Saturday, December 30, 2006

Spade = Spade

Ex-tyrant Murdered in Cold Blood

Did he deserve it? Hell, yes; in spades.

But if we're going to tolerate this kind of thing, the minimum requirement is to call it what it is.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bear facts: Approaching average smartness

Alexander Graham Bell didn't invent the telephone (sort-of knew that one), Walter Raleigh had bugger-all to do with introducing potatoes to Europe (new fact, but entirely believable) and the Arctic was named after the brown/grizzly bear, ursus arctos (bear bear); not the polar bear, ursus maritimus (sea bear), and more bogglingly, not vice versa!

You're never too old to learn frankly dubious new shit from your favourite TV personalities.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Frying tonight

The Book We All Got This Christmas seems to be "The Book of General Ignorance", aka "QI: The Handbook", complete with cartoon Stephen Fry and Alan Davies on the cover. To be honest, I did actually ask for this one; definitely my postcode.

Of course, Boxing Day is the traditional slot for reading these things, so expect to see entries over the next few days saying things like "I never knew that Mexico was a state of the USA", and "You know, I'm fairly sure that Bob Dylan really did write 'All Along The Watchtower'..."

Friday, December 22, 2006

Clumsy or Random

I feel honour-bound to plug the new(ish) BBC science fiction website, My Science Fiction Life; partly because I owe the editor half a pint of lager and lime (thanks to a bizarre Al Murrayesque experience shared in a Cardiff drinkery), partly because it's a fun new sandpit to play in, but mostly because that's me holding the lightsaber on the homepage today. Definitely my better side, I think.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Talking The Devil Into Going To Church

I've thought of something that needs a new word - the problem is, the only one I can come up with makes a rather shallow incision into the mustard. But it'll have to do for now:

Andiscipation (n). - The apprehension of pleasure experienced when undressing a cellophane-wrapped "keep case" housing a newly-purchased DVD, or other 5" media disc.

I really get off on that. Sometimes I leave the wrapping on, just to enhance the pleasure when I come to watch the disc for the first time. I cut a tragic figure, I know - but if you've not worked that out by now, you aren't paying attention.

The latest item to proffer me this agreeable experience sits on my lap as I type. It is a Region 1 DVD of the 1947 Cary Grant movie "The Batchelor and the Bobby-Soxer", known here in Region 2 - or it would be if it existed as a DVD here, at any rate - as "Bachelor Knight". It has taken me ages to find a copy of this terrific flick, but my resort to Region 1 has rewarded me with extra andiscipatory glee, as of course those careful 1'ers will insist on sealing their keep-cases with labelled tape, necessitating the application of a craft knife or similar implement, with the inevitable ratcheting-up of the concommitant andiscipation.

I haven't seen the movie in a few years, but I really must commend it to all wholeheartedly. The restaurant scene is worth the ticket alone, with Grant on fire with a masterclass in subtle physical comedy. "Happy Birthday, Mr. Rosenheimer!" is a comedy moment more worthy of immortality than... a hundred immortal ones, and "I couldn't help overhearing - I had my ear pressed to the door!" is the seventh-funniest line in a movie, ever. So there. See it. You'll thank me.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Another day, another baby - when is the Human Race going to be finished?

A big W&M welcome, then, to Megan Ann Mahoney. Congratulations to Liz for successfully negotiating her debut, and to Gary for resisting the urge to call her Perpugilliam, or something. Huzzahs all round.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Nip & Tuck


Right, that's it - if any more bits of my body doth offend me, I'm going to cut them off.

I expect to be a brain in a jar by 2015...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Sex, Lies & Splott

Another Little Disappointment � Torchwood: Episode 10

Sums up pretty much everyone's current feelings about TW, I'd say.

Still, Cardiff, eh?

Cardiff. Cardiff. CARDIFF!!!

(Its mountains so lofty, its treetops so tall etc.)

Meanwhile, I'm off into hospital again. I'll soon qualify for frequent flyer mileage. It's only local anaesthetic, but even so - if I should die, think only this of me: They weren't supposed to cut that bit off!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Impersonating Clark Gable

Thanks to a pre-Xmas bargain and an acommodating girlfriend, I have belatedly joined the XBox generation, albeit only at the entry level (hey - it's me!) Unsurprisingly, a pretty RPG has consumed the last few days ravenously and shows no signs of letting me go soon. This time it's Fable: The Lost Chapters , and it's jolly good fun. No, I haven't finished Titan Quest yet, but I'm sure there are a few more hours I can squeeze out of the day. Who needs baths?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Semantics Roadshow

A bit of seriousness today, because let's face it, Toddler Mauled By Dog ain't funny in any context. The guilty mutt is no more, which is obviously a good thing - I would hope that I needn't have to convince either of my readers that domestic ownership of Dobermans is wildly inappropriate. How it met its end, though, is my bone of contention. Okay, almost a joke there, apologies.

