Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Country visits, mile ready and soggy humiliation

Country visits
Excitement mounts as the BlackLOG country counter shows 100 different countries have visited, French Polynesia being the 100th. I'm not sure on the Blogging protocol for the 100th country. Do I send them a congratulations note or a reprimand for taking so long to find me?

It might not mean a lot to you bloggers who get visits from a 100 different countries a day but it means a lot to me. Although it would have been nice if it had been a bit more exciting than French Polynesia. Other than having a name like a Gallic parrot leg complaint, it has a population of just 287,032 and is actually counted as being "overseas lands of France" - so not a country at all....Oh my, this really hasn't gone to plan, a bit like aiming for the stars and ending up hitting a low hanging branch from one of next door's trees.....

With this milestone out of the way I decided to see how far I had to go to get the full set of countries. This turned out to be a more difficult task than one would have thought. Depending on the source you use and your definition of a country there is a mixed opinion on how many countries there are in the world. The numbers that I came across ranged from 194 to 201. I found some interesting facts along the way :-

  • England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not count as countries in their own right but as one under the banner of the United Kingdom (possibly not so united with a fair few Scots clamouring to be let off at the next pub and left to govern themselves). Well that's 4 potential visits reduced to 1 that I've lost out on....
  • Taiwan does not count as an official country (China won't let them come out to play) yet the Vatican City (I'm sad to say that not one of its 826 - July 2009, estimated* - inhabitants could be bothered to drop in), Monaco and San Marino all seem to be classed as countries.....
* China has a population of 1,338,612,968 (July 2009 est.) so you can 1,338,612,977 understand 1,338,612,979 why 1,338,613,014 they 1,338,613,015 would use an 1,338,613,768 estim-1,338,613,846 -ate 1,338,613,969 etc etc....You would however think that the Vatican City could probably go around and just count the number of priests in about half an hour.....

  • Interestingly enough the Vatican City has a population growth rate of :- 0.0003% indicating some of those priests are not as celibate as you would have thought - they can't all be Virgin births,can they? Don't get me started on suffrage though, the vote is restricted to males under 80, so much for women's and pensioners' rights....
  • My favourite country, that has taken the time to visit, despite not appearing to have had time to register, is the "Unknown European Union".
  • A big hand to the one person from China who managed to break out of their heavily state controlled environment to make it to the BlackLOG - I can't help but think it may not have been worth them risking their life and/or liberty. You can imagine their disappointment if the BlackLOG was all they managed to find in the world beyond the red walls, probably not enough to sustain them during the rest of their life as a political prisoner.....
Mile Ready
I managed to get Mrs B and her new bike past the 1 mile mark - so I guess she can now wear her "mile ready" badge with pride (apologies this is a UK related in-joke and may not translate outside of these borders. In fact, it probably doesn't even translate within these borders but what the heck?). It was nice to get out into fresh, warm air, with no real drama for once. Well, other than I managed to lose the magnet on my Cadence device (a device for counting the number of times the pedals go around RPM - Revolutions Per Minute) .

I'm not exactly sure what all this means other than it is a gadget - I am not afraid to admit I am a gadget whore - and Lance Armstrong swears by them...or is it at them.....? It was working perfectly** except (sorry, I'm going to get a bit technical here) rather than the thingy gliding effortlessly past the other thingy they in fact knocked into each other, making a sound like rampant grasshoppers shagging each other's brains out.

I soon discovered that Cadence counting was not designed to be a contact sport. After about 2 miles the magnet ejaculated (sorry could not think of a better, or more appropriate, word) itself off the bike. By the time I had worked out why the Cadence device had stopped working the magnet was long gone, probably making its way on an epic solo journey to the magnetic north pole....

We returned home after 25 miles and a rather welcome  lunch at the Axe  & Compass. Mrs B reported that she likes the new road bike and certainly managed the hills much better then on the off roader.  I wonder if it might be a bit premature to sign up for next years Tour De France.....

** A sure sign something is about to go horrifically wrong***

*** Which is no problem, just an indication that the world is working perfectly**** as it should, just ask Murphy and Sod....

