01 January 2007 (Monday) New Year, New Computer

01 January 2007 (Monday) New Year, New Computermagnify

I always take my computer for granted. I never realise what a wonderful device it is, how much I use it and how much I rely on it until it’s not there. And then I’m completely lost.

Today was “launch the new PC day” – I had the day off work – how long could it take? So I relocated the old PC to just along a bit from where I’ll have the new one. My original plan featured putting it downstairs, but that involves wireless networking (!) – Moving the old PC & booting that up took half an hour. How is it that you can put down two cables, half a mile apart, turn your back for two seconds, and when you look back, they are utterly knotted together?

And then I plumbed in the new PC. After some initial problems like me trying to poke things in the wrong holes, we seemed all up and running quite quickly. Too quickly, it transpired. We had the thing running and as it was on line, it was pretty obvious that it was seeing the network, as it uses the network to get to the Internet. So copying files from my old PC should be easy…..

Oh how we laughed. After a couple of hours Chris rang and said did we want to play Wii games – he said he’d come round to play Wii. Well he came round, but we never saw the Wii, but if we didn’t actually get it all networked, we got it to a stage where we could actually transfer files. At the moment it plays the old NeverWinter Nights game, and I’ve allowed myself five minutes of NeverWinter Nights 2 (After all, that’s the only reason for having the new PC) – but when you bear in mind it took about four hours to load up those games I’m amazed we got so much done. I’m email-sorted, back up with newsgroups and hopefully Yahoo-ing. The WebCam is playing up, there’s Paintshop Pro and Claris HomePage to re-install, loads of files to drag over from the old PC but I’ve been at this for nearly twelve hours.

I’m going to play my new game.


02 January 2007 (Tuesday) - People are a Problem

I had a wonderful New Year’s Eve booze up with friends. The same can’t be said for the rest of humanity. Hospitals across the country are full of people with all manner of injuries, stabbings, and assaults all from New Year’s Eve. Why do people get violent after a drink or two – I don’t!

And then Cubs started for the New Year. In keeping with the violence theme, one of the latest “spanners” spent the whole evening thumping himself in the head. Quite violently at times. Apparently he does that a lot. His arms bear the marks of where he bites himself. This doesn’t bode well for the future.

And then another, equally “spannerish”, was crying his eyes out. “Cubs is rubbish, I hate it, I want to go home” he wailed in between the snot and the tears. On questioning, it transpired that the root of his misery was that he was thirsty. So I took him to the kitchen and gave him a glass of water. “Don’t like water!” he announced. I told him that if he was thirsty he would drink it; if he was not thirsty, he was grizzling for no reason. It would seem that this child had never before been confronted with logic as he drank the water, shut up the snivelling and got on with the games.

And then another one... we had six new ones tonight, three of whom come with their own “special needs” label.


03 January 2007 (Wednesday) - Uncanny !

03 January 2007 (Wednesday) - Uncanny !magnify

Today’s blog WAS going to regale my loyal readership with endless tales of how I’ve single handedly transferred gigabytes of drivel, installed no end of programs from CD Rom and download, customised a media player AND watched DVDs, but I decided against doing that. It’s very dull. And only puffs have address books and WebCams that work, anyway.

Instead, let’s harp back to my entry of October 12th 2006 when I commented on the fact that I sometimes see myself as the long suffering Toast King from Weebls stuff. Remind yourself of my blog entries of 28th December, 30th December, 31st December and 1st January (with special relevance to state of the art PCs purely to play one silly game), and September 16th (with relevance to emails) and then look at the Toast King’s latest adventure:


It’s me, isn’t it – I AM the Toast King!


04 January 2007 (Thursday) - Awards and Decorations

04 January 2007 (Thursday) - Awards and Decorationsmagnify

When I was young (16), at my very first ever interview (to be a washer-upper) I was asked what my long term ambition was. I answered that I wanted to get an OBE. I didn’t know exactly what they were for, but people who’d “done something with their lives” got them.

I always felt the chap who ran the Boys Brigade I attended as a teenager deserved an OBE. Every Wednesday he ran the Boys Brigade, every Thursday he was puttering about the church and the church hall, fixing and mending. Every Friday was more Boys Brigade. Most Saturdays was even more Boys Brigade. Sunday morning he was a leader in the Sunday School, and Sunday evenings he was a church steward. I didn’t realise at the time that on Mondays he ran a table tennis league, but I knew (and respected) that Tuesday was his day off. In the meantime he worked most days from 7.30am till 5.30pm.