As always, we are told that the Doberman has been "destroyed": Do they blow them up with SemTex? Vapourize them with lasers? Why this hyperbolic word? "Killed" is the honest, simple one. "Put Down" will do if you need a euphemism. My confidence in public safety is in no way increased by the implication that the damned animal has been dismembered and scattered to the four winds. Dead will do fine, thanks.

And on the same day - more predictably this time - the US President pardons a Thanksgiving turkey (there is a funnier picture doing the rounds, but in the day's spirit of seriousness you'll have to find it yourselves). Again, there are a whole host of words to apply to this trite, self-deluding spectacle. "Reprieve", "clemency", "mercy" - all hyperbole perhaps, but it's that kind of show. But "pardon"? What - one's brain splutters in the asking - could possibly be the bird's crime? What transgression could even the most paranoid country on Earth concievably have found to forgive a domestic fowl? Is it a terrorist turkey? Is it part of the "Aviary of Evil"? Is there something in that hamstringing political scripture they call a "Constitution" that proscribes strutting around a paddock making "gobble gobble" noises?

Turkey Pardons President - now that would be a story.

Pardon me while I destroy something...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Royale with Cheers

First, the good news - Casino Royale is a fine movie.

Perhaps inevitably, though, it never feels like a Bond Movie. That's because the previous "new" Bonds were just new actors playing the same character, whereas Daniel Craig is playing a new character called James Bond. All of which would be far easier to swallow without the totally unnecessary inclusion of Judi Dench as "M". Big, big mistake, so big that we all assumed there must be a clever reason, but there's not. Arse.

Oh, and yes, they've buggered up the ending. That great last line is only great because it's the last line. It's the end. The destination. The solution. Tacking on another few minutes of "Bond Will Be Back" breaks the spell completely, lifting the mood and stopping us from dwelling on precisely that which demands dwelling, namely the painful genesis of Bond's character as he learns his most important lesson.

Craig is excellent. Really, he is. Actors do a job, they play what's written as well as they can, and Craig does just fine. It's not his fault that I don't get that "buzz" off him that Connery, Brosnan and even Dalton had. He's done more than enough for me to give him another chance, but I'm just not sure what else he can do. He's just not good-looking enough, not charismatic enough. I like him, I want him to win, but I don't want to be him - and that's such a vital part of the Bond formula.

At least, it was - this is a new Bond, perhaps we can have a new formula? One where my relationship with the character as a viewer and fan is different? Well, okay, that sounds good. Perhaps I'll give it a go. Perhaps I'll become a James Bond fan all over again. Let's see...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mull of Noel

I'm sitting here drinking gluwein, which means it's Christmas, so hurrah.

Rumours of my death, having always been exagerrated by some, are now apparently being disseminated by the NHS. Perhaps they reckon they can get under budget just by bumping me off? I wouldn't be surprised. Anyway, they called me in 'cos I've apparently got a white blood cell count of "this man is already dead", which might have led to some exciting X-filular confusion trying to work out which planet I was really from, had not a mistake been spotted and my condition somewhat anti-climatically upgraded to "alive". Boo.

I have been panic-buying pesto; I've realised that, should Italy unexpectedly sink, I might actually starve before working out an alternative cuisine.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's Educational, Mum!

Game of the moment is Titan Quest, which is eating my life at an alarming speed. Think World of Warcraft, but with classical mythology - and you get to play offline without paying.

It also teaches you as you play - for example, I'd never heard the story about Set cutting Osiris into fourteen pieces. That's a doozie. It also explains why fish tastes like crap.

Another thing I didn't know is that one can walk from Sparta to Athens in about ten minutes - although I suspect that might be artistic licence. Cool though...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Asymmetric Mutuality

Word grapevined its way laboriously to my lughole regarding this organ's quotation on page 2 of today's Guardian newspaper, which can't have done the stats any harm; not that I log them, or even check them, or (even?) even know how.

In the spirit of reciprocity, let me guide you to this little gem from their Martin Kelner, wot raised more than a chuckle from these cynical lips. I'm sure they need the hits, too...

I'm here all week, guys. Next week too, actually...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Niqab Blocker Tory

Straw dislikes all Muslim veils, apparently.

Whoa, cue the predictable overreaction.

Let me ask you this; if I arranged a meeting with you, and then turned up wearing a mask, how would you react? Would you have a moment's patience if I told you that your request was "insulting"?

My local rugby club is considered perfectly within its rights to ask me to remove my hat when I enter the clubhouse. My hat doesn't even obscure my face. Perhaps next time I will make some noise about the offense to my culture.

Or perhaps I'll wait until I see a niqab wearer enter my branch of NatWest, and follow them in wearing a balaclava...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


You Know My Name

It's the theme song for Casino Royale.

I'm really not sure what to type next. Perhaps nothing would be best.

Friday, September 29, 2006

ILLITERATE flying rats, an' all!

