Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Never go to a party dressed as a piñata.

There is more than one reason for this. Firstly, you will get hit, a lot.

But secondly if there are any Japanese or Mexicans present at the party, then you will cause a cultural outrage.

There are many cultures that have rules that we simply don't know about, and risk anything from insult to decapitation from doing in their presence.

For instance, the Guatemalans believed that their dead become part of the grass, and so their "Keep off the grass" signs are actually tombstones. To read the sign without first speaking to the grass is just as bad as stepping on the grass. Interestingly, they don't mind cattle grazing on it, supposedly because they can't read so can not be judged by the same standards.

The Canadians will never put coins heads down on a wooden table because they believe that it represents the Queen's death and subsequent burial in a wooden coffin. Most of their tables have saw-toothed surfaces so that coins can never sit flat. You may have heard this through the phrase "Canadian flat".

But the Japanese know Piñatas for a very different reason. Back many thousands of years ago, the continental shelves looked rather different from today. As little as 500 years ago, the Isle of Man still hand a land link to the mainland which was flooded every 5 years to trap fish to then keep as livestock.

But look back even further to the time when Jesus was still writing the first draft of the Bible, Japan was much further East. A small slither of sand bank ran for hundreds of miles all the way to modern day Mexico. Few people ever tried to make the channel crossing on foot as there was no shelter and no source of food. At many points the sand bar was just a few feet across and Pacific waves often reached 100ft above them. Before long though, both countries declared ownership of the sand. Both knew that they could then use it as a blockade to tax passing ships. A war broke out after a small dolphin lept over the bar and was chased in to the water by a Mexican and a Japanese man. Both tried to play with the dolphin but the Mexican subsequently drowned. The Mexican government argued that the dolphin had colluded with the Japanese and sent an army of 2,000 men in single file the 5 week journey to Japan. The Japanese heard about this and sent a thousand of their best samurai warriors to meet them.

This epic battle is known as the Mizunobaka battle and it raged for 1 month. There was only enough room for 2 people to fight at the same time and the pile of bodies quickly piled up in the same place. This attracted the attention of the wildlife, which used the large waves to land on the beach, eat some of the corpses and then wait to get washed back into the ocean. One day a Piñata whale was beached. This brightly coloured creature landed on the Mexican side and crushed 50 men. The others started hacking at it to free the men inside. The Mexicans on the other side also broke off from fighting to free their comrades who were trapped underneath.

The Japanese didn't know what to do. Their enemy were weakened, but were not willing to fight. So the Japanese offered to help too and hacked open the whale. Eventually they freed the soldiers, but not before the sand bar had dissolved (whale blubber dissolves sand into a liquid). The two sides now could do nothing but wave and walk back home.

Every year, the two sides celebrate how nature forged peace by sailing to the sacred spot and dynamiting Piñata whale groups.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

and on a lighter note.

"Welcome to the 4th national claustrophobics meeting everyone. Sorry again, we are rather overbooked this evening. If you could all just share seats and tables for now, I've just sent the caretaker to go and find a few more chairs to squeeze in to the room.

Now I'm sure many of you are wondering why we're not out on the sports field and instead we're pushed in to the wooden hut at its side lines. Well first of all the weather is coming down out there and the localised flooding is too risky. Of course we are in a glorified wooden, windowless coffin of a room. And also the only door keeps getting stuck shut. But...hey! Look on the bright side, we'll all probably float if it gets that bad. Probably.

John please stop crying, we've discussed this before. When things get bad then we'll all sing our happy song. Don't worry everyone, no more group hugs. I've learnt my lesson from that, and let's face it, the last thing we need in here is another mass panic attack of 30 people in a room designed to safely hold 10 people and a lawn mower.

The other reason is I don't see how we're going to conquer your fears by standing in open fields, so instead we'll be using smaller and smaller rooms to have our meetings in. Unfortunately the large open aircraft hanger that I had scheduled this meeting for collapsed yesterday, tragically crashing on the agrophobics group and trapping them for several hours in pitchblack pot holes with the rain water slowly filling it up. The upshot of that is it did cure 3 people. Though it did kill 2 others."

New News?

I find that my writings these days tend to be rather sparse and often are only motivated by strong desires to talk about something that has recently got my goat.

For instance, I could take this opportunity to make people aware that joining facebook groups on bandwaggon news stories is the greatest demonstration of a warped view of mob justice and social outrage since Sky news allowed its viewers to vote on news stories by text.

I'm not though. I'm not going to mention that you achieve nothing but make yourself stand out as a reader of tabloid journalism and struggle to form your own opinions, but I won't. Partly because this may upset those who read this page and who also like to text their opinions in to BBC News so that they can be read out instead of the informed opinion of someone who actually knows about the subject at hand, but mainly because this blog is more about light hearted meanderings and relaxing my mind. Not pointing out my own friends' shallowness.

Unfortunately that does leave a problem because although my intention is to now follow wherever my concious thought takes me, it keeps coming back to how people percieve the news. Instead let me work on this from an "invention" aspect.

So I give you the Daily Dichotomy. Though I am worried that the name alone will scare off many readers, I feel that the ones that will therefore not venture further are also those that form their opinions based on the front page of a newspaper, day time telly and the pub.

On every page there is a verticle line that runs the whole length of the page. No text or pictures may cross this line. An article may take up the whole page, but the section to the right of the line is in counter-point to the left hand side. It has no opinions, no views that the reader is expected to take away directly. Instead the reader must read both sections and should leave each page wondering where exactly they sit on the issue.

How wonderful is that? Someone finishes reading the newspaper, and sits down next to someone else who has done the exact same thing, and then DISCUSS the news. Not agree on the only opinion that they have heard, but disagree, discuss and argue. It is actually a rather alien concept, for a newspaper to not tell you a story with an obvious message.

