Monday, February 26, 2007

Nerd Alert! (The Following Blog Entry Contains Scenes Of Unrepentant Nerdyness)

Just started another small blog a place where I can put up my stupid cartoons and 'poems', at least one a week is my aim but sometimes more if the mood and inspiration strikes. The world will be relieved to know there will not be too many poems ,and I hope the pictures will get better as I improve my skills in Photoshoppe (it's a very old version).

Tonight I indulged in the ritual torture that is Star Trek. Each and every time I watch anything Star Trekky made after The Original Series (which has a quaint, kitch charm which I quite enjoy) I am struck dumb by the overwhelmingly pompous bloody-awfulness of it all, and each time I watch it I add another WTF to the catalogue of nerdy (cue Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons voice) "That is so Stupid!" moments. Tonight, and I feel so sad for noticing this - and even sadder that it has taken me so long too notice this, I was struck for the first time by the monumental stupidity that is the widescreen telly that seems to fill half of the bridge. Every week alien spaceships heave into view and park themselves slap bang in front of the Enterprise, and each week our gallant crew step forward to gaze in awe and wonder at whatever is in front of them (aka 'the wiifot'). Sometimes the captain, or whever is occupying the captain's Lazyboy, will order "Full magnifcation!" the picture on the telly will jump to a sooperdooper close up view of the wiifot - at which point everyone on the flight deck will take a step closer to the screen to get a better look!

Tonight, the wiifot hovered around in front of The Enterprise for ages doing wiifoty things, then slowly descended towards the planet's surface - and slid down out of sight below the bottom of the screen leaving the crew staring at a blank starfield and pushed my WTF button. The wiifot just slid out of frame. No one tilted the camera down to follow it... The Enterprise, The pride of the United Federation of Planets' Starfleet, this vast starship, has a fixed camera nailed to the front of it like a miner's lamp - with no way of moving it? What happens if they do want to look up? Do they have to point the whole spaceship? It's pants! It makes no sense whatsoever, totally unthought through like a lot of Star Trekky stuff (the ship has one of these fixed view cameras nailed on the back as well, because sometimes the captain ask to look through the rear-view mirror. Thinking about it I would guess it's got wing mirrors too but even so it's going to have some HUGE blind spots. It's beyond me why the Klingon's went to all that trouble to develop their Cloaking Devices and skulking about in invisible mode when all they had to do to win against a Federation spaceship was to fly up to the side of the thing and start blasting away.

One of these days I will write a book (sad to say I have lots of notes): Why Star Trek is Utter Pants - or maybe I'll start another blog.

If you have enjoyed this post you may be interested in more of my inchoate Trek Rants on the IMDb Here and Here

Not a lot happened today either:

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Not a lot happened today, so I drew a cartoon

With Apologies to Harold Gray and Jack Kirby

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sweep Sweep Sweep - Come On Rubbish, Let's Go Home.

Merriol went down to the pub tonight with Len. I stayed home and watched a film about killer nuns from outer space (successfully) destroying the world. I may start drinking again.

Friday, February 23, 2007

I've got a cold. I have a sore throat. My voice is awful. It is one of the great minor injustices of life that when men get colds their voices sound dreadful, adenoidal and rough, like a pubescent frog, but when women get colds and sore throats their voices get deep and weirdly sexy. Merriol's voice turns into Kathleen Turner's and mine turns into Adrian Mole, aged 13¾.

It's not fair.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Barbie Is Smelling You...

I'm making my house big again. I have a big house; it used to be a school, and for many years was the biggest public building in the village. They used to hold dances here, and that was before we put in a second storey and added a couple of bedrooms upstairs. Somehow over the years it has become cramped and full of STUFF...

OK. I'll tell you something now. How I write my Blog is like this: I switch on the pooter first thing in the morning - for some reason, lost in the mists of time, all my clothing is a chest of drawers in the office - so while I am finding socks and pants I fire up the machine and often read my mail by the time I am dressed. Then the machine stays on, on-line, all day. I stop by every now and then during the day to chat with M at work via Google Talk if she's free, or check my mail, not that any bugger ever writes other than to remind me about stuff I was supposed to have done ages ago (Ilona) or to try and sell me OEM V!49r4 at massive discounts but only if I mail them first with all my eBay details which they need to unlock several Millions of British Pounds in a Liberian bank account of the... yadda yadda yadda delete delete delete (everyone else.)