The lady who runs cubs deserves an OBE. Having had a spinal tumour some twenty years ago she is paralysed on her left side, but she runs a cub pack which is the largest in Ashford and she is known and respected the entire county over.

The lady who runs our Beavers deserves an OBE. Despite being registered blind she runs a Beaver colony that is always full, and has a waiting list of a year for anyone wanting to join. She is also the local Assistant District Commissioner for Beavers – she has overall responsibility for Beaver Scouting locally, and does the unpaid job admirably.

A good friend of mine who runs “a kite club” deserves an OBE. He has given up his garage for the club to store no end of stuff, and he puts on all sorts of club activities every month, (often at his own expense) again despite a full time job.

The Chief Executives of the several NHS Trusts and councils across the country have been awarded an OBE for doing a 9-5 job. For which they have been paid considerably in excess of £50k pa.

Do I still want an OBE? I’d have to say yes, but if I had an OBE today, I’d send it back.


05 January 2007 (Friday) - Politically Correct again

Is it safe to walk the streets? Who can tell, with all these escaped murderers on the loose? Did you know there were escaped murderers on the loose? I didn’t. But there are. It’s not a well publicised fact. This evening’s Radio Four news told of the dilemma facing chief police officers. Apparently should a murderer escape from prison, police can only in exceptional circumstances warn the public of the danger by publishing “Wanted” posters. Apparently doing so contravenes the murderer’s human rights. It’s only when he then goes on another killing spree that it’s OK to do anything.

And going from the ridiculous to the sublime, Exeter University has frozen the bank account of its Christian Union, forbidden the society the use of any of it’s premises, and demanded serious changes to the organisation’s membership policy. Apparently the need to make a public declaration of faith before taking a leading position in a Christian Union is discriminatory.

Perhaps I should stop listening to the news….


06 January 2007 (Saturday) - Planning for the New Year

Well, it poured hard today, which rather thwarted any plans I might have had. Talking of plans, following my misunderstanding of Chippy’s blog, a few phone calls has allowed me to come up with a provisional programme of events for the new few months. Have a look at http://www.mankybadger.com/ and click on “2007”. If you know of any event I’ve missed out, or can give more details on anything, do let me know.

In the meantime I bought a super sexy high backed reclining office chair. “New PC TM” features super sexy Windows Media Centre, and I’ve taken to watching Star Trek DVDs on the PC. Now with my new chair, I can fall asleep in front of the PC just like I used to in front of the telly.


07 January 2007 (Sunday) - Camping

07 January 2007 (Sunday) - Campingmagnify

Today it’s pouring with rain and blowing a gale. To the untutored eye, it might appear that I’ve done little else other than sleep through Star Trek episodes all weekend. But the untutored eye would be wrong. I’ve actually been a vital part of our scouts’ winter camp. Any time there’s a scouting event outside the scout hut, the rules say that there has to be someone available to be contacted by the leaders on the event should there be a need to contact any parents. (Presumably the leaders on the event will have their hands full with whatever catastrophe requires parental contact). Me – I’ve been poised like a coiled spring ready to leap into action should the phone ring. So far, it hasn’t, and they will be on their way home by now. Another successful bit of public service by “Yours Truly” – they can’t go camping without leaders to take them and a leader to be “home contact”, and I’m buggered if I’m spending a weekend sheltering from the rain in a sub-zero swamp at Gilwell in January. But we have leaders who take them. In fact, not only have the scout leaders gone, but some of the cub and beaver leaders wanted to go too. And they went.

What is it about camping that people love so much? I hate it.

Why is everyone so surprised to hear that? “But you’re planning to go camping at least six times this year” people tell me. For me, camping is a necessary evil. On the plus side I get holidays away with friends and family at scenic locations such as Stanmer Park and Teston Bridge picnic site and a farm in Smarden. On the minus side we have to drag along all the accommodation and facilities (such as they are), spend hours building the campsite, take a ten minute hike every time a dump is required, shave in cold water, desperately pray there is no rain and then spend hours putting the campsite away. Why do I do it? - because the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

I LOVE the "holiday with friends" bit. I just don't like the tent bit.