Let's take a case in point- the recent child death story that has had people jumping on the bandwagon faster than you can say "front page worthy". Now I would not advocate a paper that says nothing went wrong here, but there is always two sides to things. Reading newspapers you wouldn't realise this.

The Sun (yes I had to sit through one of their speeches), has an article where it fills the pages with pictures of a bruised baby (insulting and unpaletable enough), with doctors queueing up to say, it's so obvious that these bruises are from abuse. The hindsight engine has been running overtime.

So there are our two sides.
1- This was avoidable and changes can be made (notice that I didn't say "changes SHOULD be made"?)
2- There is no way to improve current services without sacraficing other abilities of the service.

Instead the Sun (and I rather think others too) choose to tie the abusers to the stake and then go on to voice that if things had been different then it wouldn't have happened. That's not news. The fact that the child is dead and the authorities blame the parents is news. The fact that the child services were unable to deal with this problem is news. Finding the reasons behind any failures is news. Pictures of bruised babies is not news. It is a disturbing method of selling newspapers to the mob.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Point - Counter point

I am going to say nothing, other than I only agree with one of the two following "reckonings" by the British public on a recent "news" story. I will leave you to guess which one I think is spot on, and which needs to be recruited by the TRS:

What I reckon #1
Quite simply, if the BBC will do nothing it is time viewers and listeners did.

Time to turn off our televisions and radios when these two are on air, or at least watch/listen to another channel. I'd rather watch car insurance adverts for an hour instead of Ross, or listen to a tap drip perhaps?
SH, Hampshire,

What I reckon #2
War, corruption, global poverty, prank phone calls ... if only the indignant moral rage of the British public could be used to slightly greater effect than getting that 'rude man off the telly!' suspended. The phone call was tasteless and offensive, but some perspective might be nice, thanks.
Jane Douglas, Cambridge,

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Why we're so very alone.

Let's just relax and let the mind wander for a bit. If I were a flower, I'd grow into the word help, twisting and contorting my leaves and stem to form the well placed, but unnervingly accurate word within the gardening store.

People would come from miles around to work out why a plant would produce such a specific and to them, a fluke shape. Unfortunately it would be very difficult for me to reply to their questions, as answering anything would take months of growth. In fact I don't think that even the most cognitive, fast growing and capable plant would ever be able to communicate with people. I find that a very sad thought.

Anything that even has a massive, billion to one leap in capabilities would still not be known to humans as such. I could be the sun, a massive ball of energy that is suddenly self aware, but any motions I make to say hello would be mis-construed as a solar flare, sun spot or apocalyptic fireball that wipes out the earth. Most things fall in to this similar category of communications through extinction.

And similarly anything that is too small wouldn't be significant enough to be watched long enough. A single bacterium pulsing sos in Morse code would not be noticed in its 20 second life span to be of consequence.

And perhaps that's where humanity sit. Either so inconsequential to the rest of the universe that we are just a small discolouration on a single spec of dust on the arm of a cosmos, or alternatively the large eared beings that could have been our gods and saviours were obliterated the nanosecond that we opened our mouths.

If you think about it, it's unlikely that we will ever meet anything in the middle ground. Something small enough to care, but big enough to matter.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

"Individuals" please take note

...that when you're trying to do something "different", "new" or "revolutionary" it's important to remember that it hasn't been done before for a bloody good reason.

Sometimes its because the opportunity has never been there until now. See the moon landings, cold fusion experiments or the skiffle revolution in the UK for good examples.

But far more often these days people will simply make an attempt at something that hasn't been done before because they feel they need to. And while this is an important part of our progress as humans to be constantly finding out "what happens when I do this", it is also important to make sure that you have a reason for doing other than "I don't want to do what someone's done before".

For an example of this latter form, please see the god awful scultpure of the parapalegic woman that someone paid for, and someone spent their time making. I rather feel that the reason was more in the "because I don't want it to be like..." rather than "because I want it to be...". The statue says nothing about anything, and no amount of wine sipping, verbose, gibbering intellectuals will be able to shoehorn in one iota of meaning.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

when the chimes end, pick up your gun...

Once again, for some unknown reason, my mind has taken me back to “For a Few Dollars More”, or more specifically the beautiful ending music with the watch chimes.

A thought then occurred, what a fantastic thing to own. A pocket watch that plays the chimes. There must be a couple of companies that produce these things under licence? No. No there’s not.

But how difficult could it be? Okay not to produce a wind up mechanical version, but how about one that plays via a chip. I know that the chip exists because I’ve used it on a previous project (musical door opening that plays applauses a la Happy Days).

So it’s just a matter of finding a pocket watch with a nice deep body to it, plus a small , battery powered watch face to sit on top. All seems rather do-able.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

why cards aren't shopping lists

Well blabbery has been someone silent as of late. Perhaps its been my month long poker tournament that the voices in my head have been playing that has been so damn distracting because none of them can even see their cards inside my head because its dark in there. So for an entire bloody month all I've heard is "I think I've got a pair" and "I raise" and occasionally "um, 5 cards please". This is a massive waste of time for all involved but has at least been distracting enough for those little cretins that I haven't felt the need to let them bleed on to my blog as they have been allowed to in the past.

So instead I have been able to work on more sensible things. These sensible things tend to go awry because I just start writing out the current hands in the upstairs poker game in to everything I wrote. Shopping lists often ended with me asking a poor shop slave where the "5 of spades are kept". In most cases I got ignored, though on one occasion I got shown to the sandwich department and left until the store shut.