**** Only that means it is probably about to go Pete Tong.... Good example of this was the dinosaurs, they just got the world as they wanted, so ordered a meteor shower to celebrate. (Don't forget these are dinosaurs and they didn't have long enough arms to operate fireworks safely.) One meteorite goes off track and with no Bruce Willis to save them. Wham! Dino and buddies were consigned to the history books.... Just as well really, man would probably have hunted them to extinction anyway.

Mrs B - Mile ready

Proof that Mrs B can do more than just hold the bike....
Photoshop is wonderful - you can't even see a trace
of the stabilisers on the bike ..

Does my bike look big in this......????

Complete and utter humiliation at the hands of pensioners' and some water
Having regularly been able to swim a mile at a time,  I foolishly allowed my friend Kirsty to talk me into coming along to "Swim Club".

The first rule of Swim Club - "You don't talk about Swim Club" but since I won't, can't, go back to swim club I'm going to peel back the pool cover and divulge all.....

Mrs B had warned me against it but male pride got the better of me and I turned up in my best budgie smugglers for stream-lining purposes.

There were three lanes to choose from :

  • Fast;
  • Medium; and
  • Retard.
Decisions, decisions. Fortunately I thought it would be a good idea to get warmed up and so selected the Retard lane, joining the subdued looking pensioners floating listlessly at end of the pool. I had barely hit the water before they were off and I discovered my mile swimming pace was not going to cut the mustard. I set off in hot pursuit and just 8 lengths in I was gasping for breath and only just about holding my own.

As the session went on my fellow laners seemed to get faster and faster. To make it worse they had more wrinkles then your average elephant so could hardly be described as stream-lined. Then it dawned on me, once their wrinkles went wrinkly in the water they probably became super stream-lined. I never stood a chance.

I soldiered on for a bit but soon I was regularly being lapped . I think at one point "Eric the Eel" may have powered past me, leaving me bobbing in his wake. Oh the shame..... Eventually cramp came to my aid and I managed to slink out of the session with my pride in tatters and my virtual tail well and truly between my legs .....

For the record ex-swim captain - Kirsty uses the Medium lane, while boyfriend Joe, who is not particularly swim orientated, turned up and decided to go in the fast lane. He was not asked to leave and
in-between my bouts of attempting to drown myself, Joe appeared to be holding his own - Kirsty was not amused....

Mrs B's sympathetic response was "I told you so......" My plans for Olympic swim glory at London 2012 are currently on hold....

The last rule of Swim Club - "Never mention Swim Club again....... ever...."

Kirsty - Kind to small animals but not so kind to me....

Joe - "More carbs please, I've got
to keep up in the fast lane...."

McG joins me in the humiliation club
I'm not the only one who had a bad week. McG attempted to launch himself from the floor onto our bed, the other night, a height of no more than around three feet. I woke with a start to find McG's eyeballs staring wildly at me, his teeth fixed in a steely and determined grin, as he clung desperately to the side of the mattress.

We made the mistake of clipping his claws as a kitten, to stop him doing any damage around the house, ever since he has had a problem retracting his claws. (Although that is true about the clipped claws, I believe McG is really a crap cat, a special needs cat if you like. When cat abilities were being handed out he was either snoozing or got in the wrong queue and ended up with dog-like abilities to eat. But we love him even more for it).

Eventually I had to reach over and help him scrabble up.... not a very dignified position for a cat to find himself in.... he then attempted to do that - "I'm washing myself, do not disturb" - thing that cats do, but he over reached and flopped off the side of the bed.....His slink out of the room was very similar to my slink out of Swim Club - McG, believe me buddy, I truly feel your pain....

The first rule of Humiliation Club "Learn the art of slinking away unnoticed"

McG "Back off, I'm washing myself
- No humiliation here....."

Monday, 15 March 2010

No way or I'll wail, 3D the way forward and photo disaster

Noah and the Whale or as Mrs B now calls them "No way or I'll wail" -
It was off to Camden, North London and a new venue for us - "The Roundhouse". I'm not sure why I have never managed to make it to the Roundhouse before: it's a great little venue, a bit like a cross between a mini Albert Hall and a circus tent. Sadly the music did not live up to it. I had a feeling that all was not going to go well from the moment Mrs B complained about the melancholic drone that I had put on her Ipod. A couple of weeks before I take Mrs B to a gig I load the group we are off to see onto her machine. I had already taken the precaution of removing half of the "No way or I'll wail" tracks that I felt were a bit down beat . Oh dear I should have removed all of the tracks except their big hit "5 years time". Even I found the majority of the gig dull* :

"a bit like watching an amoeba that is watching fresh paint dry".

