Wednesday 31 January 2007


It's quite freaky when, at 8 o'clock in the morning, when you're wandering around your second floor flat, half dressed, getting ready for work, and then you see some builders outside your windows. :S

We're getting the roof done at the moment so there is scaffolding up around the flat.

Sunday 28 January 2007

Burn's night

Had a great Burn's night last night with Miguel, Jing, Alex, Keno and Elle-Marie (Wendy was back in London picking up stuff for ski-ing).

Last year I bought a "British" haggis, but this year I made sure I got some proper McSween haggis. I even got a wee veggie version for one who shall remain unnamed (...Jing). It was fantastic - the best I have had for years! Everybody seemed to love it and went back for more. I think it might even have been Alex's first time.

I wore the kilt and addressed the haggis. I really need to work out what I'm saying one day. We didn't bother with the Selkirk grace or the toasts to the lads and the lassies, but it was all fun. We did have the old bagpie music going though! If there had been a bigger group of us I might have stuck to tradition. I maybe need more Scots to help me (Greg?).

One of our group, who shall remain nameless (Miguel) drank too much and went home early. lol!

I tried to round off the Scottish evening by watching the original version of "The Wickerman". We did all fall asleep so I finished watching it today. I love this movie. It is great to hear a movie that is full of Scottish accents but doesn't involve needles in arms. Brit Ekland is okay on the eyes too. There is no way I can bring myself to watch the American remake. Heresy I tell thee! Heathens!

Today I went for Sunday lunch with Keno and Elle-Marie to the Turf then had some pretty sweet hot chocolate in the Old Tom.

I don't have any photos of last night (other than one Miguel sent me which I can't get off my phone) so the pic is of the nice hot chocolate!

Wednesday 24 January 2007

Valencia here we come!

Flights to Valencia for Matt's stag do have been booked! I'm booked with Ryanair. I'm not a fan of them as an airline - their CEO, Michael O'Leary, gives me the creeps. He's like an evil Louis Walsh. Maybe he could be a judge on Airsteward Idol? I can't help feeling they will find some way to squeeze some more money out of me...

Ah sorry sir, there' a new charge on anybody wearing shoes upon European flights with Ryanair. Well the reason we've imposed this charge is actually to be fairer to the passengers who do not wear shoes on our flights. Really, why should shoeless customers pay extra to cover those who insist on wearing shoes? You want to fly shoeless now? Ah, well then you have to pay the "change my ticket to a shoeless ticket" charge.

To be sure...

This will be the first stag do I have been on. 22 June to the 24th. Should be fun. Can't wait!

Reclaiming back charges

That's the way to do it - send in the bailiffs!

Sunday 21 January 2007


Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
Was down in London for Rina's birthday this weekend and we went to the Spaniard's Inn for drinks and food last night. Today we went for food to Wagamama's in Camden. Ticket office at New Southgate was closed so we got on the train and were (honestly) going to buy the ticket at King's Cross as we needed to travel further anyway. There were ticket guards at the gate but i genuinely thought we would be okay. Not so and they decided to fine me and Louise. None of my foreign guy act or Rina's pleading would work so i had to pay £20! Amusingly they forgot to fine Louise. Then dumbass here buys more travel card than i needed! All very amusing for Rina and Louise. The girls did them pay for my food though. Expensive weekend all in all. £150 i reckon. Too many pricey cocktails last night. All fun and games!

Friday 19 January 2007

Praying for snow

It's just over two weeks till we go to Switzerland for ski-ing. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst seasons on record for snow cover. I knew it was bad around Xmas, but I thought things had been getting better. Aparently not.

There's no snow at Villars-Gryon where we're going yet although the forecast says there is snow on the way.

Still two weeks to go and it just takes one decent snow dump to sort it out. We just have to get praying for snow (and world peace and all that other important stuff...)

Villars Webcam.

Wednesday 17 January 2007

Scawny legs

Not long to go to the ski holiday. Can't wait!

I've been trying to do some leg work in the gym to avoid the initial "argh my thighs feel like they're about to explode" feeling you get when ski-ing for the first time in ages.

