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Blogging With Dr P... Blogging When I Can - Honest!
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Welcome to Blogging With Dr P... blogging when I can - honest

Your Blogging With Dr P... search result is below this annoucement.
In April 2008 Blogging With Dr P... moved to Blog Bypass.

If you're using the Blog Studio Search Facility to find a link to a previous blog, then I've been very generous, and NOT included an automatic re-direct which would take you there.

So, what this means is you have to use this link: Blog Bypass to find more Blogging With Dr P....

Thank you to Blog Studio for all the help over years! :)

(Feb 2010 Update): Haloscan is no more. Therefore the comments on this blog are no more. Sad, but true. I'm not paying $12 a year for the occasional comment with Echo. Apologies to all those who have commented. I have saved them and may well stick them somewhere else at some point.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003 Cavity Search

Okay. I said I would change the names to protect the innocent on this story. (Mainly because Ray, my father-in-law, is sitting next right next to me as I type. He won't mind me mentioning his name, but I can't possibly reveal the other person's name involved in this little story!).

Okay.(Again). So, just before leaving DFW, on their way over here, Ray phoned Miss X, a "close relative", to let her know that he & Sharon, (his this getting too complicated?...anyway...), to let her know that they were departing late becuse the flight was delayed. The following is a short extract from the telephone conversation.....

Ray: "Yeah, security is tight here. They even did Cavity Searches."
'Miss X': "What - was there doctor's there? They searched your mouth as well?"

Now, I know Miss X may be reading this a little wasn't that kind of cavity search.....! :)

It still has us laughing about it now :)

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Tuesday, December 30, 2003 Off Into London

Yup. Day One of our assault on the capital. Today we'll do the Buckingham Palace - Mall - Traflagar Square - (Lunch at Texas Embassy) - Whitehall - (Downing Street) - Cabinet War Rooms - Houses of Parliament, (look there they are!) - and home. Allegedly. :)

Thank God for digital cameras & Photoshop. Appropriate photos may be posted soon.

For those of you back at work now - awwwwwwwww :). For the rest of us - have a continued great holiday season! :)

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Monday, December 29, 2003 Bob Monkhouse Dies At 75

British comedian Bob Monkhouse, who wrote jokes for Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra in a 50-year showbusiness career, died on Monday aged 75, his manager said. Monkhouse died at home in southern England with his wife Jackie at his bedside after a two-year battle against prostate cancer.

Monkhouse was one of Britain's most prolific entertainers, working as a stand-up comic, on radio and as the host of an endless string of TV gameshows.

Born in 1928, Monkhouse started his career as a comic book artist while still a schoolboy in southeast London. He turned down the chance to inherit his father's custard and jelly business to pursue a career as an entertainer.

After a compulsory stint with the Royal Air Force, he appeared on BBC radio and television as the "British Bob Hope." Monkhouse wrote for some of the biggest names in showbusiness, including Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, before forging his own career.

Here is a sample of some of his great one-liners:

"I got my start in silent radio."

"The last time I was in Spain I got through six Jeffrey Archer novels. I must remember to take enough toilet paper next time."

"Personally, I don't think there's intelligent life on other planets. Why should other planets be any different from this one?"

"My wife's see-through nightie is now bi-focal."

"Growing old is compulsory - growing up is optional."

"I you don't go to other peoples funerals, they won't go to yours."

"A miniature village in Bournemouth caught fire and the flames could be seen nearly three feet away."

"I swam in the dead sea when it was only critically ill."

"My father only hit me once - but he used a Volvo."

"They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian. They're not laughing now."

"What's a geriatric? A German footballer scoring three goals."

"I tend to sleep in the nude. Which isn't a bad thing except for maybe on those long flights."

"I remember when safe sex was a padded headboard."

"Real happiness is when you marry a girl for love and find out later she has money."

"I'm not saying my wife's a bad cook, but she uses a smoke alarm as a timer."

"My mother tried to kill me when I was a baby. She denied it. She said she thought the plastic bag would keep me fresh."

Asked about his health at a recent awards ceremony, he joked: "I can still enjoy sex at 74 -- I live at 75, so it's no distance."

He really was a funny bloke. Another great gone.

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Cavuto On "Fox News"

Just had two guests on his show. They were debating for & against the effectiveness of American Homeland Security. The interesting question was: "Just because nothing has happened since 9/11 - does that mean that Homeland Security is working?". Good question. Particulalry when you consider that intelligence sources suggest that it took seven years to plan the 9/11 attacks.

There - you didn't expect to read something moderately sensible here during the holiday season, did you ? :)

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Sunday, December 28, 2003 The US Un-Armed Forces Have Landed

After a three hour flight delay, Sue's parents have arrived from Texas. They have been whisked away to Castle Woodgnome in deepest Essex, England for de-briefing. They are currently crashed out with jetlag etc. The touristy stuff starts tomorrow! :)

Be good everyone. I'll talk to ya'll later. :)

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I'm Staying Up Late....

