Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday again!!!!

Just where did that week go? With any luck I can make things slow down a bit for the weekend, just so I can feel that we have had one!

I will be angling towards family movie time, watching X-Factor (OK I know it is only slightly higher level than The Batchelor...), a family dog walk or two if the rain eases up, comfort food, etc. Oh, and I also have to fit in a bass guitar lesson for Number 1 Son...

Ooh, almost forgot to mention this one - my wife has suggested that it might be fun to sound proof the shed some more and install a drum kit. I know my youngest would love this, but I would get out there a lot too. It has been years since I tried drumming, so who knows? I might be able to do it now!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Just what do dogs smell?

A long time ago, I read a book (Fluke by James Herbert, I think) that was about life as a dog. It used the idea that when a dog peed it left a sort of recorded message, rather like an answering machine:
"I'm Buster the 200lb Rottweiler. Stay off my patch."
"Hi, I'm Fifi. I'm a total tramp. Stop by anytime."
Interesting theory, I guess.
Now my dog, Custard, is a Golden Retriever. Sniffing is a big part of his life and walks can be very slow with lots of stopping while he investigates all of the different, exciting smells that he finds.
But last night he found a REALLY good one. He just stopped, with his nose to the ground. No loud sniffing, no licking the ground (Yuck!). No moving around a little bit. Nothing. He was totally motionless.
So I waited.
And waited.
And waited.
Still nothing.
Well the clouds were closing in and we were still a good half a mile from home, so I gave him a gentle tug. Suddenly his head shot up and he looked around, all confused, like someone waking up on a train and wondering if they have missed their stop. Then he looked at me, shook himself and set off for home.
What on earth was that sniff?
What if James Herbert was right, that must have been some message! Perhaps they have discovered how to blog? If so, I will have to allow more time for walks in the future!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

OK, I will come clean. I am a Coke addict!

I normally have a good supply tucked away under my desk, so I can help myself during the day, but it has all gone wrong.

Yesterday morning I ran out. No worries, I can get some more at lunchtime. That did not work out, though, as I spent most of my time checking out birthday presents for my youngest son (9 soon!). This meant that I had to get through the afternoon without any at all.

Not to worry, I can pick up some on the way to work in the morning. No, I left home without any cash and did not have time to go to the cash machine AND buy more Coke. Argh! I arrived at work, wondering how I was going to get through the morning. Hm, chocolate might help. I dug under my desk in search of the bars of brown heaven that I knew where there. Found them. Then, as I pulled my hand back my fingers brushed something cool and metallic. What was that? Could it be? YES it was! A can of cool, delicious, wonderful Coca Cola!

Where had it come from?

How long had it been there?

I do not know the answers to these questions.

Perhaps my Guardian Angel put it there?

Who knows?

Who cares?

Monday, September 24, 2007

I would like to thank...

Logzie for giving me this award!

It is always wonderful when someone gives me something like this - hey, of all of the bloggers out there, she chose ME!

So now I have to nominate someone else to receive this wonderful award, which is a really difficult job, I must say, as I tend to read blogs that make me smile! So here goes:

Ali always gives me a good grin, especially now that she is pouting again.

I love reading Mr Zig's blog because of the odd spin he puts on his topic of the day. He has also recently shown off what a good guitar player he is, while using his dog as a front man. Now you can't argue with style like that!

My final award goes to Krista's Dramatic Intensity because she has a totally insane sense of humour. I hope that this will encourage her to blog more regularly!

Hm, just realised that all 3 of my awards have gone to Winnipeg! Hm, wonder if there is some sort of Canadian conspiracy going on?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Get Gorgeous...

We were watching TV last night when an ad came on. A chemist chain is giving away DVDs on make up. The DVD is called "Get Gorgeous".

As the ad finished, my daughter looked up and said "Please, daddy, can you get me that tomorrow?"


Then my wife looked over and said "You're not worried that they will think it is for you, then?"

Now I could have responded in a number of ways. I buy anything and everything for my wife and kids, so any thoughts of "ooh, that's a girly thing" went away long ago! A simple "no" would have done the trick. However, I could not prevent the reply that DID come out.

