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Last week, ChrisC and I got some post. It turns out to be a ticky-box survey each from Mr Cameron, asking for our opinions on how to run the country.

Since I've yet to find anyone else who's received this survey, I assume he has chosen us as his special advisers. I had no idea the Tory party was in such disarray.

Anyway, I've filled it in this morning. And written a snitty letter to go with it, pointing out that every single questions is at least one of (a) leading, (b) reductive, (c) intrusive or (d) plain stupid.

Argh. )
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And while we're talking about packaging changes...

They're messing with my beer! )

In other news, I am now back from WGW and will shortly cease wittering about label-changes and review some bands instead.
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Once - long, long ago - a major news event would occur and there'd be the usual comment of "... and I wonder how long it'll be before we start hearing the jokes about it?"

Now, thanks to twitter, you can be sick of the jokes before you've ever really digested the news.

It's less than 45 minutes since Liam Fox jumped, and I'm already thinking that if I hear one more comment about him having dropped his resignation letter in a bin in St James' Park I'll have to murder someone.
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1. If walking up a busy, crowded staircase in a public place (say, a railway station) do not remain glued to your phone. Some staircases are not segregated by direction of travel and you may walk into someone coming down said staircase.

2. When reaching the top of an escalator in a busy place, or passing through a gate such as a railway ticket barrier, do not stop. Not even if you want to read the arrivals board, wait for your friends, etc. Move to the side, then stop. This is particularly true in the escalator case when the people behind you cannot stop even if they wish to.

3. If walking through a slow-moving crowd, do not push the person in front of you. Especially do not repeatedly ram a push chair into their ankles. It will not enable them to go any faster.

Violation of these rules will result in your licence to walk being revoked.

By order.
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It's pretty summery out there. Y'know, warm and stuff. There's been some rain in the last few weeks, but it hasn't been cold at all. Humid occasionally, but hardly chilly.

I understand that colds happen in warm seasons, too. Summer colds can be really nasty, and it's not very much to do with the weather. I haven't had one, but I understand that winter complaints can sometimes spill over into summer.

However, I would really like to know why the blithering hell I am developing chillblains.
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And another thing...

From the Daily Mail:

Aware that News of the World staff might use their final edition to fire a parting shot at her, Rebekah Brooks is said to have instructed two senior executives to read the paper with a ‘fine toothcomb’.

Now, I don't know if that's the Daily Fail's error, or Rebekah Brooks' error. And it's not the first time I've seen it. But really, guys...

Do you comb your teeth? No.
So is it likely that a toothcomb is a thing? No.

It's a fine-tooth(ed) comb, you idiots.
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Yesterday, who are usually quite sensible and useful people, sent me an email advertising their range of "personalised gifts" for Christmas.

It made me cross )
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Every month or so I get an email from Friends Reunited which says:

"Why not add yourself to these places?

  • Hummersknott School


Er... because I didn't go to Hummersknott? Because I've already told it exactly which secondary school I did go to between the ages of 11-18?

Stupid bloody thing.

You've all[*] remembered the clocks went back, right ?

[*] For UK-based definititions of 'all'.
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Right. Enough. I'm calling time on this social networking bandwagon. It's all very well for teenagers, but it is not incumbent upon every institution on the planet to get itself on Twitter. According to an email I received recently, you can even follow the University of Oxford on bloody Twitter.

I finally snapped when, after listening to the Reith Lectures (this year on the subject of "Citizenship") on Radio 4, a continuity announcer told me I could join in the debate on Twitter. Because yeah, nothing says informed and scholarly argument like 140 characters.
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It being a little chilly in our office at present, I've taken to having a mug of instant soup with my lunchtime sarnies. I get the packet out of the box in the drawer, and trot down the kitchen to the hot-water dispenser. As I go, I sing to myself... Nobody makes... soup in a cup... like Bachelors' Cup-a-Soup. Every bloody day.

That hasn't been their advertising slogan for a number of years. And it's not even Bachelors' anyway, it's some cheap knock-off called Soup in a Mug. Yet still I can't so much as look at the things without bursting into song.

Anyone else find themselves cartwheeling into advertland each time they see a particular product ?
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Nearly two years ago, [ profile] hendybear gave me a lovely mp3 player as a birthday present. It is none of your iPod nonsense, it plays any format you care to chuck at it and doesn't require specialised software to shove songs onto it. I love it.

"Ha!" I thought as I unpacked it. "Now I can walk round with music in my ears all the time."

As it happens, I don't )
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I have just had a bowl of pasta and Dolmio "Stir-In Sauce" for tea. (Bear with me, I've been ill in bed for a few days and wasn't up to feats of culinary genius).

I don't wish to knock Mr Dolmio's Stir-In sauce. As cheap and cheerful convenience food goes, it's not at all bad. It was "Sun-dried Tomato Light", if you want to know.

The instructions on the packet suggest one should "... stir one pot of sauce into 300g of hot freshly cooked pasta." Which is fine. It then goes on to add:

"Perfect for two people looking for a bit more excitement."

What ? More excitement than not stirring reduced-fat tomato sauce into your pasta ? How can people live at such speed ?


Mar. 25th, 2008 01:33 pm
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Dear Regus,

Fix the heating, you bunch of bastards.
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If you are going to the supermarket the please observing the following rules:

  1. Do not walk backwards, or suddenly change direction, without looking behind you.

  2. Do not walk forwards unless you are looking in front of you, either.

  3. Keep your child on reins or hold its hand. Or teach it to look where it's going. I don't mind which.

  4. If you need to stop to think/chat/scratch, consider whether you are blocking an aisle before choosing your location.

Also, while I appreciate that having two members of staff attaching the pricing labels to the sandwich shelves is quicker than one, having them stand shoulder-to-shoulder while a queue forms to look at the sandwiches is silly.

I'm normally quite a placid person, but Cowley Road Tesco has nearly induced in me a homicidal rage this morning.
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On the plus side: free wifi.
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A few months back, I was killing time in a motorway service station shop. I forget exactly why I was doing this, or which services I was in. Anyway, I found myself browsing among their selection of paperbacks.

There were a couple of "bloke books", in the Andy McNabb or thriller vein. There were a couple of celebrity biographies. There were a lot of books that, if correctly applied, would change the way you eat, make you thin, restore your energy, or turn you into a wonderful cook. Alledgedly.

But everything else was misery )
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This morning, moving some stuff of my desk, I uncovered a bookmark sent to me by CAMRA and advertising a book called "300 Beers To Drink Before You Die".

I just don't get this recent rash of books. 1000 Things To Do Before You Die. 501 Books To Read Before You Die. 999 Places To Visit Before You Die.

Firstly, I don't get them because they're really just filler; lists of things which probably won't be tailored very exactly to your tastes. They look like the sort of books you give to people when you don't know what to give them. Flicking through a few, I've not felt particularly inspired by the things they think I ought to do/read/eat/drink/shag.

But mostly I object to these books because I want to know who they're aimed at. If the target demographic believes that death is total oblivion and nothing comes after, then half the title is superfluous: "1000 Things To Do" would be fine as a title because, hey, you're not going to do them after you die, are you ?

If, however, the intended reader believes in life after death, then why limit yourself ? "1000 Things To Do" - and you can do them in the here and now or in the afterlife/your next reincarnation, whichever suits you best.

Why do publishers think that adding "Before You DIE" to a book title will encourage us ? Just in case life isn't enough of a struggle anyway, have another deadline!
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This morning the milkman brought us a pint of silver-top.

And a catalogue for 2008 Christmas hampers.

It's bloody February!


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