Its a very weird thing to be left in a supermarket by yourself with nothing but a deck of cards for a shopping list. After giving up any real hope on finding an aisle named Full house, you just start walking. First in a very random direction, but eventually in the more front to back of the shop style method that is so strictly followed by trolley weilding patrons. Soon I found myself following individual people, just letting them stay close enough that I could read which flavour Hienz beans they were considering purchasing, but far enough away that they could hear my constant out-loud narration of the location of all 52 cards in the deck.

Eventually I got to a section that had packs of playing cards and I proceeded to open every pack and remove the 9 of diamonds from each one and put it in the back pockets of passers by. This was part of my rather temporary, but undeniably flawless attempt at the world's slowest card trick/con. The plan was to digest 10 packs of cards in front of the whole supermarket, and then declare that I wanted some desert. On everyone checking their pockets for cake, 10 lucky winners would then find their cards, which I had written their particular choice of Hienz beans on the back. Celebrating, the store patrons would hoist me on to their shoulders and carry me out of the store chanting diamond 9! diamond 9!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Solar follower – a break through?

Yes I know, still no “funnies” this month. I have instead been spending on a less funny but equally pointless endeavour: to build a machine that will rotate to follow the sun.

As I pointed out in my last entry, I have been working on this one on and off for a while, with no success. Now, I hope, I have come up with a solution:

It’s not ideal (it still uses an op-amp), but it does at least work on paper (or at least simulator, which can be found here: ).

So this little chip, containing an op-amp, may be the solution to my problems:

It actually contains 4 op-amps. But at 70p, I’m not that fussed. The main issue will be if it is able to run with very little power to it. After all, it all needs to run on just the power generated by the solar panels. Hopefully I’ll know by tonight.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Solar plants

Re-instigation of the solar plant (xth iteration).

I say x-th because I can't remember exactly how many times I've picked up this notion and run with it before getting bored and putting it back down again. Let me give you a quick overview.

Whilst at uni, I thought "wouldn't it be cool if you could create a solar panel that follows the sun without any moving parts". Basically this would involve using electromagnets and the left hand rule to create a set of solar panels that track light.

This quickly snowballed in to a final dream: To have a bonsai tree looking creation where all the leaves were tiny solar panels which could all independently move on x and y axis to track the sun (or any other light source).

Of course this was a true pipe dream. I had no technical know-how to build something so intricate. The major stumbling point was to use the electromagnetic forces to move the object. It would have to have next to no resistance, and be perfectly balanced.

So we reach this point where I have looked at it again. This time my motivation is rather different. To start simple. I want to create a solar panel that will track the sun. First in the horizontal axis, and then in both axis. Possible? Well this guy thinks so:

So it actually looks possible. And looking forward, I'm already thinking how to create something smaller, with multiple ones attached to one another. That way when one turned, the others would have to "counter-turn" and the whole object would alter in shape.

It would be a work of art, and be a great yuppie office toy. (What would happen if you put the light at the top of the structure???)

Patent pending!

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Kan Kats Kreate Kites?

Cat kites, not to be confused with kitkats (a massively disappointing chocolate treat to be referred to later), is the notion that a strategically shaven and geled (gelled?) cat would be aerodynamically stable enough to be flown on a long piece of string in a kite fashion.

Though this may initially sound like a cruel method of producing cheap amusement (because it is), the harder idea is really "how realistic is it?". Owing to me not having a clue how to even begin to work this one out, I will not be giving an explanation, but instead I intend to stand in a very large dark room with a knife, and start stabbing wildly at a small dog with the word "answer" stenciled on to its fur (I hear the trick is to use as large a knife as possible).

Dennis the cat for the purpose of the experiment will be augmented. He is a natural long haired tabby that I took from an old lady who lives nearby and will probably forget that she even had a cat (until I fly said cat into her window at high speeds that is).

Now the point of geling the fur is to try and produce a large flat "wing" that will bring about lift. Cats have a very low terminal velocity and so will survive most falls without death. This is very calming for me as I would usually think twice before sending prototype-tiddles out of a 3rd floor window.

Mk I is the basic "cat-wing", where the fur has been molded using a mixture of Max Factor's Nightshade holding putty and PVA glue to form a horizontal panel. Though this did work to increase wind resistance, it ultimately failed due to the cat wriggling in mid air until the air tight shield fell apart.

Mk II was the same design but with the wriggling issue resolved through judicious application of house brick v1.3. Results were improved until the cat's heavy head caused it to nose dive and the hair to act more like the wing on a free fall bomb. It was interesting to note that much like a free fall bomb, the cat did not overcome its terminal velocity and that the terminal velocity was very terminal.

Mk III was a large scale overhaul including an entire new cat (my neighbor has...had 2). The cat wasn't on its own here though, as most of the "wings" of the MkII moggy glider had survived and were attached to the Mk III to create a rather impressive wingspan. This time my hopes of success were higher and I endeavored to launch kitty kite in a more traditional fashion by running along an elevated hill pulling on the lead of moggy with a long piece of string with bright ribbons (I had hoped that the cat would be encouraged to chase the ribbons to aid me, but the partial asphyxiation of the subject meant that I ended up doing all the work). Though partial lift was achieved, the constant clattering along the ground of the subject meant that the delicate wing shape was ruined before it could be effective.

Mk Iv was a night time launch (apparently the locals didn't take kindly to what I was doing during MkIII testing). This time to avoid wing degradation, i used a launcher using the roof of my car. Once lift had taken the cat off the roof, I could start reeling out the line and let kitty take an aerial view of the M3 by night.

Though Mk Iv may have been entirely successful, we will never know how successful. I didn't tie the other end of the line to anything, and there were no lights on the cat kite. Either the cat reached altitude and flew off, or it quickly fell of the back of my car as I reached speed and was pulled not by a gust of wind, but a vehicle travelling in the other direction. The search for the flight recorder will continue.