Originally uploaded by Mr Hyde.
This shot was taken by a contact of mine on Flickr, and I find it utterly wonderful on multiple levels.

No need for one of my usual columbophobic rants, even. A thousand words indeed. COO that, you little bastard!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Regenerated, and yet, unregenerate...

Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel.
We have gotten older. We have mellowed, and matured, and put away childish things. And I am the king of Spain.

How nice to have everyone - well, a lot of everyone - in Wales for a change, and to be able to walk to the fun. Regenerations proved as degenerate an affair as last time, and there was much rejoicing. In our picture, Steven O'Brien has the last of his grey matter removed by an affectionately anthropophagous Ann Kelly, who simultaneously attempts to immasculate Nick Walters for the crime of "being wankered beyond reason" - somewhat hypocritically, it must be said.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Yesterday's Tomorrows

Obituary: Raymond Baxter

Now, he was 84, and all, so that's a fine innings - but I'm unusually sad about this. One of the last ties to my 70s childhood gone. I think it's the memory of his enthusiasm for new things, for technology, for change. The glint in his eye when talking about space missions, or VTOL jets, or compact discs. Probably, on some deeper level, he reminded me of my grandfather, who had a similar enthusiasm, uncommon to his generation.

Plus, of course, he was a Spitfire pilot. It simply doesn't get any cooler than that.

So here's raising a glass of Coke Zero to you, Raymond. Farewell.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Beneath a Steel Sky

Beneath a Steel Sky
Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel.
Here's one of Friday's results, from a roll of Fuji Superia. All very Industrial Sci-Fi, and better than any of the shots I took of the Gherkin. At this point I was five minutes away from a delicious breakfast @ Giraffe in Spitalfields. My provincial soul never imagined that bacon and eggs could cost so much, or taste so good.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Having finally managed to secure a secondhand SLR - okay, two (oops!) - from eBay, imagine my gleeful glee when Van Guy pitched up with the goodies half an hour before I was due to leave for London, to see Guez and such wags.

So, I got a Canon EOS 600 and an EOS 1000F , with one 28-80mm autofocus zoom lens to share between them. I decided to pack the latter, it being the notionally simpler of the pair. With no instructions or other such sensible silliness, I proceeded to flick its dear little shutter at all and sundry in the Imperial Metropolis, including some very drunk people - so, sorry about that. Three films of differing types went clickety-click, but of course the drawback of ye olde filmme is that I can't put any here yet. Bah.

So, have this one instead. It's this guy , whose fame of course preceded him. At least he gets to sit down all day, which is currently an issue with my poor tootsies. I'm running out of parts of my body to be friends with.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


BBC NEWS | Wales | South East Wales | Christian denies anti-gay charge


It's a day for feeling proud of my little city. Let's hope we kick this guy's arse so far into touch it lands in the Taff.

Are you watching, Islamists? It's not just you we're after. No-one gets to preach Hate on the street while hiding behind "religious freedom" Not in this city, anyway.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Like a Horse and Carriage, Apparently.

Boys Together
Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel.
It was a bright and jolly Saturday in Shropshire, when, suddenly and terribly, divers hordes of miscreants and ne'er-do-wells descended upon the peaceful lawns of Ellesmere College, their crass, chaotic hearts set on the union of two of their disreputable number into a state of wedlock. Such ill-deserved bliss may hardly seem a just fate for such lowly creatures; and yet, their designs were accomodated, in the hope that the hallowed halls so cruelly misused should be free of their curse most promptly.

And so the deed was done, and the legions of darkness receeded, and at the end of it all, Nen Trussler had duly become Mrs. Phil Simmons, to various acclaim and much rejoicing. May fate have mercy on them all.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hanna Barbera of Judgement

One of the most persistent mondegreens1 plaguing me since childhood has been a lyric in the impossibly camp theme tune to Godzilla, in his Hanna Barbera cartoon incarnation. Yes, that's the one featuring the unmentionable comic relief baby dinosaur, who only gets an easy time of it from cartoon purists thanks to the existence of Scrappy Doo.

Never having taped an episode, I never got the opportunity to replay the offending lyric endlessly until its true meaning resolved itself. My 25-yr-old memory of the song is;

"Up from the depths,
Thirty storeys high,
Breathing fire,
HE STANDS in the sky,

"Stands in the sky"? Actually it sounded more like STAND, but that would be even more daft.

All praise the internet, for it is from these bountious streams that all wisdom can be drunk. I just downloaded an episode of this long-forgotten series, and it only took a few loops to ascertain the pure and lovely truth;

"Up from the depths,
Thirty storeys high,
Breathing fire,
HIS HEAD in the sky

There, now it makes sense. Quarter of a century of wondering ended at the stroke of a mouse. Some people think the internet is a bad thing. What do I think? I think I wish I could get John Hurt's gig for a tenth of the money, mostly...