About halfway through the gig I would down grade this to

"like watching a dead Amoeba that is watching 20 year old paint dry...."

Admittedly they picked up a bit for the encore (You may ask what were we still doing there at the encore? Hmm I think it was because I was determined to hear "5 years time") but when I say picked up a bit it was like the paint being quick drying variety rather than standard paint. Once the last cords of "5 years time" had been sounded, I whisked Mrs B out of the gig, before the main body of the audience hit the streets of Camden and attempted to throw themselves under passing buses like depressed lemmings....

For the record The Beast did not join us for the gig and instead Mrs B's Mini Beast was on photographic duties.

* In my defence I purchased the tickets before "No way or I'll wail" released their second album, which despite critical acclaim turned them into North London's answer to assisted suicide, certainly cheaper than flying to Switzerland but a horribly painful way to go.... I did try and sell the tickets but was informed by the authorities that I would qualify for an assist for any resulting deaths and an indefinite stay in prison for excessive cruelty to fellow human beings....(Mrs B wants to know why that did not apply to her.... It's a good question and I'm currently in talks with my solicitor to find out a good legal argument that does not end in divorce....)

No way or I'll wail - perhaps not one of Mrs B's Favourites

Five years time - I'm not sure they will make five weeks time

The joys of parking in Camden
I almost got caught out with the parking rules this week as Camden Council turned out to be a bit sneaky. 6.30pm is almost the universal time for London parking restrictions to be relaxed on week days and as I got out of ElleGee I glanced up at the sign and read 6:30pm, leaving me feeling very pleased with myself that I had managed to find a space practically outside the venue. Fortunately I happened to notice a second smaller sign further along that said parking restrictions until 11pm. I checked the 6:30pm sign and realised that this was for unloading only and not general parking. The snide sods - talk about money-grabbing opportunists. So it was back into ElleGee and a quick trip around the corner where the parking restrictions were more reasonable.
Camden Roundhouse - great venue but don't park outside

3D (what's lacking)
While replying to one of last week's comments I had a sudden revelation about what the real problem with 3D is and why it makes some people feel queasy. When you are watching a film in 3D - and the film appears to drag you through bushes but without you having the sensation of being whipped by the branches, it's just not natural and is liable to get your brain sending all sorts of freaky messages. What you need to do is somehow combat this and I propose "Feel 'o' Vision" (patent pending) at the antidote. This would revolutionise cinema going but with the side effect that it would destroy the Porn film industry.

"No!" I hear you say, " surely people would be flocking to Soho and other such places of ill repute, to experience 3D porn incorporating Feel 'o' Vision (patent pending)"

Well yes I have to agree with you and, initially, profits for the Porno Pound would soar. The end however would be sudden and catastrophic, once the cinemas received the clean up bill. It would make
Enron look like a financial success story.....

Photo disaster
My main photo storage hard drive** crashed this week. (When I say crashed I don't mean the brakes failed and it ran into another hard drive)

** Turns out it was not a very hard disk, first sign of any trouble it runs off home to its mamma and refuses to let me have my data back.

You can imagine how The Beast took the news :

Me :- "You know all those pictures you've taken?"

The Beast :- "Click!!"

Me :- "Would you like to take some of them again?"

The Beast :- "Click?"

Me :- "No, no there was nothing wrong with them...."

The Beast :- "Click!"

Me :- "I just thought we could have so much fun as we try and recapture the moments"

The Beast :- "Click!!!!"

Me :- "So that would be a no then?"

The Beast :- "Click!!!"

Me :- "Anymore of this attitude and you won't be going to see "Noah and the Whale"

The Beast :- "Click!"

Me :- "What do you mean you don't care and that Mrs B told you that they're more depressing than an episode of East Enders anyway"

The Beast :- "Click!"

