It's Christmas Time…

a christmas warp
Photo by Chewy Chua
… and there’s no need to be afraid.

Or so wrote the inimitable, and not at all tramp like, harpy marrying, ridiculous child naming, humanitarian and all around do-gooder..Bob Geldof

Now yes, I realise that it isn’t Christmas time yet…despite what the shops and TV adverts are telling us.  However, I have now confirmed my Chrimble plans fully.

I will be spending Christmas Day doing…well…I don’t actually know, beyond calling the kids.  The reason?  Well, I am having a German Christmas this year with the W’s…and Germans celebrate their Christmas day on our Christmas Eve.  It’s pretty much the same as ours, big family thing, lots of food and pressies to open…just done the evening before.

It’s more of a family affair than I am used to though, with pretty much the whole W clan arriving to Oma W’s apartment for fun and frivolity.  In our family, and I think this is true of a lot of British families, we do Christmas day with the kids and immediate family…and Boxing day is when we start going around visiting other family members etc.  I am looking forward to it.

Then, a few days later, we are off to Blighty, where I will be having all four of my kids for once, and I am ecstatic about that.  My family will get to meet CW and I know they are looking forward to it…especially the kids.  After talking to Brandon yesterday, he plans to make a special hot chocolate for her…just incase she is feeling sick from the English beer and too much Devils Food Cake Smile

It is also fairly unique for me, in that I will be doing “Christmas 2  – This time it’s personal” for the first time that I can remember.  Normally, I make sure that the kids presents are wherever the kids are on Christmas day.  I prefer it that way and have never really liked the “2 Christmas Days” thing…

This time though, I will have all 4 of my kids together, and I intend to enjoy it properly…so just this once, I will be doing a 2nd Christmas day…and I love the idea of watching them open everything..I know it’s a little selfish, but I want that.  There is another reason though…and that is that I am not quite as organised as I normally am…by now, in a normal year, over half of the presents would already be at my Mums place for wrapping and sending on…as of right now, I haven’t actually bought anything and intend to start a marathon online shop-a-thon shortly.

Yeah yeah, I know…bad Dad, but still..I am pretty confident in getting everything I need in time.

I know we will all have a great time…even my Mum and Dad, who are likely as not stressing about having a houseful of people…yeah see, you thought your house was big Mum….We will see just *how* big it really is

mwaha muahahahaahaaaaa

Or something

What are your plans for Christmas then?

..and it seemed so promising

take a bow...
Photo by gin soak
So today I am at work and get a message from CW…

“So who is Lisa H then?”

Confused, I trawl through the dim dark recesses of my alcohol and age addled mind for the answer…multiple searches prove to be fruitless and I am forced to concede possible senility once more.

Me: “Never heard of her, why?”

CW: “Well, a parcel just arrived from her for you”

Me: “For me?  I am not expecting anything”

CW: “Yep, definitely for you, correct name and address”

Me: “Intriguing…an early pressie to open…I wouldn’t have minded if you opened it”

So I have been at work, wondering what this package could contain.  Certainly, I am not expecting a thing..nothing has been ordered..no threats upon my person uttered.  Damn, I need to know.

Maybe it is from a fan…a new stalker if you will.  Someone that has read the blog and decided that they love Panda bear/Uncle Fester hybrids that talk bollocks in a blog.  They love me so much that they have tracked me down and are now sending me their underwear and naked pictures of themselves.

Could happen…you see it all the time…well, in films at least.

Then I realised that, with my luck, if it was that…it would be from Keith in Burnley rather than Monique from Monte Carlo.

Maybe it is that cheque from the Nigerian Prince, finally giving me that money that he promised two years ago..I could be a squillionaire right now. My financial dreams all coming true.

Again though, reality sets in and I realise it is more likely to be free samples for a new Weight Loss, Hair Restoration, Viagra hybrid.

What is it, what is it, WHAT IS IT?  I can’t wait to get home and find out.

The possiblilities…the mystery…the intrigue…the ***YOU HAVE A NEW MESSAGE FROM CW***

CW: “It’s that printer part you ordered 2 weeks ago for CR”

Me: “Ah…umm..yeah..I totally forgot about that”

Arse

A large number 2..

..hundred.

So here it is, my 200th post.  I guess it is a milestone of sorts…getting me to write 200 (semi) coherent things in less than two years…quite the achievment really when I think about it.  I guess my teachers were right after all Wink  Not that I am prepared to find them and admit that, but still…some of the more psychically intuitive amongst them may have already sensed…well…nothing (other than the fact they are talking bollocks about this “ability”)…but I digress.

