Friday, 17 December 2010

Fantastic Website!

Just been sent a link to this:

We love the Iraqi Information Minister

Anyone remember him - He was responsible for some classic quotes:




"There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!"
"My feelings - as usual - we will slaughter them all"
"Our initial assessment is that they will all die"
"I blame Al-Jazeera - they are marketing for the Americans!"
"God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis."
"They're coming to surrender or be burned in their tanks."
"No I am not scared, and neither should you be!"
"Be assured. Baghdad is safe, protected"



Thursday, 9 December 2010

Interesting Advertising

It seems that the Poison Dwarf has suggested an advert for Hublot watches using his battered face..



The tag-line from the advert is:
"See what people will do for a Hublot"

I think it should read:

"Wear a Hublot and you'll get mugged for it"

Still, nice to see Bernie doing what he does best - Cashing in!

I did like the last quote from the advert:

"Hublot condemns all forms of violence and racism.."

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Especially for Matt Blick

This is amazing!


Movember Before and after

If anyone wants a laugh - Here you go.

I look like Ned Flanders with a tache!



Go on.. Laugh! :D

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

How google maps really works!


This is genius!

One of these things is not like the other one!


.... By things; I mean people.

Gillian McKeith - born Sept 1959 vs Nigella Lawson - Born Jan 1960



This makes Nigella 4 months younger than Gillian..

I have chosen publicity shots of each of them from this year as a suitable comparison. Publicity shots as I wanted them to have spent time in make-up so they'd both be on an even footing.

Here is the comparison - Answers below on who looks the oldest!

As a bonus - Here is Gillian McKeith with her super-healthy Vegan (yeah.. right!!!) diet fainting in the jungle at the thought of a 'bush-tucker trial'



Totally faked! - Like her doctorate!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Philistines!

Why is it that when you make a coffee at work, in the kitchen, using freshly ground coffee; people look at you like you've just spat in their mother's eye?



They then say something like "Oh - Posh coffee!"

Friday, 19 November 2010

Movember update

Here is the pathetic facial hair that has decided to sprout from my upper lip!

It looks ridiculous!


Roll on December 1st!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Richard Branson is a bit of a legend!

At the beginning of the F1 season, Branson had a bet with Tony Fernandes.

Whichever team lost in the F1; the loser would serve as a stewardess on the winner's airline.

Well - The season is over and Virgin finished behind the Lotus team. Branson now has to don a stewardess uniform and serve for a flight on Air Asia!



Quote from Tony Fernandes

"There has been a fantastic spirit of competition between us and Virgin Racing all season and one of the first people to come and congratulate us on the pitwall was Richard. We have had this great bet running all season and now it's time for Richard to start preparing himself for some hard work and the likely pain of a pair of high heels! We agreed last night that we will run an online charity auction for the seats on our Kuala Lumpur / London route to raise money for a charity of Richard's choice and give fans of both teams the chance to be on the flight. The date of the flight will be announced very soon and the aim is to raise as much money as we can for a good cause so the discomfort Richard will go through is worth as much as it possibly can be!"

Looks like it could be a good laugh!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Friday, 5 November 2010

My rubbish 'Movember' moustache!

I seem to be blessed with the total inability to grow proper facial hair. Some blokes forget to shave for a day and they seem to turn into Brian Blessed!

If I, on the other hand, forget to shave for 2 weeks people only just start to notice!

Anyway as you may or may not know, November has been renamed to Movember to raise awareness and money for Prostate cancer

From the website:

"The Mo, slang for moustache, and November come together each year for Movember.  
Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st  clean shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month.  The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men.  Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days. "

So without further ado; here's my offering.



Yes - it looks ridiculous
Yes; I did cheat slightly as that is over a week's growth!

(please ignore the bloodshot eye!)

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Well at least it's true to life!

I was browsing the internet today and found this!



At least it speaks the truth!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Natural Exercise

I have taken to walking again as I am now pretty close to my desired weight.



I'm hoping to average at 15 miles per week at a speed of between 3.5 to 4.5 mph.

I managed to do 4.6 miles on Monday and 6.5 miles yesterday and I feel great for doing it.

Happy days!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Opening myself up to ridicule.

Did something retarded today!

I rebooted my PC at work and as it came back on, it started beeping quickly.

I was convinced that something had broken so I started a Dell Diagnostic Test (1 hours worth!)