- because I can. It's great being grown up isn't it? :)

p.s. - it's 1.15am just in case you're wondering - oh!

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Saturday, December 27, 2003 Blue Ridge Mountains

Good old John Boy. I wonder if he was the inspiration for 1000's of kids sitting scribbling away in their attic rooms in the Blue Ridge mountains? (Now there's a scary thought - think of all that untapped energy......if only it could have been could have run a generator which powers the library in Charlottesville, and solved their electricity worries for the rest of eternity !) I'm fairly certain that ' The Waltons' is not running on any channel here in the UK at the moment, (correct me if I'm wrong), but it most be airing still somewhere in the USA. Well, you would have liked the programme I saw the other day - 'After They Were Famous - The Waltons'. It was good to see all the kids , particularly 'Erin Walton'( Mary MacDonough ) - boy she was hot , right? a purely innocent televisual sorta way.....;). I noticed that the Waltons link back there didn't have any mention of the number of animals they had on the show. I remember a dog called 'Reckless', but for the rest of you animal lovers - take a peak here.

I think the point about of all this is, no matter what you've got to say - just say it. I mean, how many times have you heard yourself thinking - Damn. I wish I'd said something then". It happens all over. When you go out on your first date, and you're completely tongue-tied in front of the girl/guy of your can actually hear 'it' being shouted in your head! Sometimes there isn't even a second date because you were, well, so literally 'dumb'. :)

At work, in a meeting when you disagree with something - speak up - what's the worse that can happen, ( - just got visions of a Dr Pepper TV ad in my head "...what's the worst that can happen...."), - you'll get an answer to your query, you'll get your point across - you'll be heard. You could be fired :)

I've said it before.....and true to form....I'll say it again - communication is everything. Make it a point in the coming year to speak up and be heard.............just don't get arrested :)

Good night John Boy.

(p.s. for those wih long memories - that was Dec 27th 2002 entry. I'm still a bit busy here to write anything ya'll soon. I hope the holidays are going great!)

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Friday, December 26, 2003 December 26th 1908.......


Jack Johnson becomes the first African American to win the world heavyweight title when he knocks out Canadian Tommy Burns in the 14th round in a championship bout near Sydney, Australia. Johnson, who held the heavyweight title until 1915, was reviled by whites for his defiance of the "Jim Crow" racial conventions of early 20th-century America.

The boxer that is still remembered as the greatest defensive boxer in heavyweight history was born in Galveston, Texas, in 1878. Johnson dropped out of school after fifth grade and worked the docks of Galveston before taking up professional boxing. He proved himself a powerful fighter, but the rarity of champion white boxers agreeing to meet black challengers limited his opportunities and purses. In 1903, Johnson won the "Colored Heavyweight Championship of the World" and the next year issued a challenge to Jim Jeffries, the white American who held the world title at the time. Jeffries refused to meet him, and it was not until 1908 that Tommy Burns agreed to give Johnson a shot at the more prestigious white heavyweight title.

The boxers met at Rushcutter's Bay on the outskirts of Sydney on December 26, 1908. Few of the 20,000 spectators gathered there cheered Johnson as he dominated Burns and became the heavyweight champion of the world. Johnson's reception upon returning to the United States was equally lukewarm, and racists were appalled by his marriage to a white woman. Johnson refused to keep a low profile in the face of criticism of his color and character, and instead took on an excessively flamboyant lifestyle. He drove flashy sports cars, flaunted gold teeth that went with his gold-handled walking stick, and engaged in numerous, overlapping romances with women--all of them white. Reporters began calling for a "Great White Hope" to put the heavyweight title back in a white man's hands.

Johnson defeated several U.S. challengers, and in 1910 Jim Jeffries agreed to come out of retirement to try to beat the black boxer. In a fight held at Reno, Nevada, on July 4, 1910, Johnson became the first boxer to knock down Jeffries, and in the 15th round Jeffries' corner threw in the towel. The outcome of the match prompted racial violence and rioting across the United States.

In 1912, Johnson was convicted of transporting an unmarried woman across state lines for "immoral purposes," a law that was drafted primarily to prevent prostitution and the white slavery trade--not to prevent a black boxer and nightclub owner from having an affair with his white secretary. Johnson was sentenced to a year in prison and released on bond pending an appeal. He took the opportunity to flee the United States disguised as a member of a black baseball team.

Johnson lived in exile for the next seven years and continued to defend his title in bouts in Europe and elsewhere. On April 5, 1915, he lost the heavyweight title when he was knocked out by white American Jess Willard in the 20th round of a fight in Havana, Cuba. There were rumors that Johnson threw the championship in order to have the charges against him dropped. The charges were not dropped, however, and when Johnson returned to the United States in 1920 he was arrested by U.S. marshals. He was sent to a federal prison in Kansas to serve his year sentence.

After his release, Johnson boxed occasionally but never regained his former stature. His fortunes steadily diminished, and near the end of his life he worked as a vaudeville and carnival performer. He died in a car accident in 1946.

