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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.


This was a poem/observations I wrote many years ago when I was working/living down in Brighton. In fact it was 9th June 1989. Wow. That was a long time ago :). I was trying to get to sleep one night.......

The 'House of Animals' next door with the pre-bed riot.
Clanking of forks against tin plates and pot bowls with women in high pitch voices calling their cats.
Car doors banging three streets away at two in the morning.
Coughing of the funny old man who walks his dog at un-Godly hours on the playing fields behind the house.
Planes and trains not normally heard during the day seem to go on for ever.
The 'Central Heating Acoustic Ensemble'
Wind through the trees outside my window.
My noisy duvet - "maybe I should shave my legs?"
The tiniest of flies that got in through the open window and is now making a helluva lot of noise as it flits across the polystyrene ceiling tiles.
My stomach - indigestion.
The scratching of the cat at the foot of my bedroom door as it tries to get in.

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 Want to find me?

The list below are some of the less outrageous ways that people have found me here.

* outlet Doc Marten fabric - no.2 on a Swedish search engine.
* Vacuity Toilets - 80ish in Google.
* jim morrison photos new jersey - 35thish in Lycos.
* winmx pear to pear - 10ish in French Google.
* bus trips to eastenders belgium - 3rd in a Yahoo search.
* George Michael's birthday 2003 - 40ish in Yahoo.
* current emails address of dr paul in california - 10ish in Google.
* kenyan women manchester blog - 13th in Google.
* benylin guestbook 2003 - 6th in Yahoo.
* 2003 guestbook of fish company in philipines - 10ish in Yahoo.
* catherine herridge - 20th in Italian & English Yahoo.

And because of the way search engines work - spidering away as they do - I'd love to have written blog entires on, say - "2003 guestbook of fish company in philipines" - now I would have spent some time on that one! How about you? Do you have any of these little software thingies that tell you this info? Had any weird searches lately?

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 Desperately Seeking Wendy's

You nave no idea. You really don't. Although, you might have some idea. It depends on your addiction, craving, need for certain types of food. It was more than a game. It became a hunt. Man against....well, in this food establishment. I'm talking about Wendy's. Yes - the fast food emporium that has all the same colours of many of the other fast food places on the planet. It's my wife you see...........;)....

Being An American In England, (okay - I know, but you try getting an image that says 'American In England'), Sue misses some of her favourite, not favorite....:), treats from back home. We can get many American foods in England. Some we used to order from places such as Cyber Candy, or through the marvellous American Expats site. However, there are certain foods that just aren't available - and this causes great debate and concern. One such question was raised recently - "Where is the nearest Wendy's, and are there any in London?"

Well, as you may have seen from the website, there is not a link to a Wendys UK - this actually leads you to the Ultimate UK Number Plate Search Engine......God knows why they thought that people who were looking for Wendy's in the UK would want a new car number plate as some sort of alternative - it's a bit tough on the teeth and hardly a Taco Salad is it? So, using my vague memory of some of the less salubrious places around North London, and a few references from Google - off we went a few weekends ago in search of the Lost Wendy's. No luck. Enfield, Middlesex has oodles of fast food places - everyone except Wendy's. And the one in Wood Green, North London - vanished....well, a long time ago apparently.

Naturally, the debating forum back on the American Expats site was beavering away with our UK based colonial cousins investigating every avenue......leaving no stone unturned etc etc. And then.........someone said - " There's a Wendy's at Heathrow Terminal 3!" Well now - not much use for the average punter on the street, eh? I mean - how often do you find yourself loitering around Heathrow Airport? Strangely enough........this morning.....and down in the Food Court we saw this sign....
Okay - that's what I call pretty damning evidence. So, after depositing my mother on a flight to Australia, (she'll hit me when she reads that!), Sue and I made our way to the Food Court to see if it was still there, and Lo!...
Now the evidence wouldn't be complete would it unless I let you have a look at the menu, right? So here it is:
And naturally, to put the final sceptics out of their misery - here was our 'brunch'....
So, there you have it. Yes, there is a Wendy's somewhere near London - at Heathrow Airport.

And if you want more fast food stuff, take a look here:

The question to the panel is - are there any more Wendy's in the UK? And do you have the photographic evidence to prove it ? :)

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Friday, June 27, 2003 Personal Development Review (PDR)

Yup. I've been PDR'ed today. I did all my own stunts, and no animals were harmed.

They used to be called "one-to-one"'s - then they named a mobile phone company the same name, (a UK joke....hopefully, which became T-Mobile, anywayyyy.......), so 'they' - whoever 'they' are - decided there should be another name for that sit down and chat with the boss. I remember working for one company where "....going for a coffee with the area manager...." meant you were getting the sack, or in for a good bollocking. I was taken for a coffee once in my time with that company. I resigned soon afterwards because they were....well....not very good, to put it mildly!

Today's PDR wasn't so bad. To be honest, it was what I expected it to be - which is a good thing. It was rather like one of those psychic shows towards the end where my boss had said one thing - and when I revealed my piece of paper which I had written the night before, there were almost the same words! Our PDRs are also linked to a Head Office database, which, in theory, means they can be searched by potential dept. employers - and you can be head-hunted, as it were. Well, that's the theory anyway.

I suppose I 'll be waiting for some time for the dept. requiring the 'international playboy' ? :)

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Thursday, June 26, 2003 DOGS

Four men were bragging about how smart their dogs are. The first man was an Engineer, the second was an Accountant, the third was a Chemist, and the fourth man was a Government Worker.

To show off, the Engineer called to his dog. "T-Square, do your stuff."
T-Square trotted over to a desk, took out some paper and a pen and promptly drew a circle, a square, and a triangle. Everyone agreed that was pretty smart.

