Monday, October 24, 2005

The Slideshow Test

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Tunnel Rats

Spent the weekend in London which I found to be very enjoyable apart from the travelling. Travelling from Leicester to Kings Cross is a breeze, an hour and fifteen minutes on a fast train with free tea and coffee or reasonably priced cans of Stella if you wish. The fact that the ticket itself costs nearly forty quid can even be forgotten when the journey is as hassle free as this one. It is on arrival in London that things can, and normally do, go tits up.

I had been warned in advance that the first tube I would normally get on, a southbound Northern Line train from Kings Cross to Bank, would not be running. Apparently a few trains on the Northern Line had randomly driven through red signals earlier in the week and the drivers had walked out, refusing to drive them again until proper safety checks had been carried out. The London Transport explanation was of course "a problem with the signalling system" - just a small understatement there then!!

Always wanting to be on the safe side when travelling in London I then proceeded to check with a member of staff that it was possible to travel from Kings Cross to Bank via the Circle Line. The sensible answer to this question, I later discovered, would have been "No, but you can catch it to Monument and then it's a two minute walk through the station. Instead however I was told "No this isn't possible" and the trained monkey then proceeded to rattle off two alternative routes, the second of which I just managed to make out.

Being sent on a route that is going to take 10-15 minutes extra would not necessarily be a big deal if the tube was a nice way to travel but in fact it is a hot, stinking, filthy and ancient collection of crusty grey tunnels and even crustier, greyer rat like people who ride the thing on a daily basis in an attempt to get to and from work faster than walking. The smell of some people riding the tube can make you want to vomit immediately, especially if you are crammed in a corner with a fat guy exposing his sweaty armpit directly in front of your face as he holds on for dear life.

It took me as long to get from Kings Cross to the Isle of Dogs as it did to get from Leicester to Kings Cross and I had probably travelled less than 5% of the distance. At least the last part of the journey was on the DLR which is, at the moment, cleaner and therefore slightly less offensive. Journeys later in the weekend were just as bad. Over an hour and a half to get to the dog track in Walthamstow from the Isle of Dogs, and another hour and a half journey from the Isle of Dogs back to Kings Cross when I returned to Leicester.

It would be alright for the residents of London if there were a better way to travel but unfortunately the entire public transport system is pretty diabolical. I had to catch a bus on Sunday morning, which at the time of suggestion seemed like a great idea. "Get the bus not the tube" Dave said. "It's quicker and it goes from the end of the road". Within ten seconds of getting on I was regretting my decision as apart from there being no seats, it was extremely hot, and I couldn't see out of a window making it almost impossible to tell whether I was getting close to my destination. Finally escaped the bus at Liverpool Street and caught the tube, again, for half an hour back to the Isle of Dogs feeling hot and sweaty and with my nose full of some disgusting black crap that seems to accumulate the longer you spend on the tube.

So, you might have guessed that my overall opinion of London transport is not a particularly good one, it is just a relief to me that I don't have to use it very often!!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Holiday

77 days to go [EDIT] Now that I'm sober, it actually appears to be 81 days until my holiday. God damn it!!

The Bare Faced Cheek

Back again. I've been struggling to come up with good topics to cover in my blog recently, as I have said before, it's pretty tough to write random b*llox on a daily basis.

I'm a little hot headed (to say the least), and my friends would probably all confirm that I can be known to rant on occasion. Therefore it seems to be easier for me to write stuff when I have been annoyed by something, hence I am back. The BBC site is really winding me up today!!

An article titled "EU commissioner slams holidays" in the Business section talks about a leading EU Commissioner and her proposals to try and improve the European economy during the summer. The article says

The European Commission has been trying to get countries to cut back red tape and consider reducing worker and social benefits, so as to compete better with emerging overseas economies such as China - a goal shared by Britain who holds the EU Presidency until January."

Basically, they are trying to stop people from taking so much time off in the summer months and force economies to stagger the times at which they allow a lot of workers to take time off. My thoughts....bullshit. What a load of crap.

We get f*ck all time off as it is, and if I want to take my time off in August and go to Spain when it's f*cking hot...then I f*cking will!!! I don't care what some stuck up EU Commissioner sitting on a £100,000 a year salary thinks, the people of this country deserve the right to have a break from work when they see fit. No company allows their entire workforce off at the same time anyway, apart from Nokia (I think), and that's enough restriction for me!

The article ends with a great statistic that sums up exactly how bullshit the argument is

Members of the House of Commons took no less than 80 days (holiday) this summer."

The New World Order

As George "The Chimp" Bush continues his quest for world domination and bonus share profits for himself and his Daddy's friends, another three countries seem to have had their names dragged into the whole mess - presumably because the people that live there aren't majority white.