(Courtesy of the History Channel )

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Oliver! was on TV yesterday. It's Christmas :)

Today - we've ran put of milk, things for sandwiches etc. Time to get to the supermarket in those 5 mins that they are open today. Excuse me now while I go and 'do' my hair before I go

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Thursday, December 25, 2003 Ho Ho Ho

Q. When pirates celebrate Christmas, do they have to "Yo ho ho...." as well as "Ho ho ho...."?

Austrian pirates would, therefore, make the best Christmas pirates as they could easily yoodle their way through all those yo ho ho's and ho ho ho's. Sadly, Austria is a country not known for it's seafaring activities, or at least I can't name any famous Austrian pirates.

So, should I stop taking the medication for my cold, and perhaps get in touch with reality again.......or should I be taking a close look under the outfits of the Vienna Boys Choir to see if they have any wooden legs? Hmmm, on reflection I do believe this is some sort of crime, even in Austria.

Bring on Xmas - just a few hours to go....WHOOPEEE! :)

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Tuesday, December 23, 2003 College Days, eh?

I was just cursing at the fact that Friends Reunited had managed to wipe my profile whilst I had just gone into change one entry in it, (I'm still awating a reply from my acid email I sent them!), when I noticed this bright young hopeful on the end of a chorus line......

This is from a musical called Frank Ass. I'd put this piccy on my profile ages ago. It was a modern musical written, I believe, by a Catholic boys college, about the life of St.Francis of Assissi. It was supposed to have taken up by the BBC and made into a TV play - but I don't think it ever happened. In any event, our college, St. Mary's Sixth Form, Middlesborough, took the play and made it our own.

It ran for three nights....and so did I - when I was dropped off each evening outside of a pub - still wearing my stage makeup! :)

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Christmas Traffic

It was unbelievable. I set off at about 7.15pm last night to go around to Dom's house, (down in Dulwich, South London). This is a journey that should take about 45mins - one hour from Essex. I'd just got over the QE2/Datford Bridge, which spans the River Thames at this point, (approx 10mins into the journey), when WHAM! - and I'm not talking George Michael and that Ridgeley bloke either!

I was then stuck on the slip road going onto the A2 - at the intersection with the M25 motorway for......(wait for it)...nearly 2.5 F***ING HOURS!!!!!. It then took another half an hour to turn around at the intersection and come home.

A three hour 10mile round trip for no reason at all - blah! Dom is coming around Xmas Eve to pic his pressies up - by train through London :)

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Monday, December 22, 2003 "Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire..."

There. That's got you in the Christmas spirit hasn't it? So let me tell
you of a Christmas Story from long, long ago.........

It was some time around Live Aid for you modern history buffs. The place Belgium. The time - well, Christmas, obviously (!). I was staying with my brother Dominic who lived in a district of Bruxelles called Woluwe-St.Pierre. (I have to say that the images and info in that link don't bear much to the memory I have of the place. Maybe I just had too much alcohol at the time!)Dom worked for an American oil company called MacDermott's.
They had lots of interesting people there :). Quite a few ex-pats,several American chappies, and a group of guys consisting of a couple of Aussies, a Welsh guy, a Belgian (!), and a few English blokes - that we used to hang out with drinking on an evening. The most famous bar was a one called Twickers on Rue Archimedes - just around the corner from the EEC Building. And it's from that great bar, with some of those guys, where our story, kinda pours itself out of.....

It was Christmas Day. I had finished working at my painting & decorating job a few weeks earlier. (See "Buried In Beige Draylon" Friday 24th January, for a more detailed story of that job). Dom was out seeing some friends, I think. I had done the shopping around the corner at the local Belgian mini-mart. I'd put the meat roll thing, (one of these tinned things that you heat up), in the oven, and we'd both gone down to Twickers for a good solid drink. Several beers later, (and it was Jupiler...and some Stella...and some shorts etc...hic..!), we returned to start our delicious Christmas Day meal. quite. Something had gone sadly wrong on the cooking front. Not only was Dom's cooker one of these crappy ones with hotplates that seemed to heat up and cool down when they damned well felt like it, my grasp of the Flemish language had resulted in a miscalculation in the cooking instructions. Simply - not only had I NOT pulled back the foil lid on the meat thingy, I'd also converted the Fahrenheit to Celsius bit incorrectly, so we opened an almost stone cold oven to find a seriously undercooked meat dish. Needless to say, the vegetables cooking on the top of the stove were just about....warm

So there you have it - my first, and only, VEGETARIAN CHRISTMAS DAY

It never happened again - and it won't be happening this year, for sure :)

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Sunday, December 21, 2003 BT Yahoo Messenger Fiasco

So in the interests of Big Business, BT & Yahoo have collaborated together to become BT Yahoo - neat, eh? And in the interests of providing a newer, better, stronger, faster service, (slight overtones of The Six Million Dollar Man there :) ), there was an instruction to download new software. This new software comprised of a new type browser, configured for all their stuff, but easily adaptable for you to make a nice new BT Yahoo homepage. Oh joy.

