Friday, October 31, 2014

Trapped in a Tom Waits Song

Did I dream the special offer on bourbon in Sainsbury's?
There is a saw playing in the background no matter where I go in the forest.
I fell asleep standing up in a tenement doorway.
I have a police record in an Asian port city for fighting a sailor over a dice game.
It is after 2 AM and I am washing dishes in a dance hall.
It is my belief that the only good things in this world are alcohol and a lady that I knew but briefly, and only as Tallulah.
In my opinion there is nothing wrong with storing your money, your gun, and your tragic love letters in the same shoe box.
One of my friends is a dwarf and he has killed somebody, probably at a sleazy circus.
When I hear a church bell I just shake my head because I know that everyone is evil and we're all going to hell. A hell which I ridicule but also believe in, because I have met the devil.
When he devil appeared to me, he spoke by growling through an old megaphone.
I occasionally fantasize about opening a combination greasy spoon diner and piano bar, like Coffee in the Wood.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Olden Days

The Bomber stayed at a school friend's last night.

I wish he had told me or decided earlier, I could have rushed down the M4 and gone the see STEVE CROPPER IN THE GLOBE in Albany Road just down Penylan Hill from Mum and Dad's.

I didn't even know the Globe was a music venue. For me it will always be the flea-pit movie house legend of the late Seventies and early Eighties and always showing Easy Rider as the second feature.

When I got home I switched on the TV to find that Alan Ladd's risible 1954 The Black Knight was playing, but had to watch at least a bit of it to try and spot Castell Coch where it was filmed. That is right, 60 years ago Hollywood came to a steep hillside high above the village of Tongwynlais just north of Cardiff.

Later in the evening there was a show called Freshers on ITV: "Cameras follow the fortunes of a new batch of freshers at Swansea University in South Wales, including politics student Chloe, rugby-mad James and super-geek Michael". I couldn't watch that, the wounds of 1979 are still too raw, but the universe seems to be telling me something about getting back to South Wales.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

get your fee, with Route 53

I had a couple of existing domain names transferred from another registrar to be managed by Amazon Web Services' Route 53 yesterday. It didn't offer registration until comparatively recently.

I will gradually transfer all of our, and our client's registrations over as they come up for renewal.

When it is complete I will be managing all our IT requirements with the exception of PCs, tablets and phones we own and broadband subscriptions in AWS.

Amazon Web Services was launched as a limited beta just over eight years ago.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


The Bomber is staying with me over half term so I stayed in with him last night rather than going out quizzing and watched episode 3 of Gotham. Coincidentally, the quiz tie break question last week, which Raphael failed to nail despite my mugging and miming from the sidelines, was about the character that Sean Pertwee (top right hand corner) plays.

It is good to see Erin Richards (1986 Penarth, bottom left hand corner) flying the flag for Wales, but astounding to see what appears to be my Auntie Anna (centre bottom, and I invite my family to agree) as Fish Mooney, an imposing, hotheaded and notoriously sadistic gangster boss and nightclub owner.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Now let's go, just gimme the signal

By the miracle of Windows Movie Maker and YouTube, yesterday's photos come to life.

Oh, and the Seahawks snapped snapped their two-game losing streak to beat the Carolina Panthers 13 - 9. Life is good.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

That's my boy

Jane managed to take 30 pbotographs in the seconds it took the Bomber to get his solo try against Reeds Weybridge. Her fingers must work nearly as quickly as his legs.

If you click on the first one you can stop through them like an animation.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

All of these things I do

Come and experience the exhilaration of recreational tree climbing!
When was the last time you climbed a tree just for fun?
The Bomber and Alex were due to go and visit Alfie over half term He is an old neighbour of Alex's whose family has moved to the country.

That jaunt has been cancelled though because "chicken mites have got into the house" (I don't know exactly what that means but it sounds unpleasant) so Ben is staying with me this week.

