Archive for February, 2010

Reportedly Germpulsive

I’ve just woken up with a sore feeling down one side of my throat which immediately cast my mind back to yesterday when I sat in a course on Crystal Reports XI with a trainer who repeatedly sneezed into both hands then used the mouse on my computer.

One year I had so many colds one after the other I counted up that I spent 7 months of that year sick, thus embarked on my overprotectademic of anti-bacterial warfare. Much to Wil’s amusment – using my knuckle or a gloved hand to use press buttons on an ATM, using the squirty anti-germ hand cleaner in my bag whenever I’ve been touching foreign objects in the public domain or  the anti-bacterial wipes I also keep in my bag to wipe door handles and shopping trollies before using them. Seven months of snot and phlegm is not happening again. Not on my watch.

Propping myself up in bed on a couple of pillows this morning my scowly face reflecting in the mirrorred wardrobe doors prompted Wil to ask if I was ok. I pointed out I had a sore feeling down one side of my throat that felt like I’d only been able to breathe on that side of my nose all night and that if it transpired I’d caught something off that germ-unconcious trainer man I’d drive to the West Country to hunt him down and attack him with so much germacide alcohol spray disinfectant he turn into super human Anti Snot Nose Man! dressed in a tight fitting green lyrca suit with a cartoon character of a grumpy germ on the chest crossed out with a massive X as if to say ‘No to germs’.

I appear to have thought about this too much.

“You could have picked up a cold anywhere Ren” came the reply. He’s right – after I left the training place I’d gone back to the car park where I paid at machine, ran up 5 flights of stairs and through the door on the floor where my car was parked. Then we went to the cinema and out for dinner before returning home. The multitude of surfaces, handles, cutlery, chair arms and other items that could have been hosting someones sharing of cold germs are nearly as uncountable as the amount of times my little bottle of hand cleaner was snatched from my bag and pumped vigorously into the palm of my hand during those hours.

What I needed, I explained with the previous days training fresh in my head ‘is a cross-tab report’. ‘Now how would I set that out? Items touched down the side…..’

Wil’s face snapped into work-consultant-mode and became thoughtful and serious.

At that moment in time something very wrong happened in the Kitcher-Fox bedroom in the Kitcher-Fox house.

“No no, let’s see, what would you hope to report from it..” Wil’s eyes cast to the ceiling briefly…

He continued…”Yeah so you want to see the correlation between the number of times items have been touched to see where the biggest contributing factor potentially came from to give you a cold – Could use a Boston Matrix, I’m into Boston Matrix at the moment.”

“I’m still liking a Cross Tab report – I can’t use my new skillz if I do a Boston Matrix”

“Ok, so you want ‘Items Touched’ across the top and ‘Person’ or ‘Place’ down the side, then the chart can give you the number of times so you can find the largest probability.

From the woman who gets the piss taken everytime that small bottle emerges from her bag to the man who is willing to wake up and discuss exactly what method of reporting to use to show where the biggest probability of germs found was – I’m not entirely sure if the share of piss taking is directed entirely to the right person in this house.


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Ava-Drink And Watch It On Telly

So finally we were the last two people on earth to finally see Avatar in 3D this evening. Actually we were three, but Cameron had already seen it before.

I’m not good at movie reviews, I’m not altogether great at putting anything down in writing so I won’t attempt to spout some intelligent blurb about CGI effects and story line. Basically I enjoyed the movie. What I did NOT enjoy was being sat in the bloody cinema.

Movie aside for a moment – lets talk about a society who can’t seem conduct themselves in a manner acceptable for use around other people. And why the hell do cinemas sell edible items in NOISY PACKETS? I can’t work out if I was just brought up in a different era to everyone else or if I’m just getting older and more intolerant. Is this what living in the country does to you? Or do people really have less manners and regard for others these days?

