30/11/2006

Knight to B4

Chess Players are to be tested for drugs. No I'm not making it up but if they find a drug that gives you an edge on the chess board I want to know what it is.

I mean will caffeine be contraband in this area cause it lets you stay up playing for longer? I can see them banning the RedBull already and barring the 12year old genius from Starbucks,
"No Timmy it gives you an unfair advantage, don't drink it!".

I mean if the person is smoking Weed and manages to win the match I think they should give him double points, its only fair. If he wins after taking LCD he should be declared world champion.

I'm actually a pretty good chess player, yes I was the geek with the chess board and a deck of cards that people laughed at but I didn't care then and I don't now. I Love the game because it gets me thinking but I really don't consider it a sport so why are they testing for drugs? Perhaps its the idea of "altering" your mind, but how can they object to someone putting themselves at a disadvantage. Can you imagine if they did this to everyone who entered the World Poker Championship?
Disclaimer: The gloves are still on so please excuse the insanity that might have poured into this post.

29/11/2006

fingers iced to keyboard

The heating in my office has been broken since Monday, half of the people here are insane and thus they haven't noticed the ice forming on the inside (OK no ice yet but if feels like it). I, on the other hand, am thankful for my little heater. As my fingers are freezing and stiff I'm going to use humour to describe how I feel.

28/11/2006

Voyage to the bottom of the Sea

When I was a kid I remember watch a cartoon called Sealab 2020, According to my mum I'd get up for Spider-man and his Amazing friends, eat breakfast and lightning speed and be back in front of the TV for Sealab. In all honesty if I watched it now it would probably be awful.

So when SeaQuest DSV hit the air I was enthralled it was like Star Trek but underwater! They had a dolphin that could talk (Darwin) and a kid genius (which is mandatory). Plus the guy from Jaws, what more could anyone ask for.

E and I have been re-watching all the episodes and I begin to see that Lucas was a far more believable teenage then Wesley Crusher, but that's just the geek in me coming out. OK so the visual effect haven't really withstood the test of time and Season 3 isn't fantastic but it got me dreaming. I mean the Ocean is incredible and so vast, we are still discovering so much more about it everyday like this bizarre new creature found in New Zealand. Who knows what else is out there beneath the waves...


***News of the Day***
- Why take a week off when you can get maternity leave?
- Rescue me, this robbery went wrong...again

27/11/2006

Pan's Labyrinth

Movies have been rather slow this year, Don't get me wrong I was expecting so much more, but both X-men 3 and Superman Returns managed to disappoint even the most die hard comic fan in me and the Bond, though good I still wouldn't buy on DVD. That's really the benchmark isn't it, would you buy it? Though there were two exceptions, Good Night and Good Luck and Brick. Thanks goodness it seems to be picking up towards Christmas with The Prestige and a few other more interesting choices, but if you only have time for one movie for the rest of this year go and see Pan's Labyrinth.

I had my reservations about the film as its written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, the guy who did HellBoy (which was OK I guess but only if your a sci-fi fan like myself) So I wasn't holding my breath for the movie to be particularly good. About 10 mins in, all my preconceptions are gone. Its 1944 in post civil war Spain, we follow a little girl named Ofelia as she moves to a country mill with her expecting mother and evil Step father. Even though she is surrounded by horrific events Ofelia escapes to find the Ancient Labyrinth and much more besides...I don't want to give away anything So I'll leave it there but I must warn you, there were a few scenes when I couldn't watch (so don't take the kids to this one).

24/11/2006

White Shores and Beyond

I was watching Planet Earth the other night, a series which I think is fantastic. The episode was all about the Great Plains and the mass migrations the animals take to get to/from them. This of course got me thinking about early humans.

We (humanity) used to live in Nomadic tribes (some people still do), until we started settling down in fertile areas and slowly turned from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to an agricultural one, leading to the earliest permanent settlements and eventually villages, towns etc the whole civilisation stuff. I could spend hours recounting how civilisation got started and even longer yapping about ancient history but better scholars have already handled that.