Don’t get me wrong – I shall be at Teston and Stanmer Park and a farm in Smarden this year (as well as two cub camps), and I shall be actively promoting the events for weeks (if not months) beforehand. I just wish that there was an easier way to do the accommodation side. Perhaps I need a camper van….


08 January 2007 (Monday) - Capturing the Screen

08 January 2007 (Monday) - Capturing the Screenmagnify

Having spent far too much on a computer to play a new game, it’s something of a disappointment to find that the game is, at best, rubbish.

Still, Media Centre is good. Not only can I watch all my DVDs in peace and quiet (something of a novelty in itself) and I’ve now finished “Star Trek: Enterprise”, and am well into “Survivors.” I can also do screen captures like the above.

Go on – tell me screen capturing’s illegal!


09 January 2007 (Tuesday) - Event One

Event One is an IT course (!) I took notes. Notes for the blog. I can think of no other use for them.

With DCW solution education, DDM R0, R2, cluster event set hierarchy and an DCW by 2nd March. Fergus then flew over the top and touched on points; and not only should I have created my orderables, I should be routing my orderables and I should also be associating DTAs with my orderables.

WTF was that all about?

With DCWs within the application, alpha results, ancillary synonyms, network deployemnt and SDWs I only fell asleep five times.

Same again tomorrow!


10 January 2007 (Wednesday) - More Fun with Fergus.

10 January 2007 (Wednesday) - More Fun with Fergus.magnify

Today’s I.T. training session was better than yesterday’s. In all honesty it couldn’t have been worse. I’ve volunteered to take ownership of the network haematology DCW. I expect the network haematology DCW will form the topic of a future blog when I find out what it is. Apparently now that I’ve taken ownership of the network haematology DCW, once I’ve sorted out my primary synonyms I can go any way I like. Me – I went straight to the bar. They were serving London Pride.

In the afternoon I was kicked awake to hear about all manner of wonderful things, some of which were below the line, some of which were over the line. No one (least of all Fergus) seemed to know where the line was, or what it meant. I offered to draw a line on the network haematology DCW if it would help.


11 January 2007 (Thursday) - More London Pride

For the last day of Event One, Fergus was joined by his colleague Caleb. Which was nice. However Caleb, like the rest of us, was unable to distinguish between Fergus’s pronunciation of the words "an", "in" or "on", or of the words "audible" and "orderable". Which made things somewhat difficult. However, not to be put off, Fergus leapt into the whole sorry topic of “Encounter Searches”, boasting that it was possible to have up to three encounters in a single episode. Things are obviously somewhat racier in Fergus’s life. I consoled myself with a trip to the bar. Fortunately an old drinking mate from twenty-two years ago was on the course with me, so the day wasn’t entirely wasted.

Had I been running the I.T. training course I would have started with a demonstration of the system. Such a demonstration was given, but it had been saved for the last hour of the last day. It transpired that the decision to do this was probably for the best, as the software was irretrievable crashed within five minutes of the start of the demonstration.

To add insult to injury we were given feedback forms for the three days, having to score various aspects of the course from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). I drew in an extra column for zero.

Still, look on the bright side. In three months we’re got Event Two…..


12 January 2007 (Friday) - PC update

As the blog hit counter stampedes over the five thousand mark, my old PC is now ready to go either to “Er Indoors TM” for her to salvage the bits she wants, or to go straight downstairs to replace the PC there. Either way, that’s a job for someone else and a job for later.

Meanwhile the new PC is as sexy as a sexy thing, and amazingly the entire swap-over took less than two weeks. I was expecting it to take months. All that remains is to download the latest ICQ and Skype – and I’m still deciding whether to do so or not. There’s only two minor hiccups in that the Webcam don’t work in Yahoo, and that Litarati don’t work. But I’m sure we’ll get there…..


13 January 2007 (Saturday) - Another Day in the Life

13 January 2007 (Saturday) - Another Day in the Lifemagnify

It was the scout group paper collection today – once every five weeks we collect newspaper (twelve tonnes of it) and give it to a recycling firm. The council then pays us for doing that – scouts are cheaper than bin men. It’s a good fundraiser, but out of 80+ families connected with our scout group, we get maybe half a dozen helping at most. If it were up to me, I’d stop doing the collection and raise the same amount of money by upping the subs. It takes up a whole weekend day, and it’s hard work.

