Film Review: Ant Man

I was quite late home from work last night and Mrs Masher instructed me to pick up a McDonald’s as: “I’m not gonna start cooking now!” Dutifully, I did so and arrived home, laden with chicken nuggets and burgers and fries and cokes.

I flopped exhausted onto the sofa with my meal and noticed that a film had been cued up on the telly and was paused in readiness. “We’re watching Ant Man”, Harry said. “Is that OK?”

I nodded wearily, but was also aware that this gave me an opportunity to squeeze at least one more review in.

So.

Ant Man.

Not one of the Marvel Superheroes that I’ve ever been interested in, really. But I did reluctantly see this at the pictures last year, at the kids’ insistence, and I remember enjoying it to a point, but not being particularly impressed.

However, second time round I found it much more enjoyable. There is, of course, plenty of action; there’s a plot line that I can actually follow, and there’s humour.  More humour than Marvel typically go for in their Superhero films.

And there are ants. Hundreds and thousands of CGI ants.

Urgh.

And the fight scenes on Thomas The Tank, as seen from an ant’s perspective and then ours, made me actually guffaw.

Played excellently by Paul Rudd, Ant Man was well worth a second look and is probably worth a second film.

Film Review: Wonder Woman

We saw this yesterday, as part of a Father’s Day present – followed up with a meal at Chiquito’s, which was all rather splendid.

So, Gal Godot stars as our eponymous heroine, and really, what’s not to like there… on Father’s Day?

Set during WW2, we see Wonder Woman grow into the fighting machine that she is: strong, fast and with lightning reflexes and yet still with her femininity intact. And of course, fabulously shiny hair.

Introduced to the war by an American British spy (played perfectly by Chris Pine of Captain Kirk fame), she and her little band of misfit soldiers save London from a terrible fate… and she defeats a naughty god whilst she’s at it.

The epithet ‘Wonder Woman’ isn’t yet attached to her in this movie, and I guess they are saving that for a later installment. I do hope so, because this film was the best thing to come out of the DC Universe studios for a long time, and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing the next one.

 

Film Review: The Nice Guys

Touted as being the new Lethal Weapon partnership, Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe play a downbeat private detective and a downbeat not-quite-a-private-detective partnership, set in the 1970’s.

The plot felt a bit convoluted and is set around a porn film that… well, everyone who is  connected with it, gets killed and ends up as a stiff (yup, had to squeeze that one in!). And toward the end, I kind of lost my way with it, as it turned into a gunfest – how come bad guys with machine guns are such bad shots? – with everyone seemingly shooting everyone else and I didn’t know who were the good guys anymore..

There were some nice humorous bits though and I thought the dynamic between Gosling and fatty Crowe (I don’t know whether he purposely piled on the pounds for this movie, or whether he’s just let himself go) worked well. Gosling’s daughter – in the film, not his real one – steals the show for me though. Played perfectly by Angourie Rice.

And watching the credits at the end – to see if that really was John-Boy Walton playing the baddie (surely not!) – I was surprised to see Gil Gerard’s name scroll past: he played Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, which I briefly mentioned in my post last week. Huh, you don’t mention an actor for 25 years and then he gets two in a week!

Film Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

The kids were keen to see this at the pictures when it came out some months back, but somehow or other, we managed to avoid it.

I picked it up on DVD as part of a two for a tenner offer last week, and – having watched it this weekend – I’m glad I hadn’t shelled out for a family ticket at the Odeon.

Because it’s a terrible film.

To mark it out as different from the original, it has four women as the main protagonists, and they are all a bit zany and playing it for laughs, but it was only the lone male (Chris Hemsworth) who managed to get more than a snigger from me.

Yes, it has plenty of one-liners, and some of them were pretty good… but most of them just failed to deliver.

The special-effects are – of course – a big step up from the original, but that’s about the only point on which it betters its predecessor. Obviously, as a reboot, it lacks the originality of the erm… original, but for me, it also lacked the charm and the humour.

The best bits for me were the music – which did remain faithful to the 1984 version – and the cameo roles from the remaining members of the original Ghostbusting team.

