Monday, September 29, 2014

serious, street and socialism

hi there

one of them posts that underlines there is no limit to the absolute lack of things of general interest i won't share here. oh sure, one or two may find it interesting, that's why i keep doing this.

i was in HMV earlier today. this, i would suppose, is not all that much of a surprise, as even at my 40+ age i consider the HMV to be the most excellent thing ever. oh sure, they are overpriced and never have all that much that i want, but they are still HMV. and, in fairness, every now and then one gets a result like that Alpha Papa blu ray set i posted the detail of a while ago.

basically, i saw this and decided "i probably need a new card holder thing for my bus pass".

oh, indeed, yes. some, what, six or so years later and the iconic imagery of The Dark Knight is still pretty stunning. and i, like absolutely everyone else honest enough to admit it, thought the casting of Heath Ledger as The Joker was some sort of practical joke at the time.

did i actually need a new bus pass holder thing? no. the one i have that is of The Terminator is still perfectly serviceable, thanks. just a change is as good as a rest, and all that, so why not?

if the above is of interest, then the next picture is not. well, maybe. Spiros was quite excited about a picture taken of a street, so as he was kind enough to recently share a picture of some spew, here you go.

yes, child of the condiment phoenix, indeed i was sat there when i took the picture. no, no giddy sense to it, just minding my own business.

speaking of Spiros, a rare non-selfie picture of me, taken not by Spiros, but my (considerably) better half. Spiros just happened to supply the magazine i am reading.

Spiros, look you see, is in his generosity always eager to sign me up for anything at all he can find. some bloke, presumably whilst waiting for a taxi in London, started talking to Spiros about socialism. Spiros did not hesitate or waver in handing over my name and address to the chap in question, informing him to send on "anything at all" about socialism. so i now get this magazine on a regular basis.

interesting reading, it is. insightful and very educational.

back of bus pass holder? back of bus pass holder.

well, it wasn't really likely to have anything else written on it, was it?

and, that's that. also, as my CD has not turned up - but i have ordered a second copy - that's probably that for updates in September. i am sure something of interest or consequence will arrive in October, and thus i shall post away with gay abandon.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

the improbable infinity drive of impossibility

hi there

an ambition of many computer types out there - in particular those that like doing a bit of a hack of them cloud things and getting the nudie pictures - is to make a "flash" drive of a memory stick thing that has infinite storage space. no 8GB or 16GB limit on it; just store as much as you want.

is such a thing possible? from what i recall, yes. if i read this right - and i am happy to be corrected - if one combined all of the data stored on all of the internets, it would weigh......the same as a grain of sand. or something like that. so as a grain of sand is quite small compared to a memory stick, loads of such grains shoved together into a memory stick would give you, in actual if not real terms, an infinity capacity drive.

people are really working on one, you know. there have been two or three false claims, but at least they are trying i suppose.

i mention this because i might have made one, by accident.

yeah. that's what happened when i recently plugged in a 2GB drive to transfer some files around. as you can see, there are all sorts of peculiar files there. what are they? don't know, but the size listed of them suggest they go way - and i mean waaaaaay - beyond the 2,000,000KB max capacity it should have.

i am guessing that this is a sign that my flash drive is, in effect, knacked, although it is strangely working as i want it. perhaps all of this gibberish is a sign that either i have a sensational virus on the go on a piece of equipment, or otherwise it is the last ride of this stick before it dies.

well, it's been a fun ride, and in the words of that big Russian one out of Rocky IV, if it dies, it dies.

if you know what the above is and have absolutely nothing better to do with your time, feel free to leave a message or something.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the South African Post Office remains a f*****g disgrace

hi there

well, one month later and i see things remain a spectacular success at the SAPO. here, you can have a look for yourself, look you see.

considering they have now been on strike for nine months it is something of a surprise that there is any mail to burn, but by my word they managed to find some.

it seems that they are expecting the Post Office to report a financial loss this year. really? after only all of the year on strike? go figure.

really sorry to anyone in SA that i posted stuff too and it has not turned up.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Healing Sharpy

hello there

this will probably be a blog post of a far more sombre nature than you are used to seeing here, dear reader, assuming that i have more or less remembered what one possible definition of sombre is. if not, well, there you, i had a try at a fancy word and i failed.

we have all, surely, this week found our minds - indeed our hearts - dominated by one story above all other stories. that is, you hardly need me to tell you, all of our thoughts (and emotions) have been drawn and drained by the news of Sharpy hurting himself. a truly troubling incident, certainly, and one no doubt caused by some bellendish act he carried out despite advice to the contrary.

when Sharpy first surfaced from his pain to share his plight with the world, there was an immediate outpouring of sympathy, a certain amount of grief expressed and several wishes in regards of a speedy recovery. for me, though, simply writing "fanny" on his status update thing was not enough. i felt of a mind to be rather more proactive in returning Sharpy to his regular level of health, whatever the hell that level happens to be.

