Archive for March, 2005

What kind of fool was I?

Thursday, March 31st, 2005

Click here for details.

Thursday, March 31st, 2005

Eccleston quits already.
Deeply disappointing.


Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

One of the benefits of being self employed is that you have almost complete control over when and if you do things. This came home to me today when I was forced to venture forth to stand in a queue at my bank. I found myself becoming twitchy at being made to wait around while the single counter clerk was occupied counting out six hundred 5p pieces for the mentalist she was serving. Meanwhile four other clerks were busying themselves doing paperwork, rearranging their in-trays, blethering mindlessly on the phone and pretending to use the computer whilst skilfully ignoring the massive queue of customers building up. I could feel my managerial skills rising to the surface as I was preparing my speech. “Excuse me, I wonder if it would be possible for one of you to serve us whilst your colleague is dealing with her [krazy] client?” It was almost ready to issue forth from my impatient lips. I realised that I was resenting the fact that they were wasting my time when they didn’t need to – at least that’s how I was perceiving it. Now that I am used to determining how every minute is spent I’ve become selfish and less patient with time wasters. Time is, in my new world, money. Why is it, then, that I am so good at wasting it myself? I’ve a list of jobs I need to get through and I’ve known about most of them for several days – OK more than two weeks. Somehow, I’m finding numerous other tasks that prevent me from making a start on the list. There’s nobody to prod me, nobody to send me a snotty email, nobody to make a speech at me. I’m solely in control and yet I persist with the delusion that I am getting away with something in not getting on with it. I am absolutely loving the freedom I have now but it frightens me a bit. I’ve got the controls to the train set and I could make it crash – if I want to. So, on reflection, I don’t begrudge that bunch of bankers their small avoidance space. It’s probably the only control they have over their working lives. Me? I’m giddy with it. What have I done to deserve this?

For they are famous – no 1

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

Currently exposing her thighs to a grateful nation on a nightly basis is Her Royal Highness, Princess Tamara von Custardcream [twice removed].
Her Royalness was born at an early age and henceforth all nations will call her blessed. For she alone is a model and TV presenter, skilled horsewoman, snowboarder, kickboxer and childrens charidee ambassador [ sponsored by Ferrero Rocher ]. Her Royal Biscuitness is truly a renaissance woman. And damned fine attractive too. Almost a footballers wife, her long liaison being with ‘International Footballer Dani’. She is undoubtedly a woman of taste and substance. Her fame, richly deserved, has nothing whatsover to do with being the step-neice-granddaughter [thrice removed] of the King of Spain. Her circles are all correct you see. She has merit and has achieved thigh power alone and unaided. You can hire her for about 7 grand. [All major cards accepted – Nectar points available]

Do not, therefore, ask who she is – for now you know.

New life

Sunday, March 27th, 2005

There’s an end of era feel developing at the moment I think. Or maybe I should say that there’s a start of era feel – my glasseth ith half fulleth etceteraeth. This is highly appropriate for Eastertide. Lambikins are frollicking in the fields. Birdies are atwittering and ashagging. The local wildebeeste have returned from their winter migration to East Sussex. Three of my link buddies have quit their blogs. Several more appear to be teetering. One of my link buddies has become an international superstar but not quite a housewife thankfully. My first ever middle east link was from Ashley who is soon to be a Daddy. I hope he returns to blogging when junior gives him a spare minute. My first call centre link was from Wrapstar who has decided not to go Wigan, to escape from Brenda’s tuna breath and get the hell out of the call centre. His posts were hugely enjoyable and always confidential. He’s promised to regenerate – I hope it’s soon. James Calaghan has died. Despite his many achievements he, sadly, became an icon for ‘The Winter of Discontent‘ when Old Labour’s industrial relations policy finally imploded. The Labour Party began 18 years of unelectable exile and the Unmentionable One sucked us all into the vortex of despair that was her handbag, ‘Where there is despair, let us bring hope’ – yeah right. It could be said that if we hadn’t had James Callaghan we wouldn’t have had Tony Blair. That’s very interesting no matter how you look at it. This Friday may see the announcement of a General Election when the nation once more will be gripped with searing political debate, animated social concern and endless whingeing about the NHS, transport and house prices. Pensioner Power Rangers will be stalking the airwaves in search of grey gratuities and thinly disguised racism will be let rip through the open sewer that is over there on the right wing of this high flying country of ours. I’m undecided whether to get all political dans le blog. Bearing in mind the maxim to avoid sex, religion and politics for fear of alienating my reader I hesitate to launch forth with my hithertoo carefully hidden political leanings. Dear reader, tell me your views – should I keep my soapbox under the stairs?

