26 November 2010

Friday Joke

The History of telecommunications...

After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, British scientists found traces of copper wire dating and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 150 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the Brit's, in the weeks that followed, an American archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after, a story published in the New York Times: "American archaeologists, finding traces of 200-year-old copper wire, have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network 50 years earlier than the British".

One week later, the Cape Times, in South Africa, reported the following:"After digging as deep as 30 feet in his backyard in Thabazimbi, SouthAfrica, Lucky Simelane, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing at all. Lucky has therefore concluded that 250 years ago, Africa had already gone wireless."
Glasgow Boys join Ferrari.
Reuters has reported that "The Ferrari F1 team fired their entire pit crew yesterday." This announcement followed Ferrari's decision to take advantage of the British government's 'Work for Benefits' scheme and employ some Glasgow youngsters.

The decision to hire them was brought about by a recent documentary on how unemployed youths from Castlemilk were able to remove a set of wheels in less than 6 seconds without proper tools, whereas Ferrari's existing crew could only do it in 8 seconds with millions of pounds worth of high tech equipment. It was thought to be an excellent, bold move by the Ferrari management team as most races are won and lost in the pits, giving Ferrari an advantage over every other team.

However, Ferrari got more than they bargained for! At the crew's first practice session, not only was the Glasgow pit crew able to change all four wheels in under 6 seconds but, within 12 seconds, they had re-sprayed, re-badged and sold the car to the McLaren team for 8 cases of Stella, a bag of weed and some photos of Lewis Hamilton's bird in the shower.

23 November 2010

Wednesday Movie - Danny MacAskill

Only one possible contender this week
Danny MacAskill's new masterpiece. This guy is truely amazing on a bike and the film work and scenary are inspiring.

If you missed his previous offering its here

19 November 2010

Fun with puns

Puns for Educated Minds
1. The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He had too much pi.
2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian .
3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.
5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
7. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
9. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
11. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
12. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: 'You stay here; I'll go on a head.'
13. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
14. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'
15. The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
16. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
17. A backward poet writes inverse.
18. In a democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.
19. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
20. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris , you'd be in Seine .
21. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, 'I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.'
22. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says 'Dam!'
23. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
24. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
25. There was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

17 November 2010

The Maldives...

We have had a lot of great trips to a lot of great places: surfing, diving and exploring rain forest in Costa Rica, canyoning, biking and rafting in Utah, big mountain skiing in Canada, surfing and diving in the Caribbean and numerous others. We know that once our little girl enters the World things will change, at least for a while. So we opted to have one last trip. With Katharine being 6 months pregnant it was not going to be a wild one but that was no reason for it not to be special.

After looking at lots of options we settled on the Maldives. I have always wanted to go there and it suited our needs perfectly. Sun, sand and lots of options for being lazy. I have been feeling pretty tired and run down recently, work has been fairly stressful so I needed some R & R as much as Katharine. I had also heard that there was good diving and maybe a bit of surfing, so I wouldn’t get too bored.

We flew with BA and managed to get some good seats on the way out. The joys of travelling with a pregnant woman! It’s a long over night flight and when we arrived in Male it was hot and sweaty. I always imagined the Maldives to be up market and luxury so I was a bit surprised by the airport in Male which is pretty shitty and run down. Nothing bad, just not the opulence I had expected.

A quick, 40 minute boat ride from the airport to our island and things were looking up. The Maldives is a collection of desert islands. These islands are formed from the build up of carbonate sands on top of coral reefs. They are fringed by a lagoon which is in turn protected by the outer reef. That’s the science bit, a better way to describe them is to think about the cartoon Robinson Crusoe island with a single palm tree. They are not much more than that. It took 20 minutes to walk slowly around Kandooma, the centre was a dense jungle and the edge was fringed with sandy beaches and turquoise seas. The accommodation was in small single cabins and there was a central area by the harbour with a couple of restaurants and bars. It was all very luxurious and the staff were super friendly.

The room/hut was in the jungle, two minutes from the sea. It was surrounded by palm trees which were filled with huge fruit bats and all sorts of noisy birds. The shower had no roof and it was amazing to be able to stand in your hut, taking a douce, looking at the jungle and getting rained on. Nice touch.

We checked in and checked out the island. A quick tour and I found the dive centre. They immediately got me in the lagoon on a muppet test and when I had passed that promptly persuaded me that Nitrox (diving with enriched air) was the way forward and got me signed up on a course. I thought this was supposed to be a holiday?

Over the next week I dived pretty much everyday. The diving was excellent. Saw lots of sharks, rays (eagle, sting and manta) and some excellent reef life. We did a night dive and dived a purpose sunk wreck. The diving was in fact much better than I had been led to expect, I would say World class. The people in the dive center were super nice and very professional, I even passed my nitrox course without too much effort.

Each day there was the same bunch of people diving, plus or minus a few. There was a nice bunch of brits who were pretty funny, a german dive photographer who spoke to no-one and ignored his buddy (me) in the water. There was a lovely Spaniard from Mallorca and a Russian called Sergi who adopted a “free fall” sky diving position when descending. He had a lot of kit including the biggest dive computer I have ever seen and two knives. Given that he was also totally ripped – I think he was some sort of special forces dude. He said very little.