Last year I kept a diary for the course I was doing. On February 11th, March 18th, April 22nd and May 20th I complained about the lack of parental help at scout paper collections. At last year’s scout group AGM on 25th May I formally proposed that parents are to be told they must help with the monthly paper collection or we abandon the whole idea of having a regular paper collection and we quadruple the subs.

Needless to say, I was shouted down, I was (apparently) being confrontational, making such a demand goes against people’s inalienable right to take advantage of my good nature, etc, etc …… Today I just dropped some newspapers at the skip and left the others to it. I felt guilty about leaving friends in the rain doing the hard work, but I’m fed up with it.

Instead I set off for Chippy’s house for what was supposed to be the New Year’s resolution – walking. A route had been planned cross country from Kennington to a pub in Westwell (for some scoff) and then back again. However the weather was against us, so it was decided to drive up to the pub to research the amenities. It wouldn’t be fair on the walkers to turn up at a pub that was closed, or wasn’t very good. Fortunately the food and beer was good. The only fault I could find was on the menu – mind you “Stick Toffee Pudding” may well contain sticks for all I know.

As scoff was ending my phone rang. My brother was in a panic. My nephew’s PC has for the last week being giving warning messages. They started a week ago with something along the lines of “There is a serious fault with Windows – fix it NOW!!!”, and my nephew deliberately ignored the messages as they progressed through “Brown Alert!!!” and “Your computer is totally f*cked!!!!!” to the culmination of the device flatly refusing to do anything at all. The defunct computer was brought round this evening. It was nothing that a re-installation of Windows couldn’t cure, but along the way we lost anything and everything that was originally on the hard drive. If nothing else this episode should teach my nephew to read the warnings.

14 January 2007 (Sunday) - Another dull Sunday

14 January 2007 (Sunday) - Another dull Sundaymagnify

Disaster! No peanut butter! The closest I could find was a jar of Snickers Spread that had a sell by date of August 2005. I roughed it with jam on my toast instead. Over brekkie I tried to plough through a mountain of “scraps of paper”. I’d been putting this job off for some time. Bank statements, loan offers, deals that expired last September; all sorts of rubbish. I came across one or two bits that I’ve been meaning to actually do something with.

There’s a flyer from Robin Hood Adventures – must do something about going back there.

There’s a flyer about painting classes – must do another one soon.

And whilst I’m on the “must do”, I’ve been threatening a beer tasting/curry session. Must plan a date for that too.

After a quick trip to Bybrook Barn for more plants for the fish tank, the afternoon was spent alternating between “Survivors” and NeverWinter. The old game plays so well on the new PC.


15 January 2007 (Monday) - Comets (Just my luck!)

I’ve always been keen on astronomy. As a child I remember my grandmother telling me that comets were really common when she was a child. When she was six (in 1910) there were six comets in one year, all bright enough to be seen in daylight, so you can understand why she felt that way. I didn’t see a comet until I was thirty three. So far, I’ve seen two.

Did you know that the brightest comet for thirty years is in the sky at the moment? Well – it was until last weekend. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C/2006_P1 It was discovered six months ago, and was clearly visible in daylight until three days ago. It’s no longer visible at all in the northern hemisphere.



16 January 2007 (Tuesday) - Beam us up Scotty

16 January 2007 (Tuesday) - Beam us up Scottymagnify

Appropriately enough, it's Tuesday....

Following the release of the animated Star Trek episodes on DVD, would you believe the next project is “Star Trek Cartoons: The Next Generation”? http://trekmovie.com/2006/12/13/cbs-considering-new-animated-trek-series/

Five minute mini-episodes about life five hundred years from now on the ‘Bismarck Class’ USS Enterprise (anyone’s guess what the letter is!) with a team of what could only be described as Captain Archer’s MACOs, and crews using Borg technology.

We shall see….


17 January 2007 (Wednesday) - A rittle bit lacist again

With inflation at the highest it’s been for years, prisoners walking out of open prisons, prostitutes visiting prisons in their professional capacity, schools falling down onto the children, Parliament is asking questions about alleged racist slurs in the Big Brother House.

I’m assured by those who know that there is no racism in the Big Brother House, but even the word is enough to spur the “politically correct” into action. I say “politically correct” – I mean “stupid”. Take racism. It’s a bad thing. I was once the victim of racism. A trivial incident, twenty years ago, but I remember it, and it hurt. Things are far better than they were but has our society now gone too far in defence of the minority?