1 Look it up...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Barsoom or Bust

Nasa names new spacecraft 'Orion'

This kind of thing really should get my heart racing. That it doesn't anymore is a problem that I hereby commit to spending a while pondering.

I suppose it might be the deflating effect of phrases like "no later than 2020" - I mean, it's hard to get too excited when you're busy choosing cardigans. Let's leave aside all the negativity aroused by the memory that Apollo got to Tranquility in 8 years, from a standing start. Let's be enthusiastic, and imagine raising a glass of something sweet to the intrepid explorers of Orion IX; Kyle Edmond, Logan Roberts and Josh Moffat; as their Ares V rocket lights up the skies of Florida on its way to an historic touchdown at Utopia Planitia.

"Not poems and rubbish; SCIENCE!"

Monday, August 21, 2006

Lime Wedges and Cutting Edges

Spent the weekend in Swindon with H plus Alan and Telsa - Woz constructed a smoke-a-Q of the usual sublime proportions, and far too many Margueritas went down far too few necks.

When other folks make a donation to my computer collection, it's usually a knackered Spectrum or a fire-blackened BBC micro. But Woz hasn't been other folks for ages, so I get a P4 2.4GHz with 768Mb of RAM and a GeForce 4 128Mb video card. That's about a six-year upgrade, in case you're wondering. I haven't been this near Now since the ZX-81.

LIDL's potato salad is cheap again. Mmmtbrrmf...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Taking the Proverbial?

Found beside a Cardiff road. The Welsh translates as "Bladder disease has returned"; apparently the software used by the relevant department was fed the word "cystitis" rather than "cyclist"!

You couldn't make this up...

As to who the guy holding the Geiriadur Mawr is - er, we'll get back to you on that one...

Monday, August 14, 2006

David Bailey? Who's 'e?

Having finally come out of denial, and accepted that my beloved Olympus Trip 35 is simply never going to turn up under a pair of knickers, I hopped onto eBay to scratch the itch. Had I realised it would only cost me a tenner, I would have done so a lot sooner...

The picture shown is one of the best I ever took with the old Trip, and shows the right 'orrible Lord Percival of Ware in his pomp, practising his one-man act in Fitzrovia, with his treasured (and possibly unique) Rob-Shearman-a-like ventriloquist's dummy.

Now to set traps for the postman, and find a cheap black & white processing service. Much jocular clickage will doubtless result, to which end, keep watching.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Continas & Corsairs (no Cortinas, though)

While searching for something prosaic and un-blogworthy at Stradling Castle, I have unearthed one of my Grandfather's old cameras, a Zeiss Ikon Contina. What a jolly little thing! Tit-all use without a light-meter, of course, but that didn't stop me jaunting into the park and snapping a few colourful things while simply guessing the light-level. What I really want to see is if oldy-worldy cameras take oldy-worldy-looking photos, which my brain seems to expect, despite the obvious problems of fundamental logic. So if I end up wth any shots of Alexandra Park in the late 1950s, I'll post them here for your amazement.

Game of the Moment is "Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest" on the GameBoy Advance, which is very pretty, has music which actually doesn't force you to mute it within five minutes, and combines platfrom action and quest / character building in a neat, kid-friendly, just-one-more-level kind of a way. Shiver me timbers, yo ho ho, and whatnot...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hats and Chickens

Nashfyl, isn't it?
Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel.
Did you know that a Lloyd's No1 Bar Sunday roast gets you nearly a whole chicken? Me neither. Burp!

Anyway, The Big Weekend has wrapped up cosily enough with a comeback performance from Our Lady of Song, Cerys Matthews (see pic). Before that, we were treated to a thorough ear-bashing from The Stereo MCs, a bit of Celtic twang with Foy Vance, and a whole lotta shakin' (or something like that) from Tex-Mex combo Los Pacaminos, whose frankly gobsmacking gimmick is that one of them is Paul Young; yes, the Paul Young, 80s smoochmeister and pin-up boy. He duly layed down his (ten-gallon) hat with the common people, got us shakin' our booties - despite ourselves, mostly - and left to ringing Welsh cheers. Top chap.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Selected Wave Alarms

Spirit of '76
Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel.
Golly, what fun!

One night survived, as evidenced by the photo. Welshmen certainly know how to grow old disgracefully. I am inspired...

Bloomin' 'eck, Katrina looks old... Still got it, though, as she proved by jumping about far more than I cared to. Silly tart.

if(weekend) { }

All The Fun Of The Fair #1
Right-ho, we're off to the Cardiff Big Weekend

Well, not "off" as such, 'cos it's here and all, but I'm about to leave the house with a bag full of tortilla wraps and Pepsi Max Cino and meet the beloved, from whence we shall plonk chairs on the City Hall green and watch The Selecter, Katrina (minus Waves) and The Alarm, all for no pence, which is good.

I might even let Hev have a go on the rides if (i) she's very good and (ii) she can afford it :-)

Reports to follow...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Doorstop time...