Turns out I'd wedged the keyboard under a bowl on my desk and it was holding the Escape key down nicely for me thus creating the beeping..

How embarrassing!




Saturday, 30 October 2010

Edinburgh Diaries Day 4


We had intended to go swimming this morning on the camp-site but Holly didn't put in an appearance until 0915 hrs - At home she is usually up by 0700 hrs. All the walking around is knackering her out!



Anna's sister text me the directions to drive to her house this morning - It looked complicated but when we got going at 1100 hrs. it was a doddle! It only took 30 minutes instead of over an hour by bus! I've got to hand it to the bus company in Edinburgh (Lothian) they are brilliant. Frequent, punctual and cheap! £1.20 to do a 20 mile journey is not to be sniffed at. The £3.00 all day ticket (unlimited travel) is also fantastic value!

After leaving Anna's sister's house, we went into the town centre and had lunch - Jacket potato with cous-cous for me (no butter) so that should have been Harcombe-friendly! After that, the family decided to go to 'Chocolate Soup'.. I declined and went back to Princes Street, to the Starbucks I was in yesterday, to type up this diary. 

I think I have finally got used to the bed in the caravan now as I slept like a log!

It feels weird that I'm going back home tomorrow and I will miss being here to be honest. I came here not expecting to enjoy it at all and as far as I am concerned; a city is still a city and I'm a rural boy at heart, If you like gothic architecture you'd love Edinburgh. The people are incredibly friendly and very helpful and the weather has been pretty good - I haven't got drenched yet and I have only needed a light jacket on top of a t-shirt! We have done something good each day and have had a good time as a family!

I'm now on my second 6-shot Americano! - It is delicious! I think Anna and the kids are coming over here soon to get a coffee and then we are going to get some tea at a restaurant somewhere in the city - I really want to have haggis but I don't think it is Harcombe friendly.... I may have to have some anyway and not worry about it.

2000 hrs.
Just got back from a lovely pub / restaurant right at the end of Princes street. I had haggis with neeps; they swapped the tatties for a side-salad which was nice of them. I had forgotten how delicious haggis was!

Anyway - got to get the kids in bed as we have to get up early to pack up and go.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Edinburgh Diaries Day 3


A lazy day for me today! The kids have gone to the zoo and I'm currently sitting in Starbucks typing up my Edinburgh diaries. I've just had another 6-shot Decaf Americano - With the Starbucks card; you get the 2 extra shots free - I think I'm in heaven!


I actually managed to get a better night's sleep last night - Despite the fact that the mattress was really uncomfortable (I think I may have mentioned this in another entry... But I feel it needs saying again!) and woke up feeling refreshed, ready for the incredibly dull hour-long bus journey into Edinburgh. 


I need to go to a supermarket later on so I think I'll get the bus back to the camp-site and then drive out the supermarket.


1530 hrs.
Just got back from the supermarket! - I can't believe I had forgotten to buy eggs - Of all things to forget - it had to be the thing I eat most of! - Off to the camp-site shop to get them!


1830 hrs.
Just had a phone-call from Anna to say that her mum and sister are coming back to the caravan for tea.. This should be interesting as there is only two relatively small saucepans and a frying pan.


I'll have cheese and roast pork loin - They can all have a pasta dish. Onions, peppers tinned tomatoes, herbs and cheese all cooked in the frying pan.


Incidentally, I managed to snap the large knife that they provide in the caravan.. How the heck do you cut a Spanish onion with a tiny knife with a 2 inch blade?


I must be a miracle-worker because apparently the pasta was delicious!


Righto - Off to bed; Laterz!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Edinburgh Diaries Day 2


After practically zero hours sleep due to the mattress being lumpier than badly-made bechemel sauce and me ending up on the couch; the kids woke me up at 0530 hrs. They were swiftly dealt with and put back to bed! They were brilliant and slept in till 0730 which allowed me to turn on the heater and combat the arctic temperatures that seem to be prevalent here.


Making breakfast was an interesting matter. The grill barely got hot enough to cook the bacon and the fried eggs went rather hard due to what seemed like an ice-age in the pan! (do you see what I did there!) Breakfast was finally choked down at 0830 and another coffee (decaf) was had.


We are planning to go into Edinburgh today and see some of the sights. Apparently there is an excellent bus service that runs right from the camp-site to the centre of town; it is pretty cheap too!


2131 hrs - Just finished washing the puke out of my jeans and t-shirt! - We went for a carvery near to the zoo that Anna's sister works at and Reuben managed to choke on half a piece of carrot! Happy days - we were only an hour and a half's bus journey from the camp-site...


