Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Prague Photos

Prague Castle
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
I've put all of Wendy's and my photos onto Flickr, which you can view here.

Highlights include:
Lastly here is the panoramic picture I made of Prague Old Square (note: the file is 2.5MB, so I hosted it at, which does also host some "adult" material, so it might be blocked if you try to look at work. The actual link to my pic is fairly clean so don't worry about clicking on the link).

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Birthday weekend fun to come

It's my birthday on the 9th of December so I will attempt to have some kind of going out for food then drinks-type thing.

Open invite to people I know. Lisa and Foxy still not welcome.

Email me if you fancy it...

I apologise in advance to all the people I will offend when I have had one or two too many drinks... Ahem, me looks guiltily around...

blogger comments problems

Since I updated the blog to Blogger beta I have had a few problems with comments. Before, comments would appear more or less instantly. Now they take ages to appear and apparently people sometimes get error messages. Sometimes I will get the email telling me a comment has been posted and I can see there is a comment in my Dashboard but when I go to the post there is nothing there.

For example on this post I know that someone left a comment but it won't appear.

Is this something to do with me having an FTP blog and not hosting on The reason I host my own site is that I want to keep using my own domain name. I suppose the alternative is to make my domain name point at my blogger site but have the actual site hosted by blogger.

I believe there are a number of other new features of blogger I am missing by hosting my own site.

Can anyone confirm this or offer any advice. If so, please, ummmm, leave a comment.

Sunday, 26 November 2006

Big Brother is listening to you now

I've just finished reading the George Orwell book 1984. I decided I need to start reading some "must-read" novels, so have started with this one. Harry Potter is entertaining, but it doesn't really broaden the mind.

I don't think I read it before but I do have a memory of an English class at school where we watched the version of the movie, which was made in 1984. I'm not sure why we would watch the movie but not read the book. It must have been one of those 'last day of term' things. I remember there was nudity in it which wasn't the sort of thing you expected to see in a film your teacher has put on. I also remembered something about rats...

Orwell is very prophetic in some ways. Particularly in the way that CCTV surrounds us all the time now, forever 'observing' our actions. If you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear, right? Hmmm...

Amusingly, seeing as I have just finished reading the book, I noticed this story on the BBC. The police intend to use 'eavesdropping' microphones to pick up crowd conversations at the London Olympics. I actually don't mind the use of CCTV, but this is going too far! Sounds like an idea straight from the Thought Police!

I actually slept quite badly in Prague. Every night my dreams were full of "thoughtcrimes" and "newspeak"! Creepy!

I wonder how many people in the UK actually realise that "Big Brother" comes from this book, and was not dreamed up just by some Dutch TV producers to satisfy the TV habits of simpletons worldwide? Would be interesting to actually survey that

Sushi and poles

Wendy and I went round to Miguel's last night where Jing surpassed herself and made some stunning Sushi. I've never tried sushi before (other than nicking some of Wendy's when she buys it from M&S) but I'm glad to say I really liked it. Thanks Jing! :) I also liked the "Wasabi" experience.

I brought some Czech absinthe along and 'encouraged' everyone to try some. It's 72% proof apparently! I'm not sure you'd be able to buy it that strong in the UK, which is just as well as it tasted foul. I've had one of the worst hangovers in a long time today and got out of bed at about 5.30pm today!

We also returned to Bar Baby, where I tried to make amends for my earlier pole dancing mistakes. This time Wendy and Jing got in on the act. Interesting you you kind of assume that the girls will be great at pole dancing... just because they're girls. In reality, unless they are professional pole dancers (Wendy is not, Jing I didn't ask) they won't really have seen it performed at, ummm, close range, so won't really know how they do it. Therefore you can tell who has been to the most pole dancing shows by how good their own attempts are:

I wasn't too bad, Miguel was not too shabby either, however, without a doubt the "star of the pole" was Richard. Amazing poise! Where did he learn those moves? A sign of a mis-spent youth methinks. He should get a regular slot there.

Fortunately, neither of the stalkers, Lisa and Foxy, were anywhere to be seen last night. If they do ever have the nerve to show up, I know one little person that will kung-fu their asses for sure!

Saturday, 25 November 2006


Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
Behold the gloves of good!

ski stuff

ski stuff
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
We're sitting in Prague airport right now waiting for the flight home. Today i bought salomon ski boots, ski pants and TWO pairs of ski gloves. One pair is a really cool pair of sheepskin lined leather mitts which reminded me of a pair dad has/had that he lent me when i did my paper round in a snow storm. Now that i an leaving Prague i must make a point of finding out who this Franz Kafka dude was. Picture is of a strange sight we say when leaving the hotel this morning.