At some point during the day I may have a wee moments internal monologue which is slightly above the average background noise of
"wheredidIput...ifIputthewashingonnowwillIhavetimeto... WhattimedidMerriolsayshewasworkingtilltonight?... WhatAREwehavingfortea...?".
If I remember this thought or idea next time I'm passing the machine, I'll slap it down into the performancing plugin window on Firefox. Later, I may add other bits as they occur to me. It gives me something to think about sometimes as I'm doing the washing up, or sorting socks. Later at night when everyone else is asleep (or at least in bed) I write up what I want to say properly. Sometimes it doesn't work and I just delete it and go to bed, sometimes it doesn't make sense and I leave it till the next day.

Today that first paragraph up there was written about 1pm. And it's true; we do live in a whalloping big house. Linda (long time ago ex) and I used to play badminton to try and knock the cobwebs off the ceiling, there was no other way to get up there, and it's true we do have an awful lot of clutter that has just spread. There is just too much stuff here. I seem incapable of parting with anything. I have untold hundreds of books, CDs, LPs... piles of STUFF. Merriol is, by her own admission, not the tidiest person in the world*. Add two kids aged two and four and several Metric Tonnes of brightly coloured plastic and I have almost forgotten what the floor looks like (big horizontal thing made of wood as I recall). For the past couple of weeks slowly and surely, and with Sue's help, I have been pushing back the tide of kipple and today I realised what it was I was doing. Instead of just dealing with individual little messes and crisis-managing the clutter I suddenly understood I was actually making a difference. I was making my house big again!

At 4pm, three hours after jotting down that first paragraph up there, Kath, my oldest friend in the village, came round. Could I do her a favour? She needs to store some furniture for a bit, not a lot, a wardrobe, six dining chairs, a gate-legged table, a...

*Non-UK residents may like to consider the well-known traditional average Brit's tendency to underestimate and downplay their own massive achievements here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Another attack of the Dreaded Lurgi. Not sure if it's the last one come back for another go or a completely new improved with added whistles and bangs version but whichever it was I felt a lot more achey and snottier than the last time; it has seen me in bed for the past couple of days and I have done nothing. I have slept a lot, and read a lot - I seem to have absorbed eight books over forty-eight hours - OK, seven books and a collection of short stories by Alan Dean Foster. I feel better for it now but not fully recovered. I strongly suspect that sitting in a freezing Village Hall for a great chunk of Sunday reading prompt for the play that I'm techying next week had something to do with me getting ill. I also strongly suspect the kids are going down with it so I will, in all probability, be running up and downstairs feeding them hot juice and reading them the complete works of Dr. Seuss before the end of the week. Oh what fun.

I finally got to use the Lidl Mud bath gunge I was raving about the other day. The contents are brown as well. Brown and dense. I poured some into the bath as it was running and it just sat there at the bottom quivering until I poked it vigorously with one of the kids' bath toys and it broke up and scuttled around the bath looking for somewhere safer to hide. The back of the bottle which I hadn't really looked at before has the following instructions
Directions: Use daily as needed in a relaxing bath. For a full bath (200 Litres of water), fill the screw cap twice and pour into the bath water.
Water temperature: 36-38 degrees.
Duration of bath: 15-20 minutes.
Did I mention Lidl was German company?

This raises all sorts of questions in my mind. I have never been to Germany and know nothing about their plumbing or bathing habits (except they are supposed to have really weird toilets*). Do German baths have a scale up the side of them like a kitchen measuring jug? or maybe the taps have little flow meters on them that shut off after 200 litres. How else would you guess what 200l of water actually looks like? I can only suppose German baths also come fitted with a thermometer. How hot IS 36-38 degrees C? I have no idea. Mind you I have no idea what 36-38 degrees F is like either, except I think it's colder. What happens if I stay in the bath longer than 20 minutes? Do I become over-relaxed? (possibly dangerously French?). I need to know.

*please read this, if only to find out what 'Sitzpinkel' is and wonder why there isn't such a word in English.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

It's To Stop The Noises Falling On Our Heads

And tonight...