Before this we had an excellent day! Anna's sister, through her work, had managed to procure some passes to get us into Edinburgh's finest attractions... free... We made the most of it and went first to the Camera Obscura which was brilliant - Very interesting indeed. After that we stopped in the middle of the city to eat our packed lunch and I got a 6-shot decaf americano from Starbucks. Very nice indeed! After that we walked down the Royal Mile and ended up outside the Scottish Parliament building. What a monstrosity! It is so out of keeping with the rest of the city, which is beautiful!


Next on the itinerary was the Dynamic Earth centre. I was convinced it was going to be a liberal-lefty, tree-hugging, Guardian-reading, sandal-wearing, quiche-eater's paradise.. I was pleasantly surprised! It was a fantastic, interactive look at the earth from big bang to modern man and beyond (astronomy etc.) We spent a good 2 hours in there and Reuben even sat still, transfixed by the astronomy film - well it was in a big dome with the screen going all round the ceiling and walls! Before that there was a 3-D film where we flew all over the world to different 'Biomes' which was very well done. Reuben slept through it but Holly was fascinated!


Tomorrow, Anna and the kids are going to the Zoo and I'm going in to Edinburgh and planting myself in Starbucks and taking full advantage of their free wifi connections. (Which will be the first time you get to hear any of this!)


Peace out.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Edinburgh Diaries Day 1


Well we arrived at the camp-site in one piece - physically, mentally was a totally different matter! Despite the kids being really well behaved in the car; my nerves were still shot to pieces! It may have had something to do with the kids' CD that they insisted on listening to to.

The camp-site is just row after row of identical static caravans - All pretty bland and characterless. I haven't had the chance to look around the site as yet. All I know is that there is a Spar shop and a chippy on the site as well as an 'entertainment area' that thankfully we are well away from.

I think there may be an event going on as there seems to be a great deal of people walking round with identical tracksuits on. I'm hoping it is not the 3rd annual highland band-camp reunion...

Driving up past Geordie-land we passed the Angel of the North - I honestly thought it'd be bigger than it was! Most unimpressive!

We are currently unpacking (well Anna is anyway - I'm typing this drivel!) and awaiting a phone-call announcing the arrival of Anna's mum and sister. When they arrive, we are going to meet them and walk over to the chippy. Anna and the kids will have chips etc. I'm going to have roast pork loin and some cheese.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Mad dogs and Englishmen

2 days and counting! - Till we make the arduous journey north and brave crossing the border into 'bonnie' Scotland!



We are visiting Anna's sister who works in the Chimp enclosure at Edinburgh zoo and we are staying in a caravan... In Scotland... In October... I am starting to think we are mad!

I have read nowhere on the literature, that came with the booking, that there is wireless access on the campsite (Seton Sands). This could be a long 5 days..

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Fun at a health benefits fair

At work today I visited the Staff Health and Benefits fair..

Not a big deal.. However,

The New Leaf (Stop Smoking Service) had left their stall unmanned!

This gave me the perfect chance to leave a lovely little note on it..



I am so childish!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Dairy-free Veggie Lasagne

This is a twist on an old favourite. I wanted to create a lasagne that could be eaten by people with a dairy intolerance.

Here it is:


Ingredients:
1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
1 thingy of passata. (500g)
1 courgette
2 medium carrots
1 onion
1 leek
1 pack quorn mince
a load of oregano (or Italian seasoning or basil)
Salt and pepper
half a tube of tomato puree
a dash of tabasco
some lasagne sheets (whole wheat)
3 garlic cloves - pummelled in a mortar and pestle

Method:
Chop the leeks into rings (5mm thick)
chop the carrots, onion and courgette into 5mm cubes
Fry off the veggies in a wok with a little olive oil until
Add the garlic, herbs and chopped tomatoes
Season to taste
Add the quorn and a little water if necessary
Simmer for about 10 mins until reduced and the sauce is thickened (not too thick - You will want the liquid to help cook the lasagne sheets.
Whilst this is simmering, put the passata in a saucepan and add the tabasco and some pepper
Heat until boiling and then remove from the heat.
Build the lasagne in a lasagne dish and bake in the oven 200℃ for for 40 minutes (or until the lasagne is cooked)

Monday, 18 October 2010

One happy bunny!

My car passed its MOT Test today!