Friday, 24 November 2006

Kutná Hora

Kutná Hora
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
Today we took a train trip to Kutná Hora. First, we took a really dodgy route to the train station via a junkie. The guide book says the town could once have rivaled Prague. What it doesn't mention is that it is now a bit rubbish. The is a very impressive cathedral, and a few things to see, but in general the town is quite depressing. I suppose it is more real Czech than disney world Prague. Had a nice neck in Pivnice Dacický, a bohemian adds hall in the town. The best thing to see was the Sedlec Ossuray, which is the church with the bone sculptures. See the photo on previous post. Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman went there at the start of The Long Way Round so we had to visit it. Tonight we went for an Italian meal. We have had enough dumplings for one holiday! Also discovered that astronomical clock doesn't do the fancy show at night! Tomorrow we reluctantly fly home but all is not lost as we are going to Miguel's where Jing will be making sushi.


Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
I see dead people. About 40,000 of them!

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Prague castle, U Prince & Vivaldi

Today we visited Prague castle. Apparently the largest castle complex in the world. Very impressive but not very castle-like. Big cathedral and palace. Saw changing of guard twice. Wendy and i shot crossbows. I was the best! Wendy was merely okay. Tonight we ate at the U Prince Hotel. On 6th floor terrace had they of old square and castle. Was amazing and food was great too. Thanks Louise and JJ for recommendation. Then we got all cultured and went to see the Vivaldi Orchestra Praga at the Municipal House. They played some Händel and Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Very impressive. Then we went to a bar and loads of beer for about GBP2.

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Mucho mucha

Mucho mucha
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
Walked round prague today. It is really small. Saw old square. Very nice. Saw astronomical clock. Very astronomical. Went to lots of shops. Hmm great. Went to Mucha museum. Was very good actually. Nice posters. Tonight we went to Klub Architejtu for dinner. Very nice caverns. Good food. Need to book though. Then went to bar. Wendy is insane. Must add - duvet on beds is odd.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

arrived in prague

arrived in prague
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
Arrived in prague okay. Hotel is nice and well situated for old town. Weather is rain but i forgot to take umbrella out tonight. It is so cheap here! Public transport 75p from airport to town. Three course meal for two GBP14. Half litre beer and got chocolate GBP1.50. Had dinner in Kavárna Slavia, famous prague cafe. Goulash was good. Then went to U Zlatého Tygra bar. Bit too real czech for us. Not one girl there! Went to other small bar it was nicer.

Monday, 20 November 2006

Prague here we come

Wendy and I are off to Prague tomorrow. I was expecting it to be really cold, but looking at the Prague weather forecast, it isn't really much colder than Oxford. In fact Dundee is much colder!

Now that I've got this mobile blogging thing sorted, I'll try and take some pics on my camera and post them straight to here from Prague. I'll try and send one pic each day as long as it isn't too expensive (must phone O2 to check that now...).

So far we have had two recommendations to eat at U Prince hotel, so that is definitely on the cards.

Well, as they say in the Czech Republic: "Měla babka v kapse brabce, brabec babce v kapse píp. Zmáčkla babka brabce v kapse, brabec babce v kapse chcíp!" Lol! That one always cracks me up. Those crazy Czechs!

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Zodiac and cinema

Jo was back in town this weekend so we went oot down the Cowley Road.

First stop - Kas Bar - too busy so we're straight out of there and into the Jamiacan place, Hi-Lo. It's less "Tropical Lilt Advert-style Jamaican Love" and more "I will tolerate your presence here because you pay us money".

Next stop was Bar Baby. This place has a pole for pole dancing. I had a go, and learnt why women have evolved to have their reproductive organs inside their body - it's so they can pole dance without sustaining the sort of injury I got why I jumped at the thing with my legs open, thinking I would spin round looking all erotic-like. Women have evolved to pole dance! God works in mysterious ways. I wonder if I can get this theory published in JMCP (The Journal of Male Chauvanist Pigs)? Do firemen have reduced fertility rates?

Then, like all good nights, it was off to The Zodiac. Incidentally, the Zodiac has recently been sold to the Academy Music Group. I hope this is a positive thing. The comments on that link seem quite unhappy with it.


We went to see two movies at the cinema this weekend. First, in the comically small screen at Magdalen Street Odeon (honestly - I think my TV at home might be bigger than that screen) we saw, Starter for Ten which was a pretty good story. Ooh, who will he choose? The gorgeous, but slightly shallow blond, or the down to earth and I suppose attractive in her own way, brunnette?