There we were for thousands of years going from place to place, following the seasons and the animals, living rather peacefully with the earth. So I ask, is this lifestyle totally gone from the people living in industrialised countries? Are we now so different?

The urge to move on to new places, travel the world is still there. How many people do you know who actually want to say in their hometown their whole life and never leave compared to the billions who'd love to see the world?

Most people I know given the chance and money would pack in their jobs and travel to exotic distant lands. Thousands of people take time out of their lives to go backpacking for months at a time not to mention the holiday industry.

But why do it, we have food, shelter, water and all the resources we could want in our own corner of the globe. The Internet and TV and show and tell you all about other places and people. So why the desire to go out and visit these far away countries? We even go to ones that aren't very different to our own?

I think buried deep down we all still have the desire to move on to greener pastures and experience the beauty and diversity of the world with our own eyes.

23/11/2006

Where is the "any" key?

To those of you who are American Happy Thanks Giving :-)

Yesterday, was so boring, hence my long rant about history but this made me giggle. I got a call from someone over in Marketing. I don't really have to deal with marketing very often, every now and again I send them copies of the Quark files of our book covers (I work in publishing in case your wondering). So I'm a little surprised but it could be anything.

"Hi Falcon its me, I'm just having some trouble opening the files I asked you to send me"

"Hi, what seems to be the problem"

"They just won't open"

"Do you mean the Quark files or the images?"

"The quark files"

"Ok, are you looking at the folder the files are in?"

"No"

"Can you open up the folder in window explorer"

"um hold on....Where is windows explorer?"

After directing him (the marketing manager) to windows explorer and the correct folder

"do the files have their extensions? or list the programme type?"

"No"

"Ok add .qxd on to the file you are trying to open and then open the file"

Pause...

"it didn't open"

(Now I start to racking my brain, file is present, file extension is present, whats missing why...why won't it open...I tested them before I sent them, maybe he has an older version of the programme...could be so many thing, please don't make me go over there...)

"Ok, now right click on the file and select open with, a dialogue box with a list of programmes should appear"

"Got the box"

"Select Quark Xpress and click OK"

"Quark isn't listed, there is Excel, Acrobat...."

"That's strange the programme should be on the list...um wait, I'm assuming you do have Quark installed on your PC, don't you?"

"No, is that going to be a problem?"

22/11/2006

Truth anyone?

I was reading this article this morning, about a teachers interesting new approach to teaching history.

Some people may agree or disagree about whether or not children should be told the 'truth' about certain historical events. At the end of the day truth is subjective just like history. The problem with history is that the past is told by those who win.

When I was a kid we were taught that the failed invasion of Spanish Armada in 1588 was a huge victory for Britain. When I studied it again years and year later, everything wasn't so cut and dry. Both the English and Spanish text books have very different accounts, so who was right?

I had a very fair teacher in the sense that she didn't like to sugar coat history and did her best to challenge us to see beyond the lies and bias with which history is told and retold. The point she made to us was don't take the interpretation and commentary as Gospel, just look at the evidence and draw your own conclusion even if it contradicts the most common opinion.

Until I was 16, School history tried to teach me that the British Empire was a great and marvellous, I often felt like pointing out that half the class were descended form the ex-colonies and we knew better. In fact you'd have to be completely ignorant if you think that anyone from an ex-colony (who knows thier own history) would think that, being invaded and run by a foreign power, stripping your land of its resources, plundering wealth, leaving the native population in poverty and having the nerve to call you 'uncivilised' was a good thing.

E had to explain all of this at one time to a friend of ours at university, who was shocked because that wasn't what he was taught. I understand, I mean what country would be brave enough to teach their past errors in the public education system? Who wants to say that the Empire was responsible for slavery and inventing concentration camps? The answer, its easier to teach what you want people to know, becasue how many are going to be bothered to look beyound what they are taugh in school?