The Accountant said his dog could do better, and said, "Slide Rule, do your stuff."
Slide Rule went out into the kitchen and returned with a dozen cookies. He divided them into 4 equal piles of 3 cookies each. Everyone agreed that was good.
The Chemist said his dog could do better still, so he called his dog and said, "Measure, do your stuff."
Measure got up, walked over to the fridge, took out a quart of milk, got a 10 ounce glass from the cupboard and poured exactly 8 ounces without spilling a drop. Everyone agreed that was great.

......The Government Worker called to his dog and said, "Coffee Break, do your stuff!"
Coffee Break jumped to his feet, ate the cookies, drank the milk, dumped on the paper, sexually assaulted the other three dogs, claimed he injured his back while doing so, filed a grievance for unsafe working conditions, put in for Workers Compensation and went home on sick leave.

Everyone agreed that was really typical.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2003 Wednesdays Child..... full of woe. Hmmmm. I wouldn't say that exactly. But as I was born on a Tuesday anyway - full of grace.....ahhh - that's me...:)...graceful. Yes - almost ballerina-like, as can be seen by my pose in my piccie in the left hand column. (Why am I saying this? Must be the heat, or the heat....yes - the heat!)

But today is George Michael's birthday. it seems only fair I give him a mention here, after laying into his old mate Andy the other day. So what is the old Greek bend-over boy up to nowadays? Well, to save you the embarrassment of being found searching for GM websites, (and I'm not talking Genetically Modified...although there is a case to argue there!?), here's what he's been doing....

"Feb 26th 2003:George Michael has urged young pop stars to scrap plans for an anti-war charity single, claiming it would not be a "genuine" move. Michael, who has been highly vocal in his opposition to military action against Iraq, says there are fewer credible artists around compared to when he took part in the benefit project, Band Aid, in 1984."

......and that's the most recent news I could find, unless anyone else knows any better? Slightly big-headed I think to set himself above all the credible artists around today....whoever they are :)

Who are the credible artists of today anyway? I mean - George might be right. I can't think of anyone today that could have safely got on the stage at Live Aid and rocked the world back in 1985. So prove me wrong - name some ......:)

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Tuesday, June 24, 2003 DATE OF BIRTH: 19/03/63

What sort of lies and embellishments do you put on your c.v. (resume)? This was mine when I got my current job:

"Paul is an excellent communicator. His good organisational skills have benefited him throughout his retail career. He has a strong administrative background which helps him in his present position as an XXX with ZZZ. A good sense of humour and general outgoing personality enables Paul to work as part of a team, as well as on his own initiative."

Amazing isn't it? But is is accurate. Then look at when you spend all day telling people how complex and hard your job can then condense it down into a few lines:

Managing a team of YYYs. Ensuring maximum productivity & effectiveness in achieving the xxx programmes. Dealing with team related issues. Introduction of, and participating in, new projects. "

But lets not forget the most bare faced lying part of a c.v........'hobbies and interests':

Writing movie screenplays. He is currently in the process of marketing the first one and writing the second."

Okay - at the time I was writing screenplays, and I'll probably keep that on my updated c.v. - it's always something useful to talk about if the interview is flagging a bit. And if that wasn't enough, I then went on to tell them how clever I was with a computer...:)......:

He is computer literate. Having experience of Windows, Word/Excel, email & the Internet."

Boy wasn't that a long time ago! I could add a whole heap of things on there - including the address of this illustrious website :)

Have you come across your old c.v./resume recently? Go dig it out. Did anyone tell any down right blatant lies on theirs? (Don't worry - I won't tell the boss!)

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Monday, June 23, 2003 Moroccan Harira

Quite possibly the best soup in the world. By custom the dish to break the fast in Morocco during Ramadan, this thick, rich version is a meal in itself any other time for any body,( except the native stuff didn't have lamb or egg). Serve hot to 8 people. If they really like the tang of lemon, serve traditional little bowls of freshly squeezed lemon juice with demitasse spoons on the side.

1 lb. lamb, cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup chopped celery and leaves
2 onions, chopped
1/2 cup parsley and cilantro, chopped
1 2-lb. can of tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup lentils
1 cup chickpeas (canned are fine)
2 eggs, beaten with the juice of 1/2 lemon

Put the lamb, spices, butter, celery, onion, and parsley/cilantro in a large soup pot and stir over a low heat for 5 minutes.

Add the tomato pieces, and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes. Salt lightly.

Add the juice from the tomatoes, 7 cups of water, and the lentils. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 2 hours.

When ready to serve, add the chickpeas and noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Then, with the soup at a steady simmer, stir the lemony eggs into the stock with a long wooden spoon.

Continue stirring slowly, to create long egg strands and to thicken the soup. Season to taste.

Ladle into bowls and dust with cinnamon.

(Then there's always those little bowls of extra lemon juice for you inveterate sour pusses.)

Actually I've never made, or tasted this soup. I was sent this recipe ages ago. Has anyone ever had this, or could somebody make it - and tell me what its tastes like? Consider this a lesson in web interactive 'soupery' :)

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Sunday, June 22, 2003 Wake Me Up Before I Go Go

..whats he up to now I wonder? No more regular crowds of screaming girlies at various gigs around the world - just the usual DSS face opposite him at Box A 2.30pm Thursdays - although he's probably on six monthly signing now, instead of weekly. Of course, I'm talking about Andrew Ridgeley. A few chopped up bios I found out about him said:

" Moved to Monaco where he failed at a career as race car driver (he crashed a few times and couldn't find sponsors). Signed with Columbia records in 1990 and did one solo album "Son of Albert". He now owns a restaurant called "Bar 92".
Today, Ridgeley lives with his wife, Keren Woodward (formerly of the '80s girl-group Bananarama), and her son. An avid surfer, Ridgeley has become an eco-warrior of sorts. He's a spokesman for Surfers Against Sewage, a British lobbying group. "We have a responsibility to future generations," he told The Times of London recently, "a responsibility to keep the sea clean."