I wonder if they will fancy coming tree climbing with me? I'll bet you anything you like they won't now they are teenagers. There is a venue in Dorking though which is very  near a dentist in Great Bookham where himself is due to start a course of treatment soon. Perhaps I will be able to combine the two one day and present it as a fait accompli?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

only don't connect

The Ruts' game on Sunday was actually rather an ill tempered affair, and there was much complaining from our boys at half time about punches being thrown by the opposition in tackles, mauls and rucks. A dad - who is keen on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and rolls regularly - overheard the muttering and advised them - if they saw a punch being lined up - to pull the arm towards them. Very good advice on reflection, though getting your hips involved, transitioning to an arm bar and breaking the offending elbow would probably be an over reaction.

Maybe it is not all that theoretical at all. I found the video above about Jason Roebig, a Rickson Gracie black belt training the Gold Coast Titans in BJJ for rugby league in Australia.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"You're trending, bro."

Idly paging through the iTunes store over lunch, I saw that Jon Favreau's movie "Chef" is out. clicking around it fairly randomly I noticed a "Gift This Film" option.

Uneasy as I am with gift as a verb, I have gifted it to my brother John. If he doesn't enjoy it as much as I did, I will eat my toque.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I'll drink to that

Taste 5,000 years of brewing history as a time-traveling homebrewer rediscovers and re-creates the great beers of the past.

The Brewer’s Tale is a beer-filled journey into the past: the story of brewers gone by and one brave writer’s quest to bring them—and their ancient, forgotten beers—back to life, one taste at a time. This is the story of the world according to beer, a toast to flavors born of necessity and place—in Belgian monasteries, rundown farmhouses, and the basement nanobrewery next door. So pull up a barstool and raise a glass to 5,000 years of fermented magic.
Fueled by date-and-honey gruel, sour pediococcus-laced lambics, and all manner of beers between, William Bostwick’s rollicking quest for the drink’s origins takes him into the redwood forests of Sonoma County, to bullet-riddled South Boston brewpubs, and across the Atlantic, from Mesopotamian sands to medieval monasteries to British brewing factories. Bostwick compares notes with the Mt. Vernon historian in charge of preserving George Washington’s molasses-based home brew, and he finds the ancestor of today’s macrobrewed lagers in a nineteenth-century spy’s hollowed-out walking stick.

Wrapped around this modern reportage are deeply informed tales of history’s archetypal brewers: Babylonian temple workers, Nordic shamans, patriots, rebels, and monks. The Brewer’s Tale unfurls from the ancient goddess Ninkasi*, ruler of intoxication, to the cryptic beer hymns of the Rig Veda and down into the clove-scented treasure holds of India-bound sailing ships.

*Her father was Enki, the lord Nudimmud, and her mother was Ninti, the queen of the Abzu. She is also one of the eight children created in order to heal one of the eight wounds that Enki receives. Furthermore, she is the goddess of alcohol. She was also borne of "sparkling fresh water." She is the goddess made to "satisfy the desire" and "sate the heart."

Of course she was, of course she is.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A wondering star

I can't remember why, but John and I were talking about Lee Marvin's Wand'rin' Star on Saturday.

I vouchsafed the intelligence that Marvin was such a terrible singer that they had to record each note individually.

"Really all singing is done one note at a time," he quipped back merrily.

Oh really, O'Reilly.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

reeds all about it

The boys went down 17-14 to Reeds Weybridge  in  a friendly today. I use the word friendly advisedly.  Our first try was from Ben. Sid got the other and two conversions. I think we could have edged it in another ten minutes. We certainly ran a couple of kickable penalties that would have given us a draw in the last five going for a win.

They beat us 39-15 last year and won the league undefeated, so we are improving.

#inoursights next time.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

You can't handler the truth

My brother John is up for the weekend. Each of us represents both sides of the equation above. That could get messy.

Friday, October 17, 2014

21 Jump Street

[as they run out of amo, Jenko comes up with an idea he got from his chemistry class]
Jenko: You still got those shot gun shells?
Schmidt: Yeah!
[he hands Jenko the gun shells]
Jenko: Pop quiz notes. What do you get when lithium batteries react to potassium nitrate? That would be a covalent bond*, brother. That's when two atoms, they share electrons. You see, they both need what the other one has. That makes them stick together.
Schmidt: Are you saying we're covalent bonds?
Jenko: What? No! We're not atoms, dude!
[Jenko throws the alcohol bottle he put the shotgun shells in and chucks it into Domingo' limo which explodes and the blast causes Walter's limo to crash as well]
I was a spectator when Rutlish edged KCS 5-0 yesterday to get to the next round of the NatWest Cup. A solid performance from the Bomber who played the whole game on the left wing, though in truth the game was won and lost in a bruising encounter up front. He was the only year 9 boy in the starting year 10 team (there were a couple of others on the bench).