The original Ghostbusters film has stood the test of time and is still very watchable today. Sony should have left well alone.

Film Review: The Terminator

Our Welsh correspondent, Bren, has laid down a gauntlet. Foolishly, I picked it up.

Bren has set himself – and by extension, me and Dave – the challenge of producing 10 film reviews during the month of June. Only ten? That won’t be too hard, I thought, as I accepted the challenge.  But, I’m not a film reviewer – because that requires proper writing and shit – so we’ll have to see how this goes.

We watched this film as a family last week. It was Harry’s idea: he’s picked up a few Arnie soundbites from the internet and was keen to watch some of his films… if only to hear the oft quoted phrases that he’s heard elsewhere, put into some sort of context. “Get to the chopper!”

Mrs M streamed the film onto her phone and then casted it to the TV – all very modern.  Personally, I was all for just buying the DVD from ebay – it would have probably been cheaper – I can’t believe that we paid 8 quid to watch a thirty year-old film on the telly!

Anyway, the film has aged well, with the ingenious storyline – full of plot holes as it is – holding up well against more modern time-travel offerings. It has to be said that special effects-wise, the film looked very dated. Not so much the blurring-the-lines-between-real-and-fantasy CGI that we get today, but rather ‘a-bit-like-Morph’ stop motion. And yet, back then, those sort of effects were ground-breaking and we lapped them up in a popcorn-eating frenzy.

Arnie plays the villain of the piece. Dark and menacing – you would not want to meet the T-900 Infiltrator down a dark alley. Or a brightly lit alley, for that matter. But, it’s hard to think of anyone else who could have slotted into that role – a role that he has become synonymous with.

Linda Hamilton plays the central role, around whom the film revolves, and she plays it well – dodgy eighties haircuts and all.

And there are – of course – plenty of action sequences to lap up.

It’s been a while since I last saw The Terminator – the film that arguably catapulted Schwarzenegger into Hollywood A-list status – and I have seen it several times over the years, but I still thoroughly enjoyed watching it again. We all did.

Arguably the best of the franchise  – but I think it’s a close run between T1 and T2.

So, that’s my first film review of the month, just nine more to go.

In the words of The Terminator: “I’ll be back.”

 

Boxing

I ordered a couple of tapes for my labelling machine, from Amazon a couple of days ago.

That’s them in the first picture, alongside a pen… to give a sense of scale.

Small enough to fit through the letter box in a jiffy bag, no?

Well, no, apparently not. The second picture shows the box that they actually came in.

Come on Amazon, we’re not going to save the planet this way, are we?

“Hooray, hooray, the first of May…

… outdoor fucking begins today.” So sang Shag Larkin, a radio engineer that I had the good fortune to know, many years ago.

I’d oft wondered where the phrase came from, and so today, I have looked it up.

It seems it’s a traditional folk song.

Anyway.

And in other news…

Well, it seems there isn’t any. The pic above was taken from the BBC News website this morning.  Apart from some sport, nothing has happened in the world for three days, according to their top 10 news stories, which are all dated April 28th.

In other, other news:

 

Well, apart from me becoming officially old today – thank you Google and Classic FM for reminding me! – not much has happened around here either, that would be considered newsworthy.

 

 

 

The new dog that we haven’t yet got, is already costing a small fortune and Mrs M has visited the local pet shop to get advice, so many times, she is now on first name terms with the staff there. She’s spent an abundance on food and blankets and bowls and leads and chews and just about anything else that the good people of Pets At Home felt it was worth showing her.

I’ve just shelled out several hundred pounds for a new garden fence, as the old one had holes in it that a small pup could squeeze through… and we don’t want that.

And Amelia has spent all of her pocket money on doggy treats and toys, and has chosen the name Saber (sic). Even though Mrs M and I think it sounds like a boy dog’s name – we’re getting a bitch – we seem to have gone with it and it’s now engraved on her collar.

As it’s my birthday, I believe Mrs M is taking me over to exotic Hemel Hempstead later today, for a film and dinner.