But how does an ex-pop star get retrained to cope with modern day society? There most be some basic rules:

* Do not break all the furniture when you return home every day - it is not a hotel and will not be replaced under the house insurance as 'accidental damage'.
* Stop wearing sunglasses at night - and little old women will stop offering you their seat at the front of the bus.
* Refrain from ending every phone call with "Yeah babe, whatever", particularly when the local authorities phone up about unpaid council tax.
* Always carry I.D. with you. The old "Don't you know who I am?" is wearing a bit thin down at the police station, as they, and the bar where you tried to blag free drinks, clearly don't know who you are.
* Remember to take house keys with you - and don't give them away to girls in bars - you only have one set.
* Take taxis. Remember - even when you owned all those cars, who couldn't actually drive.
* Don't demand a reality TV show about yourself. Remember Ozzy Osbourne is not acting - he really is that way.
* Phone your mother more often - she is still alive and would like to know where you've been for the last 30 years.

Maybe there's a Govt. booklet or help centre for retraining former pop/rock stars? Do you know of any private organisations that rehabilitate the former kings and queens of Glam Rock etc? Or perhaps we should start one ourselves? I found this page which lists the demise of several pop stars and TV personalities. They, like others, need our help. Remember a pop star is just for Christmas - not for think. Give your thoughts generously in the comments box :)

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Saturday, June 21, 2003 Remember When...

Just for a minute, forget everything stressful and read this. Go back in time...Before the Internet or the Apple Mac. Before semi-automatics, joy-riders and crack. Before SEGA or Super Nintendo. Way back...

I'm talking about Hide and Seek in the park. The corner shop. Hopscotch. Butterscotch. Skipping. Handstands. Football with an old can. Fingerbobs. Beano, Dandy, Buster, Twinkle and Dennis the menace. Roly Poly. Hula Hoops, jumping the stream, building dams. The smell of the sun and fresh cut grass. Bazooka Joe bubble gum. An ice cream cone on a warm summer night from the van that plays a tune - Chocolate or vanilla or strawberry or maybe Neapolitan or perhaps a screwball.

Wait...Watching Saturday morning cartoons...short commercials, The Double Deckers, Road Runner, He-Man, Zeebedee, Tiswas or Swapshop, Why Don't You? - or staying up for Doctor Who. When around the corner seemed far away and going into town seemed like going somewhere. Earwigs, wasps, stinging nettles and bee stings. Sticky fingers. Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, and Zorro.

Climbing trees. Building igloos out of snow banks. Walking to school, no matter what the weather. Running till you were out of breath, laughing so hard that your stomach hurt. Jumping on the bed. Pillow fights. Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles. The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team.

Water balloons were the ultimate weapon Football cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle. Choppers and Grifters. I'm not finished just yet...Eating raw jelly. Orange squash ice-pops.
Remember when... There were two types of trainers - girls and boys, and Dunlop Green Flash - and the only time you wore them at school was for P.E. It wasn't odd to have two or three 'best' friends. You didn't sleep a wink on Christmas Eve.

When nobody owned a pure-bred dog. When 25p was decent pocket money. When you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny. When nearly everyone's mum was at home when the kids got there. It was magic when dad would 'remove' his thumb.

When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents. You knew everyone in your street - and so did your parents. When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed him or use him to carry groceries and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.

When being sent to the head's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home. Basically, we were in fear for our lives but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs etc. Parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! - and some of us are still afraid of them!

Didn't that feel good? Just to go back and say, "Yeah, I remember that!"

Remember when 'Race issue' meant arguing about who ran the fastest. Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in Monopoly. The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was germs. And the worst thing in your day was having to sit next to one.

It was unbelievable that 'British Bulldog 123' wasn't an Olympic event. Having a weapon in school, meant being caught with a catapult. Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better. Taking drugs meant orange-flavoured chewable aspirin. Ice cream was considered a basic food group.

If you can remember most or all of these, then you have LIVED. Have a nice weekend, and re-live a few of those things :)

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Friday, June 20, 2003 Back To The Ladies Locker Room And Other Stuff

As I typed that title above, I realised how many different pervy ways my little old weblog is going to be hit by those crawling the web kinds of entertainment!

No luck on the Ladies Locker Room I'm afraid. The local papers were empty of any news or scandal about bowling club toilets. Somewhere out there.....locally......there is a bowling club with 'a problem' with their Ladies Locker Room. Unless, of course, the English gentlemen thought he was phoning into the nomination hotline for the Best Ladies Locker Room in Britain, and he was about to say:

"Hello - this is the Bowling Club. The Lady's Locker Room - ......"

* Is being entered into the 'Sweetest Smelling' category?
* Would like a photographer to come down and take a photo?
* Wants a bigger platform for all the cubicles to stand on when accepting their prize?
* Needs help with their acceptance speech?

Who knows. But what I can say is this: you won't be hearing anything more from me about Ladies Locker Rooms .....maybe :)

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Thursday, June 19, 2003 I Didn't Look Hard Enough

There is a This-Or-That Tuesday irritatingly here are the first three 'this-or-that' questions from Tuesday just gone...

1. Newspapers or magazines?
2. Books-on-tape or regular books?
3. Paperback or hardcover?

1. Hmmmm - newspapers or magazines? Depends what you use them for, I suppose. Soaking up milk off the kitchen floor - newspapers. Flattening a poor defenseless, but definitely scary, spider - magazines.

2. Books-on-tape or regular books? I think regular books. The only books on tapes I could find was this one. You can even read about Duct Shui here.

3. Paperback or hardcover? I refer you to question 1. part B. Re - the spider - it has to be the hardcover, right? :)

Is this how you're supposed to answer these things?

p.s. still no word about the Ladies Locker Room. I'll check the papers again today......:)

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 GOD'S COUNTRY,....ALLEGEDLY

In the beginning God created day and night. He created day for footy matches, going to the beach and barbies.

