Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Top 10 Weirdest gadgets of 2006...

It's been one of those years when technology came on in leaps and bounds. Around the world, thousands of pointy-headed scientists and product designers beavered away in high-security laboratories, investing time, money and effort to create... more silly USB gadgets. Yes, 2006 has been the year when gadgets got a bit ridiculous. And it wasn't just USB devices either. Here's overyourhead's pick of the year's gadgets that got me chuckling, frightened, or just scratching my head in bafflement.

1. Gupi the robot guinea pig Complete with his animatronic carrot and 30 different sounds (most of which are presumably a variation on "WeeEEEeeeEE!"). Read more

2. The BeerBelly Released in time for the World Cup earlier in the year, this gave footie fans a false beer-belly full of, yes, beer. Complete with a rubber tube to suck the booze through. Read more

3. Solar-powered insect theatre This eco-gadget isn't that silly, actually. It stores power in the day, then lights up at night to attract moths and butterflies for you to watch. Their version of Hamlet is a bit rubbish, mind. Read more

4. LumiGram fibre optic clothing Scared you won't stand out from the crowd at your office Chrimbo party? How about clothing with fibre optics inside for a shimmery effect? Nigel from Accounts will love it. Read more

5. Froot Loop cereal bowl light Very strange indeed. Dip your spoon into this bowl of Froot Loops, and it lights up. What are Froot Loops anyway? Read more

6. Geek-a-cycle It's a reclining exercise bike hooked up to a computer desk, ensuring you can spend four hours a night updating your Blog or MySpace page and have Calves of Steel. At last! Read more

7. USB pole dancer For the man (or woman) who likes their desk to have a classy vibe. She's an eight-inch bikini-clad blonde, who dances on a lit-up podium. Nice. Read more

8. Fatman referee suit Should become standard issue in Premiership grounds next season. Read more

9. Crazy Frog karaoke mic Somewhere, in a company boardroom, someone actually had the idea of teaching The Kids to sing Crazy Frog songs better. Strewth. Read more

10. Spray-on condom Safe sex in a can! And gives you a choice of strengths and colours. Possibly good for preserving courgettes for a few more days in the fridge, too. Read more

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Doctor Who / Torchwood News...

Captain Jack ties the knot.
Torchwood will have a season two.
Doctor battles Daleks in New York .

Oh, and although it's not been officially announced yet, David Tennant is leaving as the good Doctor. He's finishing off season three and next year's Xmas special and then he'll be gone by mid-season four. And replaced by... (Robert Carisle? Neil Morrisey?)

Money Saving Expert...

Having spent all your money over Xmas this might be useful, a great money saving web site with no ads.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Liver Damage...

I wrote this email to my friend Marcus who is holidaying in Key West and rereading it I was struck by how much I've been drinking of late. I think my New Year's resolution should be to give up. Or at least cut down. Don't you?

Hi Marcus,

Sounds like you're having a wail of a time in Key West. Is Normal still hanging round?

Xmas for me has been rather low key (ish). My choice.

On Thursday I popped out for quick beer with Stuart on the South Bank but ended up in the Eddie at 3am singing Xmas carols...

On Friday I popped out for a quick beer with Sparky (who doesn't drink)... but 11 hours later I was bouncing around South Central at Chunks Xmas Party wondering quite when Topping And Butch were going to end... I blame Frank for leading me astray.

On Saturday I went to the match. After a pre-match pint or two 'natch. We thumped Blackburn 6-2. I had a quiet night in after. Honest.

On Sunday I was back in the pub. Comptons at 1pm to be precise to have a swift beer with mates who where heading off home for Xmas. By 10pm I was drunkenly slurring my words at The Kings Arms and staggered home and passed out on my bed fully clothed.

On Monday I believe it was Xmas Day. It was a bit of a haze. I picked S up in the evening and we had a lovely evening together. Dr Who was fab. Moderate drinking.

On Tuesday I went to my parents for the day (and night). Needless to say there was alcohol involved to oil the wheels.

It's Wednesday today. Tonight I'm off to Amateur Strip at the White Swan. Can't imagine I won't be drinking.

I think my liver needs a holiday.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn...

I took James to the game on Saturday. And what a game it was. Delightful football from start to finish. Eight goals to savour. For us we had: Silva 10, Hleb 23, Adebayor 27 (pen), Van Persie 85, 88 and Flamini 90.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Snow, Snow. Thick, Thick Snow...

For an Xmas message click here: A Happy Xmas to All My Readers

Saint Etienne Xmas Party...