***What not to get for X-mas***

21/11/2006

Some lite entertainment

Normally Tuesdays are long boring days, the weekend is too far away and your still recovering from Monday. Today my colleague got an e-mail from someone she'd never met.

After a few lines into reading I heard her announce "Oh No the poor thing". A girl had sent her a message, a rather personal message and seemed to be asking her out (we assume), except it wasn't meant for her it was meant for a guy with the same first name.

Alas I can't remember the whole thing but the words "I don't know you very well" and "I'm not a monster, I'm just shy" were used. My colleague replied with a simple "I don't think this was meant for me" and left it at that cos nothing she could say would make it any less embarrassing. The point, check and double check before you e-mail someone you don't know. In the mean while I have cartoons...

***News of the Day***
- Chicago so safe the police have decided to save the environment
- If you've just committed grand theft and are very fond of music but a CD
- Problem with Darwin's survival of the fittest, Dumb Luck
- Whats wrong with this phrase: Open Prison....

***Link of the Day***
This is toooooo cute!

20/11/2006

Things to do...get paper

I hate November in fact it's a contest between November and February for which month is the most depressing. December has x-mas which to me is fantastic as we get a week off and January usually whizzes by quick enough but November and February drag. Over in the States your lucky as Thanks Giving holds off the Christmas insanity and makes November less awful.

My husband hates x-mas but I was thinking about how depressing winter would without it. In the UK its freezing from November to early March if we didn't have x-mas to break it up, the long darkness would seem endless. It's almost like they planned it as a distraction technique, cos unlike popular belief suicides actually decrease in winter. We could go down the route to say Christmas just replaced the Winter Solstices festival which apparently served the same function etc but lets not get caught up in the details. Whatever the background and history, I might not be Christian but I like Christmas. I know its not fashionable to admit. As it gets closer people are in a better mood, I know it wastes electricity but I love fairy lights and pine cones and even awful x-mas movies. We all like to moan about the horrendous adverts and novelty crap but it wouldn't be the same without it.

Anyway I'm rather glad that we only have to endure one more Monday in November before we get to the December count down but to pass the time in these Long winter nights, I have 7 things you can do with paper!

1. Take up Origami
2. Write letters to people you can't be bothered to talk to
3. Hibernate (OK you don't need paper for this making it even easier!)
4. Use paper planes as your only method of communication.
5. Make your own x-mas decorations and cards (saving money, wasting time, a double treat)
6. Screw up the paper into balls and start throwing them at people who wonder past your flat/house making too much noise.
7. Write a letter of resignation to your boss, from the person who irritates you the most.

(3 is my favorite)

17/11/2006

Opinions

One of the best things about not having to come to work is silence when eating. Especially when your treating yourself to something naughty like doughnuts or heavens forbid bread.

When I was fasting I don't think I went a single day without someone saying 'How can you not eat, don't you feel hungry?' I had to refrain from replying with sarcasm.

I had one boss (who thought he was a nutritionist) who told me to stop eating so much bread (I had a tuna sandwhich), whilst he was holding a McDonald's bag and milkshake.

If your in a canteen or cafe etc your normally safe, people enquire as to what your ordering and if it's nice, which are perfectly fine questions. It's when your heating something up/preparing to eat at work, that the real twits come out. People you've never met before feel the need to advise you...

'I wouldn't eat that'
'That's a rather large portion'
'You should eat a proper meal' (often said when I'm eating cake)
'Don't you find that too rich for lunch?'
'That's not very good for you, you'll regret it' (once again with the cake)
'Bread is full of carbs'

Now what I want to say is 'Excuse me but I wasn't asking and I'll eat what I bloody well please'. but it comes out like this 'uh-huh'...not quite the same kick to it...


***News of the Day***
- I've been known to yap about my love of Popcorn but I am in no way as crazy as these loons...

- Could Steve Austin be on the way for less then 6 million dollars or did Asimov beat him here?