He created night for going prawning, sleeping and barbies. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came and it was the Second Day.

On the Second Day God created water - for surfing, swimming and barbies on the beach. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came and it was the Third Day.

On the Third Day God created the Earth to bring forth plants - to provide malt and yeast for beer and wood for barbies. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came and it was the Fourth Day.

On the Fourth Day God created animals and crustaceans for chops, sausages, steak and prawns for barbies. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came and it was the Fifth Day.

On the Fifth day God created a bloke - to go to the footy, enjoy the beach, drink the beer and eat the meat and prawns at barbies. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came and it was the Sixth Day.

On the Sixth Day God saw that this bloke was lonely and needed someone to go to the footy, surf, drink beer, eat and stand around the barbie with. So God created Mates, and God saw that they were good blokes. God saw that it was good. Evening came and morning came and it was the Seventh Day.

On the Seventh Day God looked around at the twinkling barbie fires, heard the hiss of opening beer cans and the raucous laughter of all the good Blokes, smelled the aroma of grilled chops and sizzling prawns and God saw that it was good.... well almost good. God saw that the blokes were tired and needed a rest.

So God created Sheilas - to clean the house, bear children, wash, cook and clean the barbie. God saw that it was not just good, it was better than that, it was bloody good..........


p.s. how far from the truth is this I wonder :)

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Tuesday, June 17, 2003 The Tuesday Two

Okay - lets try this shall we? Yes, there is the Friday Five - and sadly I found something like a 'Tuesday Two' - but the questions were a bit lame. So I thought I'd make you get your thinking caps on with a couple of my own:

* Is there anything you'd wished you'd done at the salad bar in Pizzaland and, why does round pizza come in square box?
* Was it you who splashed me in that puddle when you drove by the other day and, when it does rain - why don't sheep shrink?

The truth is out there - so what is it? Let me know :)

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Monday, June 16, 2003 "The silicon chip inside her head gets switched to overload......."

It's a famous old saying "I don't like Mondays". But one of our National Treasures, Sir Bob Geldof, in his Boomtown Rats days took it quite literally when he penned the song from that unfortunate event in San Diego in 1979.

Doesn't alter the fact that we could really do without Mondays, couldn't we?:)

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Sunday, June 15, 2003 A Wrong Phone Call

Earlier this evening we had a phone call. It was a very English gentlemen who spoke exquisite Queen's English. He began:

"Hello - this is The Bowling Club here. The Lady's Locker room -.... "

- at that point I interrupted the man and told him he had the wrong number. As I put the phone down, I wondered what was wrong with the Lady's Locker Room. Was it:

1. Flooded?
2. Annexed by Slovak refugees and declared a republic?
3. Throbbing to the rhythm of the night?
4. Been stolen?
5. Being used as an illegal all night drinking parlour by the Womens Institute celebrating their success in the County Pie Fair?

I wished I'd just let him waffle on a little further......I suppose I can always '1471' it - and call him back :)

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Saturday, June 14, 2003 15. When did you stop thinking you were still getting smarter, or do you still think so? Name the age.

This was, as pointed out above in the title, question fifteen of one those tedious listy things you come across from time-to-time. I was going to say that some of them can be quite clever and thought provoking.......but they're not :). God knows there's enough mindless claptrap on the internet without people having to create questions for other people to answer because they can't fill their own weblog with their own claptrap!

Anyway.........having said all that - this one caught my eye :) So - when did u stop think you were getting smarter, or do you still think so? Damned fine question! Is anyone likely to admit that they no longer think they are not getting smarter? Have you learnt enough, or are not capable of learning anymore? And equally - if you're not getting smarter - are you therefore getting stupider? And/or/maybe - (if you're confused, you should see me trying to type this and keeping a train of thought!) - is there a state of mind between 'not getting any smarter', 'learning nothing', and, 'gradually getting stupider'? Is there a sliding scale based on any particular rules? e.g.

1. Increased dribbling during long speeches.
2. Not being able to say 'Colin' Powell's first name without thinking about 'medical issues'.
3. Parallel parking and forgetting why you went to the mall in the first place.
4. Understanding your children.
5. Being able to name the age you stopped getting smarter.

The sliding scale could also be categorized for different age ranges - because it is not just the elderly who are often assumed to get stupid first. For example here are some of the markers that could be on the 'Youth Stupid Indicator Scale'...

1. Increased dribbling......anytime.
2. Being able to say '...the planet UrANUS...' - and not sniggering.
3. Thinking that 'Drivers Ed' is ran by a guy called 'Ed'.
4. Understanding your parents.
5. Being able to name the age you think you'll start getting smarter.

Do I think I've stopped getting smarter? Hell no! Why I've had it said to my face - "You're a real smart asre, aren't you? " - so if all these people think I'm still smart - I'll just go with public opinion :)

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After the shower.......

Okay - I've chilled out a bit now. But only until the replacement laptop arrived. I opened it up, powered it up, looked at the screen - and it has the exact same pixel fault on it as the one I just sent back! In almost exactly the same place. I am not pleased. I phoned the necessary people, who, of course, have gone home for the weekend, and nothing can be done about it until Monday. Oh joy. Anyway............
Here Comes The Weekend!

Enjoy. Be happy. I'll be cleaning the garage out ready to take 'junk' to a car boot sale. Any hints & tips for selling this stuff?

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Friday, June 13, 2003 "Wheat, wheat! Vast fields of wheat"

Boris: "Wheat... lots of wheat... fields of wheat... a tremendous amount of wheat..." - from Love and Death Woody Allen 1975. It somehow seemed appropriate as I was stuck in town traffic on the way home. I could not see one stalk of wheat, grass, or anything else 'plant like'. But I felt like a fugitive on the run....being hunted by dogs through the swampland and long grasses of some forgotten American county, capital: Nowheresville.......