"Of course they will know it's not for me. I'm totally gorgeous already!"

At this point, my older son exploded into a fit of uncontrollable laughter, falling off the sofa onto the floor. Even after he had calmed down, he still kept snickering to himself for the rest of the evening.

I am sure it was not really that funny. If it was, maybe I should consider a career change!

I can always trust my kids for a reality check!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Give 'im a lick o' the cat!

Arrr. In case ye did not know it, today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, so please use every chance to use phrases such as "that it be" and "aye cap'n", with lots of "Arrr"s spread around.

Well, it was a good excuse to spice up the blog with a photo of good old Johnny Depp. Isn't he great?

By amazing coincidence, a friend of mine has just received a load of Pirate figures for playing wargames with. Here is a photo of one of them.

Not as sexy as Johnny, of course, but still rather good. Can't wait to get a game with these little guys - we have even been promised a rum ration while we play - can't argue with that!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Feeling strange...


The weekend was not quite as I had planned it - we went to the local town instead of Broadstairs, but a friend has informed me that the Darth Vader day is in early December, so that will be a good one in the run up to Christmas!

I also failed to find time for the bass guitar lesson with my son or for making bagels :-( Oh well, we hope to fit in the lesson tonight instead, but the bagels might have to wait longer. On Sunday I took the kids swimming, which was great fun. We more or less had the pool to ourselves which was really good for your youngest who finds it hard to get going if there are lots of people splashing around and getting in the way. My daughter is a really good swimmer and has now worked out how to swim like The Man From Atlantis - for those too young to remember him, he swam with his arms by his sides and held his legs together like a mermaid.

But, as I said, today I am feeling strange. It is more like I am a spectator watching myself go through the day, rather than actually doing it. Does that make sense? I usually only experience this sort of thing when things are happening quickly and I rely on instinct and reflexes, but not all of the time. It is an odd feeling, not sure I like it!

Anyone else had this?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thank Crunchie it's Friday!!!!

I never thought this week would end, but it has at last!

Our weekends are often total chaos and tend to be over before I realise they have started!

Anyway, this weekend I hope to:
  • Give my son his first bass guitar lesson. Still unsure which one to start him on, 4 strings or 5 strings. Will probably try him with 5 strings first, but we will see.
  • Get out some soldiers and try out a couple of new sets of rules that I have got hold of. Both look like a lot of fun!
  • I will probably make some more bagels on Sunday - a big batch this time!
  • See if we can get to Broadstairs for a day - there is a games shop there that is having a Star Wars day soon, with storm troopers, David Prowse (the actor who played Darth Vader) and also the guy who was inside R2D2, the little droid, and I want to check out the date.
  • Decide it Rock Chef will put in an entry for that contest that Jay Grey gave me the link to.

So, looks like a pretty busy weekend, to me, as everyone else will have their own ideas about what should be happening...

Have a good one yourselves, and please, no disasters, traumas, falling down toilets, etc, etc.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Inspired by Ali's post on this subject, thought I would add to the discussion.

Leaving the seat up. What is the big deal here? It is up or it is down. Set it how you want it when you arrive, do not expect someone else to pre-empt who will arrive next and how they will want it. Nobody complains when they switch on the TV and find it is not on the channel they wanted, do they? They just turn over. The same logic should apply to toilet seats!

Worst toilets. These must be some that I found in Malta. At first I thought they were great, as there was an attendant there who kept things clean and clearly prevented graffiti and vandalism. The I went into the cubicle (hey this door is pretty low), shut the door and sat down. Hm, the top of the door was only just above head level. Oh well, on with the task in hand. Then the attendant started talking to me. Nice day, where are you from? Oh, I have got a sister in Kent, blah, blah, blah. As he is talking I notice his voice is getting louder. Looking up I see he is standing right there, looking at me over the top of the door! What is he, a politician or something (woo, satire!). Luckily at some point he took the hint that I was not going to chat to him in that situation and retreated, allowing me the scant privacy that the stupid little door offered! So, if you go to Malta, watch out!