Schoolgirls in Gillingham can’t wear crucifixes as that’s not school uniform, but those of another religious persuasion can basically come to school hidden in a sack, and that’s all OK. There’s a works outing tomorrow night to say goodbye to one of the girls who’s leaving. The restaurant has been chosen as it serves meat prepared in a “religiously acceptable” way.

Apparently having the cow I eat humanely killed is barbaric. In order for it to be acceptable to the almighty the animal is supposed to have its throat cut and be left to bleed to death. Society accepts this, but only this week the news carried the story of the Yorkshireman who was imprisoned because of cruelty to his dog – he’d allowed it to get too fat.

The average “man in the street” is getting fed up. I myself am getting sick of hearing these tales. I am very aware that as I hear more of these tales of inequality I am becoming more and more racist. And I don’t like that.

And the same “politically correct” idiots were on the radio last night. They were acting surprised about a new extreme right political party in the European parliament that is growing in strength and numbers on a daily basis.


18 January 2007 (Thursday) - Post apocalyptic fiction? – fact!!

18 January 2007 (Thursday) - Post apocalyptic fiction? – fact!!magnify

As a youngster I was fascinated by a book written by (arguably) the best sci-fi author ever. “The Uncertain Midnight” by Edmund Cooper describes a world following a devastating world war. What intrigued me was this: given that the vast majority of humanity has been killed (pretty much simultaneously) what would the survivors do? This was a theme I returned to in other books – “Day of the Triffids” and “The Kraken Wakes” by John Wyndham are good examples of the genre. The best must be “Earth Abides” by George R. Stewart. For those who prefer to watch rather than read, there’s “28 Days Later” starring the ninth Doctor Who as a baddie, “Jeremiah” which I enjoyed immensely, or the BBC series “Survivors” which I’m currently watching on DVD.

Me – I know what I’d do if virtually everyone else died off. I’d find somewhere decent from where I could live off the land. I’ve actually got a place in mind. It’s in the map above. Several years ago I led a cross country hike past the place.

An aside – yesterday I wittered on about racism. As a scientist by trade, today I’ve been thinking. For all that there’s various races of people, we aren’t that different. Take the average denizen of Tokyo and the average denizen of Stockholm (to take a random example). And then take two random members of another species. Say a Chihuahua and a Great Dane (to take another random example). Humans aren’t that diverse really. In fact science can (and does) show us that as a race we aren’t diverse enough. All the theories prove that we should be far more different from each other than what we actually are.

But we aren’t. Has science stuffed up? Not at all.

Go back to my original thread – post apocalyptic fiction. I’ve always wondered about a future apocalypse. It turns out that we’re actually living in a post apocalyptic world. About 70 000 years ago there was a mega-volcanic eruption in Sumatra. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory Loads of ash into the atmosphere, no sunlight getting through, and all the plants died, no food….. Calculating back from the relatively limited diversity in the human genome it would seem that at that time the global human population dropped to 10 000 people (at most). That’s not many.

It’s pretty obvious that such a volcanic eruption isn’t a one-off event. If you root around the Internet you can soon find plenty more (and bigger) getting ready to blow. Scary, eh!


19 January 2007 (Friday) - Windy

As the country recovers from the aftermath of hurricane Kyrill, surely there must be some relevance in the fact that the new roof of the eighteen month old £25 million wing of the hospital in which I work has gone, but the fence that me & My BoyTM bodged together last October (with a 20+ pint hangover) is unscathed.


20 January 2007 (Sunday) - Down on the Farm

20 January 2007 (Sunday) - Down on the Farmmagnify

The weather forecast for today had given it as pretty grim in the morning, brightening up as the day went on. Bearing in mind how accurate the forecasts usually are (he smiled) I hoped for good weather rather than expected it. For once the weather forecast was right. A manky morning and a glorious afternoon. Unfortunately a lot of people were busy today, everyone seemed too busy to come out to play, but half a dozen of us got to fire off some arrows. In the picture above you’ll see the “Rat down a drainpipe” was hit by only two arrows - both of which were fired off by “Yours Truly”. In a total break with tradition I then went on to hit the squirrel and the rabbit targets, necessitating no less than three victory dances TM. Mind you, on the minus side one of my new arrows got destroyed.