Well - now that seems a little strange don't it? But I've had one of those silly days where I ended up working flat out just to keep things going. A morning meeting, emails, telephone calls, reports, more emails, more telephone calls, more reports...blah, blah, blah. And to top it all off, a laptop which was delivered damaged to me on Monday, had a 'failed delivery' yesterday.....they tried to deliver it today - without letting me know that they were going to do it! Many, many confused and frantic phone calls later, I am sitting at home in the tropical heat of an outrageous English summer waiting for it to arrive.

Other than that - I was watching Cool Hand Luke the other night which probably has had some influence on my thinking.

I'll go and get a cold shower.......let the weekend relax me :)

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Thursday, June 12, 2003 Doc Marten Story

Inspired by a remark from Lauren about shuffling about the store in her 5 year old Doc Marten sandals.....(if you really do need some Lauren you can get some here ! :) I thought I would finally get out in the open my recent exploits with the famous Doc Marten shoe company. (On a side issue typing in actually gets you here - quite bizarre really!).

About two years ago I purchased a pair of DM brogues. The classic DM shoe with the brogue pattern on them. Very stylish, and incredibly comfortable for work. I've been buying DMs for several years now. They normally last me about....two years. (The more observant amongst you might be seeing a pattern developing here with the 'two year' thing). About two months I decided it was about time I bought a new pair. The last pair I bought in a DM shop in West London, near Bayswater. It is now a tattoo parlour - a sign of the times? Anyway....and I wasn't about to drag my arse all the way over there for a pair of docs. So off I go trawling around Lakeside and Bluewater in search of the sacred shoes. No luck. Nothing. Just the plain DM - blah! Anyway, I find myself up in Northampton - home of shoes etc. I come across a DM 'seconds' shop selling slightly odd looking DMs at discount prices - direct from the factory. I find a pair of brogues - HURRAH! - but they look as the the pattern had just been traced on - and not 'punched' into the leather - and they didn't fit, I forgot to mention that - ha. So I gave up the physical DM search.....

Time marches on. And several weeks later I decided to search the internet for shoes. Yes - I was getting desperate! But that didn't come up with much either - only American sites where the brogue DM was being sold with yellow stitching around the edge. I emailed one USA outlet to see if they did sell the brogue without yellow stitching. They emailed back and said that most people buy them & dye the yellow stitching black (!) - I mean, doesn't that tell you something? Anyway there was no luck there - or any other internet site.

Finally I phoned up the Doc Marten company in the UK and asked them where I could buy the black brogue without yellow stitching. They said that as that particular line had sold less than 150 units in one year - they had discontinued it. They had discontinued it..........about........two years ago (!) I could have bought the last pair of black brogue DMs in England. Now how's that for a hard luck story!?

I bought the boring plain black DM instead - boo :(

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Things You Wish You Could Say At Work

1. I can see your point, but I still think you're full of s**t.

2. How about "never"? Is "never" good for you?

3. I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.

4. You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers.

5. The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist.

6. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.

7. I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.

8. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.

9. I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.

10. Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.

11. It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of Karma to burn off.

12. No, my powers can only be used for good.

13. I'm really easy to get along with once people learn to worship me.

14. I don't work here. I'm a contractor. They just pay me big bucks

15. Who me? I just wander from room to room.

I think I'll try some of them today :)

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003 When Bus Trips Go Wrong II

Remember this little day out ? That was the day trip to France/Belgium Sue and I went on a couple of weeks ago. Now, as you recall, we sent them a little letter of complaint, (go back and click on the link and read it again :) ). And finally, after just over two is their reply :

"I refer to your letter of 28th May 2003 for which I acknowledge receipt. I am sorry that your day was marred by the behaviour of other passengers. I will be investigating who these people are and sending a strong letter regarding their unsociable and inconsiderate behaviour. With regards to clients drinking alcohol on the coach, this is very difficult to police as our drivers are not permitted to search bags, and people are likely to disguise the contents of bottles. However all drivers will be sent a memo asking them to keep an eye on anyone drinking to excess and report it. They can also exercise their authority in refusing to let people board the coach. One would hope that human nature would prevail and these people would give consideration to others as they would expect to receive.

I have spoken to the drivers and advised them that should these passengers travel again, that they should be closely monitored.

Once again I apologise for any inconvenience caused but hope you had a fruitful day making your purchases that you had intended.

I would like to thank you for bringing this incident to my attention.
I do hope that this incident will not deter you from travelling with XXX again."

Okay. What can I say about that? Firstly I get the impression the writer of that letter thinks that Sue & I are a couple of old age pensioners, (less of the grey/balding hair jokes, please!), from the patronising way she refers to "... sending a strong letter regarding their unsociable and inconsiderate behaviour", and also "... One would hope that human nature would prevail and these people would give consideration to others as they would expect to receive." Big deal - kick some ass - it works better than a strong letter and the hope for increased social standards!
As for the drinking bit.....well....a crate of a booze is a crate of booze no matter what way you dress it up - and it was very obvious to everyone on the bus what was going on.

So - what do we do next? Is it worth following this thing through? Should I write back? (I decided not to phone because if the tone of the letter was meant to be serious - then I'll be talking to an idiot!). What will I achieve by writing back? I'll let the nations decide - what do you think I should do next - something....or nothing?

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Tuesday, June 10, 2003 Eternal Thoughts Stuck in My Head

As you know by now (!) there are one million and one ideas kicking around inside my head, (maybe they're trying to get out - which accounts for the strange cranium hair designs in that photo below? ) But there are one or two which do seem to sit there. And these are the questions I would like you to ponder on, and comment as necessary.

