's fun. Particularly if there's more than one of you. By yourself it's harder!

It's by a company called Big Fizz and I was pleasantly surprised to note they've made a PC version called Puzzle Word, although I don't know why the name change! I was less pleased that it costs £12 to buy, but back to being pleased again that they've made a time-limited demo version of it available for nowt. Anyway, I'm off to see how many points I can score.

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08 April 2006  

It's my birthday!

6:48 PM

So it's my party and I'll cry if I want to. As it happens, I don't want to as I've had a really nice week, what with the 30th Newcastle Beer Festival having been on and having had some really nice nights out, then a nice afternoon out today with Bryn and going out for a nice meal tonight.

Of course, the drawback is that I'm now 31. Thirty-one. I might come back to that crying thing later...

6 comments on permanent link


07 April 2006  

What do men talk about?

10:40 AM

It has been known amongst my friends for the men to be asked (after a night out with the lads) "what do you talk about?". To which the response is generally along the lines of "well, you know - stuff. Nothing important.". This seems to be unsatisfactory, and the question is put that how come we can't remember what we were talking about.

The answer is simple. It's because we were talking about all sorts of different nonsense, which doesn't really make sense to listen to unless you were there at the time. To prove this, last night I was at the 30th Newcastle Beer Festival and I wrote down the topics of conversation that came up during the course of the evening. These were as follows:

  • Dr. Who
  • Fertility
    • Hormones, the male pill, the new female pill
    • Eggs
    • Age-related fertility
    • "The Snip"
  • Vampires
  • Book plots
    • Coming up with our own
    • Analysing others
  • Spirits, ghosts and mediums
  • Football
    • Glenn Roeder turning around Newcastle
    • Preferences for new manager
    • Analysis of the Tottenham game
    • Charles N'Zogbia and Nobby Solano
    • The previous manager
  • The Alien series of films
  • Beers - only natural at the Beer Festival, really
  • Global Video on Low Fell and the silly names for porn films it stocks such as "Lord Of The G-Strings" as if someone's going to get that as the next best thing if Lord Of The Rings doesn't happen to be in stock.
  • Getting older
    • Younger policemen
    • People younger than yourself with ten year old kids
    • What to do if you start going bald
    • Why people wear wigs that are so, so obviously wigs
    • How it would feel if you were working with someone who was born after you first voted
  • Topics of conversation
  • Television and the BBC
  • Farting in bed
  • Personal Hygiene
    • Showering/Bathing Frequency
    • Sweatiness
    • Changes of clothing
  • What it would be like to live forever but no-one else did
    • If you were always as you were now
    • And if you could travel backwards in time

Obviously, some of these topics were covered more than once, as I only listed the topics we talked about, not the amount of time we spent talking about each. There may have also been more topics of conversation than a standard night out because we were out for about six hours, but that's pretty much the normal sort of thing. So if you've ever wondered what men talk about in pubs, there you have it.

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Top Goalscorers

10:20 AM

Following a discussion about how many goals Ian Rush had scored - many more than I thought likely, as it turned out - but then again he was bloody good to be fair, I said I'd set myself the mission of finding out who is the all-time highest goalscorer for every current premier league club. So I have, and here it is. Information has been taken from Wikipedia, the BBC, club's official sites and unofficial sites.

Team Player Goals Period
Arsenal Thierry Henry 208 to present
Aston Villa Billy Walker 244
Birmingham City Joe Bradford 267 1920-1935
Blackburn Rovers Simon Garner 194
Bolton Wanderers Nat Lofthouse 285 1946-1961
Charlton Athletic Derek Hayles 168
Chelsea Bobby Tambling 202 1958-1970
Everton Dixie Dean 383 1920s-1930s
Fulham Gordon Davies 178 1978-1991
Liverpool Ian Rush 346 1980-1996
Manchester City Eric Brook 178 1928-1940
Manchester United Bobby Charlton 247
Middlesbrough Brian Clough 204
Newcastle United Alan Shearer 203 to present
Portsmouth Peter Harris 208 1946-1960
Sunderland Charlie Buchan 224
Tottenham Hotspur Jimmy Greaves 266 1961-1970
West Bromwich Albion Tony Brown 279
West Ham United Vic Watson 326 1920-1935
Wigan Athletic Andy Liddell 72 1998-2004

If you have any corrections feel free to let me know. Please note that I really don't want to be informed just because Thierry or Alan's scored again. If the information is correct as at 7th April 2006, then that's fine by me.

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04 April 2006  


10:19 PM

No, I've not hurt myself nor nothing, I've just been looking at the BBC's online disability magazine, which just happens to be called Ouch! It's an online magazine that takes a serious look at disability issues. Actually, it's not. It's an online magazine that takes a look at some disability issues and has a sense of humour, which is why I would recommend it.

I'd particularly like to recommend that you take a look at the podcast presented by Mat Fraser and Liz Carr, who discuss issues such as disability sport, and features their quiz Vegetable, Vegetable or Vegetable where they have to guess the disability of their phone in callers.

Be warned however, there are a lot of less-than-polite terms for disability bandied about - terms that I wouldn't feel comfortable using, not because I'm so right-on or something, but more because I wouldn't feel it's appropriate for me as a non-disabled person to use them and it would seem that I was some form of offensive moron. So be warned. Of course, from listening to the podcast there's always the possibility that the carefully chosen language may in itself be more offensive to Mat and Liz. Geez, I dunno. Anyone tell me what to do for the best?

...aaaannyway, this might give you a sampling of the content and tone of the presenters:

So if you ever see a Thalidomide man on his knees, crouching in front of a disabled toilet, apparently trying to pick the lock with his teeth — it's just me

Mat Fraser

No, it's not a joke. The presenters themselves are both disabled, and their quotes about the podcast pretty much sum it up - although it doesn't slam home exactly how irreverent, or how interesting, or how frequently very funny it is.