So much for outdoor sex then.

Drilling for gold

idtheftI went to the dentist today.

The receptionist smiled at me as I approached the desk. “Can I help you?”

“Yes. The name’s Masher. I have an appointment at 8:30 with Miss Patel”.

She looked at her screen quizzically for a moment and then: “Ahh yes, here you are. Could you confirm your date of birth for me, please?”

“Why?”

“It’s just an extra security question”, she said.

I gave her my date of birth, but then, as I sat down, I got to wondering.

Why?

Why do they need extra proof that I am who I say I am?

I’ve already given her my name, the time of the appointment and the name of the dentist I am seeing. Surely, that should be enough.

I know that identity theft is rife nowadays, but would someone who has stolen my ID and is impersonating me for financial gain (yeah, good luck with that one), really go so far as to attend my dental appointments too?

I don’t think so.

We are all idiots… apparently

boots instructionsI got a new pair of safety boots t’other day.

Interestingly, they came with instructions.

Instructions.

For boots.

OK, yes, there was stuff in the 26 language booklet about how to clean them and what their electrical resistance is and shit like that, but there was also this:

Before use, try on the footwear and make sure that it fits properly.

Now, I’d never have thought of that if I’d not looked at the instructions.

But there was also:

The footwear’s fastening systems must be used in the correct way.

Fastening system? You mean the laces?

Do the laces up.

Now that would never have occurred to me.

Fishing for info

 

phishThis piece of phishing spam managed to sneak past my filters today.

So well written is it, that it very nearly fooled me.

Purporting to come from Amazon, it was after my bank details.

Obligingly, I clicked on the link (removed here for your safety :)) and populated all the fields with false information, just so that they might get a little excited, thinking they’d hooked someone.

We had blocked the unusual tries of connection on your account .

As part of our security your account was provisionally lock for reasons of security. 
Please click on link below to prove your account .
 
Verify Your account
  
Warning : if you did not have prove your account, we would otherwise be obliged to go about things has the fence of your account to avoid it please follow given instructions.
 
Sincereraly,
The team of security
As you can see, really well written.
These spammers are getting more sophisticated, so let’s be careful, people.

Another sign of the times

vapingVaping is the ‘in’ thing, nowadays, it seems.

Many smokers are turning to these vapour machines, in an attempt to give up the deathsticks.

Which, of course, is a good thing.

Having never been a smoker myself, I can’t really see the attraction of it, but if it helps them to quit, then all well and good.

But, I was wondering whether some people take it up straightaway, bypassing the fags altogether. I mean, despite all the health warnings, people do still take up smoking. It amazes me when I see young people walking down the road with a cigarette in their mouth, when – in our enlightened times – they must be completely aware of the health risk that smoking imposes. So, I wondered whether anyone who was thinking of taking up the fags, might instead jump straight to the vapour machines.

To save time.

Vaping does have it’s downside though. At a team meeting recently, I had brought in a small cake and had stuck a candle in it as it was Jeff’s birthday.

Unfortunately, as all the smokers in the room were now into vaping, no-one had any matches, so we couldn’t light the candle.

I’ll put a spell on you

DSC_5925As you both know, I love a spelling mistake.

Let me rephrase that.

As you both know, I hate spelling mistakes.

I also have an annoying penchant for pointing them out to people.

At work, we have a weekly meeting where we review the previous week’s successes and failures.

A report showing a million fact, figures, graphs and various metrics is displayed on the large screen at one end of the room and we painstakingly go through pretty much most of them.

But, there is a spelling mistake on one particular graph, where it shows “Incomming Jobs”. I spotted it in my very first meeting, but I didn’t mention it… as I was the new boy.

But now, several months in, I have decided that I’m going to have to.  It doesn’t seem to bother anyone else – or, maybe not being as anal as me, they just haven’t noticed it – but for me, my eyes go straight to it.

Every time.

And it rankles me.

So, I’ve decided to get it sorted… just for the sake of my own sensibilities, if no-one elses.

And once that’s done, I shall try to remedy the one on the fire escape door downstairs too. That doesn’t seem to bother anyone else, either.