A woman in the UK has had an appeal turned down.  Nothing unusual in this you may think, but you would be wrong.  The appeal in question was to life a noise ban on this womans night time activities.

Click the pic to find the full story…if you can bring yourself to look at it for any length of time (cue standard paragraph from me stating that I am indeed no oil painting etc..)

eww, just ewww (pic courtesy of BBC website)

Now these two people are apparently responsible for keeping an entire street awake with their “lovemaking” that is described by residents as “sounding like murder”.  Apparently, noise tests were performed that showed the volume reached 47 decibels.  Let’s put this in context shall we?

  • A jet aircraft at 100 feet away is supposedly around 140 decibels.
  • A rock concert is 120 decibels
  • City traffic is 70 decibels
  • Being sat next to a running dishwasher is 60 decibels
  • Being sat next to a humming fridge is 40 decibels.

So, listening to one of their sessions is approximately halfway between being sat next to a dishwasher and a humming fridge… Well, that’s not too bad really is it?  I feel like I have been involved in louder sessions. When I think about it, my fridge and dishwasher are both pretty quiet considering.

Until you realise that this is the volume level collected outside their home…on the ground floor (whilst they are on the upper floor).  With insulation, double-glazed windows and brickwork, this is the MUFFLED volume.  The real volume would have to be double…right?  Which would make being in the same room as them marginally quieter than being at a rock concert (or slightly louder than a Jonas Brothers after party).

What I love about this is that she appealed claiming that she the right to respect for her private and family life.  Let’s be honest here, if you can’t keep the noise below a rock concert….you are most definitely moving yourself away from privacy and into the “screw it, let’s project it onto the side of the house so people can at least see what’s happening” territory.

That all said, as embarrassing as it may seem…you just know that the bloke in this here scenario…won’t be buying any beers for a while, and may even get some proposals.  The article very clearly states that the noise goes on for hours every night.

So if you get yourself a screamer…try and put SOMETHING in her mouth to shut her the hell up…or you may end up on an ASBO.

ASBOs, not just for hoodies anymore Smile

What is the world coming to?

Pigeons speed eating yesterdayI realise that I could pretty much go anywhere and write anything about this title.  I could, but this is more a post about stupidity.  Some time ago a Mr Lewis Napper, in the US, felt that people could benefit to having a Bill of No Rights to work alongside the Bill of Rights that exists.  For those of you interested, you can find it here.  I read this a long time ago, and have always thought it was pretty funny, but wondered who it was really for…surely people can’t need this sort of thing…people aren’t that stupid…are they?

Well, apparently they are.  Whilst looking at my iGoogle page today, I noticed this in the How To of the Day box.

What the....?

Now, linking to a particular time in a Youtube video…pretty useful for some people.  Replacing the screen on an iPhone…again, pretty handy How To right there.  However, let’s focus on the 3rd option.

5 tips for eating slower.

Seriously!?!

5 tips for eating slower?

This is what we have been reduced to as a species?  The topic alone made me die a little inside, and I had to follow the link, praying that I would find a deeply ironic pisstake of a post from a blogger that would become my new fave…and all would be well with the world.

Unfortunately not…the article is quite serious.  It also lists 6 tips…so not a great start from such a conscientious and helpful author.   I will list the  5 tips in 6 parts below…

1 Set aside some time to eat

They suggest not watching television as an example.  Make sure you focus on eating and only eating.  Now I don’t know about you…I would expect that being fully focussed on eating is more likely to make you eat faster…not slower.  The key surely has to be distraction.  I recommend watching a movie on your ipod, chatting on MSN with a friend, watching TV and reading a book…each bite you take will be at lightning speed, but you will take 5 minutes between bites.  Thus extending the dining experience indefinitely.

2 Opt for meals with a variety of flavours and textures

It would appear that they believe that having bland food makes you wolf it down too quickly.  I would argue that the opposite is true…surely.  If I am having the same old same old, I am more likely to take my time than if I have something that hits the tastebuds and has you drooling at how nice it is.  I get that it *could* make you savour the new flavours some more, but in all likelihood, it will taste better than the normal crap you eat and will make you bolt it down.

3 Use smaller utensils

Which is completely pointless.  This will just make you shovel food into your face twice as fast, but with half the portion…so no gain at all…and chopsticks?  Give me a break…the only time chopsticks ever slows anyone down, is if they are eating soup…and possibly blancmange.