here, with thanks to Sharpy for working through the pain to take the picture, is the Get Well Soon card i sent him. if you have noticed that this is not a standard, or if you like conventional, birthday card, you may take a moment to reflect on just how very astute you are.

this is a card designed to work on a number of postmodernist, possibly even metaphysical levels. it might seem, of course, that i simply grabbed a birthday card, crossed out 'Happy Birthday' and wrote 'Get Well Soon' on it. that's because i did. but with good reason. not only was it cheaper than just going and buying a get well soon card, if there even is such a thing, but it also subconsciously sends him the message that if he doesn't stop being a fanny and get on with it, he will not get to celebrate his birthday, whenever that is.

the final element of the text i added to the card is, as you have no doubt worked out, a gentle, indeed subtle, message to Sharpy to reaffirm for him that yes, the world is now aware of the fact that he is in pain, and thus he need not waste any further recovery time in informing everyone.

if you are wondering if the universal ideas of the front of the card carried on to the inside of it, the answer, if i may be permitted to make such a call, is yes, look you see.

many thanks again to Sharpy for taking a few moments away from informing all of how sore he was to take this picture.

i know i do not usually go around handing out my rather exquisite artwork, but i thought that an image of Sharpy in pain would let Sharpy see how the world sees him at the moment. and, under the circumstances of his distress, i am happy to disclose that yes, indeed, i did use a First Class stamp to send this to him with. it is indeed rare that i value anyone high enough to use First Class stamps, but in the interests of a better world, the sooner that Sharpy had proof that someone had heard of his ails - and thus limiting his need to mention them further - the better.

as for the plaster, well, that's a device which heals and fixes things. i figured if he put it on his back, or wherever it was he had hurt himself, it would probably fix it and i - nor anyone else - would need to hear any further details. as you can see, though, he opted to take a picture of it.

i do, i must confess, feel some guilt about the plaster. it's from South Africa, you see. if only Stumpie had at least four of them, maybe he could have put them on that blonde he apparently shot accidentally four times and she would have been all better. also, we would not have had to listen to a largely embarrassing statement off of a judge.

as for the WH Smith voucher, well, those who know Sharpy know that he lives for the place. i though the voucher might give him motivation to get on with things, you know. like, stop whining.

yes, that is a Michael Bolton CD. i went one further than just wishing Sharpy well on his path to recovery, look you see, and decided to play an active part in his recovery.

Michael Bolton is many things to many people. to some, of course, he is a limited range vocalist with twat hair and a smug face. to the more sexually repressed and frustrated ladies and the gents of the world, he is of course the embodiment of their fantasies, whether it be the case that they have either reached such a depth of desperation or consider themselves to be at the height of taste. i can pretty much take him or leave him, really, except i will say he has always struck me as a chap most angry that he never got to sing that dreadful song they did for that Titanic film.

why would i send Sharpy, or anyone injured, a Michael Bolton CD? well, normally i wouldn't, but then i saw this rather interesting, enlightening, informative and somewhat brief documentary.

it was a documentary that for some reason came on in the middle of a commercial break, quite possibly during Bullseye. might have been Family Fortunes, though, as that's more likely the target market.

anyway, in this documentary, right, this lady explained to a colleague how they use the signing of Michael Bolton to intensify and enhance the growth experience that fruit goes through on trees. yeah, i was pretty sceptical at first, but then i remembered that i had no scientific, agricultural or horticultural knowledge whatsoever, and thus could not really argue. besides, surely, if it is on a documentary on TV, then it must be true.

you can see the documentary right here if you want. for some reason they have called it "Starburst", which is i assume a catch-all way of attracting people who would not normally watch documentaries - basically the Bullseye audience, now i think - so that they can be informed.

so, anyway, if the music of Michael Bolton can make fruit grow, it stands to reason that it must work miracles on the human body. the back of a person - the spine and vertebrae and all that stuff - is really rather simple and basic compared to the complexities of, say, a banana. playing a bit of Michael Bolton at it - let alone an entire CD - must then, it follows, make a spine absolutely amazing.

yeah, that's a picture of me posting the Michael Bolton CD to Sharpy. Second Class. well, after sending the card First Class, i didn't want him getting any ideas by sending another item in that reserved way. also, i didn't have any First Class stamps. 

i am delighted to say that he got the CD today and, as far as i know, am aware or interested, he can now walk again. he hasn't said as much, but he has also issued no more statements about how sore it all is, etc, so presumably i have healed him. 

i feel nothing but professional pride about helping him heal, since you ask. it was my pleasure to be able to assist him in his hour of need. i look forward to helping the next person that has been silly enough to give me their address should they also hurt their back a bit. 