(not my car...)

SO this means that at that moment in time; a mechanic decided that my car was roadworthy. Everything could fall off it tomorrow but it would still have and MOT certificate.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

That dreadful time of year...

Yup - The car's MOT Test is due.. As the car is now 7 years old I do feel a little nervous about it, especially as I know there are a couple of things that need to be sorted out.




  • New rear tyres (they were swapped from the fronts last time it needed tires) the problem with heavy diesels is that they all seem to eat front tires - My driving style (If you can call it that) cannot be solely responsible!
  • Reverse light is intermittent. Quite why Mr Ford put the reverse light in such a stupid place is beyond me! It is right behind the wheel where rain and dirt get kicked up all over the place - I'm sure the holder has corroded beyond repair!
In fairness, the car has been brilliant - It is smooth, for a diesel, which to imitate Clarkson, is like saying "he is polite for a psychopathic serial killer!" The only thing that has gone wrong with it, in the 7 years I have owned it has been the fuel computer broke which was a known fault - The 'range to empty' would show as blank every so often. Oh and there is a bit of rust on the inside of the rear, nearside door - a weak seam-weld..!

Anyway, I'll post tomorrow with either a happy face or a sad face!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

My Passive Aggressive Daughter

Last night Holly was dithering when she should have been getting ready for bed. I decided that I would listen to her read but I wasn't going to read her a story.. She got a little upset about this and after I had said prayers with her and tucked her up in bed; she got her whiteboard and did this:



I was totally pee'ing myself laughing when I read it! She is a legend!

I'm particularly loving the disgruntled face she has drawn.


Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Friday, 8 October 2010

Working in Mordor

Sometimes I think I am working in Mordor!

This is the view from the window of the Techie's workshop..


Granted - Nottingham is foggy all over today but there have been numerous times when I can leave the house in pleasant sunshine and by the time I get to junction 28 of the M1 the weather darkens and the fog closes in.

Then you read your emails and your mood darkens with the weather...

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Soup Recipe

Ingredients
  •      Parsnip
  •      Swede
  •      Leeks
  •      onions
  •      Courgette
  •      Peppers
  •      Tin of chopped Tomatoes
  •      Red lentils
  •      Pearl barley
Method

Put all the ingredients in a pressure cooker with some salt and pepper and some (can't remember how much exactly) stock made from a Kallo Organic stock cube.

Bring the pressure cooker up to pressure and continue to simmer it, maintaining pressure, for 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat and leave it long enough for the pressure to reduce and allow the pan to be opened.

To make the dumplings, take some wholemeal flour and add some bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add some water and mix until a dough is formed Cut up into small dumpling sizes (2 inches in diameter) Then put them into the soup and turn the heat on again and gently boil them for 7-10 minutes.

Delicious!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Electrical Safety Fail

I thought that I was being a wee bit irresponsible trimming the hedge in the rain..

These guys take it to another level!!


Looks like a Darwin award in progress!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Attention coffee lovers!

I have just bought one of these.




It is called the Aero-Press and I can honestly say that it makes the best coffee I have tasted outside of Italy!



I'll admit, I was sceptical when my friend, Richard, bought one but then I used it and first had an espresso - It totally blew me away. So smooth and strong.

Play.com are selling them for £17.99.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Logitech FTW!

My Logitech mouse of almost 3 years has just died... The left mouse button has started intermittently failing. I was about to bin it thinking that it owed me nothing and has probably got as many mouse-miles on the clock as my (t)rusty Focus.



However, I thought I'd give Logitech a ring. I got through to a friendly, knowledgeable chap called Michal who, after taking a few details and asking me a few questions about the problem, confirmed that the mouse was likely to be kaput!

He apologised that the model I had was no longer made and offered me a new Performance Mouse MX (£90).

Bearing in mind that I only paid about £30 for the previous mouse I thought that Logitech had gone above and beyond the call of duty. They are not stupid and know that by impressing me, I will most likely tell my friends what a good company they are - and they are correct. I am telling anyone who will listen that Logitech are fantastic. I have always loved their webcams and mice but until now had never had need to test their customer service. I have to say I am very impressed with them.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Before and after..

I've just dug out a photo of me from last year before I started my diet. I thought I'd compare it to how I look now 9 months on.

I am quite pleased with the difference - Still some way to go but a definite improvement.






Thursday, 23 September 2010

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The memory game

My 6 year-old daughter is awesome!