DSC_0011Meantime here are a couple I spotted recently, that I thought I’d share.

The photo at the top is a van on the A13 (I think it was) Surely, being able to spell is a major requisite of a sign-writer’s job?

And this one I took yesterday in a store.

Finest quality coffee, maybe… not so sure about the mugs.

Skint

skintWhen we decorated the living room, just before Christmas, we also splashed out on a new telly. Fortunately, it’s a wipe-clean model.

Then we decided that the new telly would look better sitting on a new telly unit.  The glass one we have at the moment attracts dust to it like a… er, dust magnet and so we thought a nice solid oak one would look the part.

Mrs M dragged me from shop to shop until we ended up at a furniture shop in Milton Keynes: A-Five furniture. They are a local mob that have been around for years.

We saw a unit that we liked and I shelled out 250 quid.

“It”ll be a few weeks before it’s available, especially with the Christmas break”, said the chap serving us. “Probably be toward the end of January. Give me your details and we’ll call you when it’s ready for collection.”

Not a problem, we’re in no rush. I gave him my contact details and left the shop, happy that we’d eventually found something.

The weeks passed. The end of January loomed ever nearer and so I started to get impatient. I tried ringing, but it was always engaged. In the end, I took a drive over to Milton Keynes.

There was a sign on the door: Closed due to bankruptcy.

Arse. And with my 250 quid too.

But we still needed furniture, so today I got dragged over to Stevenage to visit another furniture shop.

It had a telly unit that we both liked.

With a matching unit that would fit nicely into our other alcove.

And it had a matching nest of tables too.

AND it was all in the “SALE WHICH MUST END TOMORROW” sale.

The salesman wandered over. “Can I help you?” he asked.

“Yes,I want that”, said Mrs M, pointing to the TV unit. “And that. And that over there.

I gave her a quizzical look. “That’s way outside our budget”, I whispered.

“I ain’t fuckin’ about”, she said, reaching into her handbag, “let’s just buy it now and get it done. We’ll have to do some more overtime or something.

Back home, I went up to Sainsbury’s to get some food shopping as the fridge was bare.

“Hmmm, this is a bit warm”, I thought as I stacked the fridge upon my return.

I checked it: it’s dead. In fact, it feels warmer inside the fridge than out.

So now we need to get a new fridge.

But I can’t afford one cos we just bought a shed load of furniture.

And all the shopping that I bought yesterday is going off, because even though it’s winter, it is so mild out that we can’t even keep it cool outside.

Double arse.

 

Bacon Sandwich

Kevin-BaconThe NYT reported this week that TwitFace has worked out that the six-degrees of separation theory no longer applies.

According to them, we are all now only 3 or 4 degrees apart.

This, of course, is a load of old tosh.

For those that don’t know, the six-degrees theory states that everyone on the planet is connected somehow to everyone else, with only six steps between them. IE: I know Bob; Bob knows Vic; Vic knows Elizabeth; Elizabeth knows Walter; Walter knows Eric and Eric knows Ernie, therefore Ernie and I are connected via six other people.

It’s an interesting concept, but  surely it’s not provable.

Yes, I daresay that there are many cases where the theory applies, but it’s impossible to show that it applies to absolutely everyone.

TwitFace’s own calculations are fatally flawed as it is only looking at people who have TwitFace accounts and – as impressive as that number might be – that’s only a quarter of the population.

So, in theory, I am only six introductions away from, say… Vladimir Putin. So I’m sure that, given enough time, we shall meet up at some point. Probably when I take up my new hobby of bare chested horse-riding.

On a similar note, listening to one of my science podcasts yesterday, I learnt that we only have to go back less than 4000 years to find a common ancestor.

An ancestor that is common.

To us all.

That astounded me.

So yes, it seems we are all connected… but not by six degrees.

The Bard lives on

DSC_0045I was driving along the Thames Embankment t’other day  – incredibly slowly, of course – and stopped at the traffic lights.

That’s when I noticed the two cars in the picture above (taken quite safely, because I was stationary).