if you want to try any of the medical measures i have mentioned here yourself, i would have to say go right ahead, on the basis that i of course am not liable for their relative success or failure. 


be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

lighters, and a cavalcade of crap

hello there

a bit of a tiresome post, really. do please bear with me though. assuming that Royal Mail do not let me down, or "dis" me, then something should arrive for Sharpy tomorrow. assuming he lets me know it arrived (and i have every reason to believe he will be rather vocal), a smart post can be unleashed.

an even better one than that is an outrageously great joke i have created, but alas the CD i ordered two or so weeks ago has not arrived. so i cannot share it with you.

in the mean time, then, here are some lighters what i bought today, look you see.

yes, indeed i am supposed to be quitting / cutting down considerably, but you may be pleased to know that i continue to fail to spectacular success levels in this respect. anyway, even the most ardent of non-smoker would surely stop to purchase these? ace, they are.

well, if you like scary things and violent images, i suppose. for anyone who does not like that sort of thing i guess they are not ace at all, and might be somewhat intimidating.

yeah, the background there is the amazon box that our copy of something called Fifa 15 arrived in. there you go, bit of click bait for you.

i bought them lighters off of the pound shop, a place many of you will appreciate as the place where i find all sorts of awful, awful DVDs for a mere pound coin of money. did i purchase another slice of digital rubbish today? no. why not? well, have a look.

yes, that's right. they had 12 (twelve) slices of incredibly bad looking digital rubbish. i am, alas, only partially educated, and not prone to making informed decisions. the consequence, then, was that as i could not choose one of these titles from the other eleven, i chose none.

i appreciate this next bit could have me tarred and feathered as part of the "entitlement" generation. you know, those special people that think every decision in the world is made with them personally in mind. a particularly good example of late is, of course, that exceedingly special kind of arsehole who presses the "click here to download to your device" button on a U2 album and then take to the internet to express their dismay at having the new U2 album downloaded to their iTwat. mostly black American rappers are doing this, which at the least must be a nice change of pace for them from doing all them drive by shooting things.

so, getting back on track. i fear my pound shop may have missed a trick here. if i, as a regular purchaser of rubbish off of them, am the target market, then they should not perhaps have bombarded me all at once. if they had just put one or two up a week, or every two or three days, then. i would have had no qualm at all about buying them all over this more prolonged period.

that one with the fella waving the chainsaw on the front is, if we are honest, likely to get bought over the course of next week.

anyway, another look at them lighters.

i am assuming, or if you prefer presuming, that these lighters, much like the extra amount of crap DVDs, is all in some way related to Halloween not being far off?

right, that's that. i really hope that my CD turns up soon, otherwise i might forget about the joke that i have created around it.

oh yeah, and that the thing for Sharpy lands.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

spew, scan and butters

hi there

well, isn't modern technology something. no, i am not talking about bendable phones - i could not care less about them, and if i could, i would simply ask what sort of idiots sits on a phone for 13 hours anyway.

i am, of course, talking about how my chum Spiros can take a picture of something interesting, no matter where he is - even somewhere as remote and as backward as London - and send it on to me. which, as regular readers here will know, is something that happens from time to time.

my morning bus journey was, in many ways, beautified by the arrival of this image on my phone as i was sat reading. it is an image of, Spiros assures me, some spew.

this is, as you are well aware, the sort of thing which excites Spiros a very great deal indeed. i get excited, of course, about the idea that he gets excited about this.

is it a spew that Spiros did? no. he does, however, dream of a life where he roams around, swigging meths and spesh, throwing up all over without a care in the world.

the last i heard of Spiros today was when he got, believe it or not, even more excited. this was due to a lady standing in the spew you can see here. apparently it made quite a mess of her shoes, as it would, i suppose. Spiros was so excited about this that he, in a very sort of Pride & Prejudice way, decided he was going to take a picture of her shoes. the lady in question, however, seemed to be not at all pleased about this, and gave him quite a funny, if not peculiar, look.

i very much doubt that any sort of look would have prohibited Spiros from trying to get a picture. for all i know, then, he is currently still being detained by the tube or public transport constabulary. they are an organization or if you will institution, that probably take a somewhat dim view of gents taking pictures of ladies shoes.

anyway, look you see, onwards. two things happened today that spread a little sun through the hollow, shallow and pretty much empty existence i kind of mooch through. both are indeed visible in the next picture. but first, some sort of story for you.

i had reason today to deposit a cheque. a cheque is, as you know, one of those things that one forever hears will be phased out and become obsolete. yeah, right. banks make a huge amount of money off of issuing them and clearing them. i promise you, they will ditch ATM cards before they ditch cheques, as they get quizzed on ATM fees but no one utters a word about cheque costs.