As for British public toilets, they tend to be totally disgusting, having all sorts of stuff on the floor and walls (use your imagination, it will not be worse that the reality!) plus the added joys of discarded needles and the occasional bit of p0rn - I always check before the kids go in - those that will actually use them, that is!

Star Wars - an alternative scene inspired by Ali's response to the above.

Princess Leia: You could not turn Luke to The Dark Side and you will not turn me!

Darth Vader: Well I suppose you must be right. Another drink?

Princess Leia: No thanks, I have had enough already. Where is the toilet in this place, I need to pee.

Darth Vader: Out of the door, second on the left.


Darth Vader: Yes, give in to your ang - OW, NO, SWEET JESUS HELP ME, AAAARRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

School of Rock...

I know I wrote about this idea some time ago, but it looks like it is finally going to happen.

Starting tonight, I am officially giving my niece guitar lessons. She has been having lessons from someone else for 2 years now, but has been becoming increasingly frustrated by a lack of progress - still doing the same sort of thing she was when she started, and wanting to get more adventurous.

Similarly, Arthur, my son, has asked for bass guitar lessons which I intend to start at the weekend. I think he has the ideal temperament for playing bass and should learn really fast.

Now it is just a case of smoothing things over between these two so they will work together (remember the Bhangra head dress incident back in July?)...

To add to this, my daughter has started fiddling around on our keyboard thingy that we have and has started making up little tunes, so I might be able to rope her in at some point.

Just the drums now - my youngest would love to be a drummer and I have noticed that electric kits are dropping in price rather nicely...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bagels 2

Back to normality after the unashamed daftness of my last post.

By the way, I took the photo from the web, this is not me or anyone I know, OK?

On Sunday I decided to make some bagels, having found a simple looking recipe on the web a few days before. I immediately found that I had a problem - no yeast! Hm, won't get far without that, so I took a stroll in the morning sun up to the local corner shop which is owned by some really nice guys from Sri Lanka. As immigrants, they tend to get a bit of a bad deal from some (OK a lot) of the locals, but they are great people and work hard at their business. I also feel for them as they lost a total of 14 relatives to the Tsunami! To put that into perspective, I don't think I KNOW 14 of my relatives! Anyway, while there I met up with my daughter and one of her friends, so got hit for some extra funds. Oh well, I am putty in her hands, how can I refuse?

Back in the kitchen, I set to work, mixing and kneading the dough. I love making this sort of thing, there is something wonderful about the feel of a good dough on the hands.

A nice cold beer while the dough rises, then on to the next stage, shaping the bagels, which was a bit fiddly at first but by about number 4 I had the knack.

Another cold beer to give more time to rise, then on to the broiling stage. This was something totally new to me, but it seemed to go OK - a wire rack suspended 5 inches above a gas burner seemed to give just what I needed.

Another cold beer? No, better not, a coke instead this time.

Now it was time to boil them. This was the bit that worried me. Surely they would just go soggy and fall to pieces? No, they didn't! Ha ha! Rock Chef rules!

Finally on to the easy bit, baking them. 25 minutes later I am taking a dozen golden brown bagels out of the oven and after allowing a couple of minutes for them to cool enough for me to cut one, my wife and I are sampling the results.

Well, even though this is going to sound like boasting, they were absolutely fantastic, totally different to the horrible things they sell in our supermarkets, and once the kids realised they were ready the rest of them vanished in short order.

So, if you fancy trying your hand, have a go and give your taste buds a treat! They are certainly going to be a regular thing in our house from now on!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Rock Chef - the Alter-ego

As I settle in to regular cycling again, following a relatively lazy summer, my mind has started to wander again, as it tends to do during a good ride. Inspired by a few other blogs and comments, I have put more thought into who and what Rock Chef could be...

By day, he is a celebrity chef, hosting a regular TV show called, amazingly, The Rock Chef. Each show features a guest from the world of rock music, and consists of a mix of great food, fun, and rock music. Episodes include:

  • Blaze of Glory, featuring Jon Bon Jovi and how to barbeque.

