Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lacking Sleep?

Following up nicely from yesterday's news for the Enions, a report covered by the BBC says that having a baby can cost you two MONTHS worth of sleep in the first year alone.

Which is something worth considering.

For the record, I'm not planning on children.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Isabella Yasmin Enion

Congratulations to Sophia and Giles Enion on the birth of their first child, a girl named Isabella Yasmin Enion. She was born at 11.20 this morning, weighing 8lb 11oz. Both mother and baby are doing well, despite a difficult birth.

Pictures and (I'm guessing) a huge amount of drinking will follow.

A quick check of who else was born today reveals that she will share a birthday with Neil Kinnock. The poor girl.


Winter Olympic Bid For London?

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Okay, NOW I'm Scared

Thanks to this report about how information I carry around could be used to kill me and me alone, I'm now properly worried. So thanks to the authors of the report for bringing the thought of bombs that can be activated by my DNA a chilling step nearer reality.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Just been checking through the logs and found the following.

I don't think they like him very much.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hong Kong A Beacon Of Civil Liberties

Yes the former UK Colony, which is now part of China(!), is being held up as a beacon of civil liberties as it refuses to routinely fingerprint school children as it sees this as invasive.

This point was raised in the House of Lord's debate about whether school children in the UK should be fingerprinted - a practice which is widespread here - for such reasons as taking registration or using the library.

More details on the debate here

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Untypical, Again. Which Is Typical, Really.

According to today's Daily Mini Quiz on the BBC's Magazine page, the average person knows how to cook only four different dishes. Now, I'm assuming that they don't mean that they know how to cook four different things (eg. rice, pasta, eggs and fish) but four complete meals.

So I got to thinking, what can I cook without actually looking at a recipe book?

Full Roast Dinner (with Yorkshire Puddings and Roast Potatoes), Thai Green Curry (making my own paste), Bolognaise sauce (with chicken livers, natch), Roasted Stuffed Peppers, Griddled vegetables with pan fried fish, Beef in Filo pastry (which I don't make as it's a pain in the arse), Roast Mediterranean vegetables with cous-cous and griddled minted lamb, Cassoulet, Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, Paella & Risotto (essentially the same, but different), Stuffed Mushrooms, Caesar Salad (making my own dressing), Beef Stew, Quiche (and I do make that pastry myself), Chilli Con Carne, two different Indian Curries, and a Five Bean Stew of my own creation.

And that's just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Oh, and many, many various things with chicken.

Okay, so it's hardly Masterchef material, but I'm surely not *that* atypical. The only thing I can think of is that when they asked people they answered "starters, soups, main courses and desserts". And I know, I need to practice my desserts.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Please Read! New Becca/Bob Post

As you know, I don't normally do massive pleas/requests, but in this case I'm going to make an exception. Please read this and then send Becca/Bob a card. That's all. You haven't even got to send money this time.

Just send her a card. Wish her a Happy Birthday. That's it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gareth Hunt Dead!

Following on the news of last week's death of John Inman, I'm sad to report that Gareth Hunt has died of pancreatic cancer.

While famous for playing Gambit in the New Avengers, he'll remain in my mind as the only person ever to do the international hand gesture for wanker in a commercial for coffee.

If anyone can link me to the advert I'd be VERY pleased.

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Beaten By An Eastender, Apparently

In my on-going quest for pub quizzes, I went to one at the Maid Of Muswell last night, with Rach Kitchen, her friend Alistair and Rach & Adam Tedesco.

I got there first - at about 7.15pm - and nabbed the last remaining table in the bar (it's not that big a pub), which happened to be right in front of where the quiz master was seated. Everyone else arrives, there's chatting, beer (too many as it happens) and then at about 8.30pm, the quiz starts.

Some of the rounds this week were related to Mother's Day (so had the word Mom or Mum in them, or parts of the answers could follow the word Mother). Did reasonably well, although I felt there were a few too many religious questions. None of us knew what "Irish Moss" was (and it's nothing to do with religion btw), nor did we know which TV Chef's mother was called Peppy.

So the answers are given out and everybody marks everybody else's papers. We are then stunned to discover we're joint seventh(!) out of about 13 teams. So after the quiz I ask to see our answer sheet. First of all, our totals for round 4 & 5 are both incorrect (two more points to us) and secondly, one of our answers that was correct in round two was marked as being wrong (another point to us). Turns out we're actually joint third. Which is much better.

Still miles off first, though. The winning team, who had Billy from Eastenders in (but I barely recognised) and someone who used to be in Eastenders (who I failed completely to recognise) got a frankly unbelievable 60 out of 65. And 5 of those 65 you only get if you get all ten right in the last round. I shouted "Google, Google" when their score was read out. Then had to explain to them I hadn't been shouting "Loser, Loser" at them.

But I think we'll be going back there in a couple of weeks to see what the quiz is like then, as the quiz master told us he was planning on changing the format.

Tomorrow it's the Mucky Pup quiz again, then next Tuesday I'm going to try the one at the Ranelagh despite them poisoning me twice out of the past five times I've been there.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Red Noses Are A Fire Risk

Following on from my earlier post about Red Noses technically being illegal in the demonstration exclusion zone around parliament, news from Fame Academy who say that the Red Noses are a fire risk

It's a Health & Safety thing.

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Has Lord Levy Asked You To Lie For Him?