it was not the amount of the cheque which brought sunlight to a darkened world, oh no. i mean, the amount was nice, but fairly nominal, it was what happened next that pleased me so.

yes. the ATM prints out a class, thermal paper scanned image of the cheque you have just deposited. that's amazing, man. well, it impressed me. if it did that with cash deposits, i would probably stand there most days, drawing money then depositing it again just to see the class scanned image.

so anyway, probably of more interest to you is the DVD set of A Very Buttery Collection that you can see. what a find this was, and at a low price too. i was thrilled to see that i was not the only fan of Butters off of South Park in the world, then. actually, the chap in the shop was quite the fan too, and we had a substantial chat about some of his greatest ever moments.

moments that are, presumably or perhaps of course, captured across this two disc set.

i know it has the episode where he follows his Dad around and watches him "not be very good at wrestling". it also, i believe, has the episode in which Butters has to mine $100million in coal overnight to avoid his parents selling him as a pet to Paris Hilton. boss.

i may well watch some of them now, as it happens.

and i really like that scanned image on the slip thing, man.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mount Maunganui Furniture and Mount Maunganui Books, Vives and Coffee

hi there

just checking in to say hello, still here, and i am sorry to see that not too many have been interested in my smart Viz mug. oh well, no pleasing all.

all in Mount Maunganui, however, can be most pleased in a few weeks time by the arrival of the much anticipated October Paddy's Market.


yes, indeed once again Old Grumpy's Gallery is getting some promotion here. and why, indeed, not, since it is a most excellent place to visit and, as it happens, shop. 

i know, i know, the website is still not up and running 100% yet, as you will see off of the link, but i am getting there. or, at the least, my (considerably) better half is.

that's all for now - go along and have fun, if you are in Mount Maunganui, or indeed the general area!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

new mug

hello there

well, i know some of you will be very excited, but reign in that excitement, curb your enthusiasm. or kerb it, i suppose, if you are inclined to engage in that, as it were, sort of thing. yes, i have a new mug, but no, it's not a return to the halcyon days of my former verk where new mugs were paraded around. my current place of employ is not, shall we say, quite so liberal.

i was a bit baffled on Saturday when a slip was waiting for us from the post man dude, saying he had an item too large to get through the letterbox. the only item i was expecting was a CD, the nature and size of which has come through our letterbox many times in the past. what could it be? it would have to wait until Monday.

Monday it is, you clever people (or later if you are reading this after Monday), so time to find out. i am very grateful to my (considerably) better half for going to the post office stipulated and fetching it for me.

the return address you see there confirmed that it was what i in fact remotely suspected it could be. i was amazed to be correct, and as it turns out it is even better than i suspected it to be.

it is a mug from the off of The Viz. i wrote to them again recently in order to win yet more "i spotted Jimmy Hill" pencils. this i did. out of desperation, though, i sent them a sad and pathetic letter in which i explained why my life is so shallow, hollow and empty that the idea of winning a pencil from them made it better. in that letter the following (in an unedited form) appeared.

You were extremely kind in rewarding my spotting efforts earlier in the year. That moment remains one of the highlights of the year, as point of fact decade, for me. I would love to do the crossword to try and win a mug, but I cannot work out so much as one clue off of it. Gives me a right f****** headache when I try.

and so this is what they sent me.

yes, that's right, it is a Roger's Profanisaurus Winner's Mug that they have edited to be a Loser's Mug!

the note in the background is far more civil and polite than my uncouth and foul-mouthed letter, as a consequence of which i am indeed hanging my head in shame. the co-editor explains in the note how sorry he was to learn that i find the crossword is a bit too difficult for me, and so he decided to make a special Loser's Mug to make me feel better.

this is one of the most awesome and incredible things to happen to me.

and now the mug is safely put away, far from the eyes of young people who can read but are not quite yet ready to see the kind of words on the mug.

as obscenities follow, here is a pictue of some nice chocolates for you to look at and then be on your way.

for those of you unfamiliar with The Viz or Roger's Profanisaurus, well, basically it's a regular sort of thesaurus thingie, but for rude words. very rude indeed. every edition of The Viz thus features a crossword based on it, where you can win money and a Winner's version of the mug. it is all, however, always cryptic clues, and i really can't work them out.

as to what the answers usually are, well, here, have a look. but do remember that warning i posted above in regards of the language warning i gave.

my hope is, of course, that my mate Spiros gets one. except he is a winner, so he will get the Winner's one. he is universally talented, is Spiros. he can karate chop your ass and ju jitsu your brain. he will get the cash prize, no doubt.