Every so often we play the memory game - it consists of 72 tiles with pictures on. You shuffle the tiles round and arrange them in a grid and then you take turns to turn two tiles over to find a pair. Sounds easy huh?

She absolutely batters me at it every time...

The first time I played her I thought "I'll let her win a couple - keep her confidence up" - I didn't get the chance... When I realized that she was actually quite good at it and was beating me quite comprehensively I  started to up my game but to no avail - The look on her face was priceless, she was beaming. Then her face dropped and she said "Daddy - did you let me win?" I answered her honestly by saying; "at first I thought I'd let you win but when you started beating me; I really tried to win!" Her smile returned and all was good.

I am naturally a competitive person who enjoys winning, even to the point of refusing to play games I know I'm going to lose. However, the look on my daughter's face when she beats me is a beautiful sight to behold and I love it!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Hedge-trimming in the rain

After looking at the weather forecast today and deciding that it wasn't going to rain; I dusted off the trusty (or should that be rusty) hedge trimmers and got stuck into the conifers on the front.



I must have got 3/4 of the way through when the rain came. I was going to say it came from nowhere but I know for a fact Richard will tell me it came from the sky after condensing in clouds, but before that it evaporated from the planet's surface... etc. etc

Anyway, enough rambling. This left me with a decision to make.. Do I:

a) Carry on regardless. Just like the beautiful south in Good as Gold
b) Do the sensible thing and wait.

Guess which one I did.. Yup! That's right. I chose 'a'.. Good as gold and stupid as mud!

I think God must like me as I survived to write this blog post!

Monday, 13 September 2010

What have all these companies got in common?


Bernard Matthews plc

British Sugar plc*

Cadbury*

Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland

Dairy Crest Limited

Danone Waters and Dairies UK Ltd*

GlaxoSmithKline

HJ Heinz Ltd

Kellogg Company of Great Britain Limited

Kraft Foods UK Ltd*

Mars UK Ltd

McCain Foods Ltd

McDonald's Restaurants Ltd

McNeil Consumer Nutritionals (Splenda and BeneCol)

Müller Dairy

National Starch

Nestlé UK Ltd*

PepsiCo UK Ltd

PizzaExpress

Procter and Gamble Limited

Tate & Lyle Sugars*

Unilever plc*

United Biscuits (UK) Limited

Weetabix Limited*


Well, they all manufacture processed food - That much is obvious.
They all use excessive amounts of sugar in their products.


And.....

They are all members of the British Nutrition Foundation...

How can a body that gives diet advice be in bed with so many companies that are responsible for bringing frankly crap food to the public?

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Look at what I've found in Morrisons

Grrrrrrrrr! - There is just under a third of a year left!

Click Pic to embiggen!

Dreaming of dreams



I had the strangest dream last night - Someone was asking me about a football match between Notts County and Aston Villa - Not too strange so far...

The match in question that I had perfect recall on, was a fictional match that occurred in a dream about three months ago.

The match was supposed to take place at Villa Park but it couldn't because Villa Park had been trashed. Instead, the match took place at a location that looked, to all intents and purposes, like Trent Bridge Cricket Ground...

I wonder what it all means.?

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Morning After The Day You Saved The World - By Matt Blick

I while ago I posted that one of my favourite songwriters - Matt Blick was about to release one of his new songs.

Well here it is!

I love it and I hope you do too - The lyrics are amazingly deep.

When you have listened to this - be sure to check out his free downloads section - There is some fantastic stuff in there!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Jedi Comeback!

This is brilliant!

Click on image to embiggen!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Mat cannot live on salad alone!



Even if it has got home-made coleslaw in it and a generous handful of olives.

I had this for lunch today at around 1200 hrs (3 and a quarter hours ago) by stomach is now growling at me and feeling rather empty!

I have decided to never do this again- I need something more substantial preferably something made of dead animal.

Still - Lesson learnt!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Generic Statins not as effective.... says study funded by Pfizer

Those switched from Lipitor, known as atorvastatin, to a generic simvastatin would see their levels of dangerous “bad” cholesterol rise by between five and six per cent.



Branded drugs can be made only by the company that holds the patent and Pfizer makes Lipitor. After the patent has expired, the drug becomes “generic” and can be made by any manufacturer, meaning the price drops substantially. About eight in every 10 drugs prescribed by GPs in England are generics and statins, in particular, have been targeted by policy-makers to reduce costs.