Last night Stu, David, Jason et al piled down to the Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer to see an evening's entertainment laid on by Saint Etienne - a sort of Xmas party. Firstly we were treated to the Tom Cawley Trio playing jazzy Christmas classics to the back-projection of Charlie Brown and Peanuts Christmas Specials. Then we had a screening of a little seen game-show from game-show Hell: Star Quality 'starring' Giles Brandreth. After that we had super-star DJ Sheila B (playing amongst other things one of my favourite tracks Lio's Le Banana Split). The night finished with Saint Etienne themselves performing a number of Xmas standards including of course their own I Was Born On Christmas Day. Oh, and we all got an exclusive, specially-recorded two track CD of 21st Century Christmas (yes, the Cliff song) and Through The Winter. Fab.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Want to sound like Madonna?...

A new service from Synchro Arts, better known for its professional audio work in the film industry, will take your voice and attempt to change the pitch, tone, and timing to match a wide range of popular songs.

The idea is to have a popular song reproduced with your own voice as your phone ringtone, and the technology is impressive – even more so in that it will run on a standard PC. The download is 34MB, and you'll need to register first, but then you just sing along in best karaoke fashion, and once you're done the software tries its best to make the whole thing sound sensible and in tune. It also offers to do the whole thing over the phone, but using a PC gives you more options for trying different tunes and hearing how well the system works. The resulting ringtone will set you back £1.50, though many are free as an introductory offer, and playing with the software on a PC to see how it fares is also free.

So for some Christmas afternoon silliness, nothing beats singing to your computer - just make sure you're alone when you do it!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Matthew Bourne: Swan Lake...

Last night Stu treated me to a night at the ballet. And Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without a Matthew Bourne ballet at Sadler's Wells. If you've never experienced the thoroughly festive flurry of feathers and toned torsos that constitute his all-male Swan Lake, then miss out no longer. The 11-year-old production, which feels as fresh as ever, returns to the Rosebery Avenue theatre as part of its current world tour. The dancers' incredible athleticism is enhanced by Lez Brotherston's cartoonish sets and Bourne's own trademark extraordinary, witty choreography. It's enough to turn the most hardened characters into wannabe Billy Elliots.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Going Dutch...

A little while ago Paul and I went out for dinner. And there was something on the end of the bill I'd never seen before. An automatic calculation (plus 12.5% tip, 'natch) of how much we each owed. How dinky. Saves all that bother of, "who has a calculator on their phone?" BTW the Holy Basil was glorious.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes...

What a busy weekend. Friday I met up with Myrtle for a spot of Xmas shopping. Terts, Samuel and Wo-wo came along too which made it just perfect. We all went for a boozy lunch first in the Hog and Pound and so soon got most of the dastardly deed done. Then Friday night I joined Stu for his works Xmas party drinks in the White Hart - we got completely slaughtered and after throwing everything on the fire we could lay our hands left singing Pearl's a Singer and Downtown at the top of our voices all the way home. And then some. Saturday was the game in the afternoon with Mark and a sore head and then Stu cooked me a lovely dinner and I fell asleep watching Amelia with my head in his lap. Sunday we were off again - this time to deepest, darkest Essex. Chigwell to be exact. "They eat their own", said Drew. True enough. There we enjoyed Xmas dinner for twenty-five with a big bunch of Stu's friends. It was great fun. Even Father Christmas turned up - although he needed a bit of help in the Gents before hand. After stuffing ourselves silly we headed back into town to the Tower Of London moat where we joined les Lez - Emma, Carolina, Jane and Soph - to go ice skating. Warning to the wise: don't ice skate half-cut. After that we had another swifty in Wetherspoons and then home for some much needed sleep (and drying out!).

Arsenal 2-2 Portsmouth...

We were two goals down after a dismal first half but pulled back to level pegging thanks to Emmanuel Adebayor (the only footballer with eBay in his name) and Gilberto Silva. Phew! Mark seemed to enjoy it as much as I did.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Shat hits the fan...

Next Tuesday 19th Dec at 10pm on Five US (you get that, right?) is the magnificent show that is the Roast of William Shatner. It hilarious.

Friends, colleagues and comedians roast Star Trek and Boston Legal star William Shatner in front of a celebrity audience. It's two hours of the man behind Captain Kirk and TJ Hooker being insulted and ridiculed. Sandra Bullock, Ben Stiller, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols et al.

One of the funniest is Lisa Lampanelli (warning: very rude and very funny):

Brain Teaser Answers...

1. Bermuda Triangle

2. 27, the children are 9, 7 and 2.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Brain Teasers...