16/11/2006

Sleep perchance to dream...

I haven't been sleeping well. Between the ages of 14 and 20 I was an insomniac, I used to spend the nights reading books, watching an obscene amount of trashy movies and working. I don't know how or why it changed but suddenly I could sleep at night. So you'd think that if I missed some sleep or if I had a restless night it would be old hat.

Alas no, every night this week I wake up three or four times a night fully awake and when I do sleep I have very bizarre dreams. This makes the morning rather strange as I'm trying to figure out if I'm still asleep. I feel like the crew of the Enterprise (Star Trek Next Generation in Season 4 Episode 17, Night Terrors) when lack of R.E.M sleep drove them crazy, except I'm getting the sleep and I'm already crazy. Anyway I found it really interesting to read that Bears also suffer if they don't hibernate in time.

What I hate about the whole thing is that we all need sleep to function but there are no allowances if your not getting any. I hate smug happy, well rested people and the last thing I want to do is go to work and listen to everyone comment 'Oh you look tired' and the most awful words anyone can say to another 'Cheer up'.

It sends a shudder through my entire body, I have to physically restrain myself, I'm sorry but I haven't slept, I'm soaking wet from the freezing rain and have every right to be miserable if I want to, don't tell me to cheer up I don't want to be bloody cheerful! Instead I grind my teeth and smile, reminding myself that acting like a psycho will delay my cup of tea.

15/11/2006

Animals running the Asylum

I'm still humming Somewhere over the Rainbow and thus am in a pretty good mood despite it being Wednesday and me being late for work this morning. When I'm running late I take the tube rather then the bus, this isn't always the best idea. I find that Tube turns me into an angry person, I get edgy if the train isn't there within 3mins (Though I'll wait 10mins for a bus) and start to get annoyed with all my fellow commuter for their bizarre ways.

For example why o why must the person sitting next to you reading the broadsheet newspaper insist on elbowing you every time they turn the page? (Lets ignore that they are tyring to read something the size of a small child). Why do the people who are standing insist on stepping on your toes even when there is tonnes of room in the carriage and Why is that woman reading a guide to Rome and looking out the window for landmarks? But then their are the one that make me giggle in an evil I shouldn't laugh sort of way, like the yappers. Despite the fact each station is labelled and many of the trains tell you what each and every stop is called...

Idiot: Yap yap yap (15 mins later)
The Friend: Which stop do we need
Friend: K
Both start to read the line map
Friend: Which Stop is this?
Idiot: I think its Y
Friend: Does that mean our station was the next one or the last one?
Idiot: I don't know
Train voice: The Next Stop is Z where this train terminates
Friend: Oh no we've missed the stop
Idiot: Are you sure?


***News of the Day***
- Panda Poo anyone?
- Drunken Elk in need of Rehab
- You can Milk a Camel!

14/11/2006

Over the Rainbow

I was talking to E last night about Israel Kamakawiwo'ole cover of Somewhere over the Rainbow/Wonderful world, how brilliant it is and of course the Scrubs, Wizard of Oz episode came up (Season 5 episode 7). So for your viewing pleasure... and to make Tuesday better I give you Ted and the others...

13/11/2006

Pirates?

Having practically no knowledge about world history after 1903 imagine my shock when I read this article this morning. Believe it or not Pirates are still roaming the high seas but are not as rare as once thought and their numbers are growing. Perhaps everyone else is familiar with this but I wasn't!

When I think of Pirates, I'm back in the 18th century looking at beautiful wooden galleons, A Jolly Rodger riding the mast and canons facing out towards the sea. The plan, to steal all the gold you can. Not to mention famous Privateers like Sir Francis Drake (a replica of his ship the Golden Hind is docked on London south bank and I love it).

I mean what do Pirates of the modern age steal, credit cards...I'm at a loss to understand and then what do you do once you get back to land and have to fill in a million forms for a loan or a library card and what do you put on your C.V (Resume)... Hobbies and Interests: Swimming, sewing, grand thief of the Maritime persuasion...