So as not to cause unjust upsetting of readers, I would like to caveat my previous statement. I was referring to 2 fingered kitkats sucking. For some reason 4 fingered ones are still great.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Resulting from the random subject generator: 50p

The 50p coin has a long and tricky to recall past. Though stooped in history, many pages and chapters of the coin's early days are now lost; burnt by peoples innability to perfectly remember exact events, and my unwillingness to research anything before narrating lives purely through unintelligent imagination.

Digressions aside, for now at least, lets delve into the missing chapters until words and letters spring forth from the narrow gaps where the pages used to reside.

The 50, jingler or halfpund as its modern day users may call it, was first brought about in a time before decimalisation. The 50 was an anniversary gift associated with silver and so the Queen's coronation demi-centenary was marked with 1000 of these coins being fired into the air by 50 cannon.

The result was a horrendous massacre. 30 died from the resulting rain-silver and the short black felt hats worn by the queen's guard did little to protect them. Two things resulted from this historic mis-calculation. Firstly, the coins were reduced from their original 2 and a half foot diameter to 1 inch. Secondly, the guards hats were increased in height to over a foot. Protecting them from all further royal celebrations.

The 'biddy' was also unusual for its hexagonal sides. It was hoped that though no-one needed these coins, they would be used more if they served a practical purpose. Carpenters and architects were quick to take up the new moneys as they were frequently perplexed by 60 degree issues. Now they had an easily pocketable guide to the 60 degrees in an attractive silver finish.

The coin's decorations have also changed from their humble beginnings. To start with, the coins were not obvious as to their value. 50p in those days equated to about 3 and one half happencrown shilling, which is what an average farmer would earn per week. To help the proles understand what the funny shiny thing was, the following text was written on the coin's "tail" side:

"Here lies our beloved value. Buried beneath its shiny surface ever under the wrath of our Lord God is his blessings and value. He blesses us with not just 1 shillings worth of love, but over a crown hapen worth. That's a lot. Its like he's hugging you right now. Please use this coin to buy things of virtue, such as corn on the cob or play size crucificies, so that he will smile on us instead of setting fire to our toes. For ever and ever, the End."

This was why the original coin was so big. Each coin was hand written by a monk scholar in molten silver, and took about 2 days to make.

On resizing the coin to the new "fun size 50", the text was changed to have more concise "worth 1 sheep".

When the world wars arrived like a noisy neighbour to our doors, the government requested that all coins be returned for the war effort (in exchange for 1 sheep). Many thousands of coins were in circulation by that point, and extra sheep had to be flown in from Greenland to cover the shortage, but eventually the coins were recalled in their entirety where they were melted down to make tanks.

At the end of the war, it was decided that the coins should be introduced, along with round numbers. When rationing finally stopped in 1982, the coins were released in a special commemorative edition showing the queen smoking a pipe to symbolise the end of tobacco rationing.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

more of the same-ish

and while we are on the subject, and whilst I'm programming, I'll take a quick dig at the debating society posters, which for the most part seem to be produced by an automated system designed to provoke people into turning up. Stuff like 'This house believes that women are retarded as a species and should not be let near any mains electricity' kind of stuff. So here are some of mine, thanks to the autodebater 5000 (patent pending):

This house believes that the consumption of family for food is unnecessary
This house believes that the firing of dogs for public entertainment is evil
This house believes that the racing of cardinals for demonstration is a safe way to make money
This house believes that the hoisting of Vietnamese is time well spent
This house believes that the decapitation of nuns for a hobby is grounds for murder
This house believes that the consumption of knives and forks is unnecessary
This house believes that the mixing of knives and forks is a good way to kill time
This house believes that the hoisting of nuns for public entertainment is grounds for murder
This house believes that the tripping of dogs for amusement is time well spent

Automated inspiration

Well, its been too bloody long since I've written anything. Perhaps my mind has calmed down a bit; perhaps my boss has started slipping sedatives into my morning coffee; perhaps this is all a giant conspiracy to stop free thought that has not affected anyone else because.... well, looks like I'm fine afterall. So to help quench this drought, I've written another fantastic piece of software that comes up with inspiring topics of discussion. Observe!

Why do old people get cold?
How do you make the universe end up inverted?
Who made old people become exploding?
An encyclopaedia of communists
Why can't goal posts start off hot?
Why old people?
Why do clouds get drinkable?
The history of 50p coins
What if badgers turned invisible?
The origins of knives and forks

Friday, 20 June 2008

English language

I had been meaning to write this one for a while now, but like a lubricated cloud, its was rather hard to keep hold of.

So without further a do; I would like to introduce my first book:

Verbular and noundic plurelacise.

A guide to the tricky world of plurals, singulars and tensing in the english language.

We all know that working out when something should get pluralised and what form this should take is not something that can be equated from a simple set of rules. Often many words have their plural version bear no resemblance to logic. Similarly, singulars cannot be derived from their plural equivalent.
In the course of this book, I hope to provide you with some much needed answers to your question or questicies.

Some universal laws:
Some rules can always be applied, and should be learnt first:
(i) x->ces
Some basic examples first:

but they can also be used in making more irregular words
1 voice-> 2 vox
1 horse-> 3 hoax
1 oak -> 3 oxen (notice how the word is past tense due to the tree now being dead).

(ii) past tensed
Tensing is another tricky area that we can help. Just remember, if it happened then it needs oldering.
breath-> brend
pig -> pork
3-> threed
divided->dividend (a past event happening again, in the past).

(iii) present past continuous.
Possible the toughest of tensing. Best described in a scenario:
Mark would like to tell Peter about a time he was fishing when he fell in to a lake. He tells this story as if he was there at the time, but with reference to the fact that it is in the past. Mark begins:

"I had fished when fallen went water and wet."

