Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Email to the Great Britain Luge Association

With all the talk of the forthcoming Winter Olympic Games in Torino, I thought it was time I put in an enquiry to the Great Britain Luge Association...

Dear Lugers,

Since I was a child I have been a fan of the Winter Olympics and my favourite sport was always the Luge, I quite liked the Bobsleigh but it was just too easy for my taste; sitting there, in your little car with all your friends, it's more of a social event.
No, I was enchanted by the idea of these iconic lone adventurers, braving the frozen flume of death at extreme speed and coming out of the other end a hero amongst his countrymen.

What a noble concept.

I wonder how one would go about becoming such an adventurer? As you'd expect, I've no real practical experience with the Luge, I've not even been sledging all that much (my Dad used to say sledging was invented to keep the schools from overcrowding - which of course served only in amplify my fascination) but I am taking driving lessons if control of a vehicle is an issue (although I do keep failing the test - fourth time's the charm), and I am willing and indeed, eager to learn. I'm also young, energetic and I'm not fat.

Where could I go to get some Luge practice in? And how much practice would I need to be of Olympic standard? I recognise that it's probably too late for me to join you at the Winter Olympics in Torino this year, but perhaps I'll be there with you in 2010? I certainly hope so!

I look forward to hearing from you and many thanks for your time!

Andrew xxx


No word back yet. They do try to respond to all enquires within 48 hours, but I suppose it's a busy time for them, booking flights and things.

The Trials and Tribulations of the 21st Century Parent

They say one of the benefits of pet ownership is that it gives you a sneak preview of the responsibilities, trials and tribulations that the raising of human children will bring.

This is certainly true of me and my pet cat, ‘Daisy’. I've put up with the demands, the mood swings, the rows and the turds, but now developments have brought the challenges of fatherhood into sharp focus…

When I first suspected she was taking an interest in religion, I was pleased, I thought it would give her the direction and moral fibre she needed to leave her slothful, workshy ways behind.

But it soon became clear this wasn’t happening. She continued to sleep most of the day and stay out late, she never read any kind of religious texts (or any books at all for that matter) and I don’t think she even knows the direction of Mecca. It could only be some perverted, twisted version of religion that she’s gotten herself into, and the simple truth of it is unavoidable…

Daisy has become a religious extremist.

It’s hardly surprising. Daisy is one year old now; that’s 16 in cat years and its disenfranchised teenagers like Daisy that are targeted for indoctrination by these extremist groups. They must’ve gotten to her when she was on one of her after-breakfast walks.

I’ve tried talking to her about it but it’s no use, she won’t open up about it, she just sits there gazing up at me with this blank stare, before licking her arsehole and storming off outside. I might as well be speaking in a language she doesn’t understand for all the good it does.

The tension in the household is palpable, she comes in, eats, sleeps and storms off out again without a word about where she’s been or where she’s going. Where is the helpless kitten I once knew? I don’t know her anymore. But worse than that, I’m actually afraid of what she might be capable of if things carry on like this.

Unfortunately it seems that parents in my position have very little support to turn to, until they have actually done something there’s very little help. Sure, right now it’s just small, seemingly innocuous acts of rebellion: staring at you on the toilet, clawing the sofa, - but who knows where it will end? I don’t want to wake up one morning to find her on the front page of the paper - a small tabby would attract a lot of attention boarding the tube in a hoodie and a rucksack.

"I can drive, it's just that my skills aren't recognised by the state."

As you may have heard by way of grapevine and comment box, I had another go at the driving test on Tuesday and failed.

To my disgrace, this is the third time I've failed it. When do you ever hear someone say it took them four
attempts to pass their driving test? Never. Not unless it's a cheap BBC docusoap about some dumb menopausal rageaholic nutbag who can't get her Skoda out of the driveway.

This attempt was even worse than the second - On the second I failed with just two minors and one major, this time it was 7 minors and two majors! He was ticking that error sheet so much he got through five biros. My driving is actually getting worse.

My driving instructor pretends to be frustrated, but he's
getting a few more lessons out of me isn't he? He's loving it really. It's got to the point where we've not got anything to do now, I drive around for a while and he chats on his mobile, reads a book, does his taxes... Every once in a while he'll look up and say 'Do a reverse park' or 'How do you check your tyre pressures?' or 'Pull in here, I need to get some courgettes.' but he doesn't wait to see if I've got it right.