So, farewell, then,
Apple Powerbook 3400c
Your green LED
But you were too heavy
To use
As a torch

Return, now,
To the piles of crap in the corner
'Cos as usual I
Won't throw you away
Just 'cos you're

Friday, July 28, 2006


Home, pt2 - The State
Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel.
I've been playing with my Gameboy Camera. It's a lot of fun, if you're into terrible photos that you can do loads of whacky stuff with. And who isn't? Results, see pic.

I've acquired an Apple Powerbook 3400c for less than the price of a coffee, which is just as well 'cos so far the bugger only winks an LED at me. My second Apple!

Oh, and a friend pointed me at this, which is moderately diverting, if you're bored. More so than this 'blog, anyway.

That's all for now. As you were.

Monday, July 24, 2006

What did we ever do to Sundays?

Saint Joan & The Angel
Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel.
I bloomin' 'ate the buggers. Horrible, turgid, near-death experiences. They've got it in for us. Sundays must have been the runt of the litter. I reckon they got bullied at school. Sunday School, ha ha.

I attempted to engage this one in traditional combat by preparing hefty chunkage of roasted cow, with trimmings. My first ever attempt at Yorkshire Puddings would have been quite a triumph in itself, had Sunday not managed to arrange for a greased, non-stick tray to still bond with the batter at the sub-atomic level. Arse.

Still, it served to fatten up the Loved One for another week of chasing micro-organisms; and to repay her in part for a spiffing repaste @ Kazha, Cardiff's new Kurdish restaurant, yesterday. Recommended.

I didn't really burn her, of course. I can prove it. I think...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

One-nil to the Rational, One-nil to the Rational....

Further to this, today I recieved a nice letter, personally signed by the Chief Executive of the WMC, thanking me for my supporting e-mail, and describing their policy and the reactions to it.

How jolly nice of her - gave me a little lift, it did. Now that's good PR!

I've still only filled 4Gb on the iPod. 56Gb to go...

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Not just in blogland, but IRL too.

Bereavement sucks.

Normal service will resume shortly .

Friday, June 23, 2006


Four somewhat spiffular days spent in the land of Scots, where the term midsummer's day is simply Name #34 for rain.

First there was Glasgow, wot I've never seen before, and would be quite nice in the summer. :-)

Then two lovely days in Edinburgh, me boring the cheesecake out of poor Hev by showing her all the things that would be happening, if it was festival time, but aren't, because it isn't. Still, it's as lovely as ever, even with the streets crawling with Australians who have suddenly - horror of horrors - discovered soccer! Well, we kept it from them this long...

Couldn't decide what I wanted everyone to get me for my birthday, so I got them all to chip in for something extravagant. Accordngly, Edinburgh airport sold us a cheap 60Gb iPod, so that'll keep me busy for a while. My first Apple!

Why is it cheaper to fly to Scotland than drive or take the train? That's got to stop. And no, I don't mean quadruple all air fares...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Barefoot In The Emergency Room

"Never do the washing-up without shoes."

This is my new motto. I intend to spread its wisdom far and wide. Don't make the same mistake I made, kids.

If you do, this will happen; you will drop a large, stainless steel carving knife onto your foot. By the same laws that make the Buttered Cat Array possible, it will impact point-first. Your kitchen floor will rapidly fill with blood. You will then face the indignity of having to summon an ambulance - or, if you're really lucky like me, two ambulances - to your home, to take you away to sew your foot back together, and in all probability drop you off at the Funny Farm afterwards.

I do have the consolation of having actually achieved a rather excellent shot - making a 2cm-deep wound just behind my toes without damaging any major nerves, arteries or bone. I am under no illusions that I could have managed such a feat of knifesmanship on purpose. At least two nurses asked while passing , "Are you the one who dropped a knife on his foot?", so I'm consoled to think that I've provided some amusement.

But now the anaesthetic is wearing off, and I'm hobbling around like some semi-clad plonker with a club foot, and looking forward to the prospect of a tetanus jab tomorrow. So heed my words, ye unwary - if you must wash up, steel-toed boots are the way forward.

My next trick; cutting my toenails with a scythe...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cardiff, not Denmark.

I am, stupidly, rather proud of this;

BBC NEWS | Wales | Venue defies call to cancel opera

Backbone in the face of mystics? Whatever next?

Of course, they'll probably back down tomorrow and make me look stupid...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

This beats a Blue Peter time capsule!

Now this is distinctly groovy - a light-free ecosystem sealed for 5 million years. Shame there weren't any amphibious sabre-toothed tigers, but hey, it's still the stuff of Doyle and Verne.

A whole world without the need for sunlight, the wheel, or Reality TV...


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hack Writing

I appear to be afflicted with "Man Flu".

It's not flu, of course. It's just an extremely bad cold. I will, most certainly, live.