After spending an hour faffing about with someone's pooter to try and get their eMail working again (just to add to the fun this guy has profound hearing problems. A stone deaf computer illiterate trying to make sense of whatever someone in an Indian call centre was telling him over the phone - oh, and he has dial-up, so there was no way he could be on the phone and on-line at the same time).
After ages on the phone with a very nice giggly lady from India and resetting all his settings I discovered the reason his eMail wasn't working. It was because someone had sent him a HUGE pile of photos as an attachment. He had never encountered attachments before and had assumed because his Mail wasn't coming down as fast as normal it was busted.

...I flopped down to watch: The Doomsday Machine - a terrifically awful piece of lurid trash SF which started filming in 1967 but was abandoned half way through shooting and shelved only to be discovered five or so years later by a different director, who couldn't afford to hire any of the original cast - or anything else for that matter. Undaunted by this obvious fly in the ointment, and with a totally misguided faith in his ability to direct, he 'completed' it. It's an utter shambles. I loved every bewildering second of it.

Merriol hid in the caravan with her mother and plotted things.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I think That Puddle Likes Valentine's Day

My first Annual Hero Of The Week (sic*) is the unamed Guardian reader who took The Awful Poo Lady (aka 'Dr.' Gillian McKeith) to the Advertising Standards Agency and got them to tell her to drop the 'Doctor' from her advertising. Her Doctorate comes from a pay-as-you-go institution called the American Holistic College of Nutrition which also gives doctorates to dead cats if you give them money - more over at the always excellently readable

Last Week's Annual Hero of the Hour was the unknown celebrity I caught being interviewed as I was flipping round the radio in the car looking for something to drive to. I've no idea who he was but he was being interviewed by some BBC bimbo (probably called Kirsty - most of them are) who was obviously creaming her knickers at the thought of being in the same room as him. The subject had got onto some semi-nude scene from his latest movie "You went topless in that," gushed the simpering media bimboette. "Did you shave for the scene?"
"No," replied the Unknown Celeb. "I've only got three chest hairs and I'm pretty proud of them, so no."
"You won't be getting a crack and sack then?" Giggle.
"No, I've already got them."

Doesn't look so funny written down but I was splitting my sides.

The lack of Blogging over the last few days has been due to lack of time. Rampant springlike tidying behaviour, and the arrival of a certain box of cruddy SF DVDs have been consuming most of my time. I've had great fun being bewildered by the awfulness of two movies so far: The Alpha Incident and UFO: Target Earth (this one being one of the most incomprehensible, dreadful movies I have ever come across).

Meanwhile, I want one of these:

*Let's not kid ourselves I'm ever going to do this again.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Since I have now posting my 100th review over on the IMDb a couple of weeks ago I've noticed my reviews are getting approved incredibly quickly. It used to be days before I got an eMail back confirming my rantings were fit to print, now it is sometimes only minutes (OK, dozens of minutes but it's still faster than it used to be). Tonight I watched, and waffled a bit about, Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory - aka I Married a Werewolf. The best thing about it is the title (either of them). But it was free! Another of the movies so bad no one can be bothered to renew the copyright downloadable from the magnificent

Basically I'm twiddling my thumbs waiting for the big box of drek SF to arrive from the US. I'm only rooting through the bad Italian Horror movies there in case I accidentally watch SF movies I just spent money on.

I've got a job interview up at the school. I got a letter through the other day. I can claim travelling expenses at something like 4.7 pence a mile. ; Since I can walk there in under three minutes (less if I climb over the parent's back garden wall and shortcut through Doc Ellis' drive) I don't think I'll be putting a claim in. ; I'm going to shave though. I hate shaving. It's cold without my beard.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I love Lidl, it's my kind of shop. No music for a start, no way! PRS licences cost money! Lidl is the most frill free shopping I know. No pretence of corporate 'caring', no rewards schemes or loyalty points, no concern for anything other than shifting stuff. We're here to sell stuff, you're here to buy it. Pile it high sell it cheap, no nonsense, buy it or fuck off, shopping (they still have the Fat Balls on offer).

It's Male Pattern Shopping:
- go in get stuff, get out.
As opposed to Female Pattern Shopping:
- wander aimlessly, picking up everything in sight and examining it minutely before putting it back.
- endless vacillation between identical products in slightly different packagings.
Today in Tesco's for example I watched a woman pick up a packet of washed salad, stare at it for a good ninety seconds, turning it this way and that, before putting it back on the shelf and just walking off. Was there something in that packet of salad that put her off having salad today, or had she never seen bagged salad before and was just curious? I have no idea but it was an extraordinary thing to watch.