Prof Liew studied data from almost 40,000 patients in Holland who were switched from Lipitor to simvastatin in the first three months of 2009. One third of patients ended up with a lower equivalent dose of simvastatin. The study was funded by Pfizer.

There's a surprise!


Sunday, 29 August 2010

Sibling Rivalry

How on earth do you stop your 6 year old and 3 year old from fighting?


My two have been at it like cat and dog all day! - Normally they have the odd spat but today was like Armageddon! The boy has been disciplined more times than I care to count and the girl has been so whiny that we had to send her to bed for an hour.

It is times like this that you really start to doubt that you are cut out for the job.

Hey ho - Tomorrow is another day and we are going on a picnic with my best man and his family - Should be a blast!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Thursday, 19 August 2010

I'm Knackered..

Just got back from a walk - Only a short one but one way was pure downhill.. 



Reuben managed the downhill part admirably but the uphill part - Not a chance. Normally he hates shoulder rides; in this case, however, he made an exception!

I have lost 4lbs more than he weighs and I can't believe I managed to carry all that around with me! It is no wonder I used to get out of breath going up hills! - That and I was a lazy, unfit bugger! :)

A market for lemons

A recent report by Professor Donald Light has accused the "Big Pharma" of being
little more than a "market for lemons" that dupes doctors and patients about the effectiveness of its product


He made a series of controversial allegations against so-called "Big Pharma" in his report, "Pharmaceuticals: A Two-Tier Market for Producing 'Lemons' and Serious Harm", in which he accused pharmaceutical companies of downplaying the side effects of drugs while over-promoting their benefits.

The industry enjoys the safety of the specialist knowledge that goes into producing drugs and exploits it to its advantage, making it simply a "market for lemons", he said.

Prof Light, a professor of comparative health policy at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey, said: "Sometimes drug companies hide or downplay information about serious side effects of new drugs and overstate the drugs' benefits.

"Then, they spend two to three times more on marketing than on research to persuade doctors to prescribe these new drugs. Doctors may get misleading information and then misinform patients about the risks of a new drug. It's really a two-tier market for lemons."

The author made the accusations at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, during which he also accused "Big Pharma" of owning independent drug testing companies and hiding behind legal "firewalls" that protect them from questions over the effectiveness of their products.

He said 85% of new drugs pose more harm than good to patients, adding that the "relatively low bar" for effectiveness means that drug companies can push through drugs for approval too easily.

From here

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Holiday Rain..

Snowdonia is quite high up and thus gets a lot of rain - I knew this before I came to Wales..



However, I still really don't like rain. The cold I can cope with, but rain? - It sucks!

The holiday so far has been brilliant. We had 2 days of sun and we made the most of them and went to the beach.

It is good to not be at work though and al of the stresses that it brings.

Off out for a meal tonight for Dad's 60th. The pub, to which we are going used to have its menu online but I cannot seem to find it a the moment - Not sure if this is a good sign!

Oh well - Off to a farm park today - Most of it is indoors so the Kids should be well entertained!


Thursday, 12 August 2010

There should only be 1 four o clock!

For the last 2 days I have been at work since 0400 hrs.! It sucks!



In a nutshell, one of our servers went pop on Monday and the techies managed to get everything working except SQL replication. Now setting this back up should not usually cause a problem but since the database has grown since the last time I re-initialised replication there is now insufficient space to hold the snapshots that I need. Therefore I needed to replicate the tables one at a time.

Of course I didn't discover this space issue until 0840 on Wednesday when the attempt at replicating the whole job lot failed spectacularly and I discovered that I'd wasted almost 5 hours of my life that I'm never gonna get back again.

So that was it - Back in today at 0400 to do it properly (well one at a time) this time!

What are the odds of 2 raided hard drives failing at the same time....?

Monday, 9 August 2010

For Richard:

Disclaimer:

The views expressed in this post are not necessarily the views of the author!

What the heck is happening with global warming - We seem to have had 2 weeks of gorgeous weather at the beginning of July but now look at it - It is like autumn!

I refuse to believe that the earth is warming up! - True - The Russians would disagree with me on this. But in Good old Blighty it has been rubbish!


Saturday, 7 August 2010

Hot off the press - Almost

My favourite songwriter / worship leader Matt Blick has got 2 new songs in the pipeline. I for one am waiting in eager anticipation.