Who life
I tuned in, poised in front of the telly at 7pm. Some wag decided to phone me as the theme music started. Did I answer? I was glued. The man done good. Apart from the poorly protracted struggle above the pit of pulsating plastic the whole show was groovy, stylish, witty and above all exciting – I’m still excited and it’s only 6 days to the next episode. Woooooooooo.

What have we learnt this week?

Saturday, March 26th, 2005

Having a gap in your front teeth is considered a sign of attractiveness in Africa.
Gordon Brown likes a bit of modest fiscal tightening in the afternoon.
A skunkworks is a group of people who, in order to achieve unusual results, work on a project in a way that is outside the usual rules.
The borders, buttons and stuff at the top of your web browser window is known as ‘browser chrome’.
There is a difference between a tracheotomy (the procedure) and a tracheostomy (the incision created by the procedure).
The two terms are often used interchangeably. This must cease forthwith.
In the current Australian episodes of Neighbours romance is blossoming between Toadie and Eva Destruction.
My capacity for prolonged excitement is far more extensive than I can ever remember.
There is a huge underground chamber beneath the London Eye that used to contain a molten plastic creature.

In case you forgot: It’s newWho tonight on BBC 1 at 7pm

For posterity – from Radio Times:
“It’s here at long, long last. And it’s great – lively, funny and immensely good-hearted. Christopher Eccleston, who has a slightly otherworldly quality about him anyway, is a fine, likeable Doctor, who jitters with energy and good humour. And Billie Piper, as his sidekick Rose, delivers on all the acting promise she showed in Canterbury Tales. Russell T Davies’s script is scattered with slyly knowing Doctor Who references, though not to the degree where they become tiresome to those who exist outside the Doctor’s esoteric fan base. This opening story gets things going nicely, when the Doctor returns to Earth to stop a potential takeover by living plastic. Shop-window mannequins and, in one funny sequence, even wheelie bins come alive with destructive minds of their own as they set about the screaming populace. This is a Doctor Who with humanity, which should be welcomed to a new TV world dominated by witless, soulless, serial-killer dramas.”

Doctor Who – Christopher Eccleston
Rose Tyler – Billie Piper
Jackie Tyler – Camille Coduri
Mickey Smith – Noel Clarke
Clive – Mark Benton
Caroline – Elli Garnett
Clive’s son – Adam McCoy
Auton – Alan Ruscoe
Auton – Paul Kasey
Auton – David Sant
Auton – Elizabeth Fost
Auton – Helen Otway

Friday, March 25th, 2005
Science News
Soft centre found in Dinosaur
by Howard Flightfromsanity
Scientists have found what they think might be the soft remains of a dinosaur until now thought to be completely fossilised and dead.
The petrified beast, known as Toryannosaurus Partyus was found in a remote area called ‘The Pits’ near the foothills of of Opinionpolls. The Dinosaur was once a voracious beast that rampaged throughout the land during the Maggieinsane era. Recently the inner parts of the animal have been probed. A huge white whole was found – it has been called the Widdecombe. Inside the Widdecombe at the end farthest from the head were found minute traces of an unusual kindness protein – usually found only in living things. In the past few days all last remaining traces of the protein have leaked out and it has now been reported that all hope of a reselection has been lost. There are plans to stuff it sometime in May.

Hello ducky
Gay necrophiliac ducks
[That should keep the googleperves busy for a bit].
No, it’s not the name of a wannabe teen punk combo.
Those ducks are mean little b*****s.
Mounting mallards – you couldn’t make it up.

Who -1
I’m still excited you know.

Time warp
Does anyone else think keep thinking it’s Saturday?
All we need now is for British Summer Time to start and my disorientation will be complete.

What's the difference between a lawyer and a catfish?

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

And the answer is: One’s an ugly, scum-sucking bottom feeder and the other is a fish.
That’s my favourite lawyer joke.

Recently I’ve had cause to use the services of the legal profession – not something I’ve previously had much need of and the experience, sadly, confirmed my prejudices.