Unfortunately, this is not english, and gramatically much closer to Canadian, or Indian.

Instead it should follow simple english rules:

"I was fished and whilst fisheding did I felling and watered." - Much better I think you'll agree.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Petrol - understanding the problem

A quick note about the use of fuel in cars. Now I understand that censoring newspapers is generally looked down on. But I think that the scenario of petrol inflation causing scaremongering is exactly the kind of thing that should be grounds for masked men taking people away in the night never to be seen again.

The newspaper that caught my eye shall remain nameless (because I can't remember it). But the massive title on the front page was: PETROL SHORTAGES: NO NEED TO PANIC.

Now lets look at this one logically; what will happen when you tell someone not to panic? They will wonder what exactly the emergency is that they shouldn't panic about. Its the kind of statement that is made when a person believes that the logical reaction is to panic, and so therefore prewarns everyone of what is about to happen. In short asking people not to panic will tell them that it is a perfectly rational state to be in.

Of course what the paper should say is "go ahead and panic if you want to. There's plenty of petrol for panickers and non panickers alike". But headlines of "everything is normal" isn't a headline at all.

Petrol is a very weird thing. Very prevalent in the world, it has now been turned into unuseful things, like clouds. Plants realised the usefulness of using waste material for their own ends very early on by absorbing co2 and releasing oxygen. It works in a cycle.

So if we are to learn from nature, then we need a thing that absorbs fuel emissions and turns them in to something that can be used to fuel stuff. An organic being that lives by eating up carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and unburnt petrol.

And what should it release? Well if it is a true cycle, then it should form oil filled leaves, but it should not be flammable in itself, else forest fires would be rather epic.

But perhaps trying to shape nature around ourselves is actually rather egotistical.

Petrol is the by-product of creating water. The oceans formed many millions of years ago when the ground melted and the solid bits sank to the bottom. Many people wonder why it was coloured blue, but this is purely due to the name "blue" coming from the norse word meaning water. As water is often drunk by both humans and some mammals, it is vital to replace what is taken. The Pyro-elastic company of Australia is the world's leader in oxygen dihydride manufacturing; producing over 90 tonnes per minute. This does cause some problems, as no-one has yet built a pipe big enough to handle that kind of hydro-traffic. As a result it is instead poured upwards in to the sky, where the water is forced further and further up by the water underneath it. Once it reaches cloud city it is turned 90 degrees by a series of magnets and from there it falls into the ocean wherever the ocean is at its lowest.

This has caused knock on effects to the country. The perpetual force occurring in one direction is pushing Australia south every year by 3 and 1/8th feet. There has been plans to rotate the water in a "sprinkler effect", but this has been rubbished as causing the country to spin.

But returning to the point of this talk-amble, the petrol is eventually produced by the demagnatised magnets anchored to the clouds via a space lift. These quickly get coated in a layer of dead, magnetic birds sent off course with the alteration in magnetic fields. The magnets are replaced every 3-7 months and are melted down and burnt inside combustion engines, so that there is no record of how many birds died in the water engineering industry.

monkey kung fu

Friday, 9 May 2008

Spoken word versions of games that probably don't work too well:

Where's Wally?
The view is of a roman gladiator fight. Description runs from top left to bottom right:
Builder falling of very high scaffolding, a crow wearing a roman helmet, another crow looking scared at the on-coming crow, cloud shaped like Italy, a "crazy" flying contraption, another 'wacky' flying contraption with air escaping and scared pilot with large flying goggles, people sitting on very high, wobbly seats trying to watch the match, popcorn seller, crucifix seller, souvenir dagger seller, kids fighting with souvenir daggers, man being poked in bum by souvenir dagger, man in red and white hooped jumper but no glasses, a large number of people doing the 'Mexican wave', man running towards a lion but looking behind him, another lion with a bib and knife and fork, two gladiators fighting, a scared gladiator trying to fight with a shoe, Wally, a pile of gladiators all sitting around smoking and playing cards, a football referee blowing his whistle, two paramedics with a stretcher, a small dog.

I'm putting my hands together and then moving them apart so that the sides with the little fingers are still together. I'm showing you 2 fingers from my right hand. I show you the index finger on my right hand. I place my left hand horizontally on top of my right hand, which is upright with the narrow side facing you. I show you two fingers from my right hand. I place those same two fingers against my left bicep and tap them twice. I pull on my ear. I place my left index finger by my left eye and prod gently.

Friday, 2 May 2008

why do we allow it to continue?!

Right clearly two things have happened. Either there is an evil conspiracy to steal the intelligence out of people's brains, starting with one very specific group, or we have grown to love the complete lack of intelligence shown by one group and this has brought about their success and drawn other lackfull cretins to its shiny moneymaking reputation.

I'm talking about birthday cards. Now I know that this is uninspired source of droll stand ups everywhere. But I'm not here to spout "what is the deal with birthday cards?!". Ok, well maybe a little, but my source of muse on this little ditty is hatred. As I stood in a Tesco's queue with a handful of baguettes and pasta meals (yes they make good cold lunch snacks when combined), I heard an unexplainably attractive girl speak to her equally good looking "just friends" guy pal. "Oh cards! I need one because its xxxx's birthday" (no I'm not censoring my quotes, I just can't remember the conversation at this point. Personally if I could remember the person's full name then I'd put it here, just on the off chance that they read this and also got a god awful card recently so that they can now stand up from their computer and shout "Oh yeah! I hated that card!").

So the girl (who now I think about it, I can only remember what her hair looked like, and combined it with her posh/Southampton accent to create a photo fit in my head), started flitting through the cards and announcing each one of them to anyone who cared to have their ears open in the vicinity (hello).

