Blovember #15 – Regression to the mean

Everyone has a book inside them. Apparently. I am plumbing the depths of my soul and am damned if I can find mine, let alone a post for today.

No more shockers from the old man but I really ought to call and discover the colour etc and feign interest.  As my first ever girlfriend pointed out; I may inherit it. No, my brother can have it. In this very very funny video you could substitute Honda Jazz for BMW GS.

While I flail about for something entertaining to write about I do recall a chat yesterday with my brother who was kind enough to give me a full description of the possible consequences of of  his strong antibiotics and the fact that he has a bad back. Indeed, he painted an overly graphic picture of a big sneeze triggering uncontrollable shitting whilst howling in pain.  He is a burly man as this woman describes. Howzat for something you didn’t need to know?

Possibly a bit much for a family blog I hear you cry.  I am just illustrating that little of interest happens on a daily basis so a daily post will sometimes be amusing, sometimes banal and occasionally gross.

I have work to do and today the dice landed on gross. Bad luck.

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Blovember #14 – Oh The Shame

Yesterday my dad hit me with some shocking news. I guess I have never really thought of my parents as old people. They are very active, don’t have plaid slippers, don’t stoop, own computers that they know how to use and to the best of my knowledge don’t buy the superb value cavalry twill trousers (Two for One whilst our child tailors can still operate machinery) advertised in Saga Magazine.

As I stood with the phone pressed to my head he just hit me with the news. No gentle pre-amble, no kind and softening preparatory words to ease me into it, just the verbal equivalent of  pulling off a plaster very fast. Be a man, son.

“We take delivery of our new Honda Jazz tomorrow…” Well bugger me sideways. I wasn’t expecting that. He’s on his way to new knee number two, smoked very heavily in his 20’s and 30’s when it was  manly and healthy, so osteoarthritis, cancer or even syphilis would  have been less of a shock.

Honda Jazz
Ashamed? Yup.

I howled with a dismay only to be met with a barrage of reliability, TCO and other salient stats. These that had obviously been pre-prepared and committed to a memory that is a long way from failure.

“But it’s an OAP’s car” I protested weakly, again.  To which he replied, “Did you know that  the average age of a Honda Jazz driver is 62?” Then the coup de grace, “I’m 75 so am just getting down with the youth.”

Blovember #13 – Rollers, Google, Death

I have a very, very, nice bike from @SpinBling. However, I can’t afford to follow Rule #12 so that, coupled with the crappy salty roads, cold temperatures and the steady thrum of rain on the Velux in my office caused my mind to turn towards indoor training aids. Sod Rule #9. I hate turbo-trainers as they are just so so dull. On the other hand, rollers look far more interesting and involving.

When I shared this thought with my go to geeky cycling buds (Dave Newton and my darling brother Chris)  it was met variously with a “Just don’t do it, ever.” from Newt and the more pithy and direct brotherly love response from Chris of, “can I have them when you are dead?”. Not even a “please”. Red rags and all that so now I am looking seriously into them. I fancy a set of cheap ones that can be eBay’d if it doesn’t work out so set about looking online.

My research soon turned to YouTube videos from newbies to people pulling stunts. All the videos shared a common theme though and that was that the banner ads were all an assortment of funeral planning offers.

Does Google know something?

Blovember #12 – Two Certain Things

Death & Taxes

If you are Starbucks, Google, Microsoft or Amazon – and many others I am sure –  then apparently the latter barely applies in the UK. In a cunning wheeze you don’t actually trade in the UK so report and pay tax on very little apparent trading activity. I have a hard time blaming the companies as they are operating legally within the law. We all know the law is an ass so I hold HMG accountable for poor rules. With a properly structured tax system the dodges wouldn’t be possible and there wouldn’t be the discussions, which in true John Humphrys style, seem to imply deep guilt on the part of the practitioners. Where does the BBC get its left-leaning reputation from?

Apparently the British and German Chancellors are talking about a sales-tax to prevent companies hiding behind off-shore shell companies. Oh yay, again it is the consumer that pays  for the failings of the government. Remind me; what exactly is VAT at 20% if not a sales tax?