The auditorium was fairly empty, there were small pockets of people interspersed between empty rows of seats but those people managed to produce enough annoyance to constantly distract me from the film. There was the family at 10 o’clock who constantly passed a rattly, crumply packet of sweets between each other. The teens over there who kept checking their mobile phones which caused the light to catch my peripheral vision and the family of Mum and two kids behind us who must have had the biggest bag of sweets in the whole world. Because  I DON’T KNOW A KID ALIVE THAT CAN MAKE A BAG OF SWEETS LAST NEARLY 3 HOURS. And you know what? I feel like I enjoyed every damn one of those sweets with him because every time he dug and rummaged around in the bottom of that bag for what seemed like 5 minutes he then doubled that figure with the time he spent shoving it around his open mouth, rhythmically slapping his dribbling hole open and shut in a sucking motion akin to a goldfish. It was like having my dog curled up 3 feet behind my head licking her arse and really making a meal of it. A noise that causes a convulsion deep in my core which in turn triggers the punching mechanism in my clenched fist. Only since it’s generally illegal to go around punching people, especially small children, I had to resort to leaning forward in my seat awkwardly whilst ramming my finger nails in my eyes to calm myself down.

Every time I go to the cinema I come out feeling pissed off, ripped off and tense – £27 ($50) to have the experience I could have got for free by going and sitting naked on a bed of nails at the Benefits office for an hour.

So – there I sat with my 3D glasses on prepared to be overwhelmed and amazed by James Cameron’s 3D PHENOMENON but I found myself within the first 20 minutes removing the glasses just to see what it was they were supposed to be improving. Answer – nothing. Obviously the screen didn’t look right because it was filmed to be watched through the glasses but the longer the movie went on and the more I removed the glasses I arrived at the conclusion that they’ve made a film in regular quality, then degraded it in order that you wear glasses to bring it up to something not much more superior than HD quality. I’m not playing down the entire 3D thing – there were moments when flies, plants, shrapnel and shrubbery appeared to emerge from the screen somewhat and the battle scenes were captivating but I don’t think they used the 3D thing as well as they could have. Either that, or I just got spoilt by watching the last 3D movie at the IMAX. The other thing that bugged me were the silly things such as the year being 2154 where they have these massive robot like machines that people sit inside and control by mind and body movements – yet it appeared fundamentally flawed in the fact it’s designer hadn’t managed to find a more technical improvement on your basic rear view mirror inside it!

Fortunately I’m not a big movie watcher so I don’t have a long list of movies that I can sit here and compare this one to. Even at that I can say it’s not the most original storyline and of course it’s lathered up with plenty of good old American gooeyness and moral pushing.

I liked the characters, the machines, the colours and the awesome landscapes and scenery.  I think with the ‘largeness’ of the open spaces and forest canopy, it’s definitely one to watch on the big screen.

And at any rate, you’ll need the big screen to see Sigourney Weavers lips.


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Having A Whale Of A Time

See.. this is why I don’t DO NEWS! I don’t know what to be more ranty about this week. The fact that it’s national (and probably international) news that Cheryl Cole has finally discovered a brain cell and decided that before she lets that pathetic overpaid, slimy sleeze bag of a *husband* degrade her any further by continuing extra curricular filth with other brain dead ho bags, she better dump him.



Killer Whale Kills Trainer.

Is it just me or is the CLUE in the freakin’ name?

Ok, I know Killer Whales are not named after a violent tendancy to fatally attack humans but for crying out loud ‘Tilikum’ already had two other human slayings beyond it’s toothy grin. It wasn’t a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’ the next person was going to get it. Wild animals are just that, WILD.

I’m not dismissing the death of this woman as a tragic a shame, but it’s a tragic shame that we shouldn’t be squealing crap like ‘OMG How did this happen?’ or ‘Why did this whale do that? at.  If I went and threw myself off a cliff and died – it’s going to take a properly stupid sod to shout ‘WHO PUT THAT CLIFF THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE?’  Is that relevant? I don’t know – I’m in rant mode so none of it makes sense anyway. Ask me one on sport.

A 12,000lb creature shouldn’t be kept in a small pool or holding tank when, in natural surroundings they’d have the entire sea to roam.  And if you’re careless enough to plop them into these surroundings to make a regular mockery of them by standing on their face and back like a surf board whilst they throw you around for an audience to watch at an extortionate price. Well, expect them to lash out and recharge that cost at some point. If 3 killings over 30 years is all you’ve had to endure, then I’d say you’ve been bloody well blessed.

Reports that I’ve heard and seen so far can’t even get the simplest of facts straight like whether Dawn Brancheau slipped and fell into the pool, was snatched around the waist, pulled in by the arm or whether the Serial Killer Fish dragged her in to her watery death by her ponytail.