Now, there’s somebody with money: gawd knows how much those number plates must have cost!

Her: Whose car shall we go out in tonight dear?

Him: Yes,  do we take 2 BE or NOT 2B, that is indeed the question.

I wonder how many times that conversation must have taken place?

Rotten Tomato

10000 daysMrs M is a bit rubbish when it comes to films.

We can go see a big action blockbuster at our local picture-house and then, six months later when it’s shown on Channel Four, she’ll sit down to watch it again, swearing blind that she’s never seen it before.

And she’s really good at picking out rubbish DVDs too, which is why I cringed last Sunday when she returned home from the shops with a cheery “I got us a DVD to watch after dinner”.

She has a passion for the post-apocalyptic genre: 2012; The Day After Tomorrow; Deep Impact… that sort of thing.

And so we all sat down – as a family – after a full-monty Sunday roast and watched 10, 000 Days, a film about the survivors on Earth after it has been hit  by a large comet and has entered a new Ice Age.

There were no “names” in the cast list, save for the little-known blond-haired bloke out of the Dukes Of Hazzard TV series… and he wasn’t up to much.

So, what can I say about it? The acting was terrible, the storyline was truly awful and the special effects were atrocious.

Both kids left the room after about five minutes and Mrs M fell asleep half an hour into it, waking ten minutes before the end to exclaim that “it was a bit of a weird ending”.

I sat through it, determined to get our three quid’s worth, but it has to be one of the biggest piles of poo I’ve ever had the misfortune to watch.

If you see this DVD going for 99p in your local pikey Asda store, you’d do well to steer well clear.

But, it’ll probably be on the telly soon anyway… and Mrs M will be able to enjoy all again.

 

Do you want fries with that?

Metro BankI was driving through Sluff yesterday morning, when I spotted a high street bank that I’d not seen before.With it’s glass facade and it’s colourful red, white and blue signage, it stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the drab and dreary shops on the high street. But, the bit that caught my eye was the sign that said it offered Drive Thru (sic) banking.

Drive Through Banking? How does that work then?

Does it work like a McDonalds Drive Through?

Do you have to drive up to that speaker thing and then shout your order into the microphone: “I’d like to take out fifty pounds please and I’d also like two hundred pounds of Swiss Francs and three hundred pounds in Travellers Cheques.  And a hot apple pie.”

Then you drive to the next window where everything is handed to you in suspicious-looking brown-paper bags.

And when you get home, you open the bags to find they’ve given you forty quid in used notes and two hundred pounds of Malaysian Ringgits, there’s a book of Travellers Cheques missing and your hot apple pie has been substituted for a chocolate doughgnut.

Think I’ll stay where I am, ta very much… McBanking’s not for me.

 

Ring ring, ring ring…

ringtoneBren’s post, yesterday, got me thinking about mobile phone ringtones.

Everyone customises the ringtone when they get a new phone. Don’t they? And I daresay – or at least, some trick cyclists would say – the chosen ringtone probably says something about the phone’s owner.

It’s rare nowadays to hear the – very recognisable – tune of Nokia’s default ringtone (taken from the 1902 piece Grande Valse by Tárrega ) and yet it does still occasionally happen and it makes me smile when I hear it because it means that person either doesn’t know how to change it or he just can’t be arsed to … or it’s my dad.

Mrs Masher’s ringtone is something poppy from the music charts. A young chap called Olly Murs being her current favourite.

The ringtone on Amelia’s phone changes on an almost daily basis, but whatever it is, it’s an awful racket.

And a mate at work has two ringtones. Being a big Star Wars nerd, he has March Of The Stormtroopers for any work related calls and the Star Wars Theme for friends and family.

Personally, I have five different groupings on my phone and each has it’s own ringtone. They are all British TV themes from the sixties and seventies, so, depending on who is calling me, I will hear:

If people from a particular generation (I’m talking about my g-g-generation) are around me when my phone goes off, I am often asked “Oh my God, what IS that tune? I recognise it but can’t …” .  It’s even happened in the supermarket.