  • Trampled Underfoot, featuring Led Zeppelin and traditional wine making methods.

  • Let there be Wok, featuring AC/DC and oriental stir-frying.

  • Jump, featuring David Lee Roth and the food of love (or whatever).

In true TV fashion, the climax of the show is putting together the finished meal for the guests to eat, with a ticking clock and a chorus of The Final Countdown...

Note that special care is taken to keep those who have lived the rock and roll lifestyle to the full, e.g. Ozzy Osbourne, away from naked flames and sharp knives.

Naturally, the Chef's rugged good looks, charming personality and awesome musicianship combine to make the show compulsory viewing for millions around the world.

By night, Rock Chef is a crime fighting superhero, chasing villains on his customised Domino's Pizza delivery bike, and overpowering them with his special form of martial arts, using sharpened spatulas. The Rock Chef denies any connection with a recent spate of drug dealers who have choked to death on Domino's Pizza. This is just a fortunate coincidence.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sex-changes are Painless!

No, this is not a rewrite of the old MASH theme tune!

Thanks to Terri, I am, as you can see, a Rockin' Girl Blogger!

I consider this to be a great honour - just so long as I don't have to give birth or go through any of that other nasty stuff that women have to put up with.

Having said that, though, I think I can feel a mood swing coming on...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Sorry if you have seen these before, but they are new to me and thought I would share them.

We all know about "emoticons", where

is a smile. Well we now have ASSICONS. Here goes:

(_!_) a regular ass
(__!__) a fat ass
(!) a tight ass
(_*_) a sore ass
{_!_} a swishy ass
(_o_) as ass that's been around
(_x_) kiss my ass
(_X_) leave my ass alone
(_zzz_) a tired ass
(_$_) money coming out of his ass
(_?_) a dumb ass
and my favourite:
(_E=mc2_) a smart ass
Have a great day, and don't be an (_!_)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Another Milestone

Today is the day my 11 year old daughter starts secondary school. It is amazing how she has grown and changed in the last year. Last summer she was a chubby little girl - now she is taller (don't they grow fast at that age?), slimmer (I am not allowed to know how much weight she has lost, but she looks perfect), has a new shorter, more grown up hair style and is bursting with confidence. Seeing her in her new uniform was quite a shock, where has my little girl gone? I would have been sad if I was not so proud of her.

Can't wait to get home to hear about her first day - did she get lost in that maze of a school? Does she like her teachers? How many times was she asked if she was "Arthur's sister" (she really does not want to be known as Arthur's Sister, she wants to make her own mark!)...

Hey, a few more years and we will be looking at them going off to University, but that is currently someone else's story, eh Terri?

Hm, but we have 2 Universities within easy travelling distance of home, so maybe they will NOT go away...

Monday, September 03, 2007

Whose children are they?

Time for another moralising rant, I am afraid!

Over the years I have noticed an increasing trend, at least in the UK, that has been highlighted following the recent shooting of an 11 year old boy in Liverpool by a so far unidentified teenager. The mother of the victim has been brave enough to speak out, saying that she blames the killer's parents, that people are failing to bring their children up as members of society, allowing them to act as they please.

And she is right.

I have seen this first hand. It can start when the children are very young:
  • It is nursery school's job to potty train the child.
  • It is the school's job to teach the child to read, write and count.
  • The parent is too busy or uncaring to teach the child right from wrong - sometimes the parents don't actually know themselves...
  • Keeping the child close to home is too much like hard work, so the child roams the streets, probably from the age of around 6, getting into trouble increasingly frequently for increasingly serious acts. The parents do not blame the child or themselves, they blame the Police and those who report problems to them. "Oh, you can't watch them all the time, can you?" My answer is "Yes you can - we do!"

Something that seems to make this worse is that it does not seem to be "politically correct" to tell someone that they are a bad parent and that it is all their fault. Will we ever have politician who is brave enough to stand up and demand that parents control their children and make them accountable if they do not? Maybe, but he might not last long...