Graciously Sea World has announced they won’t be putting the 30 year old whale to death. Well that’s bloody decent of them. What the hell do people think of even asking that question? Wild animal acts naturally, WE’RE NOT HAVING THAT – SHOOT THE BASTARD!

Either way, it’s OK everyone, move along, nothing to see here. Because, <insert standard media smooth-it-over-cliche-phrase here>THEY’RE “REVIEWING THEIR PROCEDURES”.

PHEW! Panic over. There we were mulling over selling Shamu off to the Chinese Takeaway for whale soup but it’s ok – we just need to make sure that the procedures are spot on.

What procedure might that be? The one to replace the Killer Whales with safer inflatable versions or one that suggests only hiring trainers with short hair and no arms?

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iReinvention Of The Wheel… perhaps?



I love Apple, I think my MacBook is great. In terms of operating systems I’d take MAC OSX over Windows any day. Apple know how make things that flow nicely, that work how you want them to work, how you’d instinctively try to make something work if you didn’t know how it worked in the first place. They’re good, there’s no getting away from it. But I can’t help but feel incredulous at their latest effort, the Wheel. NO, sorry, I mean the iPad.

Wil is immediately going to think I’m having a dig at him here because he lives with the self-inflicted paranoia that I hate anything he likes and he likes the iPad. We do have quite different tastes but Wil is very partial to jumping on the Next-Coolest-Thing bandwagon only to buy said ‘Next-Coolest-Thing’ and then rapidly lose interest after 5 minutes of owning it.

In actual fact if you studied Wil carefully you’d come to the conclusion that Wil doesn’t actually like the ‘Next-Coolest-Thing’ as much as he enjoys ‘just wanting it’ or being part of that crowd of people who want it. Wil isn’t a techie minded person, there is no inner geek in that body – it simply cycles in well trodden familiar circles encompassing cars, bikes, eating, sleeping and the part where his 8th magazine of the month gets read cover to cover before being dumped on the floor along with the empty toilet roll. Rinse and repeat.

The lack of nerdiness in him actually pointed and laughed at me once upon finding out I knew the name of Nokia’s operating system at the time – Symbian 9 and I still get the odd Alan Partridge style ‘AAAHHHHH Symbian 9′ shouted at me across the room if I show the slightest enjoyment in something geeky like being able to text our Sky box to record a program from my mobile phone. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. However, nerdy gadget or not I generally shy away from wanting something that everyone has until it’s popularity has dropped.. goes along with being bloody awkward and as Wil would say – a bit Ginger.

So forgive my naivety here – iPad – They took an iPod and made it bigger?. Took a MacBook and made it smaller?. Took an iPhone and gave it less functionality with a bigger bastard screen all the better to knock against those keys in your bag?.

BUT THAT’S OK!!! Because guess what?….. YOU CAN BROWSE THE NET ON IT!.. oh.. um HANG ON, YOU, YOU CAN VIEW PHOTOS ON IT….eerrr, yeah um – HERE WE GO, YOU CAN WATCH YOUTUBE. Damn… Ummmmm? Type emails?, read ebooks? Use Apps? RECURRING THEME HERE? Listen to music?…. Whatever next eh? I’m amazed they didn’t put a nice big antennae on the top to pull up in order to get better reception and maybe a slot in the side in which I can listen to my cassette mix tapes through my wired headphones. Or instead just put a massive subwoofer on it so that I could carry it on my shoulder to hear my phat choons. Corr, the future just gets brighter – perhaps next they could install a large spiral corded handset with some buttons on it that I could dial someones phone number – a phone number that I have written down in a paper pad, stuck to the back. Oh. Hang. ON… get this… a pad made from small yellow square bits of paper that have a slightly sticky strip across the top!!! YOU GET ME? We’ll call them iStick’ems, and yeah anyway, dial a phone number and order a pizza and pay with a fricken CHEQUE. For the love of GOD….





PEOPLE?   iPad….

Two words – ‘Emperors New Clothes’.

You’re right, that was three words, but you see what I did there? It’s not 3 anymore because we’re calling that two from now on, three can become eight – it’s cool right? Come on everyone join in.. Tell you what, you call number 2, ‘three’ and I’ll charge you £500 for the pleasure.  What? You think it’s stupid? How? Why? I see..right… works better if I stick an ‘i’ in front of it..

Seriously, iGiveup.

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