After a smashing bit of dinner, we then helped at feeding time on the farm. What is usually one of the most tranquil places on Earth was absolute cacophony as all the beasts bellowed for their dinner. Cows and sheep, lambs and a ten day old calf all got fed. Great fun !!


21 January 2007 (Sunday) - Hello Jamie !!!!

The day started strangely. Avid readers will recall an entry last October concerning the British Kite Flying Association. Having spent a year trying to get the association into some sort of order to deal with the threats facing the hobby, last October I was invited to their AGM. I gave up a day of my life (which would have been far better spent elsewhere) to be told “My opinions are irrelevant” “My questions are not important” and “I have no status”. They didn’t quite go so far as to say “F*ck off Fatso” but they didn’t stop far short of doing so. Imagine my surprise this morning receiving an email from the chairman of that meeting, formally inviting me to his wedding.

The first part of the afternoon was spent searching out a dairy. Friends regularly have really good cream and desserts from a dairy in Westfield, and as we were passing, we thought we’d stop off and get some scoff of our own. We found the place easily enough. It had large signs welcoming the public to buy their wares. But they didn’t actually have anyone home. Knocks on the door were answered by the barks of a ferocious looking dog, which were loud enough to wake the dead, but obviously not loud enough to rouse the proprietors. Which was a shame.

Then on to my brother’s house to install internet connection to my nephew’s PC. Or, to be more accurate, to give my nephew the CD Rom to allow him to install the Internet connection himself. Which he did admirably. It was quite obvious he didn’t need me to help, so I merely put mankybadger.com into his favourites (as all the best people have) and spent the rest of the afternoon drinking to excess with my brother.


22 January 2007 (Monday) - Dogs

22 January 2007 (Monday) - Dogsmagnify

It seems that the world and his wife is either on the brink of getting a dog, or has just got one. Me – I’m not a dog person. Why do people like dogs?

On the minus side is vet bills, food bills, the need to take the thing for at least two long walks every day, they make your house, furniture and your clothes stink of dog, they destroy carpets and they crap all over the place.

On the plus side it puts me off visiting.

I see a rise in puppy sales.


A comment from the future…. (17 March 2016) – I said I never wanted a dog….


23 January 2007 (Tuesday) - Religion

I started school the same year they landed on the moon for the first time. As a kid I remember the Russians and Americans meeting in orbit, Skylab going up and the first ever space shuttle. I grew up on all sorts of sci-fi films such as 2001, and as the years went by, what was once fiction soon became fact.

Could my younger readers imagine a world with only three TV channels and no video recorders? Or a telephone which had an operator at the other end asking “number please”?

Whereas nine out of ten children with leukaemia would die through that dread disease, that number soon became five, and then two. The pocket communicators that Captain Kirk used are now our mobile phones. The computing power of HAL 9000 pales into insignificance against my New PC TM. The future looked very bright.

This morning’s news – war, terrorism, school dress codes…. At the most basic level it’s all about religions.

As a child I imagined such a brave new world. Why does the world still cling to outmoded superstitions?


24 January 2007 (Wednesday) - Snow

According to the news this morning prisons are so overcrowded that in Norwich prison the authorities have to house the crims in a wing that has been declared unfit for human habitation. Seeing how the crims have been declared unfit to be part of human society, then Norwich prison’s probably the best place for them.

In the meantime I went to Chatham again today. It’s not too bad now I know where to go (see entry of Sept 26th). It was however rather worrying to see that the closer I got to the Medway Maritime Hospital, more and more cars had snow on the roof. Even more worrying to see it snowing when I came out. I’ve driven in snow once. Never again. A journey I can do in an hour took five. An inch of snow and the country stops. Snow is forecast overnight. I shall be walking to work tomorrow.


25 January 2007 (Thursday) - Meetings

25 January 2007 (Thursday) - Meetingsmagnify

Were I to suggest that you should stand somewhere else because a brick was about to fall on your head, what would be your reaction? I expect, in common with most of humanity, you would stand somewhere else, and thank me for my concern.