Excerpt from BBC News

"Mr Bush says the insurgency in Iraq is part of a much wider strategy by al-Qaeda and other Islamic militants to end US influence in the Middle East and use the subsequent vacuum to try to topple governments.

Mr Bush identified Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan as countries where the militants believed they could eventually seize control."

OK, so I'm not saying that Egypt, Jordan or Pakistan have outstanding records of human rights, or that there might not be some "insurgents" or "Terror Cells", but how much of the world is The Chimp actually going to leave alone. On the same day that our good friend Cock Cheney has said that we "must be prepared to fight the war on terror for decades", Bush is bringing more countries into the firing line. Iran is certainly next on the US Shit List with North Korea probably running a close second - is it straight onto Egypt after that??? Or maybe they'll do over Vietnam once more for a laugh, or f*ck up the French for eating snails or something.

I'd be f*cking ashamed if I'd voted Bush....on either occasion!

The Darkness

Woke up to a very grey Leicester this morning. The temperature has definitely dropped a few degrees over the last couple of days and it is starting to look like the Autumn in settling in. We are currently losing four to five minutes of daylight per day - how crazy is that!

My housemate 'The Hosk' has jetted off to Madrid today...lucky bastard. It's 25°C and blazing sunshine there.

That's it, was just bored really and thought it would be very British of me to discuss the weather.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Drink

Word in the medical world these days is that stomach ulcers are not caused by stress but in fact by a strain of bacteria. Good news for us all I'm sure you'll agree, the last thing stressed people need is another medical condition to hang over their heads. C'mon, these people have the potential of high blood pressure heart attacks to contend with, give them a break. The two guys who discovered this news about ulcers have recently won the Nobel Prize...Well done them!!

I personally feel that drinking (alcohol that is) is something that is pushed along by the lifestyle that you lead. I'm not trying to justify the amount I drink or say that my job is the sole reason that I have a tipple, but it is certainly a contributing factor. The majority of full time workers know that having a quick pint or two is a fantastic way to unwind from the day and help you settle into a nice relaxed mood for the evening.

So, stress doesn't cause stomach ulcers, drinking does though - but hang on a minute...stress causes drinking...which means, pretty directly linked, stress can cause stomach ulcers.

F*cking Nobel Prize winners, think they know it all but they never cover all the angles!!

Nobel Prize Winners - Smug Tw*ts

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Hangover

Had a pretty horrific hangover yesterday. I went out with some work colleagues on Friday night before meeting with the lads from football and going hell for leather on the alcohol. Drinks consumed on Friday night include lager (several varieties), vodka, sambuca, Makers' Mark, Jack Daniels, and a bottle of wine on the way home - just for the craic! A recipe for vomit, unfortunately not, instead I woke up pissed on Saturday and not exactly in prime condition for my first golf competition - the legendary Elm Drive Open.

Packed into a car by 10am and onto the M1 I have to admit I was stuggling to keep it together and not relishing several miles of walking and hitting a little white ball into bushes. A can of Stella on arrival at Dave's parents gaff got a little colour back in the cheeks though, and despite still feeling a bit wobbly I walked onto the first tee and proudly hit a 5 iron about 75 yards into the rough.

The Elm Drive Open was first held twelve years ago and been a high point of the Silsoe social calendar ever since. With a range of skill levels on display the competition is decided on Stableford points allowing even the aspiring amateur like myself to have a vague chance of winning. My playing partners for the day were my home boys Dave 'The Terrier' Smith - a ruthless golfer who never lets his head drop. Tom 'Shotgun' Hoskin - a master with the Warthog 3 Wood but normally held back by some reckless putting, and Tim 'The Hustler' Lawrence - yet to display the talent that hides behind the perfectly formed swing.

Play was a little slow over the first few holes as we tried to find our feet on the extremely long course. Three holes in and the prospect of four more par fives was daunting to say the least. I managed to get into my stride with a few good drives and picked up 11 points around the front nine. The others were also getting into their stride by now with Dave nailing a drive which unfortunately hit a telephone wire crossing the fairway and both Tim and Tom showing some flair chipping around the greens.

By the 16th hole my head was pounding and I'd had enough of golf for the day. However, we trekked on in the increasingly frequent showers and finished the round feeling alright about ourselves and confident that we hadn't completely embarrassed outselves.

Post match analysis of the scores showed myself to be victorious with Dave 2nd, Tom 3rd and Tim bringing up the rear. A cracking day was had by all though, and once the buffet and beer came out at the pub any bad shots and disappointment were quickly forgotten.