What it didn't say, was that the new BT Yahoo Messenger - which looked exactly like a silvery version of the current Yahoo Messenger 5.6v - was about as much use a chocolate fireguard. I mean - IT DIDN'T ALLOW ACCESS TO CHATROOMS ???? Now, I don't use these things anymore, but Sue does to talk to her friends and folks back home in the USA. (Yes, the friends list thing was still available, but not the chatrooms). There was a message from BT Yahoo saying that "....the chatrooms would be made available soon....".

So - what does a guy do? He attempts to uninstall all the BT Yahoo stuff. Ah ha. This is not that easy. And so I had to use other software to remove every shred of the BT Yahoo software from my PC before it would even allow me to install the original version of Yahoo Messenger.

I do believe there be many of you out there in the USA who have also been hoodwinked in a similar fashion with a joining of forces of SWBell & Yahoo to form Swbell Yahoo DSL. Did they do the same thing as BT Yahoo I wonder?

What the hell. It's not Lord of The Rings stuff - but I felt I've vanguished a mighty foe, good over evil etc etc...and it is a Sunday as well :)

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Hampton Court Ghost

On Friday there was a report about a ghostly sighting at Hampton Court Palace. The news item said...
"A costumed figure stands in a doorway at Hampton Court Palace in southwest London in this image caught on closed circuit television and released by the Palace Friday, Dec. 19, 2003. On several occasions in October 2003, guards at the palace were alerted to an open fire door in the 16th century palace. Upon reviewing the CCTV footage, the curious image of a costumed figure suddenly appeared on the screen and closed the doors. The Palace is well known for its alleged supernatural activity."
Naturally, one can't talk about these things without showing the photo, so here it is:

But what concerned me a little was the fact that Hampton Court also uses actors & actresses to walk around the building as part of the touristy experience. When Sue and I were there earlier ths year, I took this photo:

Now at the time, it quite spooked me as she came down the stairs, because it did look like she was floating, and this was one of the first actors/actresses we met in the building. So, I leave it to you to decide whether or not you think it is a ghost, or just some bloke in an outfit who accidently opened the fire exit!

Although, this next part may not be a 100ccurate due to the technology involved, but further photographic enhancement potentially revealed the true identity of the ghostly prankster...

However, it is still unclear as to who is being disguised as who? I shall leave you to ponder on the whole spooky story....:)

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Saturday, December 20, 2003 Cotton Eye Joe Syndrome

Unbeknown to me, there must have been a health warning of some description on the Rednex CD the DJ was playing the other night. It's now Saturday, and I woke up this morning feeling as though I'd been kicked like a mule. (Friday morning it was a little diffult to tell, as I was still a bit hung-over, and was very tired). It's true, my dancing was commented upon, but nothing was ever said about the high kicks etc I was doing when Cotton Eye Joe by the Rednex was playing. But, it's now official - I could be the first recognised case of "Cotton Eye Joe Syndrome" since the single was first released several years ago.

But this hasn't stopped a full, (well mostly full), days activitys. Oh no, Christmas is coming, and so are Sue's parents, and there are a zillion and one things to do before they arrive. A few we managed to knock off the list were:

1. Hang some pictures in the bedroom to tart the walls up a bit.
2. Hang the mirror which has been standing on top of the chest of drawers since I first moved in here a few years ago.
3. Paint the doors & surrounds on the cupboard in the hallway.
4. Hang some posters in the front room - ongoing.
5. Research "Cotton Eye Joe Syndrome"
6. Mention Catherine Herridge one more time to get the hit rates

So now, the place looks a little more picturey & painted, and I'm suffering from the aforementioned infirmity. At least there's Sunday to sleep, or something :)

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Friday, December 19, 2003 More Longer Days...

Phew. Thursday. A significant day in the Longest Day Calender 2003. Briefly it started at 5.30am, (again), and finished at around 12:30am, this Friday morning! In between there was:

1. A morning of speeches and presentations
2. An afternoon of presentations - including my very own :)
3. An early evening of drinking & eating
4. A late night of dancing/disco thingy & drinking.

The hotel we were staying in, had one of those huge rooms with a shared buffet meal for two/three groups, and then a private DJ/dance thingy. Wot a larf! I haven't "...strutted my funky stuff...", or " down on it...." (?) in ages :). Needless to say I retired to my room extremely hoarse from singing dozens of dance floor classics including "It's Raining Men" (Weather Girls), "Dancing Queen" (Abba), and "Shout!" (Lulu). So that I wouldn't end up like some kind of geriatric cripple this morning, (Friday), I:

1. Did some stretching exercises - like all professional dancers do...!
2. Had a nice hot shower - to relax those tense muscles
3. Had a nice cup of tea - because that's what we English do...!:)
4. Watched "Star Trek - Next Generation" - it just happened to be on TV.
5. Drank a two litre bottle of water to keep the demons (!) away.