Then today in the George Street Odeon (still quite small) we saw The Prestige, which was a really good movie. Loads of great twists, some seem a bit obvious, but they all deceive you from the last one (kind of). Definitely recommended!

I may go to see Casino Royale some time soon.

Saturday, 18 November 2006

Karaoke Inspiration

My work Xmas do is in a few weeks and part of the entertainment is Karaoke.

I did a karaoke chinese meal night for my London leaving do and it was great fun.

I now just need some inspiration for what songs to sing at the work do. I know there are song songs I like singing but I can never remember what they are. I don't think I'm a great singer but it sounds okay in my head. I have a bit of a limited key range too. No high bits please! I was a bit of a singer when I was a youngster and used to always go in for the Dundee Leng Medal. I never actually won, but in P7 I was sooo close to winning that the judges made a point of letting me know I was second (usually they just announce the winner). Gutted! I'll never forgive you Heather! (just joking!!) My song was called "The Work o' the Weavers".

So far I will have to do the "Elephant Love Song Medley" from Moulin Rouge - both Ewan McGregor's and Nicole Kidman's parts. I might also try "Mr Boombastic" (Even though I only know the chorus). Maybe "Easy like Sunday Morning". What else should I try? Leave a comment to inspire me!

We also need a suitable group song for our department so any suggestions would be very welcome. I was thinking "Hey Hey We're the Monkees". Jo?

Friday, 17 November 2006

Steve vs

Result: Score draw!

I thought I would win this one, but lovefilm (formerly screenselect) offered me a fair compromise so I accepted it.

The end result is that I pay for 1 month's subscription - the October WOAH *realisation* I was about to mention how I was going to get 3 months subscription free but I just realised they have tricked me again and all I get is 1.5 month free subscription.

They really are a bunch of shysters! These "free subscriptions" are really just a way for them to get hold of your credit card, so that when you forget to cancel it, they can charge you the full subscription. In this case I didn't forget to cancel it - I cancelled it and they decided to keep sending me DVDs anyway and charge me for the privilege.

To put it simply, my free sub was due to expire on 4th October, so on 2nd October I cancelled it and sent my last DVD back. Despite cancelling the account on the 2nd, when they received my returned DVD on the 3rd they sent me another DVD. Apparently they had already processed my account so they couldn't prevent the next DVD being sent. As I was sent another DVD, there was no way I could return it before the 4th, so I got charged for a full subscription. Does that stink of a con to anyone else?

So I took this as an opportunity to complain. However, these guys weren't budging. Even when I worked out the reason they were charging me was because I had sent back the "extra" DVD after the account had been cancelled. Seriously, trying to get these guys to admit they are in the wrong and credit me my money is like trying to get blood out of a stone.

After lots of complaint emails, the eventually offered me 3months free for paying for the unintentional 1 month. What I've just realised as I typed this is that they count from when I paid that amount till now as included in the "free" extra sub time. All that time I was in dispute with them so wasn't using it! Cheeky ba$tards!

So now I have "accepted" their offer I probably can't get back to complaining, so I will just have to watch some DVDs for a month and a half.

Well here is my final "complaint" email for posterity. Feel my wrath!


I have worked out exactly what your mistake is now.

I cancelled the account on the 2nd and sent the DVD (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) back that day which was received on the 3rd. As the billing date was the 4th that should have been enough to close the account. As I had cancelled the account I should not have been sent any more DVDs. Please note I received the "cancellation pending email" on the 2nd stating I just had to return this DVD for the account to be closed (this email was forwarded to you recently).

Despite cancelling the account and sending back "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" I was still sent another DVD on the 3rd which I received on the 4th (I think it was "Ray"). You state that I have been charged because I sent my final DVD back which was received on the 11th, which was after the billing date of the 4th. However you are charging me in relation to a DVD that was sent AFTER I had cancelled the account. I should NOT have been sent this DVD so I should NOT be charged on the basis of its late return. As I was not expecting to receive this last DVD (having cancelled the account) I was not available to return it immediately, hence you have only received it back on the 11th.

I trust the situation has been fully explained to you now. You cannot charge me a subscription on the basis of a DVD that was sent to me in error AFTER I had cancelled the free trial.

Please credit me as soon as possible.



Thursday, 16 November 2006

Blogger Beta archives don't work

I recently switched to Blogger Beta and now none of my archives work anymore. The help for Blogger says to republish the blog. As it is nearly impossible to republish in Beta, I went to "Archives" saved my changes without making any changes, and was then given the option to republish. However, the archives still don't work.

Anyone got a fix?

Boxing and Bears

Awww look at the cute Panda Bears!