Matt is one of the most gifted songwriters and worship leaders that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. The time that he spends developing lyrics and the music for his songs is obvious. Every Congregational song that he writes is filled with such amazing truth that gets written deep into your heart from pretty much the first hearing.

I can remember a song that we sing called 'Son of God / God the Son' I thought that you couldn't improve on perfection until he changed the entire chorus.

Here is a link to the song and some of the story behind it!


If you haven't checked out his free music downloads - Please do!


Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Kellogg's and Misleading Maths

Reading the BBC Website today; I came across a story about the nation's favourite purveyor of sugar-infested garbage otherwise known as breakfast cereal.



Apparently they are planning to cut the sugar in their coco-pops cereal by 15% - Whilst I agree that 0.85*35 = 29.75 - it is a wee bit misleading to be triumphing this as a major reduction - If they had said we are reducing our sugar content by 5.25g (or approx 1 tsp) It really wouldn't have been a headline would it.

Interestingly enough at 29.75% this sugar content is still ridiculously high and let's face it, what comes out of the coco-pops packet is still pretty much 1/3 sugar.

This will cause children's insulin levels to rise and then they will be feeling hungry by mid-morning and unable to concentrate.

Kellogg's have said:
"This is a process, so while we have announced we are taking 15% of sugar out by mid-next year, we will go further if we can take people's palates with us."

Translation:
"We will continue to monitor the profitability of the brand and if people still buy it we may well reduce the levels further. We will reach a point at which the brand will become less profitable and then we will stop"
If anyone thinks that the likes of Kellogg's care two hoots about consumers and their health; they are sorely mistaken - The only thing Kellogg's care about is their margins.

This is why Kellogg's is a 'partner' in the 'Change4Life' program - To add legitimacy to its, frankly, unhealthy cereals that have got no place on the breakfast tables of the millions..  

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Susan Jebb - Conflict of interest - Updated

Susan Jebb - Currently she is Chair of the cross-government Expert Advisory Group on Obesity and a member of the Change4Life Board. She was an Expert Advisor to the Cabinet Office Strategy Unit Review on Food and now sits on the FSA Food Policy Strategy Advisory Group.



She has also been paid thousands of pounds by Rosemary Conley.

A few people may remember the headlines in the national press from earlier this year..

Quote from the Guardian (12th July 2010)  - Here:

Today science is offering an authoritative and surprisingly positive endorsement: two studies from the Medical Research Council, led by one of Britain's leading nutrition scientists, say that Weight Watchers really does work, and is a cheap and effective way for the NHS to tackle Britain's huge obesity problem

 Jebb also ridiculed the Atkins Diet:

The Telegraph ran the story on August 13, 2003: ATKINS DIET MAY BE BAD FOR HEALTH, WARNS NUTRITIONIST.

Five days later, the paper ran a follow-up story, headlined: ANTI-ATKINS NUTRITIONIST WORKING FOR FLOUR MILLERS.

Turns out that Jebb’s research into diets had been part-funded to the tune of £10,000 by the Flour Advisory Bureau, the lobbying arm of the National Association of British and Irish Millers. Who make flour. Which people on the Atkins diet don’t eat much of.

Do we really want someone like this providing advice to us?

UPDATE - Looks like Ms Jebb is coming under fire for her links to the sugar industry too!

This poster is going up in my house...



Thursday, 29 July 2010

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Body Image

I've been recently thinking about body image and where our desire to look a certain way comes from. It seems that most women aspire to be ultra thin and most men aspire, these days, to be the same - incredibly thin. There has been a trend for men to wear really skinny ladies-style jeans.

Thinking about this has led me to the following conclusions:

Magazines are encouraging this behaviour by publishing pictures of models who are already thin and then the magazines are 'photoshopping' the pictures.
Evidence:



and again..


Is this the same woman?
I conducted a straw-poll at work of the men I know - out of 16 blokes asked, 13 said they preferred a woman to have a shape as opposed to the angular bony offerings that the fashion houses seem to be pushing on us.

Both of the examples I posted here, if they were real, have got body shapes that pre-pubescent boys would be ashamed of. It makes you wonder exactly what 'floats the boats' of these men(?) who design clothes. It is as if they prefer young boys to women.

 Seriously - Who alive could fit into jeans like this?



And finally - Men are not immune too from this -


Even I as a rank amateur can photoshop better than this - And here, ladies and gentlemen, for your viewing pleasure; we have the 'Origami man' (Above)


Tuesday, 20 July 2010

America's Biggest Loser


I was reading a blog by Kai Hibbard that details some of her experiences on the 'Biggest Loser' gameshow. In a nutshell; this gameshow is a competition to see who can lose the most weight the winner receiving $250,000 in prize money.