This morning lots of people were remarking on my dancing.....I can't tell you what they said.....just lots of remarks ! And with a few more speeches, the time rumbled around to 1.30pmish - and we were done...and so was I :)

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Wednesday, December 17, 2003 Just How Long Can A Day Be...?

It's true - I've had longer days than this, but this just seems to have dragged on a bit. It started around 5.20am this morning - about ten minutes before the alarm was supposed to go off. How annoying is that? Waking up before the alarm has gone off - I feel robbed. Anyway, there I was showering, shaving & sh***ing - taking care of my early morning toilet activities. Have you noticed how weird your digestive system feels if you get up at an unGodly time? I mean, you don't feel like eating do you, because your stomach is technically still asleep, but by the time you've moved around for about an hour or so - driving or something - you suddenly get the munchies? This usually happens to me when I get up at this time. I'll leave the house around 6am, drive around the motorway, get to Head office around 7.15am, set up my laptop in the office, do a bit of work, and then go to breakfast when one of the canteens open at 7.45am. And so it was like this today.

The morning was filled with going through the printed pages, (around 30 or so), of a Powerpoint presentation for which I'm going to be doing as part of my dept's conference/training days tomorrow & Friday. The afternoon was then practicing the presentation to make sure the timings were okay etc. Sure enough a few problems arose, which dragged the day on a bit further. Consequently, I didn't get out of there, (Hemel Hempstead, Herts), until around 5.30pm. Nightmare. the traffic is complete crap after 4.30ish for a good two hours. It took me 2 hours to get home.

It's now around 9.30pmish. I gave myself an hours rest. (Bless me). I've munched, I'll blog now - say hi to y'all, iron some shirts, pack my bag, (staying in a hotel tomorrow night), and be back on Friday evening. What a life, eh? Would I rather be digging ditches? Nah - with these carpal tunnled hands? I don't think

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Tuesday, December 16, 2003 "Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys And Girls....."

It's 'panto' season. Yes, it's pantomine time of year - when grown men don tights and dress up as women - and everybody finds that highly amusing. In any other circumstances this could be seen as an arrestable offence, as I'm sure that Jack could testify to that. :).

I have no idea where all this started from. Probably some wandering Medieval European transvestites were having an office Christmas party out in the woods, or something,and got caught by the local monks, (who owned & ran everything in those days), and rather than have their souls condemned to eternal Hell - and their gentials hacked off with a blunt instrument (!)for mincing about in the forest and frightening the bishop's deer....they made up some completely unbelievable story, (like this one!), and told the monks that it was an annual Christmas tradition for men to dress up in womens clothing to entertain everyone. The monks, who spent most of their lives wearing long flowing robes, probably understood what was being said (!) - and so "PANTOMINE" - and the longest tall story I have ever written without the aid of any research, or stimulates - was born :)

Beat that for complete nonsense - and bring on the dames! :)

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Monday, December 15, 2003 I Suppose It Comes To All Of Us At Some Point....

- but I don't have a thought in my head to chat about this evening...apart from that one. How bizarre!

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Sunday, December 14, 2003 Techhie Stuff Reversal

Remember this from not more than 24 hours ago? Well, I had a bit of soul searching and decided that with a little bit of effort, I could probably upgrade my own site a little, to make it a bit more presentable. If truth be told all I've really done is seen how my TypePad website looks, and then try and how it looks....ahem....!

I have to tell you that dotted lines in HTML are a bugger to judge when you try to see how they look in Netscape - and in IE Explorer ! But the best steal was the use of this new font Trebuchet MS - oh how Moveable Type it looks :). And it does look quite neat, I think. No more Comic Sans MS for me - and everything is one size up as well - for those with hard-of-hearing....
I shall also be including an about me page as well - which is another one of those little gimmicky, but I suppose, essentially-type pages that people like to read about you. I used to list some boring stuff about myself on the side column many moons ago - but I dropped it as I found that the top of the side column was actually quite an active clicking spot on people's weblogs - and all I had was text there.

So, to summarise - no, I shan't be leaving here for a while yet. I don't want to confuse you poor bewildered people any more than I actually do now :)

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(*With apologies to the Sun newspaper for knicking their headline after we sunk the General Belgrano in the Falklands War)

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Some Techhie News...

I've come across these people here at TypePad in my search for something a bit more professional looking on the blogging front. Typepad comes from the ladies and gents at Six Apart, who are the peeps behind Moveable Type - the free downloadable software supported by a lot of places....except here at Blog Studio :).

Anyway, the gist of all of this activity is this: although weblogs are all about content, I think I've reached a point where I wouldn't mind having something a little more professional looking. The content will stay the same, (HURRAH!), but the layout will be a lot smoother looking. To this end, I have registered with the chaps & chappesses at TypePad for a trial period. So, until Jan 13th 2004, (at least), you will be able to see another version of Blogging With Dr P... at Blogging With Dr P.... Please do not adjust your sets, or your bookmarks, as this may not the permanent place for me to live. I am in the testing stage with TypePad.