But this hasn't stopped the fun at my expense from some of the ladies in my life - especially if I make the mistake of croaking slightly in public. "Ooh dear, got Man Flu, have we? Have a lie down, love, we'll take care of everything..." etc., the tone leaving no doubt as to the unspoken approbation - if I was a woman, I'd be getting on with life.

So, enough. This is bollocks, okay? I haven't slept for nearly three days. I can only breath through half of one nostril. My bone marrow is the temperature of liquid helium, my forehead could be used to fry eggs, and my eyeballs are made of sand. I can hardly complete a sentence without coughing up phlegm. And yet, supposedly, you X:X types could cope with all this, and still complete your tax-return while windsurfing.

No. You. Bastard. Couldn't.

There are big colds, and there are little colds. This is a big one. The windsurfing kind, they're the little ones. Got that? Good.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Blues Sunday

The Cardiff Blues host Leinster at the Mill, and the enlightened decision to price tickets at £10 encourages me to take Hev along to further her indoctrination in the ways of egg-chasing.

A fun time is had by all as the Blues win a try-fest. A few Irishmen hanging around after the FA Cup final enhace the atmosphere with a bit of Blarney.

"I really enjoyed that!" says my beloved as we leave the stadium in the spring dusk. My work here is almost done!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Silly French

There is a word that has languished in the in-tray of my subconscious for some time, without my realising it. This word is Shampooing. Now, as a conjugation of the verb "Shampoo" - meaning to wash one's hair - it's common enough, but it's always had a weird, un-finger-put-onnable extra quality. Something haunting, elusive, and evocative of mystery barely understood, let alone explained.

So there I was today, sitting in a bath, searching for amusement in the absence of a rubber duck, a radio, or an erection. I alighted on one of those little sachets of complimentary hotel shampoo; liberated, no doubt, on some wild adventure behind enemy lines. The legend read "Shampoo / Shampooing". Given leisure to consider this, I realised that yes, they always say that, don't they? I had simply ever cared before. Logic therefore leads me to imagine that Shampooing must be a foreign word for the noun Shampoo. Most likely, French. A quick Google confirms this.

Well, come on - this is pretty wild, isn't it? Wouldn't we expect that most elegant of languages to have derived something more like Shampeau or Shampur? Shampooing is so daft, clunky, and un-French. And it's an ing word, for the love of... that can't be a noun, you daft messieurs!

Having, however, accepted this (very silly) fact, may I now suggest that time, resources and effort are spared by simply labelling shampoo sachets with Shampooing? A French speaker will think "Ah, it's shampoo", while an anglophone will likewise deduce "Ah, it's for shampooing" - job done, either way, and seven whole letters saved. That's got to be a couple of trees, or half a dolphin, or something?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Random Acts of Violins

Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel.
We certainly get a better class of busker on the streets of Cardiff of late. We are encouraged, naturally, to think of them as "street theatre", a distinction which many of them are actually coming to deserve.

Okay, the sliver-painted guy who's given up being a statue and started crooning with a Casio would be a bad example, but take the chap in our picture; now that's what I call a string virtuoso! So impressed was I, that I actually parted with a golden sovereign, as much as recompense for his patience in front of my lens, as for his acrobato-fiddular prowess, which was considerable.

More of this, and things like it, say I!

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Crap of Christmas Past

The Book We All Got Last Christmas® was called "Is Is Just Me, Or Is Everything Shit?" It was perhaps something of a pleasant change from Jamie Oliver or Bill Bryson, but recieving it nonetheless signified a total inspiration collapse on the part of the giver. Now, not all of us always get The Book We All Got Last Christmas®, me unincluded. For example, I got one of the Jamie Oliver ones a few years back, despit Jamie being up an alley a few blocks down from mine. Yet, perversely, no-one ever bought me a copy of The Book We All Got The Christmas Before Last®, "Eats, Shoot, and Leaves", despite the fact that that one was fairly self-evidently so far up my alley, it had climbed my gate and eaten my begonias.

So anyway, the rub is that I've finally gotten around to reading "Is It Just Me, Or Is Everything Shit?" Amused though I was to discover that the authors had honed their polemical skills in the smoky corridors of University of Wales, Cardiff, less of the rest felt as familiar as I'm sure they would have hoped. Underwhelmed is a word that springs to mind, and I like the cut of its jib, so I'll use it here. I was underwhelmed. Musing, as I later did, on how this scruffy afternoon's work down the pub had netted its progenitors an indeterminate but undoubtedly poly-wadular shitload of dosh, I was moved to upgrade underwhelmed to an epithet more evocative of extreme displeasure and the intent of vengeful violence.

It was only a last-minute intervention by the intermittently-functional neural cluster that warns me of things like approaching lorries and unzipped flies, that alerted me to the notion that the entry title 'Is It Just Me, Or Is "Is It Just Me, Or Is Everything Shit?", Shit?' might not be a first in blogland. That was close, then.

Anyone fancy collaborating on The Book We'll All Get Next Christmas®? I'll get them in...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Put her on Freecycle, Michael!