Except it isn't extraordinary; it happens all the time.

The other week I was in Morrison's meat counter just as they had reduced a whole pile of stuff. There were joints at ten pence each, well within their sell-by date, perfectly good. I thought: 'I'm having those thank you very much!' and just filled my trolley with as much as I thought I could get in the freezer at home, the woman next to me stood there and held a joint in her hand for a good minute just looking at it. I asked her: "It's ten pence, why are you hesitating?" She said "You're right." put in her basket and walked off. A couple of minutes later I saw her walk back and put it back in the chill counter. I just don't understand.

I tried doing a bit of woman shopping today in Lidl when no one was looking (actually I was half forced into it as for some unfathomable reason - probably the opening of the Aldi store just up the road - they had rearranged EVERYTHING. My usual high speed, zig-zag, cornering the trolley on two wheels, supermarket-sweep route had been done away with and I had to wander semi-aimlessly looking for the stuff I wanted), so when Merriol wasn't looking ( - at me - obviously she was looking at something, she wasn't just standing in the store with her eyes shut) I did some Female Pattern Shopping. I picked up some tortilla chips - then put them back, picked them up again, put one back, and picked up a packet of a different flavour - two cheese and one slightly salted, or one slightly salted and two cheese... hmmmmmm... I tried to get into a zen-like mystical female shopping place - and got nowhere. It did nothing for me. I got bored. I was staring at tortilla chips, and it was boring. All I felt was I was wasting my life staring at plastic bags full of food.

Further evidence of the male patterness of Lidl come in the form of a bottle of bubble-bath we bought today. (I would scan the label for you but it means turning on the other computer which is just out of arms reach unless I move my chair six inches and therefore far too much work at this time of night). It's nothing special, just your bog standard solution of Sodium Laureth Sulfate with perfume and other gunges in a plastic bottle:




Pleasant warmth
and relaxation

With Mud Extract

Mud. No bullshit hyperbole about nutrient-rich Dead Sea, anti-ageing, visibly reducing the appearance of wrinkles, "Because you're worth it" detoxing, crap. Just mud. It's got mud in. We dug some mud up and threw some mud in. In case you are not quite convinced it's got mud in it we'll make the label brown. Brown mud. It's got brown mud in it. Buy it or fuck off.

I like Lidl.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

My Lips Don't Like It - But I Do...

Yesterday was spent in bed with the dreaded lurgi and a couple of books which I absorbed in some manner. I don't remember reading them. I remember the stories and have opinions on them so I must have. I could have sworn I was asleep for most of the time.

I did get up to take Holly to her ballet class. As her class in the Fort, a good 15 miles away, and starts 15 minutes after the school day ends I picked her up from school early and drove like the clappers - for all of a mile - before coming up to the end of a very long line of traffic doing 35 miles an hour.

My snot laden brain wasn't working too well but even I could do the maths. We were going to be very late. There was no point in trying to overtake a queue of traffic I couldn't see the end of; our car isn't blessed with the kind of engine that does accelerating too well and the road is a bit too bendy for long slow determined assaults on columns of traffic. So I just sat there at the back of the line, talking to Holly and fuming at whatever was going so slowly at the front.; Idiot tourists? - wrong time of year - idiot little old lady drivers who couldn't find third gear - more likely, tractor? JCB? - could be.; Whatever it was, it was slow, and it was boring, and I was fed up. We plodded on. There was a police car at the side of the road.; Its lights were flashing and a uniformed officer was standing by the side.

Suddenly everyone in front of me pulled off the road into a huge lay-by. In a matter of moments I went from following a solid phalanx of cars to suddenly having an open road in front of me. I was confused. I tried to remember if the Policeman had been signalling. He didn't seem to have been. By this time I was at the head of the line of parked cars. I had visions of police chasing me up the road if I didn't stop. I pulled in at the head of the line. A couple of the cars that had been near the end of the line with me pulled out and drove off. - What? - People started getting out of their vehicles. I was totally confused. I got out of the car and walked back to the car behind. A man in a dark suit was just getting out.

"Did I miss something?" I asked.

"It's a funeral." he replied.

Only then did I realise we were at the Druim na Birlinn cemetery. I mumbled something, got back in the car, and drove like the clappers.