An audio version of the existing site. Irreverent, funny and fresh

Mat Fraser

It felt like it was the first broadcast of 'crip radio', and that there had been nothing like it before. It seemed like we were part of history, and I realised what had been missing over the years

Liz Carr

But don't take my word for it, take a look at it for yourself.

Oh... and don't forget to have a nose round the rest of the Ouch website either - you might find out a lot of things that you never thought about even though you probably should have before. Like this:

Do I imagine it or, when I go off to get a cup of coffee, is the voice of the person serving me just that little bit more smiley? Smilier than the voice given to the person before me? And why do I get called sweetheart? Not exactly malicious to call someone sweetheart is it? But what does it say about me and how I'm perceived by the shopkeeper?

Damon Rose

Which is something I imagine that happens pretty much all the time and serves no doubt to emphasise look at you! you're different aren't you... you're one of those disabled chappies. But I'll still serve you and I'll be extra-specially nice just to show I'm not in any way discriminatory. I'm just surprised they managed to avoid patting him on the head. So well worth a look. Go on, download the podcast - or if you've not got broadband just read the transcript. Both are available from the podcast page. Go on. What are you waiting for?

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The Internet Is For...

10:14 PM

Well, thanks to the lovely Pixeldiva, I now know what she believes the purpose of the internet to be. Please bear in mind that this may be considered mildy offensive, is probably not suitable for work, and you really need your speakers on in order to be able to hear the song. It is also very, very funny.

So, then, the internet is for...?

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Who's Stopped Eating All The Pies... Again

10:07 PM

Some of you may recall that I promised faithfully to update my blog every two weeks or so with how my diet was going, and told you that if I wasn't updating it, it probably meant I was doing very badly. The last post of this nature was on 17th January 2006, and it's now April, so you'd be reasonably entitled to draw your own conclusions, yes?

Well, up to a point. I fell off the wagon for a while, as it were, but I'm now back on it again, munching carrots bananas oranges and apples (as well as like, normal food) but instead of the much nicer big piles of crisps and chocolates. Note the fact that I'd much rather give up crisps and chocolates than alcohol, particularly with the 30th Newcastle Beer Festival only a matter of days away.

Anyway, it's actually working to some extent.

Latest Standings

Okay, on average, I have lost 1.2 pounds per week since January 1st 2006.

The last measured time period was from Tuesday 17 Jan 2006 to Tuesday 04 Apr 2006, during which time I lost 10 pounds.

Finally, the last time that I recorded a weight was 1672 days ago. Dearie me. That's a good while ago. Which seems to indicate that I've either forgotten about this completely, or I'm not doing very well and don't want to share it with you.

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02 April 2006  

Nice Boys and Girls

12:06 PM

Yes, in case you're not aware, the nice boys and girls at Microsoft have made the Visual Studio 2005 express editions free to download and use. These are obviously cut-down versions - including a cut-down version of SQL Server 2005, but all the same, very nice and much appreciated.

Well, I say free. Technically it costs $49 but if you download it on or before 7th November 2006, you don't have to pay for it, nor will you need to pay after this date provided you downloaded it beforehand. Actually, come to think of it, that still sounds pretty free to me...so thank you to the nice boys and girls at Microsoft.

Anyway, as a result of this I thought that maybe I should try some dot Nettery at ThePickards, and got in touch with my hosting company to find out if I could, and what would be involved. Those of you who have heard about my dealings with my hosting company will probably guess the answer.

The server you're currently hosted on doesn't support it. But we can move you to a newer server which does. There won't be any downtime but it might take up to 48 hours for the DNS propagation to complete. Let us know if you want to go ahead. So once again I find myself in the position of offering a thank you to the nice boys and girls at Titan Internet.

And keep an eye out for the occasional .aspx page which will mean my dot Nettery has started to go live. Although I imagine it will be a while before the existing content gets re-written.

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01 April 2006  

Oh no! We're all going to die.... again.

1:29 AM

Yes, in yet another BBC related post, I've this time discovered that there's a Cancer Chemical in soft drinks. Yes, congratulations, you too could be drinking Benzene.

But hang on a minute. Cancer chemical in soft drinks. So you're thinking have we all been drinking it, then? Probably not. Of the one hundred and fifty drinks tested, one hundred and seven had no benzene detectable. Of the remaining forty three, thirty eight had benzene levels lower than the World Health Organisation's recommended maximum. Leaving only four brands (one with two batches) with levels over ten parts per billion.

If you want to find out exactly which brands, read the article, yeah? You only get my rants over here... now where was I?

Oh yes. Well, before you all rush out to check which brands they are so you can throw them all out (and in some cases, completely unaffected brands - but that's another story), you might want to bear in mind that a more effective way to reduce your benzene intake would be to bugger off into the middle of the countryside somewhere - ideally at least 100 miles from the nearest road, and give up the use of anything that uses a petrol engine.

The Food Standards Agency estimate that people who live in a city breathe in approximately the equivalent of twenty litres of a ten part-per-billion benzene drink per day (that's about 4 ½ gallons for those of you still on imperial measurements. And don't get me started on them). The most benzene found was 28 parts per billion. So unless you're drinking more than seven litres of a specific batch of low calorie bitter lemon per day, you're still taking in more benzene just from being in the city.

Surely, you think, it's a bit unfair on the drinks industry that they have to recall their product when there's all those benzene-producing things on the road...but of course it's not as convenient to give up your car is it? And I suspect the automotive industry is worth more money than the low-calorie bitter lemon drink industry. Not that that would have anything to do with it, and I'd be a fool and a communist to believe otherwise. Or something.

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