4 Put down your utensils between bites

Ok, so this one could actually work…provided you leave them down for longer than it takes to masticate your way through the mouthful….

5 Set a minimum number of chews for each bite

Again, not something I can see actually slowing you down too much…I personally get bored easily, so forcing myself to count to 15 chews or something would get old…fast.  Mine would be something like   1………2………3………4…5…6…7..8.9.101112131415.  Not really slowing me down all that much when you think about it.  Also not good if you set it too high and are eating something that loses flavour really quickly…you need to get that chew/taste balance right so that you swallow at the optimum enjoyment moment….not chewing something into a flavourless paper mache substance.  That said, this might cause you to stop eating…the only thing likely to have ANY effect on weight loss.

6 Deliberately taste your food

Seriously?  Even the most tastebud damaged curry enthusiast will taste their food (pelican’esque gullet gulping notwithstanding of course).  They probably mean savour…but still, savouring is in the mouth of the eater….I enjoy my food, I even savour it from time to time, but I don’t take 2 hours a plateful to do it.

Apparently all this is an aid to weight loss…how????  You are eating exactly the same thing…just more slowly.  Assuming that you finish the plate, and that your portions don’t change….IT’S THE SAME!

Also, there is an additional tip that states you should grow your own food…I think, right there, the author finally hit the nail on the head..that would most definitely slow me down…waiting for that bit of garnish to finish growing before eating my steak…and this would definitely aid weightloss…in a very successful (albeit terminal) way.

Secret Ingredients

Swine Flu Anyone?
Photo by Ben Chau
CW hasn’t been very well and for once it isn’t something she got from me.  Oh, and for the dirty minded amongst you, I mean she has a cold…or swine flu, possibly..nothing else.

I have been trying to do the caring boyfriend bit…you know guys, trying to persuade her to have a sleep to feel better…thus leaving you free to do your thang without running around all day (j/k CW).  However, there appears to be another way, one guaranteed to make someone feel better, at least there is according to my youngest, Brandon.

Brandon: “Make her some hot chocolate Dad, that always makes you better”

Me: “I would son, but I don’t have any in the apartment”

Brandon: “So go to the shop and get some Dad”

Me: “I am in Germany and it is Sunday…all the shops are closed”

Brandon: “Were the shops open yesterday?”

Me: “Yes, all the shops are open on a Saturday”

Brandon: “So why didn’t you get some Hot Chocolate then?”

Me: “Umm, well, CW wasn’t ill yesterday, so I didn’t know I needed some”

Brandon: *sighs* “Well, you can make your own you know…and it will make her better”

Me: “I can?  Great, how do I do that then?”

Brandon: “Ok, you need to get some coffee, tea bags, milk, sugar, flour and chocolate”

Me: “Riiiight…and what do I have to do then?”

Brandon: “You put the coffee and the tea and the flour together with some sugar and mix it all together.  Then put milk in all the way to the top, and then put it in the microwave for 10 minutes”

Me: “10 minutes?  Really?  That seems like a long time”

Brandon: “Not really, put it in the microwave and count to 10”

Me: “10 seconds, gotcha..then what?”

Brandon: “You gotta stir it, then put more sugar in and stir it again and put some chocolate in”

Me: “Ok, anything else?”

Brandon: “No, she just needs to drink it and she will feel better”

Now, I have to say that I can’t recommend this particular homemade Hot Chocolate enough…as soon as I told CW what I was going to make her, she started feeling a little better…imagine how much better she would have felt if I had been able to make it before she fell asleep.

Still, good to know for the future….and something tells me that CW may not get sick for a while Wink

Anyone else got any interesting recipes from their kids?

Discombobulatory ramblings

Movable Type galley. Galera con tipos móviles.
Photo by Xosé Castro
I don’t know if I can say that I am completely suffering from writers block right now…writers malais possibly, writers half a job definitely…the problem I have is that I have ideas…see things, hear things that would normally dump me in front of my PC for a decent writing session.  Now, having ideas is not a bad thing, and definitely suggests that I am not blocked..but therein lies the trouble.  I can’t seem to get a cohesive post together about any of them…or when I do, it becomes a couple of paragraphs and consigned to the draft posts cold storage…never to return.

With that in mind, I thought I would just throw a few things in a post, lest these things never see the light of day at all

Oil Paintings
Today I saw, what can only be described as, the inspiration for every witch every artistically rendered.  Proper, proper ugly…hooked nose, sunken eyes…warts on the face, the whole shebang.  If you visited her house in the evening and she had one of those green facemasks on, that they always show in the movies, you would scream your bleedin’ head off…and possibly set fire to her.

