Squodge Squodge

The Purple Penguin

Friday, August 30, 2002
Canine Interest story: Dog falls over 100ft down a cliff and survives without any injuries.

The Abbey National have been slammed by the Financial Ombudsman who ruled that their mortgage pricing is unfair. Some of us will be getting big refund cheques.

Mob mentality: MTV awards. That just doesn't make sense to me.

Gamers Interest story: Counter Strike players will face 24 hour bans from all servers if caught cheating. I haven't minded being a "CS widow" nearly so much since I started blogging :-)

The Tate Modern are trialling handheld wireless devices as interactive tour guides. Maybe I'll actually get round to going soon :-) The most enjoyable experience I've ever had of modern art was a guided tour of the Tate when I was at school. Having somebody explain the imagery really made a difference to my appreciation and understanding.

posted at 10:17 AM
Yesterday, my darling hubby, aka bloing turned 30. We had a lovely night in a pub by the river, catching up with old friends and making new ones. Thanks to all who came, with a particular hello to enthusiasm who we met in the flesh for the first time.

Fortunately we had elected a couple of weeks ago to book today off work. It would be fair to say I'm not feeling particularly lively and alert this morning. Much better to be sitting at my PC idly surfing the web at home than being shackled to my PC and work and being forced to think about stuff :-)

For anyone who cares, my new PC is now almost fully functional. It's lovely and fast, and I'll be spending the next couple of weeks tinkering and installing stuff. It should be easier for me to find a little more time to blog again though, so watch this space...

posted at 10:14 AM
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
A week later than predicted, my new PC is up and running and I'm back at the keyboard. And what a manic week it's been! We spent the week running around doing stuff (like getting my new toy working), and the weekend partying (nip over to bloing for more info if desired :-). A more interesting post will follow as soon as I find time to write one! Now where did I put that CD I need to install next .....

posted at 9:43 PM
Monday, August 19, 2002
Just came across this gem via manic, bob the builder's guide to sexual innuendo.

posted at 11:28 PM
I've been a busy bee again, which is why I've been so quiet. Went off to another wedding on Saturday - a nice do where the sun was shining and the champagne was flowing freely. I think it's a good 3 or 4 weeks before the next wedding on this year's agenda :-) We actually got our own wedding photos back at the weekend - a mere 51 weeks after tying the knot :-) (They were worth the wait though - the pictures look good :-).

Got back home yesterday afternoon having stopped on the way back to get some new tyres put on the car. Then spent several hours building my lovely new PC. Watched the final episode of season 2 of The West Wing. Due to the wonder of modern technology that is my Sky dish I only have to wait until Thursday for the start of season 3. Hooray! This was naturally followed by the final episode of 24. It's over, leaving as many new questions as loose ends tied off. What a cracking series it has been! I'm looking forward to the second series - it will be interesting to see where they take it next.

At the close of Monday, the new PC is nearly built. Tried to do some really flash stuff with a couple of spare hard drives, but they're not playing the game :-( This should be my last post before formatting my hard drive to go over to my new box. If I go very quiet for quite a while again you know something has gone wrong. Fingers crossed ......

posted at 10:08 PM
Friday, August 16, 2002
A very serious one here. The beeb are publishing the blog of a white farmer in Zimbabwe which chronical his legal fight against being evicted without compensation from his farm. It's much more personal hearing the story from the victim himself than the generalised stuff most journalists are publishing. The beauty of the internet at it's best.

The FBI have issued a warning to companies about warchalking. Do you think it's a tad worrying that one of the largest intelligence organisations in the world have only just cottoned onto something the mainstream press was talking about nearly a month ago!

posted at 7:46 PM
Wednesday, August 14, 2002
I have been looking for a map of Europe today. I downloaded this map puzzle and had much educational fun trying to put the countries in the right place! Test your geography today, and see if you can put the countries in faster than I could (without using the outlines - that's cheating :-). Your time to beat is 4 mins, 24 seconds!

All this frivolity put me in mind of a Jane Austin line. In Mansfield Park, one of Fanny Price's cousins says of her "... my cousin cannot put the map of Europe together ... Did you ever hear anything so stupid?" How very literary - most unlike me!

posted at 9:17 PM
Tuesday, August 13, 2002
Handy hint for the day - to prevent socks working their way into the deeps of your duvet cover, turn the duvet inside out before putting it into the washing machine. So now you know.

posted at 8:16 PM
Let's see what's through the round window....


posted at 8:01 PM
Sunday, August 11, 2002
This is mental! one man, 300 helium balloons, 7000ft. This story comes to you in photos from good old Aunty Beeb. Why? He was aiming for a record-breaking 11,000ft. Looks like a laugh to me - and I'm scared witless by heights :-)

I've got a busy week ahead, so I'm probably going to go quiet again for a while. Main aim for the week ahead - building my new flash PC from the groovy new bits I bought today cobbled together with some of what's in the box I'm communicating with now. Fingers crossed ....

posted at 9:46 PM
Saturday, August 10, 2002
I've been rounding off my Saturday by trawling my blog rolls, and have been suprised to realise how long it is since I've had a good surf. Here are some highlights of my surf.
Thanks to
gert for this geek personality rating. I'm proud to announce that I'm only 20% geek. That makes me feel better after spending the better part of a week writting code in my spare time!