* Can a water company go into 'liquidation' ?

* Can a glue factory go into 'insolvency' ?

and most importantly:

* Can a bra manufacturer go 'bust' ?

Okay - these aren't thoughts that are going to re-shape the world as we know it. Although if we do resolve these issues , it'll give me something else to think about in traffic jams - thank you for your help :)

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Monday, June 09, 2003 The Rumours Were Abounding, But.......

Is this just a case of reflections of the light,distortions in the space-time continium etc etc...

Or is there something more sinister happening on the potential hair loss front, (or top, in this case!) ?

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Sunday, June 08, 2003 Talking 'Bout My Generation

Back in 1965, (yes, I was only 2 years old then), The Who released My Generation - an anthem for the yoof of that day.......and for all time. Particularly when someone unimaginative TV/radio producer can't edit their own piece properly and has to reach for the one song that will sell airtime for him/her :). Anyway, I came across this little item in the email which struck me as being, well, absolutely correct........:)...

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 50's, 60's, 70's and early 80's probably shouldn't have survived, because...

Our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint which was promptly chewed and licked. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or cabinets and it was fine to play with pans.

When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip flops and fluorescent 'clackers' on our wheels. As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the passenger seat was a treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle tasted the same.

We ate dripping sandwiches, bread and butter pudding and drank fizzy pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.

We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and no-one actually died from this.

We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then went top speed down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back before it got dark. No one was able to reach us all day and no one minded.

We did not have Playstations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. No 99 channels on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet chat rooms. We had friends- we went outside and found them.

We played elastics and street rounders, and sometimes that ball really hurt.

We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits. They were accidents. We learnt not to do the same thing again.

We had fights, punched each other hard and got black and blue we learned to get over it.

We walked to friend's homes. We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate live stuff, and although we were told it would happen, we did not have very many eyes out, nor did the live stuff live inside us forever.

We rode bikes in packs of 7 and wore our coats by only the hood.

Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that!

So, to summarise...
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

What will the future hold for us, this generation, when we are all old and grey? (Okay I'm grey already, but you know what I mean !) Will the 'kids'of today be as bold & adventurous? Will they have strived to achieve/risk take as we have? Will their lives be as enriched as ours were when we were kids? Will they have used their experiences to continue to create a vibrant & active world...?

Or will our wilderness years be in the hands of pasty faced computer game playing cyber geeks?

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Saturday, June 07, 2003 If There's One Thing That Gets Up My Nose...

- is surgical cameras! True. I've been having trouble recently with my health. In fact it's been dragging on for a couple of months now. The doctor has now come to the end of his stethoscope - and has passed me onto a specialist. So off I went to see this guy the other day. Oh joy...

It's good to meet a man who likes his work. So after a few questions about my current state of health, he tells me quite calmly that he wants to stick a camera up my nose and down my throat. Oh. Thats nice. Both nostrils? Yes. But he did have some numbing spray, (I can't spell anaesthetic...I think !), which he squirted up my hooter first. "Don't eat or drink anything an hour after this" he said. Comsidering that my nose, the back of my mouth & the top of my throat were now all numb - it would be one quick toboggan ride to Mr Stomach if Idid :).

He positioned himself in front of me, (I was sitting upright in one of those dentist chairs). "Watch on the screen behind me" he said. In the wall over his shoulder was a small portable TV. Cartoons? Latest movie releases? Up popped a glorious all-action colour piccie of a camera being inserted up my left nostril. And, for the first, and probably the last time, in my life - I had a guided tour of the inside of my nose. What a place! For one brief moment I thought I saw some crew members from the Marie Celeste - but it was just a shadow :). And with the aim and precision of a master swordsman.......using a long flexy wire with a camera on it (!).....he whipped the damned thing out of my left nostril and attempted to breach the right one. But all was not good. He only got the thing part the way in there, (just past illegally parked cars and abandoned wheely bins.....!), when my eyes started to water and I told him I was going to sneeze - I mean - what would that have looked like on the TV monitor....? :). Again, like Scott and his intrepid Antarctic explorer comrades attempting to break through pack ice with 'The Discovery'.......the doctor probed me with the camera one more time. Ouch - one more sneeze! Finally, after gritting my numb teeth, he went for it again. This time we saw all manner of beasties - dinosaur fossils, betamax video tapes of The Partridge Family, UFO abductees - but most importantly we saw a problem with my sinuses.

Well. The next day......I went for a CT scan. A what? A CT scan. It's like laying on a table and having a Stargate rotate around your head. It's all hi-tech stuff y'know :). Anyway, the upshot of all of that is that I have to go back and see my specialist friend in a few weeks time. Hopefully he'll have exhausted the idea of sticking anything further up my nose - or anywhere else for that matter!

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Friday, June 06, 2003 Instant Matrix

I know I said that the second movie wasn't all that good...ahem..! But for the sake of those who still don't know what's going on. Here's a speech from the first movie which might explain a few things. It's when Agent Smith, (the baddie!), is interogating Morpheus (a goodie!). Oh yes...Agent Smith is a 'Sentient program' in The Matrix whose specialisation is 'Suppression of the Resistance by any means necessary' - good job, eh?

"Have you ever stood and stared at it, Morpheus? Marveled at its beauty. Its genius. Billions of people just living out their lives... oblivious. Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from. Which is why the Matrix was re-designed to this: the peak of your civilization. I say 'your civilization' because as soon as we start thinking for you, it really becomes our civilization, which is, of course, what this is all about.

Evolution, Morpheus. Evolution. Like the dinosaur. Look out that window. You had your time. The future is our world, Morpheus. The future is our time.

I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I've realized that you are not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment. But you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague. And we are... the cure.