So, what tell me, what have you changed your ringtone to… or can’t you be arsed?

Set Spell Checkers to maximum!

DSC_5875_1Last night was the final for the Year 7 Spelling Bee at my daughter’s school and Amelia was in it. I went along to support her – only just making it, following a holdup on the M1 at Watford Gap – Mrs M and Harry stayed at home, both suffering badly with a dose of the lurgi.

Amelia didn’t win, but did get into the last six, so I was quite proud of her. She, on the other hand wasn’t pleased at all with her performance, hence the unhappy face in the photo.

I apologise for the picture being a bit crap: I only took a quick snap with my phone, at the end, forgetting to switch on the flash and remove the protective case – which always inhibits the phone’s otherwise quite excellent picture taking abilities.  It had been a long day; I’d had no dinner and had just had to sit through an hour and a half of listening to kids spell some pretty mundane words, so I didn’t have my photography head on.

I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty good speller – and achieved 100% in last night’s final – but, this morning, whilst looking on the internets to try and find out just why it’s called a spelling BEE, I happened across this spelling test from The Guardian. Give it a go, it’s actually really hard and – like Amelia – I’m somewhat disappointed with my performance. Nine out of twelve is above average – apparently – but I should have got ten really because the test claims I didn’t answer the last question… which I bloody did… and got correct..

But I still haven’t satisfactorerally  found out why it’s called a bee.

Rear Window

I’ve been “working from home” for the past couple of weeks.  It’s that time of year when things dry up a bit workwise and so I’ve just been helping out with a bit of paperwork, and there’s no need to drive 60 miles to the office to do that!

I don’t mind working from home – even if the paperwork side of things is a bit boring – because once I’ve got the kids off to school and I have the house to myself, I can get quite a bit of work done.

Of course, there are distractions. The radio  is always on and by way of a break, I’ll often have a bit of a chat with somebody for ten minutes or so. Then there are the delivery drivers: two or three a day and if they’re not for us, they’re for the neighbours – not that I have any problem at all taking in parcels for other people. And of course, there is the window. Working from the spare upstairs bedroom affords me a reasonable view of the street and I’m forever nosing outside whenever I hear a car door slam or loud footsteps. I’m a regular one man neighbourhood watch. Though, like James Stewart in the Hitchcock classic that I titled this post after, I may one day see something I don’t want to… like the lesbo’s in the house at the back getting it on. *shudder*

And I’ve got myself into a regular lunchtime routine, sitting down with a bowl of betty or a ham sandwich and watching a repeat of The Professionals on ITV4.  I used to absolutely love The Professionals: whilst all my mates were into Starsky and Hutch, I was a Bodie and Doyle fan.  And I enjoy it today as much as I did then, even though I’ve seen some of them several times.  Yes, the dialogue is a bit cheesey and the sideburns are somewhat iffy and – when you watch a dozen episodes in a row – it’s easy to spot the many continuity discrepancies but, for a programme that is well over thirty years old, I think it still holds together quite well.

Sky tried to reboot the series a while back with The New Professionals, starring Edward Woodwood and a couple of unknown heavies, but it lacked the chemistry of the original and rightly disappeared, never to be seen again.

If only they’d stuck with the 3.0 litre Capris…

Christmas: we just do it for the kids, really

adventbeerI answered the door to find a delivery chap holding a large box. He was clearly struggling with the weight of it..

“There you go”, he said, handing it over. “Careful, it’s heavy.”

I took the box and placed it on the floor wondering what it could be, as I signed his electronic pad thingy with an unintelligible signature that only vaguely resembled my own.

Then Mrs Masher appeared behind me, a big grin on her face. “It’s a couple of days late, but you can open that. It’s your advent calendar.

Intrigued, I removed the outer packaging to reveal a large box with 25 round advent windows.

And under each one is a half-litre bottle of German beer; a different one for each day.

How cool is that!

A rod for my own back?

excel_fileLast year, the current Mrs Masher was asked at work, to do a stint in the office, covering for the normal admin guy who was going on holiday. Having spent many years in an administrative position, she found it a doddle and took to making a few improvements.