oh i see, this just popped up as i was writing :

let me go and change passwords again :(

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

ebook review

hi there

it's rare that i bother to post ebook reviews. although the technology is amazing, and it allows for one to get books they want to read that are not on the shelves, it just still doesn't feel like "proper" reading. if that sounds terribly elitist of me, then my apologies, as it is not meant to. it's just a case of it really being as flat and as straightforward as it just doesn't feel right.

also, taking pictures of an ereader is not as easy as it is to take a picture of a real book.

this doesn't mean that books are in any way lesser on an ebook, far from. i have found the actual novels themselves to be as enjoyable or as dreary as they are, the medium having very little bearing in that regard.

so why bother to all of a sudden do a review (or three) now? well, one of them is because Sharpy said to read it, the other two, why not if i was doing one anyway. links, as usual or standard, just for ease of your own reference, none of the links are in any way endorsed or paid for.

oh yeah, *** SPOILER WARNINGS *** for you. so you're warned from here on out.

i do not recall where exactly i caught wind of the novel that is The Troop. it might have been when i was looking for another title and stumbled on it. however i got to hear of it, it sounded like it would be ace. this it pretty much was, but not for the reasons i had expected.

it did sound rather like the sort of thing i would much rather read on a bus, but i could not find it on the shelves in any of the bookshops in town. as i have a mountain of paperbacks already for the bus, ordering one seemed strange, so i opted for the ebook version.

plot? well, the way it was described when i saw it and got interested made it sound like a psychological thriller horror sort of thing. in actual fact, it is a 'supernatural' horror type of thing instead. oh. the difference? well, whereas what i was expecting to happen would as a given be plausible, in this case you have to accept that strange, curious, "unexplained by science" things can happen. which, as it happens, they do. not that the book is void of all of the more psychological horror things.

basically a scout troop is off on an island and, well, some sort of "virus" thing breaks loose. will the scout troop survive? will it all go Lord Of The Flies? and what caused it all? for this you will have to read the book and (mostly) get the answers.

it wasn't bad. it was pretty good. the past / present / future tense and the narrative switches worked rather well to tell the story - if it was all linear, it would have been flat out average. a fan of horror novels of any nature, i would wager, would not be at all disappointed with this one. no doubt some film studio somewhere is sat in ownership of the rights. if they go right ahead and film it in a linear way, it will be a most disappointing film. if, indeed, it gets filmed.

next, then, is the one that Sharpy said to read. The Last Tiger was also one i looked for the paperback of, and was surprised to find that no shop had it. very surprised by this, in fact, as it has high praise and high sales figures.

Sharpy read it twice in a week, he says. Sharpy and i, then, had very different views on the novel.

is it bad? no, not really. it just didn't particularly do much for me. any point it was trying to make was somewhat lost by the very minimalist approach taken to certain plot details, in particular with regards to the background of the characters. if you get a fair way into a book and your feeling is "why would i care" about what happens to the protagonist, which i didn't, then there's something of a failing there in the point of pursuing the story.

ostensibly it's the tale of a child who becomes somewhat enamoured by the tigers he finds when he lands in, of all places, Tasmania, and is thus quite distressed when people, in particular his father, start shooting them. this is, yes, a very laboured and heavy handed metaphorical thing which eventually turns out to relate to a human life lost. to achieve this goal, a very Disney approach is applied to tigers, which sees them have human emotions and act in a very human way when it suits the story progression.

i neither liked nor disliked the novel. it was OK reading, nothing mind-blowing, nothing too dreary as to take Sharpy up on his offer on a refund of the cost of the ebook. there are many out there who have read the book and will declare it an emotional, moving masterpiece, just as there are many who will declare it empty, meaningless melodrama. i pretty much understand both interpretations. good luck to you if you give it a try.

as Sharpy will be upset that i have not given it unashamed love, i had better make him a little less displeased with me. here, for his benefit, are images of a cat typing on a laptop. he loves this, does Sharpy.

moving on, then, to a fine novel. a superb one. a novel that i would happily declare one to be one that i have thoroughly enjoyed. a novel that i shall probably read again, a distinction only previously given by me (not that this means much) to Catch 22, A Clockwork Orange, Bonfire Of The Vanities and American Psycho. what is this book? this one.