I tried going to boxing training at Oxford Uni for a few weeks. One of the things I was particuarly useless at was Skipping. This guy is a tad bit better than I was:

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Mitchell and Webb in Oxford

We went to see Mitchell and Webb, stars of "Peep Show", at the New Theatre in Oxford tonight.

Was it good? Yeah it was quite good. "Yeah" said in that kind of high pitched yeah way. I wasn't ROFLMAO but I did occasionally LOL.

I was kind of expecting stand-up, but it was all scripted sketches.

My favourite sketch was the Nazis sketch. "Do you think we're baddies? We've got skulls on our hats.."

The Mime was funny, as was "Big Talk". Some bits were less so. As I overheard some amateur pundit mention as he walked past the bus stop, "The fat one (Mitchell or Webb) is funnier, he's got..." then he walked out of earshot.

The picture is of the stage curtain which had a big picture of Mitchell and Webb. I would have taken a picture of them on stage, but apparently that would have been a 'sad' thing to do. But then who am I to say what 'sad' is? I've come home from a comedy gig and come straight onto the computer to blog about it. Wendy is in bed, and here I am on the computer. I rock.

To be fair I wanted to take a picture of them and actually blog it from my mobile phone in the theatre. This is comparatively quite cool.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

mobile blogging

mobile blogging
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
Testing to see if i can blog photos from my phone

Partying Summertown Styleee

Jing, Miguel and a couple of Wendy's friend's came round last night for dinner and drinks.

I made Hunter's Chicken with Kailkenny (mash with cabbage and cream), both from my 'Scottish' cook book. I'm not really sure what is particularly Scottish about Hunter's chicken but it tasted pretty good!

We then went along to the Summertown Wine Cafe, which to Miguel's disappointment didn't serve any Bacardi. Nor did they serve cheese after 10pm. What they were happy to serve was fairly expensive wine. Still it was nice wine and I felt a bit so-fish-tika-ed.

Apparently the ladies toilets at the Wine Cafe are highly thought of. I can't comment on the gents because I was slightly drunk and my memory is a bit hazy. Maybe I didn't go...

After we'd rocked Summertown big-style, we headed into town (minus Wendy and her friends) to go to 'Maxwell's' nightclub. Hmmm, this place was a bit dodgy. Definitely near the bottom of my Oxford recommendations. Kind of like an American diner as a nightclub.

However, despite the dodgy club, my dancing was still spot-on. I drew a few admiring glances with my 'skipping dance' but decided to stop when I realised I looked like a complete moron skipping round a nightclub. Actually I have no idea when or why I stopped...

I got the nightbus home but, ummm, forgot to get off at my stop so had to walk back a bit. Reminded me of the days of the nightbus to Wembley when I'd wake up in Stanmore.

Today - hangover. After a while Wendy and I went into Oxford to meet Jing and Miguel for lunch at the Old Tom.

Saturday, 11 November 2006

World Wide Webcams

It's a fairly old trick now, but if you use some particular Google queries you can get access to hundreds of unsecured webcams that are used as security cameras.

The query is: inurl:"ViewerFrame?Mode="

There are a few other queries you can use to find the webcams. One of the first places to mention this 'hack' was, but it is also mentioned on and Apparently you can also control people's printers with the correct queries. Dodgy stuff indeed!

Here is a site that has collected a whole bunch of these webcams in one place.

Here is a webcam
(intentionally public) from the city centre in my home town, Dundee.

Finally here is a pretty good one of an African waterhole, where you can see antelopes, zebra etc.

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

BlockBuster and Screenselect (now LoveFilm)

I thought I would be clever and take the free trials to both these websites and get two months worth of DVDs.

Unfortunately both of them have decided to charge me for a months subscription even though I cancelled my free trial in time. Ba$tards!

However every cloud has a silver lining. This gives me a chance to test my complaining skills! I have exchanged many emails with both of them so far and I think I will win one fight and lose the other.

Other things to complain about are trains. I got on the train at Oxford to travel to London on Sunday. Then I sat on the train for half an hour in the station. The train was packed but I got a seat at least. Then they said they didn't know when the train would be able to leave. So after half an hour waiting I went to catch the Oxford Express to London. I should have just trusted the bus in the first place. How crap can the British trains be to just cancel and entire train after leaving you on it for 30min. Idiots!

Let the train tale the strain. Let the train take my arse, the bunch of useless morons. Wouldn't happen in Switzerland.


We've booked our ski holiday for Feb next year. We will be staying in Chalet Martin near Gryon. Can't wait. I know nothing about the ski area or anything like that yet. It's been two or three years since I last went ski-ing so I am really mising it. Hopefully I am not too rubbish now. Wendy will be ski-ing for the first time so hopefully she enjoys it.