It was actually rather joyous. Each card she picked up she began to read aloud with a sense of "this is going to be great!" obviously forgetting any and every card she'd read before this. And on each of the 3 occasions of card readings she opened the card and announced the punch line. Twice she stopped saying the punch line halfway through because it was at best crass and at worse VD related. The other was just crap. Unworthy even of Christmas cracker publishing.

"wow that's awful" I thought at the end of it. Elsewhere in the world wherever there is an audience to comedy, it is given the highest critique, reviews are given of books and stand-up performances and hecklers are even to be expected. But not here, not in this arena of humanity denying crap. Perhaps a little "how's my joke telling" should be put on the back with the writer's 24hr home phone number on it. That should make them pick up their game.

But perhaps I'm shooting fish in a barrel here. Perhaps like haiku, it is an incredibly difficult field to work in. And so FINALLY I get to my point. I believe that in the next 60 seconds (and no i have put 0 thought in to this) I will come up with humorous comedy cards..... ready ....go!

completely blank cards with "I don't really know you" on the inside.

cards made out of a £5 note

cards which don’t open, and can't be stood up

cards with a link to a funny youtube clip on it

a card with all the numbers of your birthday written in a row with "christ you're old" on it.

a card that turns into a hat

a card with two jokes that reads differently depending on which way you hold it up

cards with a shot in it

cards with built in fireworks

edible cards, that actually hurt. I think the hardest thing was to try not to think of the god awful tat and doing something very similar. I think the first one started that way, the "christ your old" thing is rather time honoured. Perhaps offensiveness would have been a better route to go down (lets hope next year you won't need a card type ones).

Definitely by the end I think I was on to something. A card and a match. Step back and watch the card launch in to the sky and explode into confetti. Awesome.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Pointless motions against "the bad guys"

Yes its nameless, pointless rant time again. This is a little venting against those who write stuff on the interweb like "e-petitions" (example in a second), which doesn't do a blind bit of good.

In these cases my instinctive reaction is to reply to their messages with a quick outlining of the futility of their actions, but this will lead to the inevitable backlash of poorly thought through, emotionally based responses.

So instead, I'm writing this mainly to myself, and also the few who still read this stuff, because I know you lot are sensible to be able to read something and understand it as "one point of view".

So to the point of my fury then. There is a facebook group (yes I look at facebook), that is a "petition" against an artist in foreign-land #12 who has put a performance art piece of a starved dog on display. This is obviously a piece of rather unnecessary and cruel work. The thing that aggravated me most though is that this piece is obviously designed to get him attention by shouting "look at me!" in the loudest way possible, short of suspending yourself in a glass box on a bridge (maybe he was ignored when young?). So the obvious thing to do would either to write to the local government asking whether this is all legal, or contacting the nearest hippie, manatee hugging group and inform them.

Instead no. Lets form a facebook group to "boycott said artist". BOYCOTT??? What are you going to do, not fly to foreign land and buy his stuff? I know, fly all the way out there, and then turn your back on the dog. Yes! That will do it won't it!? I'm sure that the underground abstract humiliation and torturing artist group survive on the generous donations of internet empowered hippies.

And on the message board reads a rubbish heap of people all bleating the same messages. "oh how terrible". "He shouldn't do that". Yes thank you for your insightful responses to something that doesn't affect you and that you can't affect. It seems to be some modern way of washing your hands of a problem.

"did you see that terrible piece of art?"
"Yes, but its ok, I voiced my opinions rather loudly on a public chat room"
"does the government read chat room?"
"um...well no"
"what about the artist"
"well no"
"what about the supporters of the artist?"
"but you feel better now you've done it?"

Hmmm...I'm all for making the world a better place. But what I have a real bugbear for is those people who make token gestures (picking up their 1 piece of litter, putting their name on a petition, giving their £3 to Oxfam every month), and then feel like they have the right to hold people who haven't done that as evil.

I'm not evil, I'm just not kidding myself.

The most delicious bit of this whole story is the possible outcome of this whole publicising of it. Most likely, nothing whatsoever will come of all of this misguided whinging. But, there is a chance that an artist lover will get wind of this group, find out about this art, love it, and then commission the artist for a work of their own.

If you really care about this one, buy a one way plane ticket and a piece of 2x4, go to xenoland and put the little pup out of its misery. Then drape its body around your neck, and beat yourself with the 2x4 around your face until the media turns up. If anyone is going to become an eccentric millionaire artist, it should be you.

From Collateral:

Vincent: Max, six billion people on the planet, you're getting bent out of shape cause of one fat guy.
Max: Well, who was he?
Vincent: What do you care? Have you ever heard of Rwanda?
Max: Yes, I know Rwanda.
Vincent: Well, tens of thousands killed before sundown. Nobody's killed people that fast since Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Did you bat an eye, Max?
Max: What?
Vincent: Did you join Amnesty International, Oxfam, Save the Whales, Greenpeace, or something? No. I off one fat Angelino and you throw a hissy fit.
Max: Man, I don't know any Rwandans.
Vincent: You don't know the guy in the trunk, either.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

5 minute challenge...