I only ask on the off-chance. It is alleged that he asked Ruth Turner to cover for him in the Cash for Honours scandal, so I was wondering if Lord Levy has ever asked you to cover for him?

Does anyone else find this a tad similar to when Jeffrey Archer asked Ted Francis to lie for him? You'll note how they're both Lords of the Realm. And both heavily involved with Governments about to be mired in accusations of sleaze and incompetence.


Monday, March 12, 2007

UK Passport Agency Queries

I'm currently involved in an increasingly odd email exchange with the UKPA. I simply want to know if the Daily Mail article I referenced in an earlier post was actually true.

I sent them an email asking "If I refuse to have my details on the NIR, can I still get a passport?". I get a reply from them - well, - asking what the NIR is. I explain that it's the National Identity Register. They then reply telling me that they wouldn't know about that.

I mail them again, somewhat exasperated, that as they're the Passport Agency (and part of the Home Office - who are trying to implement the ID Card scheme) they're exactly the people who should know about that. I get a reply telling me that they'd never said I couldn't get a passport...

So, I've mailed them again, explaining in very simple terms what information I require from them, and now they've given me the telephone number for the Home Office. Which is quite handy, as at the time of writing, the Home Office website is down (probably terrorist hackers) so I couldn't have gone on there to bother people.

Weirdly, that isn't anything to do with the Government, yet is expected to deal with enquiries about everything related to passports (issued essentially by the Government). Which strikes me as odd.

I'm now going to ring the Home Office.

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Don't Want To Be On The National Identity Database?

Then don't plan to leave the country. Ever. Okay, so this was in the Daily Mail, but I've checked on the no2id website and they're confirming the story.

Plus, on the Passport Service website, they're also saying that carrying an ID Card will be compulsory in the future. I've emailed them asking them to confirm whether the Daily Mail article is true, or will be true in the future.

EDIT: Just received a reply from the UKPA, asking me what the NIR was... Worrying really, having to explain what the National Identity Register is.

The lies told to Parliament about the ID Register being non-compulsory are beginning to be shown up. If your passport runs out in the near future, renew it before April this year, otherwise you could find yourself in one of the 69 interrogation centres having to explain your life history.

If your passport doesn't run out in the near future, may I recommend using it to leave this country?

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Red Nose Day Illegal!

While this may come as a surprise to some, the Government introduced a law last year which actually bans people from demonstrating in the area around the Houses of Parliament. Depending on your definition of demonstrating - and remember, the Blairs are both lawyers, so the definition is probably going to be the dictionary one - taking part in Red Nose Day 2007 could well be illegal.

See this for full information, and the various forms you'll need to fill in should you wish to wear a red nose anywhere near parliament.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Too Many Things To Complain About

First of all, 'Cash For Honours'. Lord Levy investigated for allegedly asking a Downing Street staffer to change the statement she was due to give the police. Then the BBC get gagged for trying to report it. Then theguardian successfully appeal the gagging order and print pretty much the exact story the BBC still weren't able to report - which did make the paper review a slightly surreal experience to watch that morning. Yet Lord Goldsmith denies that the injunction was politically motivated. Yeah, right.

Secondly, and I really must congratulate the Conservatives for managing to move the above story from the top of the headlines with this, the Shadow Homeland Security Spokesman has been axed for saying that gingers have a harder time than ethnic minorities in the Army. To be fair to him, Mercer did only say that while trying to justify saying "being called a "black bastard" was a normal part of Army life." Which obviously needed clearing up. Perhaps Patrick Mercer would be better off joining the BNP.

Thirdly, stunning 'joined up Government' last week. On Feb 28th, the Government announce that they're scrapping The Youth Opportunity Card, then on March 5th, they announce that they're going to fingerprint all kids. Although they're only doing that so that they can have a biometric passport. The same kind of biometric passport that the Daily Mail(!) have managed to hack without opening the package it's posted to you in.

Fourthly, Sky & Virgin Media (who now provide my television 'service' since they bought Telewest) have had a tiff about how much each other's channels are worth. Net result is, I've lost two channels I used to watch fairly regularly, Sky One (for The Simpsons and, er, no, that's it) and Sky Sports News (which I watch every Saturday I'm at home for Jeff Stelling and the boys covering the 3pm kick-offs). Of course Virgin isn't taking this lying down, but it does mean I have to spend a lot more time in the pub. Which I should really sue both of them for.

Fifthly, I am still deaf in my left ear from being stacked over Heathrow for an hour over two weeks ago. Fortunately, I'm going to Spain in a week so if it has cleared by then, I may be able to replicate the effect of being underwater once more. While this does have an amusing element to it (I can completely ignore anyone standing to my left) it is becoming a bit of an irritation. I know I should get it seen to, but frankly I'd probably die of old age before getting seen to by my doctor. It's like the receptionists don't want the doctor seeing anyone who's actually ill, just in case s/he catches something off them.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

New Becca/Bob Post

Received an email from Becca's dad, Peter this morning, which I've posted on her blog. It's not all good news this month, I warn you in advance.

Of particularly shocking note is the fact that Bob will be 35 later this month... Oh my. Doesn't that make you feel old?

Please send her a birthday card - even if you've never met her - the address is on the post, here


An Evening With Judy Garland

Shameless plug for a friend of mine who's doing a one woman show at the King's Head Theatre in Islington, 6th - 11th March. Give the box office a call and get yourself down there. I'm going, and I'm a bloke!

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