Now, those of you that no me would probably say that I am not exactly Johnny Depp myself..followed by a series of bleeding heart “someone for everyone” and “beauty is in the eyes of the beerholder” nonsense..but seriously, proper ugly…I saw one guy actually stop eating his lunch after she smiled at him** Mothers and Fathers were shuffling their kids off to one side (in fairness, not out of fear of the childs trauma…more out of fear of kids propensity for pointing out things that parents DO NOT want pointing out).

Now, I am not suggesting that she should never leave the house again (unless she wants to), all I am doing is pointing out the wide range of technological advances that have been made in the home delivery arena…nothing more.

Football fans
Are rarely as bad as you think (at least not these days).  Some time ago, I took Zak and Brandon to a Liverpool match here in Germany.  It was only a friendly, so I didn’t really anticipate a full house, especially in the travelling Kop.  I was pleasantly surprised (and a little apprehensive) to see a full visitors section of over 700 fellow reds.

The kids were in awe, and having a great time…and when we went a goal down, a particularly hardened and haggard (old) fan, started chanting some rather abusive anti-german slogans.  He was all on his own, and immediately told to shut it by the rest of the fans.  Other fans took it in turns putting Zak and Brandon on their shoulders and making sure that they had room to stand etc..it was amazing, a proper family atmosphere.

There were a couple of stand-out moments though…bearing in mind that Liverpool fielded a team of people who weren’t even going to feature in the coming season, and in some cases…ever again.  Firstly, as I said..it was a sell out…but it was also a sell out for the home fans too…and it would appear that they were there to see us, the LFC fans.

LFC fans always sign You’ll Never Walk Alone both before the kick off and just before the game ends.  We were a couple lines into it when I realised that the whole stadium was silent, apart from us lot singing.  I thought it was a little strange, but carried on regardless..as you do.  When we finished..their fans gave us a standing ovation…it was bloody mental.  The second stand-out moment can be put down to the cultural differences between fans from different nations.  In the UK, stadium announcers announce the squad one by one.  Each name is read out in full and the crowd cheer or boo respectively (depending on which team you follow).  In Germany, the stadium announcer announces the first name of each player…and the crowd chant their last name.

So, in a perfect world in England…it goes something like this:

Announcer:  Number 9, Fernando TORRES
Crowd:  YEAHWOOOPRARGONANDOYEAH etc

In Germany, this would be:
Announcer:  Number 9, Fernando
Crowd:  TORRES!!

At this particular match, therefore, it went something like this:

Announcer:  Number 9, Fernando
Crowd:  YEAHWOOPRARGONA…uh, hey what the TORRES..RES

I love football me

Why do fools….
…irritate me so much?  I can’t quite pinpoint the moment where my intolerance outgrew my tolerance.  I guess it could be age and I am just on the wonderful route to being a grumpy old man..which isn’t too bad as I hear that it means that I get a country for myself***.  I think I am still holding onto some vestiges of my previous easygoing nature, but more and more I find myself hitting rant mode (as anyone reading this blog recently will no doubt have noticed).  It could be something little like repeatedly pressing the open door button on the train whilst it is still moving, only to then not press it at all when, wait for it, THE GREEN LIGHT COMES ON TO TELL YOU TO!.  Maybe I have just reached an age where I expect a certain level of intelligence from the people around me, or maybe I am just a miserable git who expects everything to happen how I would do it…but is that so wrong – I mean, my ways clearly work….mostly Razz

It isn’t like I am really asking for much.  A little courtesy…some of my seat being available to me and not taken up by YOU with the giant paper to, no doubt, show your importance to the rest of the train.  Papers are sooo last decade anyway..you should at least be annoying everyone with incessant, psuedo-important, phonecalls and constant checking of the latest jokes important work related emails from your colleagues.  Or the smokers that insist on sparking up on the platforms in the No Smoking train stations, and worse than that….in the trains themselves.

The rocket scientists smoking dope on the street…not even remotely covering it up.  The police that check my ID for 40 minutes when doing a random bar check…and try to stop me going outside for a smoke…even though they HAVE MY ID.  Or worse, the guy that was playing with a knife right in front of the police officers when he was told that he couldn’t go in the bar until they had finished, and on top of that decides to try and engage CW in conversation as if we were with him….moron.