One of the things she found to be most time consuming was the daily rota/sign-on spreadsheet, which had to be manually filled in each day with the names of each employee and their task for the day/week. “I’m sure this can be automated to some degree, but I’m not sure how. Can you have a look?” she asked, handing me a copy of the sheet.

Once she’d explained what she wanted, I set about trying to get the sheet to do what she needed it to. I could sort of see how to do it, but couldn’t quite get it to work. I like to play with Excel, but I’m certainly no expert.

Many nights were spent in my hotel room, reading tutorials and tinkering with the spreadsheet, until eventually, it all came together.

It worked wonderfully and, using a very convoluted formula that I’d never have dreamed I could have written a couple of weeks earlier, it automatically populated the required cells, taking only a fraction of the time it had taken to fill it all in manually.

I was well pleased with my work, as was Mrs M, who said it saved her an immense amount of time each morning.

Over the weeks and months that followed, I would occasionally get calls for help with it, after some formulas had accidentally been deleted or some cells inadvertently overwritten.

I continued to tweak it, adding layers of protection, but still trying to keep it as usable as possible.

A couple of months back, Mrs M told me how the area manager had shown an interest in it whilst he was visiting and I was subsequently asked to make an amended copy for trial in another office.

Tonight I was asked if I could make some extra changes to it as they now want to roll it out nationally.

I’ve spent several hours this evening, amending it to a slightly different format, and I daresay there will be even more hours spent on it in the near future.

Perhaps I should charge a small fee for my work?

Nah. I’m just happy with the satisfaction that I’ll get, knowing that my little spreadsheet is helping you lot get your mail in the mornings.

We’re coming home, we’re coming home

world cup titsWell, our brave boys are out of the World Cup already.  No real shock there, but I’d hoped they’d have lasted a little bit longer than just two games.

As a football pundit,  many people have asked me where I think the English football team has gone wrong.

Personally, I don’t think the team has done anything wrong. These are all talented, skillful young players that have what is needed to win that World Cup. What they are lacking is a sense of self belief. They don’t believe they can win it… so they don’t. And that is our fault, as a nation. We don’t show these guys enough respect. We need to show them that we care and give them that sense of worth that they so desperately need.

Pay them more money.

It’s the only way.  Two hundred thousand pounds a week isn’t enough.  If we start paying them a proper wage, then maybe they will start playing proper footy.

Surely, if we close just a couple of hospitals, that would save us enough money to give these guys the financial boost that they need and deserve.

Anyway, with England out, I’m guessing World Cup Fever will abate somewhat and for weeks, the supermarket shelves will continue to be lined with unsold Brazilian themed Pot Noodles, pizzas and fizzy drinks.  Fast food outlets will still be selling “Carnival” boxes of chicken and chips, long after the whole affair is over and sports shops will be halving the price of their Brazilian themed football kits, in order to try and sell them to a nation that has pretty much lost interest in the whole affair now.

But, in keeping with the whole ‘Everything Brazilian’ thing, Mrs Masher has done her bit.

I shall now be rooting for France, as I drew them in the sweepstake at work. The prize?

A meal for two in a Brazilian themed restaurant.

… and now for something completely different

Stuck in traffic, on the way home through Milton Keynes t’other day, I decided to take a detour.

Believing that my sense of direction (something that has been proven faulty many, many times) would get me on a better route home, I decided to ignore the advice of my sat-nav bird and I took the third exit at the roundabout instead of the second, which had a trail of red tail lights as far as you could see..

“Go back”, she warned me, “You’re going the wrong way.” I ignored her and carried on.

“Make a u-turn… for chris’sakes, make a fucking u-turn!” I pressed on regardless and before long I had absolutely no idea where I was.

I made a u-turn.

My journey back to the congestion of the A421, took me through a couple of little villages that I’d never heard of, and as I passed through a little place called Gawcott, I spotted an old K6 type telephone box. You don’t see many of them on the streets nowadays, since BT decommissioned most of them.

But, as I drove slowly past this one, I noticed something different about it and just had to stop and take a couple of photos.