The main thing to remember is to be calm. And also to breath, but that's not something you normally have to remember. Its not like you are holding your breath, then get distracted by a moth, and then die.
So just remember the calm bit. Because if you get stressed and your heart rate goes above a preset limit, I'm going to fill your mouth with bees.
I'm not sure whether it is the fear of having bees in my mouth, or just the word bees that makes me laugh. I don't mean to laugh when I'm afraid, just that sometimes it helps me to relax.
Blabbering aside for a minute I would like to remind everyone that I've never pretended for a second that this blog is for anyone except myself. You are trespassing on my stupidity, so I'll do you a deal, I won't mention this if you don't. But instead of my usual tightly written, sharply witted spirited knocks at the normal, today I have just set myself a challenge: To write for 5 minutes without stopping to think about what I'm going to write next. So please take this moment in this entry to be like a roller coaster, just at the beginning with the slow ascent and clunky chains, pretending to the person next to you that you're so bored that you might fall asleep and wake up only to realise that you're upside down 30 seconds later.
This whole rant came about because of a rather long winded dual sided rant that occurred last thursday/tuesday evening (see I haven't even stopped to recollect properly), I ended up in a very weird situation that involved talking to a friend about nothing, and we instinctively knew that the most entertaining thing to do was not to stop and allow the conversation to start on a new tangent, but to continue and expand on the crap we were currently talking about with more and more ridiculous things. The others standing around listening were all there in rather stunned silence. Half entertained, half wondering if we were ever going to shut the f$$$ up. And of course eventually we did, but not before a good 5-10 minutes of blabbering about anything inconsequential that fell into our heads as we chatted. And when we were done we sat rather out of breath and smiling. Rather yes wholesome sports. Like two grown men battling tongues and wrestling in unusual positions and in the end feeling like we had accomplished something worthwhile, but with a rather hollow feeling, like we had let down those close to us....just like sports.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Dr. Pocolypse makes a business trip

Opening scene. View from door looking in to a small office. Door opens without seeing who opens it. Man in the room looks up from his desk.

Employee: ah, you must be my 10 o'clock. Welcome to countocorp.
Customer: (In russian accent) thank you. (sits down in to shot to reveal classic 60's bond villain attire).
E: sorry to keep you waiting, would you like a drink? Tea? Coffee?
C: Ah, oh um coffee please.
E: How about a biscuit? We have bourbons or ginger nuts
C: (pauses and then speaks whilst raising eyebrow) I'll have (camera zooms in) ginger nuts.
E: Ok, lovely. Now I understand that you would like one of countocorps talking clock packages for you office. Is it an office?
C: Well....sort of. More of a.....bunker.
E: Oh! lovely. And I understand that you would like some bespoke features. Normally we just to a (jesticulates) "at the beep the time will be..".
C: Yes, that is of no use to me. I need it to count (another slow zoom in), down?
E: Ok a countdown, lovely. Well we pride ourselves here on friendly voiced announcements of times and events over phones or tannoys.
c: Friendly? hmm...I want something more monotonal, more backgroundish.
E: I see.
C: Yes, I was thinking more like "2 minutes to self destruction and counting".
E: Ah, yes that brings me on to my other query. I've been looking through some of the statements you would like us to record for your business. (gets out list), lets see...yes.. warning...nuclear storage facility compramised.. and also danger...building self destruct in 30 seconds. are you in?
C: I
E: ...zoos?
C: Yes, I look after a zoo. Very dangerous zoo. For viruses.
E: A....virus zoo.
C: ...Yes. Very dangerous, needs self desctruct buttons.
E: And sharks?
C: Oh, yes, my precious sharks.
E: And that's why you need the..(consults the sheet again)..."warning...stand clear of shark trap doors"
C: mm...most important.
E: Right, and as far as the countdown goes, would you like it to just say the warning once and then just say times?
C: no,no,no. It must constantly repeat the same warning message along with the time left.
E: And you aren't worried that this will become annoying and take up so much time that it makes it hard to know how much time you've got left?
C: No
E: Even on this one? "10 minutes remain until nuclear spore thermo shield catastrophic failiure causing shuttle hull depressurisation"?
C: Actually no, I rather like that one. And, well I'll never have to hear it.
E: And why is that?
C: Because this time, there is no way that I can fail!
E: Right, so you've failed before?
C: Yes but, this time will be different. This time I have armed guards posted around the nuclear spore thermo shield self destruct button.
E: o...kay. Well, not for me to judge!
C: ...what
E: No nothing. Well it just seems like .... no, nothing.
C: Good
E: Now, payment, I understand that you would like to pay a deposit now.
C: Yes, the rest will come from when my corporation receives a very large sum of money in a couple of weeks from the world's governments.
E: For your zoo
C: Oh...yes...big donation. They really fea...respect my zoo.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Yes its that time again. Where my lack of inspiration has made me produce a program that comes up with tv titles. The inspiration for this came from Futurama "I prefer programs with the titles 'world's blankiest blanks'"

Antartica's fastest police shootouts live
New York's fattest girl guides
France's most expensive birthday cakes : their true story
Europe's skinniest single mothers
Cardiff's worst pensioners
Europe's most endangered pensioners live
Dehli's most disproportionate morris dancers
Russia's most dangerous pensioners caught on tape!
World's most overlooked police shootouts
Blackpool's fastest morris dancers : why we just want to be left alone
Europe's worst sword swallowers live
Chicago's most disproportionate armed kidnappings
Cardiff's fastest fungii
New York's undercover father christmasses

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy heart day

When asking a friend what he thought people should do for Valentines day, his reply was "Mmm as it’s a time of hearts and fluffy things I will be dissecting a rabbit ". As a result, I thought a poem might be a nice addition too:

Its that special time of year again
Where I show you what’s in my heart
But to cut mine open would kill me
So this rabbit’s will play the part.