Me :- "Where did you learn such language? You can go to your case until you've calmed down"

The Beast :-  "Click"

Me :- "I can always replace you with an instamatic"

The Beast :- Said nothing but gave me the most pitiful one eyed look of all time and promptly sulked for the rest of the week - So now you know why The Beast didn't make it to "Noah and the Whale".

  • Fortunately, I had most of my music and photos backed up to on a secondary drive (These have now been backed up onto a third drive and I'm thinking about a possible 4th. Just in case the brakes do actually fail next time and the main hard drive crashes into the secondary hard drive, causing the 3rd drive, who happened to witness it drop dead from shock).

  • Unfortunately though, I last backed up just after New Year, so nothing taken since mid January had been backed up (including Mrs B's Sister's wedding, much wailing and gnashing of teeth).

  • Fortunately, I had decided not to delete the wedding photos off my memory cards last weekend. (Probably due to idleness rather than good planning on my part).

  • Unfortunately, the memory cards contain the full 500 shots before I had sorted them out (deep joy, another session discarding the rubbish shots).

  • Fortunately, I had saved the 80 pictures intended for a CD Rom for JL & Matt onto a separate memory card in order to play them through our TV.

  • Unfortunately, I had already re-formatted the card that contained our niece's 18th birthday pictures, thereby deleting them.

  • Fortunately, I purchased some software last year that allows you to retrieve data off formatted drives.

  • Unfortunately, my licence to use the software had expired. (I thought I had purchased the product not a timeshare in it.)

  • Fortunately, they were doing a cut price renewal for the licence. (Anyone wanting to spend a week in my freshly refurbished Data Retrieval Timeshare, do get in touch.)

  • Unfortunately, while the programme had worked successfully on new memory cards, my efforts to retrieve pictures from older, well used, memory cards ended up finding practically all the photos I had ever taken on them and shrunk them down to a thumbnail format - Aaaaarrrrrggghhhh!!!!! (This means that while I could still send my niece a disc of photos I will also have to send her a powerful magnifying glass....)

The corrupt drive is now with someone who is seeing what, if anything, can be retrieved. (I felt this was a better option than me drop kicking the piece of crap around the house in the vague hope that what is left of it might just work when I attach it to my PC. This is from the "Bang it hard enough" theory of repairs, which only ever works in bad sitcoms. It is a great stress reliever until it crashes through the TV and takes out Mrs B's favourite vase.....)

So fingers crossed on that one.....The moral of this story is regular weekly backups from now on........

Street Photo update
I had promised in last week's BlackLOG some information that has come to light about the problems of taking photographs in public in the UK - unfortunately I have misplaced the article (probably on my crashed hard disk) besides I've put you through enough trauma already this week so I will hold that back till another time ....Have a good one.

P.S. If you get the chance listen to the 3rd song on the play list. While looking for music to go with this weeks’ Blog (Oh yes you guys probably miss this service. Don’t worry I appreciate my efforts even if you don’t) I came across the Rolf Harris cover of the Divinyls - “I touch myself” – It is so wrong on every single level that it ends up being right (Well kind of. It will make you feel sick, fascinated and wanting a damn good wash in equal measures. Warning, if you find yourself even the slightest bit turned on it’s probably time to listen to “No Way or I Wail” and end it all now before it is too late. This could end up as bad as Frank Bough, tank tops and whips….). If Rolf ever needs cash he can always set himself up a premium suffer sex line ……

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

BlackLOG in punctureland

This week 2 films at the cinema and two punctures, coincidence, I don't think so.

Starting off with Lovely Bones -Warning! This may contain spoilers if you have not read the book or seen the film.

For some reason I keep referring to it as Lazy Bones. It was a C.A.C.T.U.S night so the cost was a very reasonable £2.95. The brave souls to risk the wrath of god this week were Guy and Mala and they both seemed to enjoy Peter Jackson's vision of heaven. I had read some reviews beforehand which had ripped into the film. I don't know what film they were reviewing or, more to the point, what narcotics they had been imbibing before putting pen to paper, but talk about misinformation.  One revue claimed that Susie, the girl who is murdered, did not know who had killed her and spent the film trying to find out. Since it is clear from the start that she knows her killer, you have to question if the reviewer had seen the film or even read the book. It was more likely that they had relied on a 5 year old (and not a particularly bright one) who themselves had not seen it but been told by their 3 year old sibling(again not a particularly bright one) to tell them the plot.....