Rather than the rules being changed to state that if you conduct business in the UK then you are required to report ALL of the business carried on within these borders we receive a fudge. Now I’ll get to pay sales-tax on products from firms that already pay tax in the UK. Double bubble for the government, again.

At least death will be a sweet release from all this taxation nonsense and we can all be certain of that. For those unfortunate enough to stay alive then R4 is covering Nadie Dorries on IACGMEOH.
14.11.12 – Just read this: http://www.futurebook.net/content/amazon-dock Very good

Blovember #10 – It’s a cop out

I am going to cop out and write about cooking, which is too easy for me as I love food. It’s the weekend and not only do I have things I *ought* to be doing but instead I am sitting here wrapped in a nice post-gluttony glow having made and then pigged out on an unfeasibly large rosti with two soft fried eggs and smothered in chipotle sauce. Burp.

Apart from the butter, olive oil, tons of ground pepper and a big pinch of sea salt and  6-8 grated medium sized spuds it was transformed into a dish of health with the addition of finely diced cooked Kale – it’s green, it’s a veg, it must be good for you – and a smashed clove of garlic.Coupled with 3/4 litre of fresh orange juice I reckon I must be well over half way to my 5-a-day.

There would have been more, much more, garlic but we were down to one poxy little clove. How’s that for poor forward planning? I’ll go and iron my hands straight away.

Sensational Swiss Rosti

PS: Soft fried eggs. Not in any oil. I’ll explain how tomorrow.

Blovember #8 – Not Bovvered…

When a fairly young, groovy and ethical brand like Clipper Tea has an email address of  thisiswhatithink@clipper-teas.com you kind of expect a reply to a polite email with a very polite gripe. So far at 1 3/4 days I haven’t even received an acknowledgement. I’d set up my “reach out to my customers” email address with an automated reply setting expectations for a human reply. If you are a small firm – why not give yourself up to 5 working days? Hardly unreasonable is it?

Before I wrote this I checked the email address, time of sending, any bounceback etc. There is nothing to indicate it hasn’t been received. I am trying not to leap to judgement but due to the website being up I am guessing there hasn’t been a catastrophic IT outage. I think the issue is a human one, which is sad. @clipperteas C-, could do better

In the interests of big/small balance I ought to note that Mercedes Benz Oxford also disappointed the other day. Made me wait 15 min to see a “specialist” after saying “someone will be right out” and not “it’ll be 15 min if you don’t mind holding on Sir”. I then end up explaining the difference between camber and toe-in to a real mouth-breather and am left wondering about said individual’s area of specialism. It sure as hell wasn’t wheel alignment on an E-class, that much I know for sure. Not making me want to rush there for a service anytime soon. I was then called by an “expert” who then perpetuated the whole thing by giving duff information. I know because I had the car on an inspection pit today w. a man that services coaches and builds race cars as a hobby. We looked and looked and looked for 20 min. No adjustment bolts for setting the rear wheel camber on an E-Class Estate. No shims either  and according to The Internet there is no way to adjust the rear camber on a W211 except by buying aftermarket kits. @mercedesbenz_ir – D, be straight w. customers.

Addendum: after a v nice lunch with #MusingsFromTheSofa the point was made to me that I was failing to make a point about MB Oxford. I agree that I meandered around and that, at best, the point was inferred. I apologise. The point was to contrast that even the big guys like Mercedes were not necessarily better than the little guys like Clipper Tea. In both instances I expect to be not only satisfied but hopefully delighted. Both obviously lack a Social Media Strategy or I expect to have been contacted in some form by now….

Blovember #7 – The Least Worst Option

Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t no politico. My general view on politicians is best expressed by the quote; “The desire to become a politician should automatically disqualify that person from ever being one” which is variously attributed to several people including even Billy Connolly. I wish there was a box on the ballot that says “None Of The Above”. As @Sophie_Gee wryly observed though, “what if that is the majority option?”. Hmm, let me think on that. I may be a while.

Nonetheless, the Tea Party which seems to be the deeply right-wing and religiously biased (flawed?) equivalent of the Monster Raving Loony Party has failed, through the failure of everybody’s favourite Mormon bishop to become El Presidente, to even get a sniff at proper power and the mere sight of “The Football“. Obama is indeed the Least Worst Option so we can all breathe a bit easier for the next 3.5 years.