The Martian. regulars here will recall that i liked the sound of it and wanted it for the bus, but the font on the paperback is far too small. so ereader it was for it.

this book should be rubbish. its nothing more, in principal, that Robinson Crusoe In Space. a manned mission to Mars has to leave in a hurry, and leaves a dead crew member behind. except, as it turns out, he is not quite dead. not being quite dead, he decides he likes it that way, and sets about working out how to live long enough to be rescued, as and when the next mission to Mars arrives. surviving on Mars is not an easy thing to do, one would think. and it isn't.

rarely have i found a book so engaging and involving. all this, bearing in mind the spoiler warning, when the first 100 or so pages are all effectively "space farming". the narrator created, the astronaut stuck on Mars, is truly an astonishing literary creation. it's that "OK, sure, why not try this" approach, i suppose, and the bizarre humour he exerts to try and survive in what is, if you mentioned the concept to anyone, surely an impossible situation. is what happens in the novel plausible or realistic? no idea, but it all sounds it, and doesn't leap to any massive science fiction get out clauses at all.

i am going to go right ahead and say that anyone who is reading this and loves reading books should just get this soonest and read, preferably before the Ridley Scott film of it comes out next year. not that there's anything wrong with Ridley films, far from it - just that no film at all could capture the narration here. it matters not if you don't like space or science and that, this is one of the most incredibly human books i have ever read. go get it, and enjoy.

can't really add anything to that, i guess. off to go and find something else to read, and will just have to hope it's as good as The Martian.

happy reading!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

fair / fayre

hello there

and, indeed, crikey, as those of a more Australian nature, or indeed mood, might well say. i seem to have uploaded a large amount of pictures here; wish me luck in finding stuff to write. or, if you are wise i suppose, get ready to just skip the writing and enjoy the pictures. and, look you see, video.

today it was off with us, no matter what the weather thought, to Stokesley Fair. or Fayre, if you like the rather more fancy and quite possibly proper spelling of such things. it's an annual event, or if you like happening, that i recall fondly from my youth, and indeed something that my (considerably) better half enjoyed somewhat when she went for the first time, which was as recently as 2001.

this was the first trip to this Fair (let's just stick with that spelling) for the boys, and they were very, very excited about it, especially after their friends at school had told them all about it.

yes, that's right, we took the bus. i thought it would be somewhat easier. to this extent i was partially correct to think this, as we shall see. the correctness was related, mostly, to the parking availability - and distinct lack thereof - at Stokesley. with the day today being Show day as well as Fair, it was, shall we say, busy.

no, we didn't go to the Show. sorry for that. would have been nice, but we got going a bit too late, and it was really wet. we would for the most part have been admiring mud on our foot attire.

onwards to the Fair then, and many, many rides at prices that were not as scary or as high as i had feared. not cheap, certainly, but not as super ludicrous high as i had feared. which was most handy, as William really, really like the roundabout things. in particular the ones with motorbikes to sit on.

quite smart it was, as you can hopefully see above. or, if you prefer or are just of a mind to do so, watch below. yes, indeed i did do some video too.

one of the most excellent parts of a Fair is, of course, food. this is always assured to be partially cooked, as near as damn it as being good for human consumption and at some stage warmed. but it is always, always guaranteed to taste really, really good.

for those who don't know, Stokesley Fair sees the whole of the high street - something optimistically billed as the "town centre" on signs - closed off to traffic so all sorts of rides and attractions can be set up and enjoyed by the members of the general public. the general public who pay to have a go, of course.

some of them, even in the midst of the unseasonally cold and wet weather we enjoyed today, look most impressive. no, no i did not go on this big massive ride. a bit too big and a bit too old, i suspect i am, for such things anymore.

yes, the weather really was as spectacular as it looks.

the boys were not, as it happens, too interest in those mega rides either. give it a couple of years, i would have thought, and they will be off with their mates on such things. i think in a couple of years they will believe it to be totally "not cool" to be going to the Fair with their parents. as hip and "down with the kids" as we try to be. 

the "hook a duck" thing was, of course, the sort of thing that they always like.

yes, they managed to hook some ducks. by a quirk of fate, they both managed to hook ducks that offered the lowest level of prizes in return. fancy. doesn't matter, really, they had fun getting them, and quite like the most assuredly not fire risk stuffed animal toys they got. not everyone, after all, can have the same luck at doing a hook on a duck as a certain French (rhymes with luck and duck).

other than winning prizes and roundabout things, certain other attractions caught their eyes. this was wonderful, as it assisted me greatly by lightening the load, indeed burden, of a full wallet.

one such thing was one of them "bucking bronco" type things. at least i think that's the right name.

did i take a video of the bull thing to show off how smart it was? why, of course i did. i really hope the sound comes out smart, it's an extra special bonus treat for all fans of The Blues Brothers.

it did get a little bit faster than the video shows, but not too much. ideal for the kids, then.

which, in fairness, the overwhelming majority of the rides on offer were, really. my memory was of it all being rather more for teenagers and the young adult sort of thrill-seekers, with a small section stuck aside for the kids. it seems, though, more family and child orientated now, perhaps clocking that kids are more profitable and less prone to punch ups.

moving on, then, and on to one of two - possibly three, actually - fun house things the boys went into. this one proved to be the most popular with them, as they seem to have decided that them "hamster wheel" things are the absolute best thing ever....

no, i did not take a video of that. it would surely have made me, and as a consequence you, rather dizzy, i believe. i will leave filming such things to Kubrick.