Normally I don't bother doing any leg work (or sit-ups for that matter), which isn't a great idea because, if I ever actually ever develop any upper body muscle mass, I would still have ridiculously scrawny legs (and a belly by that time most likely!). Anyhoo, I only have about 40min 3 times a week so I just do what I can.

Thursday 11 January 2007

Dundee's misery

One of Dundee's last big manufacturing employers has announced that it is to cut 650 jobs in Dundee and move production to a plant in Hungary.

How depressing. Dundee has lost a lot of manufacturing jobs over the years, but this one, with the knock-on job losses to suppliers etc., really is sad. I can imagine there must be a real black cloud hanging over the city at the moment. It's just a sad consequence of globalisation. There's no way manufacturing in the UK can compete with cheaper workforces in Eastern Europe and beyond.

I was watching a BBC2 programme the other day with Jon Snow explaining that the UK was moving away from manufacturing to become a "knowledge economy". Fair enough. Dundee has a very good biotechnology sector, which now employs around 3,800 people and accounts for 15% of the local economy.

Somehow though, I doubt these 650 NCR workers will be donning lab coats and taking up molecular biology. With no offence meant to people who work in supermarkets and the like, I always think it's a real shame when these skilled workers are told that they could get a job stacking shelves or working a checkout till. That must be so demoralising.

I sometimes wish I was a rich Richard Branson-type, and could invest all my money in Dundee. Trying to help set up companies and stuff like that. I think I've played too much Sim City. Hey, you never know - maybe one day I'll be a Venture Capitalist and set up a fund for biotech start-ups in Dundee!

Next Phone - Nokia N95

Getting a new phone on contract is great. It's like getting a shiny new toy for nothing! It's time to stop taking the freebies though! Nokia's newest phone will have GPS [STOP!]... no need to say anything else - I must have it!

Due March 2006. Watch the ad to see what else it has:

Wednesday 10 January 2007

Oxford Puddle

Wendy and I tried to go ice-skating last night to the temporary open-air ice rink at Oxford Castle, but when we got there it was mostly just a puddle, with some guy practicing his ice hockey. So we probably would have just got soaked, and got some teeth smashed from the hockey puck. I didn't realise it before, but there is actually a proper ice-skating rink in Oxford, so we will probably just go there instead.

Just call me Torvill...

(Cute picture credit)

Saturday 6 January 2007

new goggles

new goggles
Originally uploaded by major_grooves.
My new Spy Optics rule. Can't wait to get on the slopes. There's been a big dump of snow recently so hopefully that will continue and the conditions will be great by the time we get there. Off to London now to meet the Swiss miss et al.

Thursday 4 January 2007

Celebrities are mostly thickos

In today's celebrity-saturated world it seems the great unwashed would rather get their information from overpaid and overexposed "celebrities" than actual reliable sources of information... such as people who have a clue what they are talking about.

Celebrities like to talk about science too.

To try and counter some on the nonsense they spout, science information charity Sense About Science has launched a leaflet to point out some of the worst celebrities' "science" quotes and a helpline so that they can phone to check their facts before they open their cake holes.

One of my favourite comments comes from lifestyle "guru" Carol Caplin (favourite of Cherie Blair) who says:

women should be informed about avoiding breast cancer and that they should be "keeping the lymph system clear and unclogged".

to which Michael Baum, emeritus professor of surgery at University College London replies:

"Carol's idea ... has no meaning whatsoever. It is not based on knowledge of anatomy or physiology of the human body, let alone of breast cancer."

BBC story.


Monday 1 January 2007

Hello 2007!

We had a quiet civilised New Year's Eve affair at Keno's last night. Keno, ably assisted by Elle-Marie, cooked some amazing food, the highlight of which was the oxtail-stuffed peppers.

Managed to get back from London to Oxford without any bother today. However, I did feel really sorry for the people that didn't manage to get onto our bus. They must have put extra buses on though, as when we pulled into Oxford, there was another one close behind.

So, to anyone that I didn't send the "send to many" text message last night: Happy New Year! I hope to see many of my friends very soon in 2007!