On the plus side, I'm getting very good at reacting to these failures, this time there wasn't any anger or self-pity. Just mild irritation. When you've failed as many times as I have, you get bloody good at it. At the end of the test I asked "How did i do?" and the examiner replied: "The usual... see you again soon will we?" and got out of the car to join all the other examiners in waving me off.

I've booked another for early March, which, at my current rate of decline, should see me side-swiping old ladies, ploughing though school playgrounds and finally flipping the car upside-down into the test centre.
I wonder if they have a box to tick for that...

It's no Grab-a-Grand.

Bearded tv quizpot Noel Edmonds is back:

20 people open boxes with numbers in one by one.

Noel gets a phone call, we don't know what is said, but he hangs up and tells us another number.

Noel says to the contestant: "He's testing you."

The contestant says "No, I'm gonna go for it."

Everybody claps.

Richard and Judy comes on.


Return of the Hack

I've not written anything on here but I'll be honest, I've been posting entries on some other blog sites I was experimenting with recently and they turned out to be crap. I hope you'll forgive me, I'll post what I wrote up here to bring you up to date with the evolution of my bullshit.

Andrew x

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Dangers of Weblogging

I tend not to disclose much about myself on here, it's not that I don't trust you lot, you all seem very nice and non-axe-murderer-esque (quite a compliment, I know) it's just that there may come a time in the future when I would rather these... erm... literary... erm... "works"... were not traced back to me.

Perhaps one day, when I'm grey, crusty and bored, I'll get into politics, and quickly work my way up the ranks of government to, say, Minister for the Department of Laser Guns, Flying Cars and Whole Meals in Pill Form (DoLGFC&WMiPF) - an important and prestigious position in the future. I don't want some sneaky journalist putting it about how I searched for pornography on Google and encouraged others to do the same and described a charity collector as 'an arrogant tosser with a goatee' , all in one week.

It would completely ruin my chances of getting the coveted post of Chief Minister for the Ministry of Robot Justice. - Whatever that is.

Then, like vultures, all the journalists would start sniffing around my business, they'd get wind of the affairs, the cash for questions, the large stockholdings in companies I awarded government laser gun contracts to, the covering up of the beef-stroganoff-pill choking risk ("Stroganoffgate"), the 'hotel room incident', the rehab, the list goes on... all because I waffled on in a blog a few years back.

Can't a guy leave his past behind him and move on to a life of sordid indulgence and debauchery at the expense of the taxpayer?

Mind you, I'm not actually planning to get into politics, but I like to keep my options open, and from what I've just said, it does sound like fun.

I have admitted, grudgingly, that I'm from Norfolk and given that I'm not a farmer, nor do I flip burgers in a caravan on the A11, that narrows it down to just two or three places I could possibly live, and I don't live in bloody Kings Lynn (whatever the risk, I'm not having anyone think I'm one of that lot).

So I think I'll open up a bit, let the Mr Andrew mystery unfold some more...

ok, so, interesting fact about me...

I once met Tony Blair and lied to his face, then a year or two later he went on to lie to a whole country...

You see, I'm already having my wicked way on the world stage... MoRJ here I come.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

How did you find me??

I've been getting suspicious of the Referrers' List I display so proudly on my menu bar for a while now, at the moment it is adamant that in the past 24 hours 189 visitors have found their way here via JonnyB's site (where I nicked the List from), and just a dozen or so have come from elsewhere.

Much as I'd like to believe that Jonny's readers are flocking my way en masse, they've been conspicuous in their absence from my comments boxes and my email inbox, so I've been forced to adopt a more reliable method of keeping track of what you lot are up to.

For the last week I've been using sitemeter's free service, because I'm not payin' for nuffink (what? you think I'd cough up some of my hard-earned for your sake? forget it) and it's great. Lots of detailed statistics about where you're all from, when you come here, what browser you use, what screen resolution, what your bank details are, how your mother is, whether those genital warts have cleared up yet, etc.

By far the most interesting section is the referrals screen, not just because it doesn't lie to my face like the other one, but also because I get to see in detail all the interesting things people were searching for when they stumbled upon this pile-of-bullshit-organized-by-date.