OK, some of the sub-plots had changed from the book. The affair between the mother and the detective has been stolen but this is inevitable for narrative and pace (Oh, my god. That makes me sound a bit like a director, or at least it would to a 5 year old who learned from a 3 year old what they think a director should sound like). Some of the imagery that Jackson put in is superb. For instance the scene where Susie's father smashes his collection of ships in bottles* as they appear in the ocean in Susie's heaven being dashed against the rocks is inspired and demonstrates the connection between Susie and her father even after her death. Even the tricky rape and death scene was dealt with well - as Susie started to run from the underground den, where she had been lured, my mind was screaming "but she didn't get out in the book!!!" and I expected to see Mr Harvey (her murderer) run after her and drag her back in a true Hollywood attempt to add unneeded tension. Of course she doesn't in the film either. It is her soul fleeing her body - very imaginative and an excellent way of avoiding having to show a controversial teenage rape and murder.

* Hey I'm not going to judge. People collect all sorts of strange and wonderful things. I have heard of people who collect toenail clippings. Don't believe me? Then check this out " Toenail clipping collection. Personally I would call it failure to throw things away rather than a collection, but don't get Mrs B started on that subject. I'm already in enough trouble over my navel fluff Collection. Just kidding - it's not actually mine, I just hired Graham's Paddock's collection for the weekend. What next? Toe jam and ear wax collections? Oh, yes they are all on the web,present and correct but I'll leave you to Google them yourself. As for Tampax collections, I'm not even going to look into that one but you can bet your sweet puberty that someone in the world probably collects them.....

The only bit of the film that didn't work for me was when the mother returned home after abandoning the family for years. No explanation that it was because of her husband's heart attack, as in the book, nor indeed were there any signs of the heart attack itself. Other than that small gripe I thought it was a great film...

3D or not 3D that is the question (No real spoilers just a bit of grumbling and disappointment)
Alice in Wonderland 3D, at the IMAX in London (The UK's largest screen) - I fear I had built my expectations too high. Don't get me wrong. I loved parts of the film but it just didn't tick all the boxes. I enjoyed Jonny Depp as the Mad Hatter but that might be because the critics had laid into him, so my expectations were lowered. I loved the Cheshire cat (but then I would wouldn't I?) but I really struggled with Alice, the dormouse (they could have got someone better than Barbara Windsor for the voice) and as for the White Queen, I'm assuming the White Queen is meant to be the good one but to be honest I found her more frightening than the comic Red Queen. While Helena Bonham-Carter strutted around screaming "Off with their heads!" and was clearly based on Queenie from Blackadder II, Ann Hathaway has the look of a sociopathic killer who probably has a body count that would make Joseph Stalin look like an amateur when it comes to culling his own people....

Then there is the whole 3D debate. Personally I can take or leave it. I often find it more distracting than anything. Sure, some of the effects are impressive, at one point a group of people walked across the foreground of the picture, it was so realistic I felt I could reach out and touch them. It was fortunate that I didn't as they turned out to be late arrivals and I probably would have got a good slapping. Besides, 3D makes Mrs B feel queasy and those glasses everyone has to wear don't get any better. It makes the cinema look like a room full of Mr Magoo's.

Well done to our friends Kirsty and Joe who managed to not only make it to the IMAX this time, but also stayed awake for the entire film, which is more than Mrs B did. As a bonus they did not have to go rushing off to the toilet halfway through the film. The last time I did that it was during Oliver Twist and I was about six.....does this mean that we have at last managed to toilet train you for the cinema? (P.S Kirsty, I promise not to mention you being responsible for getting the ladies toilets, in the Archduke, closed down for two hours before we went to the movie. I'm sure it was just a coincidence.....)