Do they buy their own eye liner, have they upgraded from parrots to cyber pets...Do they like Johnny Depp...

Apparently 650 people were kidnapped by Pirates last year but I'm pretty sure I didn't hear about a single case in the news. To think I have an uncle who works on oil tankers as an engineer and he never mentioned it! I can't be the only oblivious person can I?

10/11/2006

In rain or shine

My Father's best Friend (H Uncle) lives up in Scotland, the two of them have been friends since they were roommates in University over 40 years ago. I think its amazing that after 40 year they are just as close now as they were then, even if everything in their lives has changed. Its not just the two of them, both our families are close as you can be even if we can only see each other once or twice a year. Unfortunately a few years ago H Uncle started to suffer from Dementia and there is nothing anyone can do. The few times I've seen him since his illness were heartbreaking, especially cos of the effect its having on his family, to my dad it is like losing a brother all over again.

My best friend K and I have known each other for almost 8 years now, 5 of which we lived together as college roommates and then flat mates. In June she moved back home and even though I see her as often as we can, I still miss her. The girl is completely insane and makes no sense half the time (she'd probably say the same thing about me) and we are total opposites on about a thousand things. I'd rather read Milton while she'd rather do simultaneous equations. I've no doubt in 40 years time we'll be the same as we are now gossiping about one thing or another and giggling about things only the two of us remember.

The funny part was when we first moved into together I think both of us were sat there in our new room hoping the other wasn't going to turn out to be a psychopath.

09/11/2006

Book - Tagged

It was their years I supped upon to feed my own, and their blood I used to quench the sword. I still thought of humans as I thought of other animals then, and felt nothing for their tears and cries. I did not realise that as I bound the power of river, swifts and Stone into the metal, I also filled the sword with sorrow and the despair of death. They called the sword Excalibur and it seemed everything they had asked for.

From Across the Wall by Garth Nix.

It was published over here on Monday and I've been dying to read it. Those of you who haven't read the Abhorsen Trilogy have no idea what your missing, go out and get Sabriel, you won't regret it.

Why am I doing this instead of writing my own material, blame Parlancheq

The instructions were:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next 4 sentences and these instructions.
5. Tag 5 other unsuspecting bloggers.

I'm re-reading my King Arthur Books as well, after watching The Mighty (which is a really fantastic little movie) but the Old kingdom is more exciting! Tagging five people is all well and good but I've no idea if they'll do it...I can hope though...so if your in the mood and have a book handy go ahead :-)

08/11/2006

In praise of Water

I think water is incredible for about a billions reasons. We have life timing in the the oceans, vegetation brought forth but simple rain and a zillion other things. Some of these is easier to see then others.

The Grand Canyon was made by a great river which cut into the earth and thousands of years later we can see the result.

A team of archaeologists recently found the biggest cave in Britain (see here). I think cave systems are fascinating and at times regret sticking with academic history rather then going into archeology. The most incredible cave system I've ever seen in real life was in a Spanish town called Nerja (Nerja Caves).

I don't think pictures can really do places like this justice, to think something so simple as water has given the world so much. I don't mean just caves, you couldn't have life on earth without water (including us). Water shapes our world and defines it.

On the Cave note, another amazing cave system, this time thanks to gypsum and lemon-yellow sulfur brought to my attention cos of David Attenborough's series 'Planet Earth' is the Lechuguilla Caves In New Mexico (USA).

These are so beautiful, they are beyond any work of art I've ever seen. Our world is full of wondrous things, isn't it time we took care of it?

"A Waterfall begins with just a few drops of water and look what comes from that" - Bryce Courtney

07/11/2006

Lite relife

I did far too much thinking yesterday. So I turn to Dilbert for some comic relife...

06/11/2006

Cellular Memory

I was reading this article
today on Cellular memory. The theory is that the cells in the body can
retain parts of your personality and this can be passed through organ
donation. The question I have, is how far it this biological or
psychological?