Well, it may not be one of the 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover that Paul Simon recommends, but "Freecycling" seems to be catching on, and it's certainly been profitable around here of late. Today, for example, I got rid of a bag of VHS tapes (remember them?) and got a lovely smile from a cute blonde in exchange; lovely smiles from cute blondes are definitely worth having, trust me. Later on, I relieved a technology hoarder, with even more space issues than myself, of a swanky AIWA 3-head cassette deck, thus freeing up my more everyday model for down-handing to my deckless Dad. Everybody wins.

It's a simple concept but it works; don't throw good shit away just because you can't use it, give it away to someone who can. You get to resolve a potentally tricky disposal issue, they get a freebie. My top score so far is a pair of his'n'hers mountain bikes for the folks - for no pounds & no pence, I jest ye not. Meanwhile, I've got fewer tatty bookshelves clogging up space...

If it's all new to you, I heartily recommend it. Have a look at , find your nearest group and give it a try. Sure, you'll get a few jerks asking if you have a spare Rolex, but it's an ultimately rewarding experience. Plus you get to feel all righteous about being nice to the planet. Bargain.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Four Go Mad In Cardiff

Today it's the turn of the charming Edmond family to brave the dimensionally transcendental thrills 'n' chills of Cardiff. Bold adventurers Kyle and Milo sally forth with nary a flinch into the maw of the rift, with bemused mum Mary and father "it's for the kids really" Ian clinging to their coat-tails.

Kyle gets into the spirit of things by wearing a handsome anorak on a sunny day, and there is much wonderment as little Milo turns out to be indestructible. The services of Albion Hospital are not required.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bright Shadows

The Dark Tower...
Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel.
Thanks to Hev's seemingly incurable wanderlust, I spent most of this week in Prague - for no reason, which is usually the best reason. As a first-timer, I was gratified to discover that Czech beer is indeed all that legend portends...

It is of course a place so photogenic it practically sucks the photos out of cameras, so check out the flickr link for the eye candy.

Almost a generation now since the "velvet revolution", the place still hides the occasional echo of communist austerity under the bubbling maelstrom of nascent, unfettered capitalism. It's a bittersweet, bewildering place, so many centuries old and yet still seeming somehow unfinished. I sense that it and I are not quite through.

Monday, March 13, 2006

"...And We Know We Are!"

Blue Monkeys
Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel.
Gawd, it was a bad weekend to be a British rugby fan. Scotland chained and whipped by the Irish, England dealt an unprecedented stuffing by the French... and our lot becoming the first team to fail to beat Italy at home. Draws in rugby are rare, so I suppose we got a collector's item. Lucky us.

These guys didn't mind, though. They came, they saw... well, two-and-a-half out of three ain't bad.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Wasps eat Tigers, Scarlet has Bath...

Bath Time
Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel.
Jollity galore as Cardiff hosts the semi-finals of the Powergen Cup. Fans of London Wasps, Llanelli Scarlets, Leicester Tigers and Bath.. erm... Bath, descend upon us in swarms. Or packs. Or whatever the collective nouns for the other things are.

There are cheers and tears aplenty as Leicester and Bath are evicted from the house, but not without giving our little city a welcome splash of colour to remember them by.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Oh, you mean THIS gate key!

Via the courtesy of the University Hospital of Wales, I today completed my personal set of Intimate Invasions by Trained Professionals TM. I'm wondering whether I now qualify for a free binder... In the process, several new words for pain were discovered and a lifetime of trauma stored for future cashing-in on psychiatrists' couches.

On the plus side, I now know precisely where my threshold of I-will-kill-babies-to-make-this-stop is. Should I ever, therefore, be captured by a hostile power whilst in possession of your vital secrets, rest assured that they will be safe for at least 3.8 seconds.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Location, Location, Location!

It's high time I did my duty as a citizen, and took a small flock of acolytes under my wing for a safari of discovery in the footsteps of the city's number one Legal Alien.

Jason Lythgoe-Hay, Steve Lyons, Julia Houghton, Chris Howarth - you have been chosen to explore the streets of Cardiff, in antarctic conditions, towards a greater understanding of the new and special mythological nexus that has formed around this City of the Rift. To boldly go where no fan has gone before. Except a few.

And did they explore! Heroically sacrificing inches of shoe-leather - and nearly one whole calf muscle - they struck forth, with Yours Truly as their guide, and encompassed in one afternoon the better part of a universe of adventure. From Blitz-era London to the year 5-Billion did they trudge with never a moan, every step of the journey documented by Jason's prolific shutter. Bravely they tracked the Slitheen! Incredulously they beheld the abode of the Empty Child! Serendiptously, they took pot-shots at the retreating Cybermen! Through freezing winds and driving sleet, they braved the horrors of Grangetown to seek out the abode of the Reapers!