The best thing about seeing the film this week was that it does allow for a nice segue into the next topic as well as providing, in my opinion, an excellent Blog title:

BlackLOG in Punctureland

Puncture one
While travelling at high speed (I'm admitting to 77mph and nothing more without my lawyer present) one of ElleGee's warning lights came on. (The one which indicates that tyre pressure has changed and not in a good way.) I slowed down and figured "Not a problem, the car's fitted with run flat tyres which are good for 50 miles I could get to work and sort it out from there. 3 miles further on and ElleGee was vibrating like a small child who has not only discovered their full year's supply of sweets but scoffed the lot and started on next year's stash. I was close to the South Mimms service station and since I had never had the pleasure of stopping off there decided it was time for a visit. A big thanks to the white van driver who honked his horn and pointed excitedly at my back nearside tyre as I limped onto the slipway coming off the M25. No really, I always drive at 20 miles an hour with my hazards flashing and my car jerking around like a headless chicken at a samba festival and I had absolutely no idea that I had a flat.....thanks!

My boss, who was with me (we have car pooled for the last 10 years, how green is that? It's done nothing for my campaign to waste the planet before we ruin it) was very understanding and called for assistance, which involved getting one of his other staff to come and collect him. This left me to call my Company Car help-line. The problem with run flats is that you have them instead of having a spare and when they work they are great. I once had a double puncture with normal tyres which left me stranded. With run flats you can, in theory, have a quadruple blow out and still get home. So much for theories. It seems that if the side wall of the run flat tyre is damaged your expensive run flat tyre becomes a useless chunk of rubber sprawling across the tarmac....

I had a choice, wait for an estimated 9 hours for a mobile tyre van to come and fit a replacement (one would have thought I was in the outer Hebrides not just off one of the UK's busiest roads) or opt for a tow to a garage. Hmm........a 9 hour wait for tyres or an 1 hour wait for a tow truck. Decisions, decisions. It was a close run thing what with coffee shop and Waitrose supermarket on site at South Mimms (although I'm not sure if you can call it a supermarket if it only stocks around 10 items) but in the end I opted to save 8 hours.

The rescue service was true to their word and turn up just a couple of minutes after the appointed time,looking good..... only it soon became clear that it wasn't. The rescue van was supplied under the BMW warranty for the car, while the tyre replacement is sorted out under my Company car scheme who only use selected outlets; BMW not being one of them. The driver was under instructions to tow me to the nearest BMW garage. I explained the problem to the driver and expected him to quote red tape and say his hands were tied but he turned out not to be job's worth, clicked off his radio, so they could not contact him and took me to my waiting tyres (I had used my hour wisely and found a suitable garage covered by the Company Car scheme which had the tyres in stock). It was all going so well.

The garage took off my wheel, got approval to have the tyres changed and then realised they didn't have the correct tyre after all. Despite me giving them the correct code they missed out the run flat part when they checked the stock levels. It took them 3 hours to get the replacement from their depot about 5 miles down the road. If I had known it would take so long I would have walked to collect it and roll it back myself.
After so much waiting I had read the newspaper from cover to cover and had started composing obituaries for the inventor of Run Flat Tyres and garage operatives who can't use their stock control system properly.

Puncture Two
Mrs B's new road bike. It has taken me weeks to get her out on it (to be fair though the weather has not been kind) only to find that less than a mile after we started her back tyre was flat. I discovered a shard of stone had gone through the tyre. I asked myself "Did Mrs B aim for it deliberately ?" but then I realised that was a stupid thought, her eyesight's not that great, after all she married me....

So, it was a slow walk home. It took me about two hours to get the damn tyre off and change the inner tube. No one told me road bike tyres were so much more difficult to remove th a n the mountain bike equivalents. Mrs B vanished to the safety of the living room as I wrest l ed and swore at the tyre in equal measures. Two broken plastic tyre levers later (who could possibly have thought that would make good material for the purpose?) and much scuffing of knuckles and it was repaired. Unfortunately not only had the daylight vanished but Mrs B's lights had gone out as well. She looked so content snoozing away that I didn't have the heart to disturb her....So our bike ride consisted of :

  • 2 hours to get all our bike gear together ( hunting out gloves, helmets and cycle clothing which have been hibernating through the winter. Like wires you put them away neatly, don't go near them for months and yet when you do find them again they are all over the place.....) ;
  • 5 minutes riding ;
  • 10 minutes walking back to the house ; and
  • 2 hours wrestling with the bike wheel .
I've now ordered some Kevlar infused bike tyres for both of us, which should at least put a stop to all but the most persistent of punctures (so we might get to 2 miles next time), the only problem is that changing 4 tyres is going to take another 8 hours out of my life, I might as well go and wait at South Mimms and call out the mobile tyre service....