i did, however, manage to get a picture of my (considerably) better half stood outside this particular funhouse sort of thing, stood as you can see soaking up the amazing weather.

but anyway, back to the roundabouts, or "merry go round" things, if that's the name for them that you prefer. depends on where you are in relation to the equator, i suppose. William found one that he was very, very excited about going on, and far be it from us to have said no to him.

oh, yes. that is indeed an ace Batman car, or if you will Batmobile, that he found. boss, that is. as in, yeah, i was rather tempted to have a go on that one myself.

good enough to make a video of? of course it was, and indeed you should be able to spot James riding around on this too. or, if you are in a pedantic frame of mind, one that James sat on as the ride went around. but do try not to overthink these things, people, just enjoy.

blimey, i have uploaded loads and loads of pictures and videos here. oh well, it's been a while since i have done a proper family update, i suppose - mostly it's been nonsense on stuff i have bought, i guess. nice, i am sure it is, for those of you fed up of such posts to be watching other people rid me of my funds.

if you somehow failed to spot James in the above video, dear family and friends, here you go.

yes, that's right, he was on the Spiderman bike.

slides are, as i am sure you will agree, always excellent. the higher the better, and indeed the more they twist and turn the more ace they are. these elements are, of course, personified in that Beatles song that U2 did a cover of, the helter skelter. and yes, indeed i am aware of how a few Oasis releases came out on a label of the same name.

a fantastic five times he went up and down that. strangely, and perhaps somewhat at odds with the convention of the concept, he seemed to go up it faster than he came down. the truth of gravity, as some of you will be aware, is that when something falls to earth, the earth moves to meet it. i am assuming that is what happened here.

i know most of you would prefer not to see me on here, but here i am. look at who we bumped into. yes, Auntie. no, yes, that Auntie, the one with whom i share books.

so, anyway, back to rides. and quite a ride, as it were. how about a rocket? no, not the "let's make one" rubbish Branson has peddled to the rich and shameless of the world, but an actual one that exists.

quite smart, that, although i did not think to film it earlier on when it was in full motion, so to speak.

i didn't go on it myself, but the 75% of my family that you all actually like did, at my expense of course, which should make you all the more delighted. i really do feel solidarity with Al Bundy sometimes.

anyway, here are the astronauts, as it were, disembarking. no, the pram was nothing to do with us.

a big feature of Stokesley Fair, and a main point of attraction for quite a few, is the presence of fortune tellers.

it would be very easy, dear reader, to post some sort of mocking, perhaps scornful, sort of joke comment here. alas no, not from me. you go right ahead and make your own up. for me it's kind of live and let live, man, believe what you want to believe, if it gets you through life.

at one point someone did decide that they were all of a sudden a fortune teller and had a go at mine. i will have two great loves, live to my 80s, and die in a foreign land. any of that true? i do not know yet. will try and mention as and when i do, i suppose.

anyway, back to the rides and, indeed, back to roundabouts. except this one was not a roundabout as such. although it did go around. it was a sort of a track thing. a big, massive Scalextric track, if you like, or whatever the name is for it. like the one Colin Grigson got for Den Dennis for Christmas the one year.

with some considerable good fortune and favour, we actually got some considerable money value off of this ride.

how is it we extracted value? well, some fella decided to try and fix the electrics and that on it whilst it was going round, and gestured to the chap that he should not stop the ride whilst he was under the ride fiddling with the electrics.

yes, actually. yes we did indeed have some slight concerns about some fella messing with the electrics on the ride whilst the boys were on it, in particular as it was wet and was indeed raining. water and electricity, to my understanding, are not the best of friends.

but then again there was no way to stop it, we were reasonably sure the chap fiddling with the electrics knew what he was doing, or at the least did not seem of a mind to fry himself, so we just stood back and watched as they enjoyed going around and around for a fair whack of time. nice one.

there was, you will be pleased to hear, a ghost train on offer at the Fair. the boys, alas, had no wish to go on it, so we didn't. but i did, for the pleasure of my (considerably) better half, take a picture of the class Dracula statue thing they had on it.

a most smart one, hopefully you will agree. aided in appearance, i would like to think, by the purple haze shading my blueberry case now, for the most part, brings to the images i take.

slides? slide. a mega, inflatable slide, no less. behold.

there was nothing at all wrong with the slides available when i were but a lad, but i do not recall any of them as being as awesome or as mega as this one. a real beauty, it is. looks boss, it does, being able to jump in a sort of "freefall" thing off of the top and land in almost relative safety.

another video to show off just how smart that slide is? i am sure that's a good idea, since i seem to have taken two videos of it, here you go.

and then, that was about it, really. a walk back with a somewhat substantially lighter, but not entirely empty, wallet, but lots of happy faces and fun experiences. can't beat that.