I decided when starting out that I would, instead of going on personal recommendations, treat the exercise like any other consumer purchase. I decided to shop around. It’s quite difficult to do this with solicitors. They seem to operate on the basis that they are the only legal firm in existence and that the notion of you needing a price quotation in order to make a choice is at best, ‘not the usual way we do things’ [ looking down their nose at you over their half moons ]. At worst it’s an appallingly vulgar faux pas committed by an unworthy oik who dares to look them in the eye and question their god given right to control your life and overcharge you for the privilege.
I was staggered by the arrogance shown by one ‘practitioner’ who assumed from the outset that the job was his, snatched the documents I had brought him from my hands and then told me what he would do. This was a hastily rehashed verbal recount of what I had asked him to do and would involve him digging out some old wordprocessor files, copying and pasting my details into them and then charging me a small fortune for printing them out on posh paper. He had the cheek to tell me that I would have to accept his sms style emails as communication because he didn’t have time to type in full. His quote was the highest of all I received. Another solicitor decided to have a breakdown in the middle of our dealings so that I had to phone around the town trying to track her down because she had moved to another practice without telling her old one where she was going. I dealt with a trainee at another firm who kept leaving the room to go and consult with ‘my colleague’, [ who I later learned was her uncle ] – and then coming back to tell me the next bit of the story. Organ grinders and monkeys came to mind. I also tried the electronic option and made contact with a web based service with an impressive website that turned out to be a badly run email relay agency. All they did was to send my emailed info to one of their ‘partner firms’. This lot then put together an outlandish quote that, as well as the work I had actually requested, was embellished with all sorts of expensive add-ons thus inflating the bill very nicely thanks guvnor. In the end the best quote came from a local firm who operate out of humble offices. They have terrible chipboard furniture, vile nylon carpets and the walls are woodchipped to hell and back. The guy I dealt with looks like Des Lynam after he ate all the pies and he didn’t say a lot. What he did say, though, was music to my ears. He could do my job quickly and he would charge a fee which was 30% of that quoted by Mr Control-Vee – the wordprocessor merchant.
For this, I was prepared to forgive his crimes against design and award him the right to handle my brief.

My tips if you need to get legal work done:
1. Find out exactly what it is you need – go to see a couple of firms to discuss what is involved. See them on the basis that you are just wanting to find out what is involved. Be clear up front that this is an exploratory chat and that you do not wish to incur fees at this stage. [ Two firms I contacted were not prepared to do this, wanting to charge me for their time – I binned them. ] From these chats make sure you note all the jargon words they use and make sure you ask them to explain exactly what they mean.
2. Armed with your newly acquired legal vocabulary, compose a requirements spec for the work and then contact several firms and ask them to give you a firm price quotation for your spec and no more. Listen and laugh inwardly at the reactions.
3. If you have a favoured firm go back to them with your lowest quote and see if they will price match, or at least meet you some of the way. [ As in all things cheapest may not be best – judgement required ].
4. When all the work is complete take yourself off for a treat and spend some of the cash that would, by now, be lining the pockets of a bottom feeder had you not been savvy enough to keep him at arms length.

Hospital consultants need this treatment too I think. There are far too many arrogant, insensitive ones around with all the people skills of a Microsoft Access help file. I think they are a more intractable target for consumer power though. I still feel uneasy about upsetting someone that might end up sticking sharp instruments into me further down the line.

More jokes
What does a lawyer use for birth control?
His personality.

What’s the difference between a lawyer and a vulture?
The lawyer gets airmiles.

What’s the last difference between a lawyer and a vulture?
Vultures wait until you’re dead to rip your heart out.

What do lawyers and sperm have in common?
Both have a 1 in 3,000,000 chance of becoming a human being.

What do you get when you cross the Godfather with a lawyer?
An offer you can’t understand.

Who -5

Monday, March 21st, 2005

Have I told you how excited I am about the return of Dr Who?
Well, I know loads of people are excited and I’m not alone in my excitement but honestly I’m really excited. I haven’t been this excited about a TV programme since Dorothy Vernon inspired me to be a barrister in Crown Court. [ It was the whole wig and processional thing that did it for me ]. Anyway, I’m longing to see Dr Who. Longing. I’ve been spending unhealthy amounts of time today reading obscure fan sites, searching out esoteric photos of the production and remembering the half forgotten electricity that used to tingle up my spine when the cliffhanger at the end of an episode exploded into that energy charged music and the amazing titles with the dissolving face of the Doctor. Patrick Troughton had just the right face for the dissolving effect – all the wrinkles aligned perfectly. I’ve been staggered today by the fastidious obsession of fans and the incredible levels of detail available online for every conceivable question you might have about any aspect of Dr Who. Many of the sites have just slotted in the new series as though they’re taking it in their stride – a new navigation button here, a few new records in the database there. Hastily edited photos of Christopher Eccleston sit [ jarringly for now ] alongside the Bakers, Davison, Pertwee, Troughton, Hartnell and the real Dr McCoy. This site in particular is astonishingly professional and accomplished – their countdown clock is better than the official BBC one. As it’s apparently a way of life for some, I’ve decided I’m not going to attempt to write anything much about Dr Who. If you’re in the UK you may be glad of the relief. I think it’s building to fever pitch as we get nearer to Saturday. That’s good though isn’t it? There’s an enormous reservoir of affection for the show – it means a lot to so many and I think because it’s British it means all the more – it speaks to us in ways that US shows can’t. But, I’m going on a bit now.

All this week I’ll be posting some images and sounds up there on the right. My own humble effort in celebrating what I think is one of the great television events of the twenty first century. I’ve got it bad, I know. Others have got it badder. But I’m excited – did I mention that?

Monday, March 21st, 2005