Via enthusiasm I found this database of electron microscopy pics. You wouldn't be able to guess from my day to day life that I'm a molecular biologist by education, so these were of particular interst to me :-)

Also from enthusiasm, an ananova article called "Men Can't Win" which discusses the fact that 1 in 10 women will take offence when a man holds a door open for them. When I was growing up this was called "manners". I really don't understand what the fuss is about. Would the same women take offence if another woman held a door for them? If not, they should notice their own hypocrisy and get over it. If they would, then they've obviously got a bloody great chip on their shoulder, and it's time to grow up. Personally, I appreciate it whenever anybody holds a door open for me. Living in a big city it is very easy to feel invisible - anybody who actually notices my physical presence helps to counter all the people who don't notice me and bump into me or generally get in my way as I'm moving about.

posted at 10:21 PM
Greenpeace have published photos of Norwegian glacier taken from the same spot in 1918 and recently. The pictures show just how much the ice has receded in the last century. It's worth taking a peek if you haven't seen them yet - this is the best visual evidence of global warming I've ever seen.

Six Ealing comedies have been digitally remastered for re-release in cinemas (no doubt in preparation for DVD releases :-). The 6 include one of my all-time fave films - Kind Hearts and Coronets. This is all part of a relaunch for the studio, who have recently done a remake of Hinge and Bracket. UK TV watchers from the 70's may recall these two - they were a drag comedy double-act who portrayed a ladies of a "certain age and class". What was so fantastic about this particular stage version was that they played all four female parts right until the final scene (when all 4 are on stage at the same time!) which just made one of the funniest scripts ever written even funnier.

I notice that the new auditors have been getting stuck into the books at WorldCom. In the scandal that just keeps on growing, another $3.3billion of mis-accounted spending has been identified. There can be no real doubt left that Andersons were not in on it now - if the auditors can genuinely fail to spot a $7billion error some serious questions need to be asked.

In the latest "animals are cleverer than we think" story, a crow has demonstrated the ability to make tools.

And some Australian researchers have raised doubts on one of the central tenets of modern physics. They think the speed of light may not be constant after all, but may have changed over the eons. Was Einstein right all along? He never quite believed that the Theory of Relativity was correct!

posted at 8:53 PM
Over the last week or so I've buckled down to learn html and css. At the risk of sounding like a total geek, it's been a lot of fun :-) You can see some of the results on this page - regular readers may have noticed my photo appearing at the top of the page. Today I have also added a footer to tie together the various segments of the entity known as "owentams". Some of the credit goes to Mr. Squodge, aka owen. If you feel so inclined, check out my new links page to see the fruits of my labours. Over the next few weeks I will be slowing re-writing my template and adding a few new bits and pieces. I apologise in advance for any odd looking bits and pieces while I sort it out! Once I'm sorted I should have a bit more time to put together some more interesting posts!

posted at 8:00 PM
Thursday, August 08, 2002
Off with his head: A Mexican surgeon has been arrested after getting a little carried away whilst performing a circumcision. Ouch!

I've come across a few stopping smoking sites over the last few days, without really looking for any. Quite liked this one: from the Beeb, as it has a nice list of withdrawal symptoms and how long they should last, as long as some benefits to spur you on. At this stage I should notice "Breathing easier. Bronchial tubes start to relax and energy levels increase". Well, I get the tube every day (I remember from somewhere that an hour on the tube is the same as smoking 2 cigarettes in terms of inhaled toxins), and I'm absolutely exhausted. Mind you, if I only worked the number of hours mentioned in my contract I wouldn't have to go to work tomorrow, which could well explain the tiredness. My only real withdrawal symptom at the moment is "Night-time awakenings", which I now know affect about 25% of people and should last less than a week. I apologise for the self-indulgence of blogging this stuff, but I figure the more I talk about it the less likely I am to fold as I'll have to admit to even more people I've failed!