Because I know how much you love bunnies
To stroke their fuzzy wuzzy fur
I’ve stitched this one’s into a funky hat
So you can take it anywhere

So remember me on Valentine’s
Remember how I made you laugh
Because its been 2 months since you dumped me
So I hope you burn in fiery hell you manipulative b**ch

Thursday, 31 January 2008

Why water can get lost

The weather is an all important controller of our lives. Generally if we're indoors all week, then it will really only affect how many jackets/scarves/gloves we put on.
For others it is more important, affecting what they do that day; if they can go to sea, if they can ride their bike, if they can fly a kite, if they can test their new umbrella design... you get the idea. For these people, especially the umbrella architects, rain is one of the most important features of the weather. And yet the reporting of it is awful. Really amateur compared to the other weather fields.
It seems that the wetness department of the Met Office is really the "underachievers' class" of all the departments. The temperature are the boffins. They delivery accurate temperatures on an hour by hour basis to the nearest degree centigrade. They have a backup system for the elderly and the American (Fahrenheit). They even have a great get-out clause:
"It's cold out" grumble the bemused prol. "Ah", replies the heat-analyst, "that'll be the windchill factor". What a wonderful excuse for inaccuracies. Blame another department.
The rain-tellers don't have any such excuse. Moreover, they have no accurate way of telling us what's happening, or what will happen. When the thermo-men tell us it will be 19 degrees we all go, "ooh, I'll get to wear my new light weight jacket and take a bottle of water with me to the roller-derby".
The nearest that the waterfallers can say is "today will be 4 inches."


Utter-unashamed-useless. I have no use for that fact. It's like the cloud students saying "Today there will be 98.9% solar photon penetration." Yep, thanks.

But there is no other system. Clouds are a bit vague, but that's ok. We don't mind hearing it will be "mostly overcast with sunny spells". We can still plan our day. Nothing is accurately based on cloud plans. So water fallings are given an absolutely useless measuring system based on length. Because length and water go together like chocolate and Jupiter.

I am not even knowledgeable on where this measuring system came about or how it works. I like to think that it came around from a lord Inch, who said "I am bored of getting wet due to a misunderstanding of what 'quite wet out' actually means!". So he created a scale where 1 was enough to make your hair frizz, and 10 is underwater. From here it would be easy to scale the points in between. Here is my attempt.

1 - like noticing you have a fizzy drink on the table when a little bit flies out and lands on you
2 - like being sat on by a wet cat
3 - like standing under a sweaty person
4 - like jumping on a trampoline after its been raining
5 - like being squirted by one of those water sprays that hairdressers use
6 - like opening the door on a dish washer before its finished
7 - like standing on the curb by a busy wet road
8 - like taking a shower
9 - like taking a power shower
10 - like taking a bath

Its easy and everyone can relate (especially 3).

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

New TV programs

Orginially done by Richard Herring and Stuart Lee. It seems that some TV premises are so thin, that they appear to have been written around the title, and not the other way around. So with that in mind, here are some I came up with:

Doc of the bay

Dr Phillip Baye, a retired pathologist, moves to a sleepy harbour town where he solves murders in his spare time. When he is not solving mysteries, he dabbles in herbal remedies, many of them include bay leaves.

Inn for a Penny

Penny Smith, moves out of a busy London pub management job to risk everything by starting a new Inn in a village. The Inn is opposite the old traditional Inn, run by Ex army Col. Richard Pound, with hilarious consequences.

Many Hans

A reality, home makeover show. Hans Larrs and Hans Schulle are two electricians who go around solving peoples' lighting issues. This week, why is Mr. Smith's strip light humming, and how can Miss Clyne make the most of her ornamental garden through outdoor lamps?

Against the clock

Challenge show where competitors must climb up on to large clock faces and then compete in time based challenges. This week, the minute team fight against the hour hand team, by seeing who can pull as many numbers off of the clock face of Gare de Lyon in Paris in 5 minutes. Full contact, knock down action.

At each other's throats

Ground breaking surgery program where two surgeons attempt to perform simultaneous larynx surgery on one another. Hilarious outtakes section at the end where one tries to ask the other to say "ahhh".

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Paint belongs in bouncy castles

First may I just say - W00t!!! 50 posts. Take that productivity!!!

Secondly, bouncy castles, though the suffix suggests a hard fortress of keeping people out, actually has the opposite effect. And I don't just mean that it has an inviting appearance that draws in everyone, presuming that they first have taken shoes off. Instead I mean the way they work during the bouncing.

Just taking the base in to the equation, the bounciest area is in the middle, which will average out to be lower than the areas around the edges. Not only does this mean that those in the middle more likely to stay there as they are in the lowest part, and it is very hard to bounce uphill. Secondly those on the outside of the divot will be bouncing on a slope, and will inevitably bounce inwards.

Now if we take in to account that the "castle" walls are also bouncy, then even those bouncees who are lucky enough to have bounced away from the centre will inevitably reach a wall, at which point their horizontal energy will be reversed in vector and they will be on a bee line for the centre point once more.

Now if this was a set of bouncing balls, turtles dropped from a high height or hand grenades mixed with tins of paint, the whole thing would be funny if at least watched from a safe distance. Instead, the objects ignorantly and chaotically bounding around on an imminent collision course is a set of humans.

And not just any humans, children. Bony, fragile, cry-at-the-slightest-things children. In a big bouncy death trap. It would be less dangerous, and less noisy to have just one child, one grenade, and one tin of paint bouncing around.

What a TV program it would make. Just one child, a loosely pinned hand grenade, a bucket of luminous green paint and 500 well protected, bullet time cameras.

The jumping luminescent death child boom paint fest - ITV at 10pm tonight.

Tell me that you wouldn't watch it.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Steps in a office based, middle classed direction?

I just realised that today I have bought a coffee machine and a tie.

How horrifically bureaucratic, white collared is that?!

Sad I know to now be blogging about it, but I feel that I need to vent these rather claustrophobic feelings. Plus I have about 3 minutes left of work, and I can't be bothered doing anything else.

The only redeeming feature is that the tie is identical to the tie worn in the Hitman film. But this +1 of geekiness is undermined by the fact that the coffee machine has a timer on it, and a further -2 for the fact that I was excited to find this out after I bought it.

I'm going to go home, and drink good coffee wearing leather gloves. That should help make me feel a little better at least