I'm sure you other bloggers have enjoyed this kind of power for many a year, but it's all exciting and shiny and new to me, so I thought I'd share some them with you...
  • Lots of people, probably lazy googling journalists and/or terrorists, came here looking for more information about super hot Italian lawyer Antonietta Sonnessa, mentioned previously (in-linking, how perverse...) , only to be disappointed, serves them right for being so lazy/terroristy.
  • Under MSN search (yes, some people use it! I was as surprised as you), this site is placed quite highly when folk have been searching for 'Truth Whole Truth Nothing But the Truth So Help Me God' which is a testament to what an exceptional job they've done with revamping that search engine; even when searching for something so general, it still gets you the answers you're looking for.
  • Again, MSN search plays a blinder, as a large number of disappointed people have found when searching for 'Truth about God'. I'm right up there on the first page of results! Now, while I haven't yet posted about what the 'Truth About God' is, rest assured my e-pilgrims, I've made a mental note to knock that one out one of these days. Patience is next to Godliness, or something... <-- that wasn't it, by the way.
  • Google however, shows nothing but it's shortcomings when I am shocked to report that someone found their way here by searching it with the words 'Dozy twat', and, I think you'll agree, most certainly did not find what they were looking for. Even if it did take them more than ten minutes to work that out.
Now excuse me while I change my start page. Hmph.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Lost in Lost

I haven't been posting much lately, but not without good reason. I've become a bit crazy over channel 4's latest purchase from the other side of the pond... 'Lost'. I watched the first few episodes and promptly 'acquired' the rest of the series - which may or may not mean 'illegally downloaded'.

If you're not aware of it, the premise is simple, a plane load of models and the bloke out of Lord of the Rings crashes on a desert island and they're trying to survive an' shit. - I like to think of it as a Hetty Wainthropp Investigates for the new millenium, only with fewer Murray Mints and more inexplicable Polar Bears.

I've been watching it pretty much non-stop and have now completed the series. Yes, I know I need more friends.

It's great, it really is, a ray of light in the sea of cheap reality shows about badly behaved children, bickering wives and wife beaters that is British television.

My question about it is, since when did they decide that they were on a deserted island? Nobody seems to have thought to check, they might have crashed on the 'cultured' end of Ibiza for all they know.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Google Fun!

As I've previously mentioned, the only reason I started this website was so it could act as a kind of moral-support-blog for Ed's Secret Diary of Interactions, the weblog of my good friend Ed.

Perhaps inevitably, it quickly turned into a blogging competition, who could get more comments, who could get more visitors, but mostly who would stick at it longest. And as you can see, since his last post was on July 26th, I think we can all agree that this is a rare occasion where I have won one of our little contests.

So Ed, without appearing smug, todays dinner is a microwaved can of whoop-ass served with mashed potato and gravy. - I know you love my mash.

I should be allowed to rub this one in because I don't usually win this stuff, it just so happens that I really love waffling on about inane crap.

Take this game he introduced me to a few months ago, the Google Image Search game. It's wonderful, it's the new chess, only it's more about the pawn.
In the Google Image Search game you must go to, yes you guessed it, Google and select the image search (if you couldn't work that bit out, you're not likely to turn out to be a world champion Google Image Search player, try Junior Trivial Pursuit), now, the next part is very important, you must go to 'Advanced Image Search' and change the 'SafeSearch' option to 'No Filtering'.
Once this is done, the game can begin.

The objective of the game is to enter the most seemingly innocent searchword and still return pornographic pictures high on the search results, preferably on the first page.
It's important that the word has absolutely NO CONCEIVABLE LINKS TO PORN. Otherwise you lose.
For example, the word 'Shoes' (although it doesn't return any dirty pics - damn!) is a good word because you wouldn't expect it to have anything to do with porn, however the word 'Nun' is not a good word, because although it technically has nothing to do with porn, it's bound to bring up million and one pictures of busty plastic blondies in habits. And it does.
And using words like slut, cleavage, Paris or Hilton will have you disqualified for wasting time and Google bandwidth.

I have never been able to get anywhere with this game, and he came up with a load of better ones than me before I even started, so I resided with the fact that I'd lost.
But that is until last Thursday when looking for an image to brighten up my post ranting about charity twats...

I am so impressed with it, Ladies and Gentlemen, I challenge you all to beat it. The word is:

'Clipboard' - see image result number three.

I'm not entirely sure what the picture's relevance is, but it matters not...

The gaunlet is down, lets see what you've got, readers...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Take your clipboard and shove it

Maybe it's a symptom of my closet geekiness, but I really hate having to go into the city centre; so much so that before I go I make a list of what I need (in my head - I'm secretly lazy aswell as geeky) and then I plan the shortest possible route to each shop and then home again, hopefully in a neat loop.