What about the ridiculous contract situation with, well, pretty much anything over here.  Forget to cancel a few months before and it automatically renews for a year (or two) with no method of cancelling except paying in full.  The way that you are supposed to be greatful for being allowed to pay for their service.  The ability to freeze your accounts for a ?10 bill….fortunately not something I have dealt with.

I could go on and on…and I am speaking from a position of loving the country that I am in Smile

You have to be Joker’ing…
…right?

I read a while ago that Batman fans feel that Heath Ledgers portrayal of the Dark Knights arch nemesis was so good, that they want to retire the character and not allow any more Joker related storylines for any future movies.

Now, forgetting the fact that the Joker is arguably the best villain in the Batman story arcs, meaning that stopping useage of the character would effectively kill the Batman series…Penguin anyone?  No..you liked him, ok, what about Mr Freeze?  Need I say more?  Still, I said we would forget that though.  So my opinion is this, Heath Ledger was a great Joker…a superb Joker in a great film…but the definitive Joker?  I don’t think so…and I genuinely believe that the discussion wouldn’t have even arisen if he hadn’t died.  I actually thought that Jack Nicholson was at least as good as Ledger in the role…but all of them, including any that may come in the future, pale into insignificance when compared to Cesar Romero…the quintessential Joker if you will.  This man played the original Joker on the Batman TV show..alongside, may I say, probably the finest Batman ever portrayed.  You want “Faithful to the comic books”?..these guys even had the Zapp, Kerpow, Zing, Splats that were daubed all over comics of the time.  Gen-I-Arse I tellsya.  Can’t beat it…

There were others, but some of them were deleted and others were…well…shite.

Smile

** Ok, ok…that would be me….but still!!
*** Sorry, couldn’t resist

The power…

The Bin - 2 inches too far to the left as you can clearly see!!
Photo by philcampbell
Well, it’s official…in case you didn’t already realise.  Blogs have power, real..actual..honest to goodness power.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/somerset/8332616.stm

Apparently, a particularly aggressive blogger in a town in the UK forced pretty much all of the local council to resign, due to “Impossible Working Conditions”.

Sensitive much?

Now, I am under no illusions about my tales of drunken friends exploits with women, rants about Facebook and drunken ramblings throughout my life.  I don’t feel that they would impact anyone in a positive or negative way…except maybe my parents opinion of me.  I am pretty sure that nothing that I could write…even if I were to do so repeatedly…could cause somone to resign from their job.  Especially not 11 people….and certainly not if they are in government ffs.

Governments are more targetted than celebrities…more targetted than a certain Michael Owen returning to Liverpool for the first time, so you can’t seriously tell me that they had never received abuse before.  I suspect that it could be the “straw that broke the camels back” and all that, but still.

Reading through the blog, the guy is quite clearly blowing things out of all proportion…this is exactly the kind of guy that, before blogs, would have been (and probably still is) writing letters every day about how his dustbin is the wrong shade of green, the bus stop sign is twisted 2 degrees to the left… and that his calls for meals on wheels to deliver prostitutes and viagra are going unheeded.  Lots of accusations of secrecy, conspiracy theories, china like communism and calling the people there scum (a lot).  I don’t know about you, but I can imagine that this guy would have wrote at least 2 letters a day regarding what he sees as transgressions…which leaves even the most tolerant of people desensitised to his plight.

Think of the JFK assassination…the first time you saw that footage of the President slumping to one side, his wife frantically trying to see if he is ok, the Secret Service agent jumping on the back of the car to try and protect his charge…you have to admit, it’s terrible…horrible, unconscionable.  The three hundred and first time you see the footage you start to think…hey, Nice Convertible!!  Aww…don’t do that, you can never get blood out of that type of upholstry!

It happens, it’s human nature.  Honestly, what did he expect?

Now, I am not saying that he doesn’t have some real, genuine issues that need to be looked into and resolved…everyone in any hamlet/village/town/city and country does…and, to be fair, it’s not like he was picketing the offices and egging their houses…he wrote a blog.  A blog that, I suspect, most of Somerton had never heard of until these council workers decided to give him some validation and not to mention the ignomy of being plastered all over the interwebs as spineless yellow cowardy cowardy custards.

My advice to them..take back your resignations…grow a spine, do your jobs and start using the internet properly (ie searching for porn)…it’s not rocket science…ignore this idiot and he will go away (not a tactic that will work against me however, dear readers).

Damnit…writers block is a bitch….I am working a couple of night shifts this week, so maybe my sleep deprivation will deliver some old school TLW posts…

Fingers crossed.