As you can imagine, a show that just shows people dieting and exercising in a healthy way is not really going to be stimulating viewing; so by all accounts the dieting and exercising is taken to the eXtreme.

Ryan C. Benson, who lost 122lbs of his 330lb starting weight, will be absent from a reunion; he thinks he has been shunned by the show because he publicly admitted that he dropped some of the weight by fasting and dehydrating himself to the point that he was urinating blood.

About Kai's experience: Standing before a cheering studio audience in a skintight blackcocktail dress -- after dropping 118lbs. -- she looked like she was living a fairy tale. But just three weeks later, the cameras weren’t rolling as she lay shaking on her bathroom floor. Her immune system was shot. She was covered in bruises and losing her hair. And she’d gained back 31 lbs. simply from drinking water

Kai's body basically went into starvation mode...

The following; regarding the signing of releases and interviews is taken from here

Contestants are required to sign releases that stand out even in the waiver-intensive world of reality television.

One such release, which was provided to The New York Times by a former contestant who did so on the condition of anonymity, says that
“no warranty, representation or guarantee has been made as to the qualifications or credentials of the medical professionals who examine me or perform any procedures on me in connection with my participation in the series, or their ability to diagnose medical conditions that may affect my fitness to participate in the series.”

This basically says - The people who are telling you to abuse your body are not qualified and have no real idea what is happening to your body!


Getting contestants to talk openly about the environment of the program is difficult. Shortly after a reporter started contacting former contestants to interview them about their experiences, a talent producer on the series sent an e-mail message to many former contestants reminding them that “serious consequences” could ensue if they ever talked to a reporter without the show’s permission.

To do so could subject them to a fine of $100,000 or $1 million, depending on the timing of the interview, according to the e-mail message, which was obtained by The New York Times. The show’s producers did provide an opportunity to interview several former contestants, but the interviews were conducted with an NBC publicist listening in


Even the show’s trainer Jillian Michaels admits all is not as it seems.:
Intentional dehydration? Manipulated filming schedules? Diuretics? “Oh absolutely!” Jillian tells Star in our Jan. 25 issue on sale now. “There is a lot of game playing that goes on. The Biggest Loser is a game show. It is what it is.” 

And a final word from me.

What a thoroughly despicable show that is preying on a mixture of people's greed and negative body image.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Up!



I think I must be the last person in the world to see this film! I had read all the reviews, saying that the first 10 minutes was incredibly emotive and well written - I don't mind admitting to the fact that I did actually cry like a little girl! How they could fit so much emotion into 10 minutes of film with no dialogue was incredible - It puts most other films to shame.

I think I must be turning into a wuss!

Anyway; the film made two fantastic points that really stuck in my mind:

  • Appreciate what you've got - You never know when it will end.
  • It's the mundane things in life that your kids remember

Thursday, 15 July 2010

More Weight Loss

1lb of fat - I have discovered is quite big!


I weighed my (almost) 3 year old son the other day and he weighed 2.5 stones (35lbs) - In the last 6 months, I have lost 39lbs - which is more than my toddler weighs...

Crikey!

When I have lost another 12lbs - I will have lost the equivalent of my 6 year old daughter.

I'm still amazed that this diet I am on allows me to eat fantastic food in unlimited quantities!


Monday, 5 July 2010

Ego fragility

It still amazes me how fragile our egos are.


We can convince ourselves so easily that we are in control, everything is great and that we are strong..


Then something totally innocuous happens and you cop a bit of 'gentle', deserved flak over it and the following happens:

  • You start to analyse in an over critical way what happened
  • You start to justify why it happened
  • You distort what the person who took you to task actually said
  • Your mental image of what their face looked like and their voice sounded like gets distorted and you feel hurt - like it was a personal attack rather than an admonishment
  • Worst of all, you start comparing yourself to other people who do a similar job to you and find yourself feeling smug that "yeah - I got a rollocking for this but I didn't screw up as bad as Fredrick when he did [insert other innocuous incident here]
  • You start to doubt the praise that the person who took you to task has given you in the past.
All of these things are natural... but stupid..

Here's what should happen:

  • Admit you made a mistake
  • Apologise to anyone concerned
  • Man the heck up and get over it!

There - Whole again!