It had been turned into the village library.

gawc01

gawc02

gawc03

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a marvelous idea.

Rotten Apple

applelogoPeople wot know me, will also know that I’m not a big fan of Apple.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against their products: the iPod; the iPhone; the iPad, they’ve all been superb products that have been game changers in the industry. They’re not for me though, because I don’t have an iLife… I prefer to choose from a range of the latest phones and not just the iPhone 5 or 5s.

Etc.

But, as I say, I have nothing against their products: which all work well and are, undeniably, iconically sexy.

It’s the company itself, I don’t like.  They seem like bully boys and, being as big as they are, they have some clout behind them.  Big? No single company should have more money than the USA, surely (OK, that was true in 2011, I dunno if it’s still the case).

And they take lawsuits out for anything they see as even the most minor of infringements on their copyrights – I fully expect the Apple police to be round shortly, asking me to remove the image at the top of this post.

And they have soooo many patents protecting their ‘intellectual property’ that I’m sure it must be stifling innovation from other companies.

I’m convinced they’re trying to take over the world.

And then I read this article this morning, and it just gave me even more reason to dislike them.

Having a pony

horseandcartWe were sitting watching telly when Harry jumped up and went to leave the room. “Where’re you off to?” I asked.

“The toilet,” he said, matter-of-factly, “I need a number one.”

He needed a wee.

Now, I understand why kids refer to taking a dump as having a number two: it’s a polite way of saying “I’m going for a shit”, and I’d be upset if he said that.  But I don’t understand this number one business.

OK, they’re euphemisms that are used to describe our toiletry functions and are mainly used by – and for – children, but why number one and two?

I’m guessing that number two came about first, as taking a crap is the… er, less delightful of the two.

But where did that actual phrase come from… number two?

I’m guessing that it’s simply because it rhymes. Rhyming slang is oft used to disguise an ill-mannered phrase.

Doing a poo – Number Two!

It’s obvious! So, surely – based on that logic – taking a piss shouldn’t be a number one.

Having a wee – Number Three!

And I’ve explained this logic to Harry, but he won’t have it, because he – and all the other kids at school – already refer to it as a number one.

And I think that’s a bit Anne Frank.

 

Earworms

hugetackleI saw this sign as I was driving home down the A1 yesterday. Obviously I couldn’t actually go there as I wasn’t qualified, but it did make me snigger (and I didn’t have time to stop and take a photo, so I nicked this one off t’internet).

Now, for much of yesterday, I had John Travolta singing in my head.

“Saaandy, can’t you see, I’m in mi-ser-y…”

This is because, I was working at the Sandy Heath transmitter again and whenever I approach the town there is obviously a sign proclaiming it’s name: SANDY, it says. And that’s the trigger that has Mr Travolta giving it the full “… oh why-y-y, oh why, you left me, oh Sandy…” in my brain for the rest of the day.

And now I’ve got it going on again, because of what I typed above.

Similarly, I often find myself softly humming Blondie’s ‘Call Me’ as I make breakfast in the morning. It took me a while to figure out the reason why. It’s my alarm clock: I’ll normally roll over and stop it within a few seconds of it going off, but by then it’s urgent “Beepidy beep, Beepidy beep, Beepidy beep” has already subconsciously planted the opening bars of Debbie Harry’s 1980 hit into my nut.

Similarly similarly, the fax machine where I used to work, would draw the sheet of paper into itself in a staccato, jerky fashion, making a noise not too dissimilar to the opening of Madonna’s 1986 hit Papa Don’t Preach,  and I’d often find myself whistling that as I left the printer room.  I mentioned it to others, but no-one else could hear it, so maybe it was just me.

Anyway, today is Fun Fact Friday. That’s a fun fact that you’re gonna get every Friday from now on.

Till the end of February.

So, that’s 4, yes, four fun facts that will enrich your life and amaze your mates down the pub.

So, here’s the first one: Did you know that under the Wildlife & Countryside Act of 1981, it is illegal in the UK to shoot a hedgehog…

… using a machine gun.