Away from the diving we went snorkeling with hordes of Japanese. It was a zoo. We later saw them having snorkeling lesson in the 1 m deep pool by the restaurant. Twenty of them in life vests swimming in circles being instructed on how to breath through a plastic tube. You might think such training is unnecessary but the next day I say one of them trying to eat wetabix with chopsticks!

We spent a lot of time sleeping, I hadn’t realized how tired or wired I was. It was great to just relax and read. I read the excellent and chilling “Handmaiden’s tale” while Katharine got through about three books. We also spent a lot of time eating. The food was excellent, there was one restaurant in particular, right on the beach that was amazing. You could watch the crabs digging holes , fighting for their bit of beach while a heron fished from a rock, all while eating dinner. And after eating we would adjourn to the roof top which was covered with large cushions. There we lay out, drank beer (or cranberry juice for the pregnant half of the duo) and watched the stars trying to spot constellations. It was fantastically relaxing.

I also had a try at wake boarding. It normally takes me a while to pick stuff up so I was pretty happy to get up on the board on the 4th or 5th attempt. Even the instructor seemed surprised. He said it was unusual for “someone of my size” to get up so easily. I wasn’t sure if that was a compliment on my dexterity or an insult about my size. I’ll take the former…

And then our week came to an end and we checked out, paid our bills and caught the boat back to the airport. The boats departure was delayed while they searched the bags of an arab girl and confiscated all the bits that she has stolen from the room. Classy!

The Maldives is amazing as a place to relax, but its not cheap. Kandooma is run by the holiday inn, although it is way more up market than any holiday inn I ever stayed in before. As far as the Maldives go its good value and the luxury is fantastic. The facilities are excellent, the setting is fantastic and the staff are friendly and attentive. There are virtually no Americans there and their hideous tipping culture where you always think people are just working you for a better tip is totally absent. Everything is just booked to your room and you pay when you leave. It is an excellent place to go on holiday, especially if you need to unwind. I even started to develop an interest in Carbonate sedimentology.

The economy explained...

...for people like you and me - here

And just in case you thought the people in charge know what they are doing and Goldman Sachs wasn't a c*nt - here

If it wasn't so scary it would be funny

16 November 2010

Introducing our daughter – at least in the virtual world

We had already had two conventional scans of the baby and they had indicated that everything was going ok, all the measurements seem to suggest normal development and the pre-requisite number of arms, legs, fingers toes and heads. However, the Aberdeen NHS has a ridiculous policy of not telling the parents the sex of the baby. So we opted for a private, 3D scan. A couple of folks who had already done it said that it was well worth the money. So last Friday we headed to the clinic in Aberdeen and they wired Katharine up to the machine, covered her with gel and had a look inside her tummy.

It was pretty amazing and after a few essential measurements, the operator went in search of the baby’s bits. We quickly deduced that she is a girl!

This was actually a bit of a surprise. For all sorts of reasons we were virtually convinced that the baby was going to be a boy. Not that we especially wanted a boy but we just thought that was the way it was going to be. And we were 100% wrong! We are both super excited about bring a little girl into the World and if she is anything like her mother she will kick ass!

From her private parts the scanner headed to her head. They could not get any good pics of her face as she was hiding. Either because she was shy or tried or both. So after sending Katharine out for a walk to try and wake her up they eventually gave up for the evening and said come back the following day.

Saturday we went down to the farm to see the new fences that had been put up around our land. All in order there and lovely to visit it again. We then force fed Katharine with sugar before heading back to the scanning clinic.

Once inside we had a lovely women operating the machine. She had no problems finding a very awake little girl, thrashing about in her mothers tummy. This time she was happy to pose for lots of pictures and even some video. She is of course beautiful and it was lovely to see her.

The 3D scanning people were fantastic, such a contrast to the miserable gits at the hospital. It was exciting to learn the sex and amazing to actually see her. I highly recommend the 3D scan if it is an option for you. It’s a luxury but a very nice one. It makes it all so much more real.

From the clinic we headed off to the airport for a flight to the Maldives. This is our last big holiday before we get to meet our little girl in person in 14 weeks and then, the World gets tipped upside down.

10 November 2010


We are in the Maldives having a nice time...

In the meantime check out Apples latest product here and here

05 November 2010

Friday Joke

Al Qaeda on Strike
Muslim suicide bombers in Britain are set to begin a three-day strike on Monday in a dispute over the number of virgins they are entitled to in the afterlife. Emergency talks with Al Qaeda have so far failed to produce an agreement. The unrest began last Tuesday when Al Qaeda announced that the number of virgins a suicide bomber would receive after his death will be cut by 25% this February from 72 to only 54. The rationale for the cut was the increase in recent years of the number of suicide bombings and a subsequent shortage of virgins in the afterlife.