The Scientific community have found no real evidence and put this phenomena down to nothing more then coincidence and psychological influences.

But it does beg a lot of question, are we just genetic material that can be
passed on or are we something more. I mean what really makes you who
you are, is it physical orincorporeal?

Does the idea of cellular memory discount the idea of a soul?

I don't have any answers, personally i find it bizarre but it does make me think...

03/11/2006

Holy yellow metal batman, they've read the Bible

Friday's here! I would run around singing about it, but I'm sure your all blissfully aware the joyous day is here. Unfortunately its winter so the sun will set at 4:30pm and the world will descend in a icy cold darkness.

A strange thing happens to me in winter, I become a Weetabix hog. There is nothing in the universe that compares to a nice warm bowl of Weetabix in the morning, with just the correct about of sugar melted in when you've come in from the cold. This might sound normal but I get very very cranky if I don't have my morning fix. Last winter I left a box here at work (cos I get in at 7:30 I have breakfast at work) with my name on it in HUGE black script.

Every morning at 8:30 off I'd go to make my cereal and cheer me up, as our office is far too cold. Until one day in I went, starving and dying for a meal, got my bowl and the right spoon, picked up my box of Weetabix from the cereal shelf and went to fill my bowl but the box was empty.

My freshly bought box was empty and the bastard who stole my cereal had put the empty box back on the shelf to thoroughly piss me off.

My blood started the boil, I wanted to scream and I admit, hurt someone. But realised how insane I would seem screaming "who the f*** stole my cereal!!!"

Figuring out I'd have to wait to lunch to eat I did the only thing I could, I wrote a mean note. In fact I wrote several notes until I managed to write one without swearing and Posted it on the cereal shelf for all to see. There is an art to writing a mean note that says 'I want you to die', but in a polite way.

Last time I checked there was an unwritten rule, if it has your name on it, its not to be nicked. This doesn't apply at University cos there is always some cheap idiot who raids your fridge and takes what they want. I used to dye my milk green to prevent this from happening and as lovely as green milk is for some reason they never stole it.

Now being that I work in an office with grown up people you'd think this sort of thing wouldn't happen, but it does and there is nothing you can do about it. Of course I never found out who the Weetabix stealing scavenger was but people were scared of me for a whole day.

This year my weetabix is staying in my drawer away from thieving hands, but one day I'm going to catch them and make em pay...for a new box of cereal

***Fact of the Day*** 1957 - The Sputnik 2 spacecraft was launched, carrying Laika the Russian space dog as the first living being to orbit the Earth.

***Funny news for the day*** I was surfing Fark this morning and came across this link to amazon about the Bible, scroll down and read the reviews! On a slightly related note, if you need to make money and enjoy pretending to be a preist head over to Japan.

02/11/2006

Work mates

I've blog a few times about how work can be 1.Painful and 2. Boring the result is complete insanity as a means of coping.

Sometimes I feel that Dilbert understands me best.

01/11/2006

Adverts

We (people in my office and I) got in to a discussion about advertising. Which TV ads were memorable or just really cool and which ones really bugged us. At the moment the Frosties kid singing "Its Going to be Great" is topping the list of adverts which must be destroyed, while the ad with the millions of bouncy balls coming down a San Francisco street (still don't remember what it was for) is winning in the ideas department. All in all I HATE adverts they but me but they serve their purpose, we’ve all watched some ad at sometime and gone 'ohhh I really should get/try that'.
There is but one exception to this rule, the only adverts I'm willing to forgive for sheer genius are… the Jerry Seinfeld conversations with Superman. I think they were for a credit card I forget which one but you can down load them here.
If you haven't seen them before take a few minuets sit back and enjoy, these aren't adverts they just brilliant entertainment.

Oh Yes Wyoming!


***Fact of the Day*** 1604 - Shakespeare's Othello was preformed for the first time