But, were you “a manager” I suspect your reaction would be slightly different. I suspect you would firstly assure me that you were standing in a “carefully calculated brick-falling-on-head- free zone”. However if I was to continue in my concerns I would imagine your next move would to call a meeting of all “brick-related” professionals (i.e. those whose name contains one of the letters that makes up the word “brick”, but have never themselves actually heard of the word “brick”) where we could (at tedious detail) explain the entire concept of brick, starting with the discovery of stone, working up through concrete and housing estates, and ending with a PhD level dissertation on head injuries.

It would be about half way through such a consideration of all of the various ramifications of “brick-related gravitationally induced trajectories and concurrent cranial injuries” that the brick would actually hit said manager on the head, and the rest of the meeting would then be spent extolling the virtues of having a brick land on your head, and how such an incident was to be encouraged rather than avoided.

We would then plan another meeting in which everyone else would have a brick dropped on their head, and then adjourn to spend the precious few minutes left of the working day trying to catch up with all the work we didn’t do whilst pissing about in the poxy meeting before going home (late).

Going to lay down now.....



26 January 2007 (Friday) - Hungry

26 January 2007 (Friday) - Hungrymagnify

Fridays usually follow the same format, early tea (fish & chips), everyone pisses off out and I get peace & quiet. No such luck tonight. Whilst the children squabble like ill behaved babies, “er indoors TM” is hammering away like a thing possessed in preparation to resurface the kitchen floor with a “vinyl based floor covering”.

You would be forgiven for uttering the word “lino” – that is I would forgive you. There are others that wouldn’t. Apparently “lino” and “vinyl based floor covering” are entirely different. One (obviously) is vinyl based, whilst the other (so I’m told) comes from solidified linseed oil and is commonly used on battleships. Whilst “vinyl based floor coverings” have similar properties of flexibility and durability to “lino”, they also have greater brightness and translucency and are relatively less flammable.

One lives and learns. And waits patiently for one’s tea……



27 January 2007 (Saturday) - Vinyl Based Floor Coverings from Outer Space

27 January 2007 (Saturday) - Vinyl Based Floor Coverings from Outer Spacemagnify

Last year I had a cold that lasted from Cham & Sip’s wedding right through to the week before Xmas. I’m not sure whether it’s returning or not. Either way, it’s best that I stay out of the kitchen. The ”vinyl based floor covering” is now in place thanks to the assistance of “Hosey-Tek technology TM”. It’s been observed that the pattern of the said ”vinyl based floor covering” is not entirely unlike the material featured by certain Star Trek aliens, and there’s enough off-cuts for me to make my very own Romulan costume. I might just do so.

Did you know you can get polish for ”vinyl based floor coverings” and polish remover for ”vinyl based floor coverings”. Personally I wouldn’t use the polish in the first place, thereby negating the need for the remover, thus saving myself £5.96.

I could then deduct £5.96 from the total wasted on my Romulan costume and claim it as a saving.


28 January 2007 (Sunday) - Done nothing, really.

Woke up at five a.m., coughing, full of snot, and couldn’t sleep, so I was up doing the ironing by seven a.m. Thanks to the wonders of SkyPlus I was able to watch the last “Logan’s Run” minus the adverts. What would have taken an hour I managed to cut down to thirty five minutes. Thirty five minutes wasted, really. It was rubbish.

The Sunday “Doctor Who Omnibus” featured Jon Pertwee (with the assistant famous for flopping them out) saving the universe from zit-faced aliens, the Master and Daleks. I didn’t remember how camp the relationship between the third doctor and the Master was. There’s those who criticise the current Doctor Who purely because the current head writer is “on the other bus”, but I half expected the Doctor to slip the Master a length at one point this morning.

The rest of the morning was spent with “Survivors” DVDs, and the afternoon spent alternating between “a bit of a kip TM” and putting up more photos in my Yahoo albums, all of which should be available to anyone logged into Yahoo who’s on my “Friends” list. I’ve got most stuff up to 2003 on my Yahoo photos, but I’ve still got a lot more to put up, including photos from three weddings. Something to do another weekend day when I've nothing else planned....


29 January 2007 (Monday) - Ask your Pharmacist

29 January 2007 (Monday) - Ask your Pharmacistmagnify

All the posters said not to bother the doctor with trivial health matters, but to ask the pharmacist. So I did. “Well Mr Badger” said the pharmacist, “If I were you I’d see your doctor”. So I phoned the doctor, who now has a new system. You phone them and tell them you are on death’s door. They phone back a few hours later to see if you are still alive, and if you are, they tell you to f*ck off and see what the pharmacist has to say for himself.