The suicide bombers' union, the British Organization of Occupational Martyrs (or B.O.O.M.) responded with a statement that this was unacceptable to its members and immediately balloted for strike action. General Secretary Abdullah Amir told the press, "Our members are literally working themselves to death in the cause of Jihad. We don't ask for much in return but to be treated like this is like a kick in the teeth." Speaking from his shed in Tipton in the West Midlands in which he currently resides, Al Qaeda chief executive Osama bin Laden explained, "We sympathize with our workers' concerns but Al Qaeda is simply not in a position to meet their demands. They are simply not accepting the realities of modern-day Jihad in a competitive marketplace."

"Thanks to Western depravity, there is now a chronic shortage of virgins in the afterlife. It's a straight choice between reducing expenditure and laying people off. I don't like cutting wages but I'd hate to have to tell 3000 of my staff that they won't be able to blow themselves up." Spokespersons for the union in the Northeast of England, Ireland , Wales and the entire Australian continent stated that the strike would not affect their operations as "There are no virgins in our areas anyway".

Apparently the drop in the number of suicide bombings has been put down to the emergence of the Scottish singing star, Susan Boyle - now that Muslims know what a virgin looks like that they are not so keen on going to paradise.

03 November 2010


This week it's people being stupid on bikes - that's pedel bikes.

First there is some downhill madness here and here and then a bit of awesome northshore here

And just to involve those road racing people try this and this.

And finally

The USA, an entire country with ADHD

"An inability to stay focused on a task and boisterous childish behaviour are symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder or ADHD. The American midterm elections have just proved that it is possible for a large portion of a population to collectively suffer from such a diesese.

Two years ago the US population finally realised that the republicans and their lame duck leadership which started a barbaric and immoral war and then bankrupt the country and almost the World by their reckless deregulation of the financial sector, simply had to go. And they got rid of them in style electing an educated, thoughtful and considerate leader instead of a bunch of redneck cowboys and a mad bitch from Alaska.

Then two years down the line, because everything wasn't fixed immediately, like a spoilt petulant child they suddenly changed tack and voted en mess to bring the loony bus back into town, but this time the people on the bus are bigger badder and way more madder than the previous bunch.

Statistics in the paper quoted that 80% of Americans were pissed off that the economic recovery was a bit slow, well hello, it took them 8 years and two wars to fuck it up, do you really think it could be fixed immediately?

Well actually no, they don't, because 75% of them don't blame Obama and the current administration for the mess...

So they don't blame them but they are going to punish them anyway hmm that's logical.

If the country wasn't so powerful and influential in World politics it would be funny.

02 November 2010

Camping in November

My old school friend Alan came across to visit at the weekend with Megan, his 10 year old daughter. He had been over in the summer, she had never been to Norway before. I had last seen her when she was about 2 and her parents were still married.

Picked them up from the airport on Thursday eve. They spent Friday visiting the sights in Bergen. This is autumn in western Norway at its worst, pouring rain, dark, overcast and windy. They managed the usual stops and ended up at the aquarium looking at bedraggled penguines before they called for rescue. They both seemed to have had a good day and were not bothered by the shitty weather.

I was in work trying to help the guys finish the applications for the 21st licensing round which were due at the printers on Monday. As with any big project, the last couple of weeks are always hectic and 3 key folk had been working til midnight and beyond to get it all done. I felt a bit bad when I bailed out on them a 5.30 pm.

Quiet evening at home on Friday night. Megan was more interested in watching Ripping Yarns and an extreme kayak DVD than Wallace and Gromit or Chicken Run (it has to be said that my dvd collection does not include much that is suitable for 10 year olds), but I thought it was interesting to see what young people gravitate towards. They just do what they are genuinly interested in, there is no pretention there.

Next day we visited the excellent Vil Vite centre in Bergen for a dose of science. It's a great way to spend a wet saturday morning. Saturday afternoon Megan was pretty insitant that she wanted to go camping so, never one to disappoint a small girl, we packed up the kit and headed over the Liefjell. It had at least stopped raining by this point.

We hiked into the hills before we found a spot that was almost flat and almost dry. Set the tents up and lit a fire. The rain held off as we cooked some tea and sat around the fire keeping warm. We even got to see an almost clear sky, with the plough, cassiopia and the milky way. Not something you get to see everyday in Croydon, or in Norway in November.

Headed to bed and although it was windy the rain held off until about 5 am. Got up about 9, had some breakfast and then packed up in the rain before heading back to the car. I would not normally go camping just for fun in November, but Megan was so excited about the whole thing it made it all worth while. Once again it is great to see the World through someone else's eyes. Someone who is doing this stuff, what ever it is, for the first time. It was also nice to just spend time with them both. She's a tough little cookie, which having known her mother is pretty odd, but she is. I am sure there will be more adventures to come.

Happy Campers

Spent the afternoon getting the boat out the water for winter. Enlisted help from Sandy and after a few false starts looking for a boat ramp that was not locked, we took it to Grimstad and hauled it out. Lots of crap and enough mussles for a ten person dinner party attached to the bottom, will be good to get it cleaned.Then dropped Al and Megan off at the airport and headed back to dive into editing the 21st Round documents.

Playing with boats