Can you hear me, Morpheus? I'm going to be honest with you. I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This reality, whatever you want to call it, I can't stand it any longer. It's the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I've somehow been infected by it. Repulsive, isn't it? I must get out of here, I must get free. In this mind is the key. My key.

Once Zion is gone, there's no need for me to be here. Do you understand? I need the codes. I have to get inside Zion. You have to tell me how.....or you're going to die!"

Zion is where all the goodies live. Morpheus is one if the goodies who may hold the key to get into Zion. Neo is the ultimate goodie, Trinity is a hot chick in tight leathers, good v evil, special effects......etc etc - that's about it really :)

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Thursday, June 05, 2003 Sheriff Joe Arpaio

The Mission Statement from the The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office says.... in partnership with our citizens and contract cities, we will enforce state laws, deter criminal activity, protect life and property, maintain order, and operate a safe, constitutional jail system. Through innovative leadership and our dedication to providing quality services, the Sheriff's Office will maximize the use of its resources to provide the highest quality service which will aid in improving the quality of life for the citizens of Maricopa County. The office is also dedicated to providing a caring and supportive environment for our employees because they are the backbone of the system and have a need for continued growth and development through education and training. Each employee will have opportunities for career development, professional growth, and a challenging work environment. Employee creativity and innovations are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of the Office. Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude, within the Office, that they are expected to share when contacting the citizens of Maricopa County.

Amnesty International in a 1997 report said...At the time of Amnesty International's visit the five jails in the county held more than 6,000 inmates. .......At the time of Amnesty International's visit the Justice Department was still in negotiation with the county authorities to improve conditions in the jails and some improvements had been made, including to medical care. ....Nevertheless Amnesty International remained concerned about aspects of the jail, including use of stun guns and the restraint chair, the ill-treatment of juveniles and other allegations of ill-treatment or use of excessive force...

So what else does Sherriff Joe Arpaio do....? To prevent the black-market theft of prison underpants, Arpaio has ordered all regulation underwear to be dyed pink, and he's got his prisoners wearing old-fashioned striped uniforms with the words ESCAPEE emblazoned on the inside, in case they get any bright ideas about trying to fashion a runaway disguise by turning their clothes inside out. One of his moves has animal-lovers all over America cheering: aside from employing a SWAT-team-style "Pet Posse" to severely crack down on animal abuse in the area, Arpaio has moved the dogs and cats who are victims of abuse, or being held as evidence in domestic violence cases, into the air-conditioned, spacious First Avenue jail. And their caretakers? A corps of female prisoners who are busy hugging, petting and looking after these previously unfortunate creatures; painting the insides of the jail with pictures of trees, flowers and fire hydrants, to make them feel at home.

But here, they have a slightly different view about Joe...

"This site is dedicated to the men and women of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office who have been victimized by America's Toughest Sheriff. The purpose of this site is to inform the public of the questionable tactics Sheriff Joe Arpaio uses to trample the constitutional rights the public, and his employees, by providing links to many news stories and by providing a public message forum."......

Hmmmm - what do they mean? Well - for example -

Arpaio: He invented the idea of housing prisoners in tents.
Truth: The Arizona Department of Corrections has used tents for decades. Facilities in other states also used tents before Arpaio.

Arpaio: He claims credit for feeding green bologna (surplus food) to inmates.
Truth: Jails and prisons here in Arizona and all over the county feed surplus food to inmates and have done so for many years.

Arpaio: He is the "Toughest Sheriff in America".
Truth: This is a title he gave himself. During his years as sheriff he has not made even one arrest and, on those rare occasions where he was present when an arrest was necessary , others had to do it.

Arpaio: He broke the famous "French Connection."
Truth: The people really involved in this case never heard of Arpaio.

Arpaio: He build the tent city jail because of overcrowding in the regular jails.
Truth: To insure there were enough inmates for the much publicized tent city jail he closed an entire floor of the First Avenue Jail.

I'm not quite sure what to beleive.......actually that's not strictly true - I just saw an interview with him on SKY News in relation to prison overcrowding & prison tactics. I would err on the side of caution before committing a crime in his area.........I couldn't possibly wear pink underwear!

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Wednesday, June 04, 2003 Jim Morrison - Genius? Misunderstood? Or actually just dead?!*

Many years ago, (God, a l...o...n...g time ago in fact. 20 years next month - watch out for further details ), myself and a few friends hitch-hiked down to the South of France, (from England), and stayed in a campsite near a place called Le Lavandou. In a tent opposite us was a French family whose father - we believed :) - to be Jim Morrison. He looked like the fat bearded guy he ended up to look like shortly before his 'death' many years earlier in Paris, France.

There was a massive storm one night, (they get them a lot ), - lightening slashing across the sky ! Thunder booming with the force of canons almost knocking tents over ! The rain was making new roads in the dry dusty earth as it gouged into the ground like millions of pickaxes! And 'Jim' ? HE WAS SITTING OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF IT ON A STEEL CHAIR DRINKING BEER !!!!! It was Jim alright - What a guy!

But don't let your admiration for MR MOJO RISIN stop there. Why not revisit the great sounds of The Doors ? How can I put this...?... er......if you have an infantile for playing playing with silly noises and images (!) - you'll love this :). And it made it to the 'Fun & Trivial' column on the right as an all time great !

Yup, next month is the 20th Anniversary of the French hitch to France - story to follow :)

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Tuesday, June 03, 2003 "Topics of The Day"(apologies to Radio Moscow World Service)*

Many years ago there used to be 'Radio Moscow'. Then there was 'Radio Moscow External Service'. Ultimately, the station transformed itself into 'Radio Moscow World Service' (RMWS). These were the days of my short wave radio listening - commonly known as 'DXing'. The term 'DX' comes from an abbreviated code which means 'long distance'. I came across an old logbook crammed packed with goodies & information from my early DXing. An early entry was on Saturday 13th May 1978, (yes - 25 yrs ago!), at the 31metre band....from our good friends at Radio Moscow. Sadly, at that time, my appreciation for their programme content was perhaps not the best in the world:

'....boring. Most boring station I've heard on short wave.....' Ah.