I wasn’t having any of this, so I stuck to my guns, insisted I was a genuine sicko (normally I have no trouble convincing people of that), that I wasn’t malingering, and after a few minutes of “you said to ask the pharmacist and the pharmacist said to ask you and you said to ask the pharmacist and the pharmacist said to ask you and…” the doctor relented and (under protest) gave me an appointment.

Take Sudafed for a week or so” said the doc. “You said that last time” I said, “And two months later I was still scoffing them”. The doc didn’t actually say ”Yeah, Yeah, whatever”, but it wasn’t far off. I’m scoffing Sudafed until Friday night. I have other medication planned for Saturday.

I then spent half an hour or so over at MySpace, basically duplicating what I’ve got here on Yahoo. http://www.myspace.com/mankybadger If you’ve found your way here – hello Bob !


30 January 2007 (Tuesday) - A Game with the Cubs

30 January 2007 (Tuesday) - A Game with the Cubsmagnify

In the middle of the scout hut are two plastic chairs some five metres apart.

On each chair is a bean bag.

In between the two chairs are three empty tins.

The cubs are divided into two teams and are sat at opposite ends of the scout hut, one team behind one of the chairs, the other team behind the other chair.

Each member of each team has a number from 1 to 18.

The leader (me) calls a number from 1 to 18 at random. When any given number is called, the cub from each team with that number stands on their team’s chair and throws the bean bag at the tins. If he misses, he gets the bean bag back and throws again. The first one to knock down two out of the three tins wins a point for their team.

Honestly, it ain’t rocket science, is it? I explained these simple rules three times. “Do you all understand?” I asked. “Yes!” they replied. I then made a point of personally explaining individually to the two “biggest spanners” who assured me they weren’t stupid, they knew the game and they’d played it many times before. To be sure they understood what was happening I called the numbers of many other pairs of cubs before I called them, just so as they could see what to do. I asked them again if they were clear on the game. They were sure they were. But when the first one had his turn he merely threw the bean bag at his team’s chair and started crying. The second one exceeded even this level of incompetence by bursting into tears the moment his number was called, without even speculating on the possibility of going anywhere near his team’s chair.

I know – I should be more patient. But – what can I do? – I’ve got thirty-odd who are able to play the game and will get bored waiting for me to explain the rules a million times, and half a dozen who, to be blunt, will never understand the simplest of instructions.


31 January 2007 (Wednesday) - The Network Haematology DCW

You might recall that on January 10th I wrote here:

“I’ve volunteered to take ownership of the network haematology DCW. I expect the network haematology DCW will form the topic of a future blog when I find out what it is. Apparently now that I’ve taken ownership of the network haematology DCW, once I’ve sorted out my primary synonyms I can go any way I like.

Three weeks later, I’ve actually got hold of the network haematology DCW. I say “got hold” in as much as you can get hold of an Excel spreadsheet. Or five Excel spreadsheets, as that is what the network haematology DCW is – five Excel spreadsheets. It only remains to “sort out my primary synonyms”… and I have a plan about that. The “big boss” has assured me several times that as DCW lead I don’t have to do all the work myself. He’s keen that I share the work “around the network”, and that I merely act as a co-ordinator. I’ve emailed “the team” and given them a list of instructions, and in true managerial style I shall sit back and take all the glory whilst they do all the work. Life is sweet!

Mind you, my hopes aren’t that high. “The Team TM” held a telephone conference today in which Fergus demonstrated (using Microsoft NetMeeting) the routing of his orderable. Well, that was the plan. Instead we wasted ten minutes whilst one of “The Team TM” wondered what we were all talking about. We then wasted another five minutes whilst said individual found a PC, and wasted a further ten minutes whilst he installed Microsoft NetMeeting. I must remember to ask this fellow if he was ever a cub scout (see yesterday’s entry). After half an hour Fergus was finally able to “do his thing” which, in all honesty, was a bit of a disappointment. Such is life!

In the meantimeer indoors TM” has made off with my old PC and is cannibalising it and her old machine to make herself an “all-singing all-dancing” PC. Bearing in mind the state the Windows on my old PC was in, it won’t so much be “all-singing all-dancing” so much as “whistles a bit and falls over”.