My phone buzzed when I was watching. It was an email from the school. My heart sank, such missives - if not about sport - are seldom good news, but it was praise.
I am Mr XXXX, Ben's physics teacher. I wanted to inform you that Ben's work in class today was of a very high standard and I have awarded him achievement points accordingly. I look forward to seeing more excellent work in the future.
You could have knocked me down with a feather. When I asked him about it later he explained that he had the drop on the topic in advance as he knew about covalent bonds from 21 Jump Street.

* Strictly it is an ionic bond. NJB  BSc Chemical Engineering and reigning champ at the Antelope pub quiz.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

a boy or a child?

Word has reached me by carrier pigeon that my sister Caroline has been delivered of an eight pound six baby boy on the other side of the Severn bridge.

Congratulations to her and to Neil. I will try and bunk off work and get down to see the three of them next week.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

pull up the drawbridge

I am very surprised to learn that Ben Flower - the Wigan forward who has been banned for six months for his attack on Lance Hohaia during Saturday's Rugby League Grand Final defeat to St Helens - was born and bred in Cardiff. The general rule there - as I recall - was to attack your opponent from behind and then kick them on the floor; squaring up to someone and restricting yourself to punches once they went down tended to be frowned upon as a rather lackadaisical approach.

In other oval ball developments, the Bomber is playing up a year tomorrow afternoon against King's College School (KCS), Wimbledon tomorrow in the third round of the NatWest Cup. According to the Schools Rugby website KCS' previous fixture was against Eton College. Very posh.

On Sunday the club has a friendly against Reeds Weybridge RFC. They battered us 39-19, running in seven tries to our three, last season so this will be a good test of progress since then.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

And what if you want to take your Nobel Prize on the road with you?

Brian Schmidt: winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics
 One of the things you get when you win a Nobel Prize is, well, a Nobel Prize. It’s about that big, that thick [about the size of an Olympic medal], weighs a half a pound, and it’s made of gold.”
“When I won this, my grandma, who lives in Fargo, North Dakota, wanted to see it. I was coming around so I decided I’d bring my Nobel Prize. You would think that carrying around a Nobel Prize would be uneventful, and it was uneventful, until I tried to leave Fargo with it, and went through the X-ray machine. I could see they were puzzled. It was in my laptop bag. It’s made of gold, so it absorbs all the X-rays—it’s completely black. And they had never seen anything completely black.”
“They’re like, ‘Sir, there’s something in your bag.’
I said, ‘Yes, I think it’s this box.’
They said, ‘What’s in the box?’
I said, ‘a large gold medal,’ as one does.
So they opened it up and they said, ‘What’s it made out of?’
I said, ‘gold.’
And they’re like, ‘Uhhhh. Who gave this to you?’
‘The King of Sweden.’
‘Why did he give this to you?’
‘Because I helped discover the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.’
At which point, they were beginning to lose their sense of humor. I explained to them it was a Nobel Prize, and their main question was, ‘Why were you in Fargo?’”
I think most of us can safely file this problem under cross that bridge when I come to it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dr. Strabismus (Whom God Amuse) of Utrecht

Facial recognition software is revolutionising security systems but it’s also helping a small arts club in Spain turn a larger profit.
The industry has reportedly suffered huge setbacks after the government raised the tax on theatre tickets from 8 per cent to 21 per cent.
In an entertaining video outlining its efforts, the club says immediately after the move by the authorities, audience numbers reduced by 30 per cent in one year.
They had to think of an inventive and ingenious way of counteracting this decline.
In conjunction with advertising agency The Cyranos McCann, the venue began experimenting by installing tablets on the back of audience members’ seats and recording each time they laughed.
Entrance to the club is free, but each laugh amounts to €0.30 (£0.24) – to a maximum of 80 laughs for €24 (£18).
Dr. Strabismus (Whom God Preserve) of Utrecht is carrying out research work with a view to crossing salmon with mosquitoes. He says it will mean a bite every time for fishermen.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Imitation Game

I missed posting here yesterday as I was  - pay attention 007! - at Bletchley Park with Professor David Stupples, Director of the Centre for Cyber and Security Services.