A good trip is one where I manage to go to each place, with my earphones in, without having to stop, talk to anyone or make any diversions to the planned route whatsoever, for this, the new self-checkouts at Tesco are a godsend. Mind you, an even better trip is one where I realise I can get what I need on the internet, and I get to spend the day in a darkened room playing Playstation, eating cereal and watching daytime TV.

So, I find it understandably irritating when walking my route from shop to shop only to be confronted with a team of spotty, clipboard carrying, dreadlocked cocky students, desperate to ease their guilty conscience for never having done a day's work but living a life of luxury courtesy of Daddy's credit card by hassling me for the details of mine.
Normally you'll find them covering a wide pedestrianised shopping street in a classic 3-2-3 formation, all grinning sickeningly, knowing without question that they are better people than everyone around them, wondering if perhaps the starving indigenous people of who-knows-where might initiate them into the tribe if they knew what they doing for them.

Their eyes lock in on me, all at once, I don't what it is about me that makes them think I am such an easy target, perhaps I look like the sort of young, naive, idealistic guy who steps out the house thinking he can change the world in one fell swoop, or at least someone who has guilt issues; but more likely it is that I definitely don't look like a dirty urine-soaked old man, swearing under my cider-breath, ready to bite the next person who speaks to me, of which there are a lot in Norfolk.

When they start closing in it's time to come up with your excuse for keeping your cards in your pocket. It's not as easy as you'd think, they've been well versed in how to deal with any excuse, and add to this an arrogant inflated sense of self-importance and they'll have you paying them to leave you alone.

It must not come to that, you need to arm yourself with excuses they're not prepared for, here are a few of my favourites:
  • A technique that worked for me for a long time was saying "I've already got ties to another charity" and this always had them stumped. They can't play the guilt angle because you're clearly a giver, and this is not one they learn in charity collector training, so they might suspect it could be true. This was great until one day one particularly smug son-of-a-bitch with a nose piercing replied: "So?", and he had me stumped.
  • A popular line to try that really sticks it to them is "I'm sorry but I don't agree with being hassled for money in the street." which is great, they never expect it, and it shows you can be cocky and self-righteous too. Most will realise that it will be a better use of their time just to move on to someone else, and it's never failed me, yet. However, I think it has the potential to lead to further discussion which I'm not prepared for, and that would inevitably lead to me reaching for my wallet.
The real problem with both of the previous two techniques is you're opening a dialogue with them, and that's playing right into their hands, these guys were hired because they love to talk, and they're very good at it.
The best methods are the ones that avoid a discussion of any kind, if you let them stop you in your tracks you've already made your first mistake, these two approaches are a little more preventative...
  • If you've got earphones in, just pretending you don't know they're there is a classic and is almost foolproof, but I have had one of them pull my earphone out of my ear, which is the daytime equivalent of slapping a sleeping person round the face. It didn't work, I didn't give him anything, but I think he could see it was taking all of my strength not to throttle him by that point
Far and away the best method requires an accomplice, Mrs Andrew in my case. Mrs Andrew and I are often targeted because they think that I will not want to appear an unfeeling unsympathetic scrooge in front of her, but that's where they're wrong. She knew from the start that I'm a tight miserable bastard and she's learned to lump it.
You and your accomplice need to be briefed in this approach:
  • When walking into a clipboard zone, immediately start having a loud, otherwise embarrassing fake argument; using choice phrases like "YOU ALWAYS DO THIS!", "YOU SICK BITCH, HE'S MY BEST FRIEND!!" and my favourite, "VIOLENCE, THAT'S YOUR SOLUTION TO EVERYTHING!!". It's a lot of fun and we're getting really good at it, I'm considering an acting career. Plus, what clipboarder in his right mind is going to step in front of us and say, "Spare a few moments for Africa?"? If it was a real argument Mrs Andrew would have him running faster than his sandals could carry him, it's more than his job's worth. I suggest you try it if you can, it's never let us down.
Oh, I know it's just charities trying to do their bit and I don't have a problem with that, I just hate being talked down to by an arrogant tosser with a goatee who treats me like someone who's standing there slapping the starving children round the face with wads of fifty pound notes while quaffing champagne and cackling, when actually I'm struggling to work out how to pay my council tax bill each month.

Oh, I feel thoroughly ashamed of myself most of the time already bandana boy, your work here is done.