Afterwards, spent and righteous, they retired to the Valhalla of all Pilgrims that is Wetherspoons, wherein they slaked their thirst - and, generously, that of their trusty guide - and partook of the sausages of success. Then, with parting jollifications, they struck out for their northern homelands with disarming gusto, leaving Cardiff all the poorer for their leaving.

Good Luck and Godspeed, brave travellers, and may the lure of greater adventures speed your return!

Blue Screen of Death (ra da-da da-da!)

Communications Breakdown
Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel.
Ah, Cardiff.

You try so hard to be on the cutting edge. You spend oodles of dosh on the latest multimedia communications technology for the masses. You reach for the Future with both hands.

Such a shame you didn't listen to visionary folk-hero Edmund Blackadder, who once very nearly said, "If you want something done properly; un-install Windows before you start!"

On the plus side, I have discovered that the phrase "Blue Screen of Death" fits rather neatly into the tune of "Chanson D'Amour", and that's had me humming happily all day.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Sobriety, take #366

Bloody Scotsmen!

Come to my town, lose to my rugby team, buy me beer...

How's a fella supposed to stay in the kind of miserable funk that (apparently) begets creative inspiration?

I am so dehydrated that Sony are considering putting little sachets of me in the boxes with their gadgets. I could swear that when I got in the bath tonight, the water level actually went down.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Chick IT

Girls don't do technology, right? The Video Cassette recorder, the DVD player, the Games Console, the Freeview box, the radio alarm, the plug; all these things were designed by men, for men, and the female brain is far, far too finely tuned to important, emotional stuff to cope with all the "jargon" - correct?

Ah, but now what happens? Now - more fool us - we have designed a fiendishly complicated electronic device which allows you to chat more! Suddenly, technology is no problem. All at once - who knew? - you're all bells and whistles, you ladies. Twenty-minute monologues on the bus - at 90dB, of course - about Julie from Personnel's cat, or whether Siobhan fancies the Maths teacher. Whole afternoons spent huddled on park benches with your FCUK sweater over your knees, clicking away on little keypads faster than any rational human could think a coherent sentence. Clutching those little plastic-and-silicon talismans in the kind of unendingly rapt embrace of which your "unromantic" partner probably only dreams. Not for you the inconvenience of reflexive feminine befuddlement when challenged with GPRS, SMS, 3G, mp3/polyphonic and more weight of arcane nomenclature, of the kind that would send you into theatrical yawning fits if attached to any other useful device!

Here's news for you, females: Next time you pull the old "Oh, you know I can't grasp these techy things..." line, we're taking your mobiles away. We'll handle all your calls for you. Don't worry your pretty little heads. It's boy stuff.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Gentlemen Prefer Punchlines

Are Blonde Gags funny anymore? Well, maybe sometimes.

Just to make sure no-one takes offence - if you're a blonde, don't click here.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ready when you are, Mr. Spielberg.

Could someone please explain, in simple words, what the movie Munich is trying to say? It spent two-and-a-half hours trying to bash its message into my cranium, to no avail. Sure, I got the basic points about self-identity ("home") and the cyclical nature of revenge, but there's got to be more than that, surely?

Steven Spielberg tends to make profound movies about profound subjects (War, Holocaust, Racism) and jolly movies about silly things (aliens, dinosaurs, man-eating sharks, possessed petrol tankers). But despite the grim subject material, Munich is remarkable for being actually quite easy to watch, and the violence all seems to occur at arm's length. Given the limitlessly contentious nature of the subject, the movie's morality wisely leaves space for the audience to pick its own heroes and villains, but such equivocation - while laudable on one level - leaves the authorial voice so much the weaker. It's not that I'm expecting answers, just that I'm grappling to understand what this movie thinks the questions are.

Most perplexing of all is the device of having the protagonist, Abner, frequently endure "flashbacks" of the Munich massacre, despite not having been there. This leads to a giddy, spectacular and (unfortunately) utterly bewildering denoument as we watch the final gruesome moments of the victims unfold in Abner's head, while he has sex with his wife...? Okay, I can make the link between orgasms and explosions, but I'm fairly sure that's not what The Big Berg's getting at. He's cleverer than that.

I wish I was.

Schroedinger's Hamster

Cutesy animal story with built-in amusingly horrible ending:

BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Snake 'befriends' snack hamster

Anyone care to run a sweepstake on the furry one's chances? How long before domestic bliss is ended by a soft gulping sound?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Spiky Light

Spiky Light
Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel.
It may look to you like a radioactive porcupine, or a slow-shutter shot of a firework, or a negative close-up of my chin. In fact, this is part of an installation by Simon Fenoulhet at the Glyn Vivian art gallery, Swansea.

You're not supposed to take photos, actually - but with the flash off, who's gonna know? Anyway, I heartily recommend a viewing if you're in the area - and why wouldn't you be, after all?

Once you're all cultured-up at the GV, you'll feel a lot less bad about languishing in the depths of one of Swansea's many oblivion vendors and drinking just a little too much cheap beer.

We did.