Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hypothetical Summer Holiday...

This is thanks to Doris whose comment opened an archive in my memory..

This was my DREAM as a kid... to go off somewhere in a converted double-decker (without Cliff of course).

Actually it's a nifty little song too - in its cheesy way - right down to the key change two-thirds in...

Ahhh... nostalgia - truly a return to pain.

(Sorry the layout's a bit of a dog's dinner in Firefox)

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I like trees, I like flowers, I like all that other stuff that bursts into growth during the spring.

But I don't like pollen - and pollen most decidedly doesn't like me.

(I have ranted about this before... here )

The air outside is a choking, dusty, tickling mass of pollen floating on little whispy white tendrils.

And dainty though it seems, it is attacking my immune system with a nasty viciousness causing my eyes to become sticky and raw, my chest to wheeze like a broken accordion and my nose to run like an England footballer would have to if we should ever win another trophy.

Hay fever... or as I renamed it in the post I linked to above, APS - Anthropollenic Poisoning Syndrome.

Urrrrrghhhhhhh, bleeuuuuuuuuugh, nuuuurrrrrrggghhhhhh....


A little later...

I have tried to wreak my revenge on the pollen by eating a few dollops of honey - that has something to with pollen doesn't it? - mixed with Greek yoghurt. Wow...!!!

This in turn has opened up the Greece archives in my noddle and started an itchy, tickly feeling there too... the itchy, tickly desire to be somewhere else.

I feel another Hypothetical Holiday coming on...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

And There's More...

There is another knock-your-socks-off image here. A quite incredible picture.

As I mentioned the 'space' v child welfare/drug clinics/save the rainforest/etc argument has arisen on a good few occasions when I have mentioned this Mars mission.

I wonder why 'space' always gets used in this kind of comparison as if it's the only thing government spends money on which could be spent elsewhere.

The Phoenix mission is costing something like $420 million. It is a lot of money for you and me but it's 'only' the money Hollywood spends/wastes on a couple of blockbusters. Mind you, if that Phoenix sum were distributed to, say, the population of the US and the UK, everyone would end up with roughly one dollar.

In Munich there were plans to build a super-duper magnetic monorail Transrapid link from the centre of the city to the airport. This was going to cost €1.85 billion. People complained that it seemed rather a lot for something we didn't really need but there was no, "why don't we spend the money on health care" protest.

Hmm... dunno.

In the words of Ena Sharples, "there's nowt so rum as folk".

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cor Blimey...

I don't usually say things like, "this is SO COOOOOL!" but I have to make an exception for this picture. It is a photo taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of the Phoenix and its parachute descending through the Martian atmosphere to the arctic plains below.

It is stunning to think that these machines are going about their business so far away from us that even light at the moment takes 15 minutes to get to us.

Whenever I talk to people about this kind of thing I always seem to end up in arguments about how the money could better be spent on improving the world somehow. But, firstly, this DOES improve the world AND I feel it's a lot more justifiable than spending millions on football players or Hollywood spectaculars not to mention the incredible sums that we spend just to be able to blow each other to smithereens.

(Photo: NASA )

Welcome to the Northern Plains!

This is one of the first images NASA released from the Phoenix lander which touched down early this morning up near the Martian north pole.
It's the surface on Mars; it's the horizon on Mars; it's the sky on Mars; it's Mars-vellous.
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Sunday, May 25, 2008


Is anyone else going to be up late watching to see if Phoenix lands successfully on Mars in about eight and a half hours from now? I am not quite sure why but I feel a bit embarrassed to admit that I am looking forward to watching it. Does this make me a geek?

And if so... so what!!?

The first time I did anything like this was the moon landing early one Monday (?) morning in the summer of 1969 (and yes, I am firmly convinced it happened!)

The Phoenix landing will be 'live' on NASA TV (incredibly it doesn't work on need IE). I say 'live' because the actual landing will happen some 15 minutes before we receive the signals from the surface of Mars; that's how far away it is (wow...that still presses those geek buttons of mine!)

Edit: This is a good link to an animation of the landing sequence.

Oh No-ho-ho-ho-ho...

The UK finished last in the Bore-ovision Song Contest!

The shame, the ignominy...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Coffee with Dream

Ok, stupid title. Just refers to me drinking a coffee while relating a slightly strange dream I had in the night.