But I think it was a generic Moscow based problem, because the next day, (Sunday 14th May....:)..), at the 31metre band.....I stumbled over 'Radio Station Peace & Progress' - broadcasting from Moscow. I wasn't quite sure who was controlling this station, probably the Govt, as my log entry says:

'...could be mistaken for "Moscow"....'

Things did improve at RMWS. I recall listening to their 'DX Programme', (many international stations used to have them), on Saturday 3rd June 1920GMT...on 7440khz,(40metre band) which was closely followed by:

'...."Moscow Mailbag" with Doris & Tom......' - them were the days, eh ? - no hiding behind false media identities...:)

But it wasn't all drab and boredom from Moscow! One of the most surprisingly good national, (in this case 'international'), bands I've ever come across on short wave radio was broadcast on Radio Moscow. One night in December 1978, as they were just closing down their English braodcast to central Europe, they slipped in a few minutes of the Leningrad Dixieland Orchestra.
Well - what I surprise that was! They were brilliant ! Naturally, you'll have to like jazz to appreciate what I'm talking about - but if you ever get a chance to hear them - do it - you'll be pleasantly surprised. The log book further reveals that I heard RMWS again, 5 years later on Saturday 23rd 1555GMT.......on 9450khz....with our good friends the Leningrad Dixieland Orchestra back for an encore!

Perhaps Moscow only had one record.........? :)

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Monday, June 02, 2003 The Dating Game*

How would you like to know everything about your date before you met them ? You do? Then Puntos Arenas is the place for you. Yes - that Puntos Arenas, the one near the tip of South America. Okay, it's a bit of a taxi ride home. And the language might be a bit of a problem. And I think the nearest McDonalds is about 800 miles north of you at Pto.Montt. (Always useful to know if the date bums out after the first few mins, and you're starving). But the kids down there have it pretty much wrapped up when it comes to seeing if your date is worth dating.
Here's the scenario: Marie, (name changed),.......actually I'm just making her damned name up anyway - so what does it matter? Anyway......Marie, 17yrs old..........yes, I made her age up as well. I suppose I better stick a disclaimer in here - come to think of it, I really should have a disclaimer at the foot of the page as well - look for that in a few days. Anyway - here's this disclaimer:

This article in no way relates to anybody called Maria, aged 17yrs old, or any other person mentioned here within living in & around, or just traveling Puntos Arenas, Chile, South America. Any resemblance to anybody is purely coincidental. Honest.

So Marie fancies the pants off Salvador. Salvador is in her Deep Sea Oceanic Studies Class at college. (Yes - it does sound a bit fishy, but it's my story and I'm sticking with it.). Marie wants to ask him out, but first she wants to know more about him. In true college style, she consults her friends. She asks those all important college type questions that girls ask about boys......(remember this is a Spanish translation, so bear with me).......

1. "Would you shag him?"

- there were more questions but I'm not very good at South American Spanish. The upshot of all of this inquisitiveness is......Maries' friends then spend some time 'investigating' Salvador. Yes. They follow him and log his every move. They photograph him. They build up a dossier about him. They report back to Marie at regular intervals. And when the time is right - and that could take up to a year......a date is set. Marie, and her friends turn up to see Salvador.
During this time , (and remember I'm not making up the basic principal of this article - this really does happen down there), Salvador knows he's under investigation. In fact, if he's the 'King Crab', ( probably not the best analogy to use, is it?), of the Deep Sea Oceanic Class, he could be being investigated by more than one girl at the same time. (Potential business opportunity for a Quik-PhotoLab store in P.A.). He could, in fact play this to his advantage if he knows who is investigating him. Act like a right w***er in front of one girl's friends, but be The Pope in front of some other girl's friends........hmmmm, acting like The Pope won't get him anywhere on the 'rumpy-pumpy' front, will it ? Perhaps acting like Antonio Banderas would be a better choice.

So, I was watching a travel programme about Puntos Arenas. There was a girl who spent one year with her friends investigating one guy. (This guy had already been investigated eleven previous times.......even with your head in a diving bell, you'd have had to have known that if you were at the same college). Finally, a date was set up. The girl, and her friends trooped into a tapas bar to meet the 'Golden Child'. She sat for approx. two minutes next to him.........turned to the camera and said 'No'. And got up and worked out. The 'Golden Child' never even flinched. I believe he later went to the leather store to get a belt made with the slogan printed into it:

"?Doce de tantos meses - un qu? individuo!"

And then he might have not of as well.

So, the next time you're down in Puntos Arenas, and you're looking for a good time. Make sure you've got plenty of money & time and your hands to spare. And you might........just might.........get lucky.

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Sunday, June 01, 2003 NEVER SAY TO A COP

1. I can't reach my license unless you hold my beer. (OK in Texas)

2. Sorry, Officer, I didn't realize my radar detector wasn't plugged in.

3. Aren't you the guy from the Village People?

4. Hey, you must've been doin' about 125 mph to keep up with me. Good job!

5. Are You Andy or Barney?

6. I thought you had to be in relatively good physical condition to be a police officer.

7. You're not gonna check the trunk, are you?

8. I pay your salary!

9. Gee, Officer! That's terrific. The last officer only gave me a warning, too!

10. Do you know why you pulled me over? Okay, just so one of us does.

11. I was trying to keep up with traffic. Yes, I know there are no other cars around. That's how far ahead of me they are.

12. When the Officer says "Gee Son....Your eyes look red, have you been drinking?" You probably shouldn't respond with,"Gee Officer your eyes look glazed, have you been eating doughnuts?"

I can think of some others, but I'm far too polite....:)

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