A couple more support type links for anybody else in the same boat: quit smoking uk - loads of articles and handy stuff including this advice: "Cut down on caffeine. When you stop smoking the caffeine in colas, coffee and tea can become more potent. This can lead to anxiety and jitters. Try to reduce your caffeine intake and you may find this helps to control some of your withdrawal symptoms." I'll try that tomorrow! It's also worth taking a look at quit smoking 0n-line which follows a fairly similar approach to the book I was talking about yesterday.

posted at 8:36 PM
Wednesday, August 07, 2002
So far it's been another busy week, but deliberately so for a change. I finally quit smoking on Monday, following countless half-hearted attempts in the past. I know it's only Wednesday, but this is the longest I have gone with out a cigarette for longer than I care to admit. I've gone cold turkey, having had really scary nightmares when using patches in the past. The first 6 hours or so were fine - being my first day back in the office after a week off I was even busier than usual. However, by about mid-afternoon I started to feel like death. Luckily for me I was in a particularly stubborn frame of mind and refused to give into it. Needless to say, I was not in the best of moods on Monday evening :-) I was not prepared for the complete insomnia that followed. I actually went for an early night, which is something I always mean to do but never happens. My reasoning was that if I went to bed nice and early I could sleep through the cravings and would feel much better on Tuesday for having a proper nights sleep for a change. I was pretty tired when I got to bed, but as soon as I hit the pillow I was instantly wide awake. 3 hours later I finally fell asleep, only to wake up every hour, on the hour for the rest of the night.

And so we get to Tuesday. By this point I haven't had any nicotine at all for 24 hours, and only managed about 5 hours sleep in total. You might think I was starting to climb the walls and bug the hell out of anybody who happened to encounter me. Instead, I felt completely normal. It's now Wednesday, and I've gone 3 days without cigs, and to be honest, it's been suprisingly easy. I did read
Alan Carr's "Easy Way to Stop Smoking" last week. I'd already made the decision to quit before I read the book, but I'm glad I read it as it helped focus me on what I was doing. It's cheaper than a pack of patches too :-) And right now? I sort of fancy a smoke because I've been sat here thinking about it! I think the challenge for the next few days is going to be remembering I've quit and not lighting up out of habit before I realise what I've done. The physical withdrawal took me just 24 hours - readjusting my thinking might take a little longer.

posted at 9:32 PM
Sunday, August 04, 2002
Last night I went to see Men In Black II. If you loved the first one (which I did), you'll love the sequel too. It is everything I hoped it would be - funny and engaging. The gadgets and effects were cool, and the storyline was good. Tommy Lee Jones & Will Smith were both on form, and I was surprised to discover that Johnny Knoxville can act! The film also features a strange cameo from Michael Jackson who apparently took the part because he thought the first one was a weepy not a comedy!

On the subject of
Jackass, whilst gathering a few links for this post, I discovered that they are currently working on a jackass movie. Oh brother! How sick and depraved are they going to be when they're not restricted by what can be shown on TV?

posted at 9:39 AM
Saturday, August 03, 2002
In Northumberland, three 12 years olds were arrested, fingerprinted and had DNA samples taken after playing James Bond in the street with toy guns. Has the world gone totally mad?

posted at 12:05 PM
I just thought I'd take a quick peek through my site stats to see where people are coming from before heading to bed. It's kind of odd coming back to my pages every few days and seeing the site meter ticking upwards. Somebody out there is reading this, but I have no idea who (most of) you are!

I find that when I read blogs on a regular basis I start to feel like I actually know the person blogging, even though I obviously don't. I actually got into blogging because snowcat kept telling me how cool it was, until I eventually joined in :-) Now when I have chats with her and bloing we often end up talking about what 'so-and-so' said as if they were mutual friends rather than just random people we all read.

Anyway, I suddenly realised that it's a not just a one-way deal. I'm now also sticking my random ramblings on the internet for any random people (like most of you) to read. With this in the back of my mind, I just thought I'd take a quick peek through my site stats to see where people are coming from before heading to bed. I thought I'd share some of my search engine hits with you.

From Google, I've had
"Reasons of why did pandas went extinct", which I found delightful, as the English doesn't quite gel there, and also because pandas aren't extinct (yet!).

Another one which tickled me was "stag weekend picture", mainly because I'm more likely to post piccies of a hen weekend :-) Also, I find myself questioning exactly what this surfer was looking for. Were they expecting to find pictures of a particular stag do? Out of 5,500 hits did they find the one they were looking for?

My favourite though has to be "Jim Dowd - Lewisham". Regular readers may recall that I went on a fruitless search a while ago to find information about my MP, only to find that there isn't anything of note. It appears that somebody else followed in my footsteps, and I somehow don't think I was any help :-)

Unclear On The Concept: I've also been visted from an AOL search on "chat groups for gay parents". That shows the quality of the AOL search engine then!

posted at 12:07 AM
Friday, August 02, 2002
Been a bit busy this week :-) I've actually been off work all week, and thought I'd have loads of time for blogging and enjoying myself generally, but instead I've been doing loads of mundane things. Did go shopping today though :-) Bought a new pair of jeans, a few odds and ends, and a birthday present for oin's impending 30th.

I've only managed time for a quick scan of the headlines today, and only one thing caught my eye: Star Wars Episode II DVD will be available on 11th November (pre-orders from some time in September). I can't believe we've got to wait until May 2005 for Episode III!

posted at 11:06 PM



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