My question to the panel is this: What do you think? I've always liked the way these Moveable Type weblogs looked, but could never get to grips with it's complexity, (although I kept being told how simple it was), and all this FTP, PHP, SQL - and other small furry animals. The peeps at TypePad seem to have developed MT one step further and made it more templatey who just want to plug n' play with their weblogs. It looks good, I have to say, but this is early days, and I shall try, (in the first instance), to replicate the layout I have here - over here, and then perhaps change a few things as well.

On the reverse side of things, during my research, I came across an amazing deal at 1&1 who are offering.....wait for it - FREE THREE YEARS HOSTING a whole host of other goodies. And some bright spark at Wizbang has thought of an idea where you can set yourself up at 1&1, download and install Moveabale Type - and thus have it all free for three years. So, for those technically minded enough - that's my Christmas pressie to you :)

Anyway, it's time to go out and do some real life Xmas shopping at Lakeside :)

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Saturday, December 13, 2003 Always Start The Day....

...with a good hearty breakfast. And what a surprise to learn that Ikea's restautant do a fried breakfast for just ?1!!! What a bargain! (And this wasn't even my idea - it was Sue's!). So off we went this morning for a good hearty full English breakast. This is, of course, in great comparison to the 'full French' - consisting of croissants, hot chocolate & danish pastries :).

And bearing in mind all things traditional & touristy, we set about drawing up the schedule of events for the arrival & stay of Sue's parents over the New Year. This is the first time they have been outside of the USA, (except for Ray's stint in the US Air Force in the Far east back in the 60's), and certainly their first visit to little old England. Naturally, living so close to London, I have pencilled in certain attractions etc, but I would like to ask my transatlantic friends a question. If you were coming to London,England for two weeks - what would you like to visit - and why? Sue, (being an American type person!), has got us through most of this planning, and she also knows what her parents want to see, but I was just wondering if there is still something typically American which we ought to consider? Anyway, that will give you something to do amongst all that present wrapping etc :)

p.s. it is getting colder & darker around here!

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Where Are All The 'Millenium Count Down' Clocks?

It occured to me, ( as I went up a rainy Brentwood High Street today), that there was a big gap where the millenium countdown clock used to be. I mean this was quite a large rectangular beast that could be seen from quite far down the High Street. Okay, this is three,(almost four), years down the line, but doesn't it make you stop and think for a moment? Where did they all go? Who has the millenium countdown clock that once graced your town square, high street, neighbourhood, city? I'm fairly certain the guys in New York know where that bloody big falling silver apple is (!) But what about the rest of us?

Lets be honest - a clock of that size could hardly be the sort of thing you could slip under your coat whilst everyone was dancing around welcoming in the year 2000, was it? So who has it now? I imagined that some councillor somewhere has it strapped to the wall of his house, (with some industrial bridge building girders), as some kind of memento to his 'time' in office. Or maybe someone with a bizarre clock fetish removed it early on Jan 1st before everyone sobered up - and took it back to his/her mansion......where he/she has many other millenium countdown a shed. And he/she spends all day...every day....keeping them nice and shiney, and in working order....ready for the next millenium....where he/she will have a ready supply of clocks available for the nation.

Has anyone spotted the fatal flaw in this scheme yet...? ;)

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Thursday, December 11, 2003 Blah Blah Blah...

Sometimes I think they're is just far too much talking going on in the world. There is too much talking - because it's noisy with all those raised voices, and there's too much talking - and not enough action, either.

The noise I can just about cope with, except today, when I was nearly boring the arse off myself with the sound of my own voice. I was conducting a Personal Development Review on one of my team members. A PDR is one of those things which used to be called a so, how are you getting on? type chat. It's a bit more structured nowadays. So, as I sat there explaining things, listening, answering, replying, etc etc - there was a little voice in my head which kept shouting out: "Shut the F**K UP! You're killing me!"....and I have to admit it - he was right. I know I had things to explain etc, but God (!)I nearly lost it a few times. Thankfully, my professionalism shone through......ha - and we made it to the end.

As for the not enough action people....well.....that really does drive me insane. I can appreciate that there has to be meetings about But meetings about meetings for Gods sake?! And then diarise for the next meeting. Write a memo, do a report, draw a process flow-chart......and then have another meeting. For F**K sakes - DO SOMETHING!!.

Business, eh? Don't ya just love it? :)

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Wednesday, December 10, 2003 Taking the Law into Your Own Hands

Jonnie Cochran was duck hunting in Montana recently and attempted to cross a fence into a field to retrieve a duck he had shot. A farmer suddenly pulled up in his pick-up truck, jumped out, and asked Mr. Cochran what he was doing on his property.

"Retrieving a duck that I just shot," he replied.

"That duck is on my side of the fence, so now it's mine," replied the farmer.

Mr. Cochran asked the farmer if he recognized who he was talking to.

"No," replied the farmer. "I don't know, and I don't care."