That's it for another week

Apparently I risked life and liberty taking this photo
- more about that next week

The Archduke was the first restaurant and
wine bar to open on the Southbank in 1979.
The only complaint is it does not appear to
have very robust ladies toilets....
Kirsty, Joe and Mrs B enjoying the sunshine on
the South Bank

Just look at that lovely blue sky. The down side is
this time of year no clouds means it's bloody parky..

OK so what looks like a giant gas storage tank stuck
 in the middle of a round-a-bout in Waterloo.......
.....Turns out it contains the largest cinema screen in
the UK. Who would have guessed...

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Odds and ends i.e scraping the barrel

How to become an instant hero:
1) Turn up at your friends' house (in this case Mala and Craig) to help them move 400 yards up the road (well, technically an alleyway but that's another story);
2) Don't drop any of their pillows in a muddy puddle (Nice one Vinnie, is this some kind of Sicilian moving gift?);

Vinnie the pillow assassin or was he
trying to smother the puddle? 

3) Spend a few hours setting up their TV and entertainment system - I was particularly impressed that I managed to work out that the previous occupants had attempted to turn the Sky satellite cable into a standard aerial input. Quick trip back to Craig and Mala's old house, some screwdriver action (or in this case the world's next best thing to a screwdriver - a kitchen knife) and Sky was live and in the house. I would like to point out that the new interesting channels at the far end of the spectrum had nothing to do with me.....;

Craig, Mala why so down, it was only a pillow....... Sit down
and enjoy your freshly installed Sky service. Word of warning 
 though, don't head off to the far end of the spectrum....... 

4) Accidently fix their oven door (honestly guys, it was a fluke) ; and
5) Invite them around for Sunday dinner and get Mrs B to do the cooking.

Result? Instant and probably undeserved hero status - but I'll take it.

A big thank you to the little (well she was quite large and not in a vertical way) old lady who rushed over to me at the end of the class and asked was I OK. She was worried about the faces I was pulling and the whimpering noises which turned into yelps after a particularly vicious adjustment from my Yoga teacher. I had to assure the little old lady that I was fine and this is what I normally look and sound like.....I'm now attending three classes a week and it is testament to the fantastic inabilities of my body that I'm showing no visible signs of improvement....

Role reversal
While we sat in front of the TV recently, Mrs B and I had this surreal conversation:
Me - Cracking Nuts Mrs B*
Mrs B - That's a mighty fine pussy you have yourself **
* which happened to be a statement of fact and jolly tasty walnuts they were too
**To put this into context I had Mischief on my lap

Mischief and walnuts.....separated at birth?

The British Bobsleigh team :-
Well done to our latest heroes. Every time I saw any of their runs they were travelling at speed upside down. Hmmm sounds like we need to put runners on the top of the sleigh as well, then watch us go, we would be unstoppable.......

The Mitch winter Olympic report
I'm afraid our reporter on the spot in Vancouver, Mitch, has succumbed to his roof falling injuries and has been unable to submit the guest Olympic blog. I think he's just angling for a no expenses spared (or in fact spent) trip to Russia in four years' time. I'm pretty sure that I will just need to edit his report (when eventually submitted) and change:
Vancouver to Sochi***
Mitch to Mitchski
Joyce to Joyceski (I'm not stumping up for a Russian internet bride, he can rebrand his Canadian wife)

After all, reporting on one British Olympic bobsleigh sliding most of the way upside-down is pretty much the same in Vancouver or Sochi.

*** No I hadn't heard of it either, just think of it as more accidental education brought to you through the BlackLOG

On a serious note I hope you feel better soon Mitchski.....

As you can probably tell it's been a bit of a quiet week in the BlackLOG household...

Have a good week