Now having thrown you that bone, I have to run out again.


Friday, October 10, 2014

in case you were wondering

A man who cycles around Wimbledon on an amazing technicolour bicycle is a familiar sight around the town.
It is adorned with everything from feathers to tinsel, tassels and trophies, parades a union jack flag, with a cassette player and speakers blasting out dance music.
At night it glows with disco lights.
Now the ‘golden man’ himself has revealed his motivation for taking to the streets - to make people happy.
Referring to himself as James Bond and declining to give his real name, he said he had been doing what he calls ‘the show’ for twelve years.

He said: "The petrol that keeps me going is I see so many happy people - this is the reward I get.
"I have not got a penny for it in 12 years but seeing people happy - that’s why I do it."
The self-confessed recluse, who also describes himself as an artist and inventor and sits on a golden throne at his Recency style home in a room with a giant chandeliers, often sees decorations in pound shops and adds to the bike and his jacket.
Now you know.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

The Mercurotti

Impersonator Marc Martel has recorded a duet featuring two of his idols, opera star Luciano Pavarotti and Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury, taking on both roles himself in one single take.

Covering the Puccini classic 'Nessun Dorma', Martel channels both of the singing titans in one amazing video (and even tailors his facial hair accordingly).

And you can listen to it without having to endure me singing along. Not an option available to the folk in offices adjoining mine this afternoon.

All together now .......
Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me,
il nome mio nessun saprà!
No, no, sulla tua bocca lo dirò
quando la luce splenderà!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Prepare to broaden horizons

Blimey. The Bomber appears to have got a gig in the new Agent Provocateur campaign, turning up in a black tie to shut the door about ten seconds into the clip above.

And to think he won't be old enough to watch it for another four years.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

“1 Star Quiz Night”

Horrendously over priced (average) food. The quiz was made up of largely utterly arbitrary questions; eg. "Famous movie lines" that were more accurately described as random lines from somewhere on the script of a well known film. Staff were exceptionally rude & obnoxious throughout. I've quizzed competitively internationally & not once have I had some two bit MC tell me I'm not very good at general knowledge. I have five international champions medals that say different. All in all decent venue with loads of walk in trade has aloud a place with overpriced food and horrendous service to thrive.. people rarely do amaze me at times. Never again.
That'll be the quiz we won again last night then by acing the final film round that so perturbed last week's reviewer.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Sunday, October 05, 2014


Sorry if I neglected you yesterday.

I collected the Bomber and his friend Jonnie after the school's rugby game (they won 97-0), then Jonnie's parents invited us the Gorringe Park at lunchtime. That session segued into the South Africa New Zealand game and after that details get hazy.

The club beat Guildford this morning. Two tries to the Bomber after three yesterday. As I am sharing I also ought to record that they also slaughtered Battersea last week. Fifty odd nil, I lost count of the precise score..

Friday, October 03, 2014

Gwlad Gwlad

I got the Bomber an iPhone 5c for his birthday. The best deal (somewhat to my surprise) seemed to be to buy it SIM free direct from Apple with a pay-as-you-go starter pack.

I was pleased to find this morning that there is an app for it that I can use to continue his indoctrination.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

badassery, n.

Baddassery having made it into the OED at the end of the last year, and given their fans' behaviour prior to and during a 4-1 defeat to Arsenal last night, I think Cockney rhyming slang needs extending.

  1. Adam and Eve – believe
  2. Alan Whickers – knickers
  3. apples and pears – stairs
  4. Artful Dodger – lodger
  5. Ascot Races – braces
  6. Aunt Joanna – piano
  7. Galatasaray – badassery
  8. Baked Bean – Queen
  9. Baker’s Dozen – Cousin

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Modesty forbids