We were only 5 minutes late.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Recently I've been thinking a lot about my testicles.

Partially because, like most men, I think about my bits quite often - several times a day wouldn't be an exaggeration. The standard medical advice to 'check your testicles monthly' is laughable. I would guess most men do it on a daily basis. Yep! - fumble fumble - still there.

Partially I've been thinking about them because of this I punted up as a reply to a post about how 'easy' men have things over at Chicago Peggy's blog, :
'On the other hand we do have external genitalia which, I have discovered, are not compatible with child care. Especially if the children are very young and don't posses external genitalia of their own. Several times up at nursery or play group, where I am usually the only male over 4 years old, I have been whacked in the goolies by small children. I stifle a curse. My eyes water. The mums look patronising and tell me that child birth was much worse. Once! One day of mindboggling agony then that's it. Men? We get wellied in the balls by the little buggers at least once a day, every day, for years! No wonder most men run back to the workplace as soon as they get the opportunity.

My testicles used to be round...'
This started me thinking about why it is 'funny', by which I mean comedically acceptable, to have characters kicked in the balls. What was it that made a (well-timed) boot in the nads something to laugh at but a (well-timed) punch in the boobs not. I didn't come to any conclusions but it just made me wonder.

But mostly I've been thinking about my wedding tackle because I am going to have to seriously think about redefining my relationship with my testes.
I threatened to have a vasectomy after both of my kids were born. I never again wanted to put Merriol through what she went through having Holly. As I have said before it was the most horrible day of my life and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. If I had had the snip after Holly was born we would never have met Daisy and it's just impossible for me to conceive of a world without her in it now, so I can't help but think that there is another wonderful little girl or boy just waiting in the wings. I get so broody sometimes. No. Wrong. I'm broody most of the time. Like a rabid smoker who gives up and turns into a anti-smoking Nazi on steroids I have gone from a total child avoidance workshop on legs to full on Earth Daddy. If there is a baby anywhere within arms reach I have to have a cuddle. I alarm total strangers with babies in supermarkets by smiling at them. I love babies. I love kids. I would, if I could, (if I had money) have a dozen of them - at least. A whole Walton Mountain of kids (only poorer).

We can't afford to have another kid (especially if it turns out to be a boy and we can't recycle all the dresses I can't bare to part with because Holly and Daisy looked so cute in them). On the other hand I don't fancy the idea of total strangers poking sharp pointy things into my gonads and tying knots in things, no matter how many letters they have after their names and how many times they have done it before. Reports I have read about chronic postoperative pain and discomfort affecting 50% or so of men who have the snip don't fill me with much confidence either. Don't know what to do. I think I'll just end up giving my balls a stern talking too and leave it at that.
It might not be the best form of contraception available but it is cheap and painless.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I gave in and bought the 50 DVD set. I have no willpower! We have no money! I do have 75 hours of really bad SF movies!

A long and frustrating day today in which I achieved - NOTHING. Oh tell a fib, I emptied a waste paper basket. I think that is the only constructive thing I managed to do around the house all day. Not sure how or why but I just seemed to be rushing from pillar to post* getting nothing much achieved. Got up, made lunch, took Daisy to Gaelic Playgroup, ate the lunch I had prepared at 9 am (ha! you thought I had slept in didn't you?) , took Holly to school, put Daisy to bed (she wasn't feeling too good this afternoon), emptied the waste paper basket, collected Holly from school, got the MP3 player we bought Pa for his birthday working, came home, got Daisy up, cooked and ate tea, bathed kids (bubble bath and hairwash). Merriol got home just in time to read bedtime stories while I fell onto the sofa and embraced the awesome mindsucking powers of TV - and so to bed.

What does 'from pillar to post' mean? One of those idioms I use from time to time and have no idea what it means.

One variably definable amount of Googletime later:

OK, according to most sites, including this one it is, apparently, 'an idiom' (which means I will have to go and edit the preceding sentence to make myself look more erudite) that is either: an ancient tennis term, or a medieval punishment, take your pick.

Fuck! It's 1 am! What happened to my early night? A: TV and Google.

Missing CD? Contact vendor

Free CD
Please take care
in removing from cover.

Copyright (c) 2004-2007 by me, Liam Baldwin. That's real copyright, not any 'creative commons' internet hippy type thing.

(this copyright notice stolen from

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