"I am Jonnie Cochran, famous lawyer from Los Angeles," came the reply. "I am the lawyer that got O. J. Simpson off. I'm the reason he is a free man today. And if you don't let me get that duck, I can sue you for your farm, your truck, and everything else you own. I'll leave you penniless on the street."

"Well," said the farmer, "In Montana the only law we go by is the '3 kicks law'."

"Never heard of it," said Jonnie.

The farmer said, "I get to kick you 3 times, and if you make it back to your feet and are able to kick me back 3 times, that duck is yours."

Cochran thought this over. He grew up in a tough neighborhood and figured he could take this old farmer. "Fair enough," he said. So the farmer kicked Jonnie violently in the groin. As he was doubling over, the farmer kicked him in the face, and when he hit the ground, he kicked him hard in the ribs. Several moments later, Jonnie slowly made it back to his feet.

"All right, now it's my turn", said Jonnie.

"Aw, forget it," said the farmer. "You can have the duck."

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Tuesday, December 09, 2003 Just A Little Reminder... all you elves,pixies and Santa's Little Helpers that live in the neighbourhood. LEAVE MY CAR ANTENNA ALONE!!!! Just because it's dark doesn't mean you can go about stripping bits off cars - like last year, remember?

You have been warned.

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Monday, December 08, 2003 Bring On The Junk Mail...

This is the top half of a letter that I received this morning...

There was a picture and the name of the psychic wench involved in this SCAM in the top left hand corner of the letter, but I took it out, as I didn't really want to advertise her particularly. But what a scam! It's outrageous isn't it? There was a three page letter attached to this, which included a final demand for about ?30 to cover admin costs etc for her to send you your personal pyshic reading. I know we see this sort of stuff all the time, and even have our email boxes full of crap like this, but this was too blatant not to mention it. If this had arrived in the letterbox of some poor, downtrodden individual who was out-of-luck etc...and it's Christmas time....they would have gladly have forked out ?30 if they thought that their luck/money would get better.

I know sending this stuff to the police, or Trading Standards would get me nowhere - what would you do?

Anyway, onto far more important matters of the day....BUGGER ME IT WAS COLD THIS MORNING, WASN'T IT!. I mean - frosted car etc etc. The thermometer said -2, but I guessed it was a little colder than that. Okay, you folks across the pond have been having really harsh weather........but you shouldn't go settling in other people's countries should you....:) We like winters to be....well....English here. We want deep & crisp & even - but only on the Christmas cards. We want peace on earth & goodwill to all men....but no bloody carol singers annoying us all hours of the day and night. We want winter - but slightly warmer thank you :)

It's been a long old day today. It's a strange kind of day today. It started off incredibly early around 4am. For reasons best known to my company, they decided to audit the 'returns warehouse' this weekend. The 'returns warehouse' is where all the faulty and recalled stock returns to before it gets picked up by the respective manufacturers etc. In short - it's full of boxed/bubble wrapped crap. Oh joy. With a team of people, a song in our hearts, and a skip in our step......okay - forget about the last two bits(!) - we trundled in there around 5.30am. Even God isn't up at that time....I think(?). With waves of warehouse workers in at 6, 7 and 8 o'clock we got the place counted & checked by around 2.30pm. What a life, eh? And it's back tomorrow to finish it off...

...roll on France next February :)

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Sunday, December 07, 2003 Remember Summer?

Well, here's part one of those photo's from a day trip out that Sue and I had a few months ago...

Yes. I think it was beetroot with that piece of pork pie I had :). Naturally, I had nothing to eat all morning - and only breadcrumbs, or house dust to sniff on the evening - just so I could stay within my Weight Watchers points. Incidentally, the big weigh-in the other evening after all these French trips, hotel stays etc over the past few months - I only put on 1.5lbs - which I thought was a bit of a result :)

I was reminded of summer this afternoon as we returned from a bit of Xmas shopping. It was bloody freezing when I got out of the car, And I thought "I must stop wearing my Bermuda shorts in December..." - no, I thought "Wasn't it a lot nicer a few months ago" - and less expensive as well. I mean - how much does a piece of pork pie & beetroot cost, as opposed to rolls & rolls of Xmas wrapping paper? (I'm not sending presents - I'm just send wrapping paper - there, the secrets out for this year! ).

Oh yes - I returned all that wireless networking stuff. It defeated me - for now. I'll have another crack at it after Xmas. Okay time to have some dinner - hope your weekends going well kids! :)

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Wireless Networking

- believe me, it's not as easy as it sounds. Just a wireless card antenna in your PC. And then just a wireless card in your laptop. Follwoed closely by a router attached to your ethernet compatible modem - if you have one - and most people don't, they have, like me, a USB cheapy modem for their broadband connection.