1. What is represented by these letters?

2. I have three children. One is the same age as the first number in my age, another is the same age as the second number in my age, and the third is the same age as the sum of the two numbers in my age. None of the children are the same age and the total of our ages is 45. How old am I?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ice Skating...

Last night me and a bunch of the gals from work went ice skating at the Natural History Museum. Great fun.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Marc Almond Top Thirty...

Ben over at the Marc chat section of the Marc Almond & Soft Cell Message Board is compiling a top 100 list of favourite Marc songs. You can submit you own top 30 as a contribution. So here's mine:

3.You Have
6.I Created Me
7.Say Hello, Wave Goodbye
8.A Woman's Story
9.Loving You Hating Me
11.Tainted Love
12.St Judy
13.Tenderness Is A Weakness
14.If You Go Away
15.Black Heart
16.Child Star
17.Insecure Me
19.Ruby Red
20.The Boy Who Came Back
21.Mother Fist
22.Caroline Says
23.Broken Hearted & Beautiful
24.Ruby Red
25.When Bad People Kiss
26.Stories of Johnny
28.Tenderness is a Weakness
29.Self Control
30.Kitchen Sink Drama

Monday, December 11, 2006


It's been a busy weekend just gone. Work Xmas Party... fighting off a cold... fighting off some monkeys... catching fish... herding goats... horse riding... magic swords...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Early Adopter...

I've been up since 5:30am this morning too excited to sleep. I've been pulling all the cables out from behind my TV. I've been sorting out a spare power socket, running an extra CAT5 cable to my main switch and installing a new baby hub. All this in the wee small hours for in the hour I'll have my small Wii. Hurry up and open, Game!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


"Hold the remote securely and avoid excessive motion during game play. If your hands become moist, stop and dry your hands." Or so it says here. I'll be queuing at 7am tomorrow.

Kiki and Herb at The Reindeer...

Last Friday Stu, Sparky, Marcus and I went to see Kiki and Herb at The Reindeer theatre down Brick Lane way.

It was a great show - we laughed and laughed. New material (for them) and a level of shock that caused at least four people to walk out; Christmas, AIDS, cancer and eco-politics all got the K&H treatment. If you have the chance, go see.

London to Brighton...

Last night Stu and I went to see the urban 'thriller' London to Brighton in London's glitzy West End. "It's 3:07am and two girls burst into a run down toilet. Joanne is crying her eyes out and her clothing is ripped. Kelly's face is bruised and starting to swell. Duncan Allen lies in his bathroom bleeding to death. Duncan's son, Stuart, has found his father and wants answers. Derek, Kelly's pimp, needs to find Kelly or it will be him who pays. Kelly and Joanne need to get through the next 24 hours alive..." And so it limps onto the screen. Hard-hitting might be a good way of describing it. Might be. But we didn't think so. Predictable is what it was. Not so much full of plot twists as plot turns. Next!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fay and Andy's Wedding...

On Sunday Stu and I went to Fay and Andy's wedding in Hatfield Heath. Fay looked absolutely beautiful. The church was amazing. The reception was fabulous. And the happy couple looked... well... very happy! Many of Stu's friends were there and we had a great time eating, drinking, dancing and laughing. There are a few snaps below.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Stu, Sparky and I went to see Shortbus on Saturday night. Hard core film with a soft heart. Go see.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham...

A fantastic game on Saturday. Full of drama and controversy and goals. Amazing atmosphere as you might expect from a Derby.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Moor The Merrier...

We travelled back from the coast yesterday afternoon. A pleasant enough trip that was royally marred by the taxi driver on the last leg. He quoted 4 times the going rate and then insisted on taking us to a place we can specifically asked him not to go. We knew the route. But he knew what we was doing of course. His mate was waiting for us at this unwanted drop off point to act as a 'guide' to our riad. I was furious and came out with French swear words I thought I'd long forgotten. I think our thieving driver was quite shocked! I don't like being taken for a ride. Literally or otherwise.

Tip to the visitor: be careful of taxi drivers. Don't stand still in a souk or you'll be pestered and never ask for directions without being expected to pay for the information. Maybe I just have one of those faces that says mug.

Anyway last night was our last night so we treated ourselves to a meal at Foundouk (as recommended by Paul, Time Out, Flo and Mike). And very nice it was too. Flo joined us and we chewed the cultural fat. Nice woman.

We are just off to the airport now for what will hopefully be a smooth flight home. To see my beloved - who I have probably missed more than I care to admit.

Then tonight I've got Sparky staying over and he, Stu, Marcus and I are off to the Reindeer in Brick Lane to see Kiki and Herb. Can't wait.