off we went, then, for what should have worked out as a reasonably short and pleasant wait for the bus back home.

except it wasn't a short wait. the bus we, and a dozen or so other people, were waiting for, decided not to come along. someone who had been informed to get off of the bus we were waiting for advised us that the bus driver had taken a wrong turn, and would not be coming our way. oh. that's nice.

almost as nice of them, really, as the cost they charged us to travel to Stokesley and back. yes, the prices on there are correct, and represent what they consider to be fair and reasonable prices for what is, according to the signs, a six mile round trip, as in three there, three back.

trying not to moan and whine here. and yeah, the bus was a better idea than the car. it would have been even better, of course, if the bus company had stuck to the route and timetable it made available. hey ho.

you would have thought, what with Stokesley Show and Fair being rather popular, that they might have put more buses on, not actually and technically lessen the amount running. but hey, what do i know about running a business. for all i know, bus companies make more money by having less passengers. it does not make any sense at all to me, that, and probably does not to you either, but then again we don't own bus companies. or maybe you, dear reader, do actually own one and are for some reason on here looking for tips. none to give, alas.

and that would be that. i am, as you might guess, knackered. we all are. i think i shall presently retire for the evening, and no doubt dream of handing over coins for rides.

hope you all had a most splendid weekend!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Che watch

hello there

i was going through some drawers, not that we have all that many, looking for an item. i found it, so end of blog post i guess.

no, not really. sorry, that was my attempt at a sort of post-modernist, Soviet approved joke. if it did not work i think you have an idea as to why 80s comedy cinema was dominated by Police Academy rather than, say, Gulag Patrol

i found something else as i was looking for the item i found, hence the post here. pictures? pictures.

behold, at a rather bad angle and with the flash on making it a sort of shadow thing, my Che Guevara watch. with, yes, experts, a different strap from what it was issued with - the original snapped some time ago.

my sister got this for me on one of her travels. travels where? i really think it was from somewhere in mainland Europe, which would make sense since it is a Swatch thing. but also she could, and this would add a touch of irony if we accept the common use rather than actual definition of irony, have got it for me in America.

it doesn't really matter i suppose, what was important is that she got it for me. it was always a very thoughtful gift, extremely kind and one i was, am, and always will be delighted with and shall treasure. that would be why, then, the watch travelled with us when we moved home, rather than letting it face down waves, sharks and Somali pirates by going into storage. absolutely no way would i have allowed this to travel around the world out of my possession.

do you want one of them "oh, i was a student of and had an interest in Che Guevara long before they put him on t-shirts and everyone had images of him everywhere" speeches? then go somewhere else. yeah, the above is true in my case, but so what? i think it's fantastic that his image is shared so far and has come to represent certain ideals. even if, as a student, i know that the realities of the man don't quite add up to the idealist images many have. if so much as 1% of the people exposed to images of him used in popular / advertising ways go ahead and read up on him, then that's brilliant.

i am thinking of wearing, or if you like, using, look you see, the watch. i have two issues, though. hard to say which is the most pressing, so you decide. firstly, it features a flat battery. well, that's not true, for all watch batteries are flat in shape and structure. i mean, of course, a battery that has exhausted its use as a source of power. in that it has expired, it has ceased to be, fjords, etc. i thought installing a new battery would be very easy indeed, since i recently had reason to buy a packet of no less than 28 watch styled batteries. none of them, alas, are of the same size i need to go into the Che watch.

it is, in many respects, fair to say that here we have an example of yet another area where Apple has, in their incredibly innovative and original way, borrowed an idea from someone else. Swatch, it seems, pioneered the idea of developing a battery that only they make, and that the only use for is with their product. it is amazing that Apple came up with the identical approach for cables for all their stuff, is it not?

further to that, the strap is a bit too short for me. i think the original one on it was too, hence it snapping. Swatch, look you see, seem only interested in making a product that suits people who are thin of wrist.

i would imagine there is some sort of watch mender or specialist in or around town that can assist with both of these issues. i shall investigate and see if we can't get this ticking.

why, though, would i wear a watch? i mean, i am not really all that much of a lover of jewellery at the best of times. also, one cannot move for sources of time these days - computer screens, phones, radio broadcasts and what have you. a watch seems to have become something of an old fashioned thing.

well, other than the fact that, as you can see all the more better here, it looks pretty damned cool, my sister got it for me. it happens to mean quite a lot to me, and thus i am in something of a mind to start wearing it again. i will see what sort of fee structure the people around town propose to get it all up, running and fitting, then. i would expect not all that much, surely. no doubt Swatch are as reasonable, sensible and consumer friendly as Apple are with their pricing for the consumers they value so much?

anyway, off to see how i fair in the day today.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!