To cut a long story short - it's quite's given me a massive headache...I'm still not sure it's working properly - and I have to go to work tomorrow as well....:)

Night y'all

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Saturday, December 06, 2003 Queer Eye For The Straight Guy

...has been on Living TV here for the past few weeks - what a programme - it's excellent!(9pm Thursday evening Living TV) I know it's become quite popular over in the US as well? For those who don't know what it's all about, it's about 5 gay guys in New York, I believe,(Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley and Jai Rodriguez, collectively known as the The Fab Five)all experts in their respective fields of food & wine, grooming, interior design, fashion and culture. Their weekly mission: employ all the tools of their trade to cultivate a better straight man.

So far there's been guys whose lives are a complete mess, and they want to impress a girlfriend/wife/business client etc, and the Fab Five get into action with their grooming,fashion and designing skills. As a piece of entertainment it's superbly funny and really does make you laugh to see how they transform the macho-of-macho's into a respectable human being who actually achieves their goal with a bit of style, flair & panache.

But would it work with 5 lesbians and a slob of woman? Could a TV programme be made where five gay women "....employ all the tools of their trade to cultivate a better straight woman....."? Well, I thought about this, and the answer is plainly - no. Why? In terms of television, there is nothing funny, or visually entertaining about 5 gay women. Picture in your head 5 gay women. What do you see? I bet some of you see some boiler-suited skinheaded dyke wearing Doc Martens. Or perhaps you see some kind of Dame Edna Everage type character? That's the whole point - 5 gay men will work on TV.....5 gay women won't work.

Equally, women do not like to be portrayed as slobs. Which women in her right mind would admit that she was a failure in her personal life, and would let 5 gay women help her out? It may be the subtle sub-plot of a skimpy 1970's porno movie, but it's not going to get the ratings as a make-over TV programme in 2003. And however the selection process for the 5 gay women was done - it would offend some section of the sisterhood - and that would just dog the TV show all the time. (And I'm guessing that because I've not heard about gay men complaining about the TV programme, then it must be okay with them).

Anyway, my advice is to watch it. It is fun, it is entertaining, who knows - you might even get some fashion tips from it :). I gotta go now and buy me some new hair products.....just like Kyan said to the guy the other night :)

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Thursday, December 04, 2003 Whilst In The Barber's Chair...

I was watching all my lovely white & grey locks lightly to the floor over the black Darth Vaderish type gown. (With the rubber shoulder pad thingy I really did feel like a member of the Council of Galifrey or something). It occured to me that it must have been an incredibly long time ago when I had hair as light as this. So, with the wave of my magic wand....

- and this is me :). It was taken outside my granny's house. I guess I must be about three or four years old. I did have striking blonde hair in my very early days, although that B &W photo doesn't really show it off that well.

Photos. What would we do without them, eh? So 34 years later, in a total comparison, I looked like this -

- yomping up the Andes Monutains in Peru. Do you think that little lad playing on his granny's fence realised how much that climbing practice would come in :)

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Wednesday, December 03, 2003 One Of Those Bugs...

...and then if a recovering aching back isn't bad enough, I think I'm contracting the weird virus type thing that Sue has had for the last few days. Head aches, hot & cold chills......or is that just the expectation of the post Xmas credit card bills?

Speaking of which, I can now apply for my Platinum American Express card! Oh - very young executive(!), eh? A friend of mine told me that if I waited long enough, (and I only got the original card less than a year ago because there was some promotion on it), that AE would eventually offer me the platinum card. And they have. But what do I get? Well, like the advert says:

"An exceptional Card, for those who demand the very best

Wherever you are in the world, Cardmembership with American Express ensures unrivalled level of personal service, recognition, security and spending power. And the American Express Platinum Card is the ultimate in financial support. Designed to meet all the needs of a demanding travel lifestyle, it offers a wealth of benefits."

Yeah - but it costs ?275 a year. Sure, it can get me free flight upgrades, free annual travel insurance, free this & free that etc. But I'm never going to be using those things - perhaps only once or twice a year. So, do I really need it......or do I just want it? A bit of both I think.

And another thing - will someone explain to me that if parents teach there children about the dangers of road traffic etc, why do they, (the parents), drive and park like complete roadhogs when they come and pick their kiddies up from school? Why do they drag their children across the road in front of moving traffic to get back to their cars?
We live opposite a junior school, and around 3.15pm - 3.45pm, it's like the bombing of Baghdad. I mean, there are vehicles strewn everywhere - causing major road concerns for the rest of us normal road users who just want to....well... drive down the road. Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Remember - ...tis the season to be fal-la-la-la-lar to you as well! :)

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Tuesday, December 02, 2003 Mug Mats For Your Loved Ones

Save this picture and export it into Photoshop, or whatever imaging editing software you use. Add text such as "Hello Deer" etc. Transfer it to a floppy/cd. Take it to a print shop where they can print and seal it into small, square acetate blocks. Voila! Place mats for mugs.

Okay, it's not a Christmassy theme I know. And - I know this is not the most original idea in the world. However - it's my bloody photograph - and you're getting it free of charge! Boy, some people are never satisfied......;)

How about a photo swop? Or - who has the most bizarre place mats? Answers in the usual place, please.

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