I was having a holiday which consisted of day trips to Greece. On this particular day I had arrived in Ioannina, where, as you regulars will know, I used to live. I was staying in a hotel which was a madeover dream version of the block of flats where I lived there and the room was an enlarged and very much smarter version of my room with its balcony overlooking the lake.

I had just had a shower and got ready to go out when I met a mate of mine who plays in a band with me. We started playing a song in the hallway onto which the hotel rooms opened. From behind one door we heard two voices joining in, singing rather nice harmonies and then the door opened and these two people, a girl and a bloke, invited us in.

The room was quite enormous and well furnished - for some reason I noticed the carpets which were new and light. The somewhat unusual feature of the room were three large pedestals at intervals around the walls upon which were three enormous cylindrical glass tanks each containing a very colourful and large squid. And in the far corner of the room next to a broad window there was another huge squid, about the size of two couches, sitting happily on the floor looking around.

I sat down on a couch and two little squids came over to investigate... like a couple of dogs. I had a coffee and then suddenly remembered I had to leave to get back home as it was only a day trip.

Right, get your dream books and tarot cards out and tell me what all that was about!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Atrocious Joke No. 73

This occurred to me this afternoon when I misspelt a word and comes with a:


Distraught boy: Dad, pet deer is dead!

Sympathetic father: Yes, son, I knew about it... but I didn't have the hart to tell you...

Ok, you can look now!

(And any comments containing the expression, "oh deer" will be severely dealt with!)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Subway, No Way

I subjected myself to my first Subway "sandwich" this evening. I was playing in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and the place where we were playing didn't have food.. "but there is a Subway just opposite..."

It turned out that Subway doesn't have food either.

There was one disconsolate family sitting in the corner munching doggedly, illuminated by harsh fluorescent light, as I went in. I told the obsequious Subway-sandwich-maker that this was my first time in Subway which was probably a mistake as he immediately became even more slimily obsequious and his transparent plastic gloves seemed to ripple with anticipation..

How can I help... oh, your first time ? ... what would you prefer ? ... a half or a full ? ... oh, a good choice... and what kind of bread ? ... excellent ... would you like it toasted ? ... and now - the salad... a little of everything ? ... oh, and now the dressing ? ... and is it to eat here ? ...

Oh, just give me a F******* SANDWICH pal!

I watched him slowly jam all kinds of chicken and salad and vegetables into this poor overloaded soggy roll and then wrap it up tightly in all sorts of paper... it reminded me of how you used to sit on your suitcase before your hols trying to get it to close on the vastly overestimated amount of clothes you had packed.

Wrapped in paper, then wrapped again in a sort of plasticky paper wrapping and then popped into a plastic bag along with two serviettes.

I wandered out and looked for somewhere to sit and eat it - a bench by a busstop. I unwrapped it and this sandwich thing expanded like a rubber dinghy. You just cannot get these "sandwiches" into your mouth. They are far too wide and as you try the whole thing sort of falls apart and you end up with all kinds of sticky goo on your face, your hands, your clothes...

It took so much concentration to eat the bloody thing that I was still hungry at the end because my brain had been too busy to register eating anything.

I was reminded of when I worked in advertising in London and would slip out up Avery Row to one of the many little sandwich shops for lunch. It was an experience in itself to watch the blokes make two tuna and egg with salad on brown and cheese and pickle with tomato and anchovy on white with a flash of olive-skinned hands and then to go and sit in Grosvenor Square to eat the manageable, mouth-sized delicacies.

Way to go, Subway.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Hardback!

I forgot all about this. I mentioned here about getting my book published in a hardback version and here it is - on the left.

It's a pretty cool feeling to have in hardback... it makes it seem like a real book.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Is It Just Me or What...?

I am coming to you today from the planet Pedantia on a journey through the vortex of Il' Literatius ...

Randomly listening to Radio 4 yesterday, I captured a few of my favourite bugbear monsters: sikth, intEgral, REsearch but the winner was a woman talking about energy-saving houses.

She said; "whevver peepull really make the most of their 'ouses is a mute point!"

Now, I don't mind accents...but a mute point...

And then there was the email I got from a window company (I am looking for quotes to do the windows on the house in Liverpool):


its the glassman thanks for your email i have looked at your photos

to match the excisting with a 25mm georgian bar supply and fit remove all debris all to fensa regs k glass fire escapes etc.


kind regards


Managing director.

I thought the last 2 words really set it off! If he's the managing director, what are the rest of them like??

I suppose I should be glad he uses spaces in the text...