Year: <span>2006</span>

My lunch with my co-workers to be went well. Seem like a nice bunch although it’s hard to get a real impression of such a large group of people from one afternoon. Roll on January 8th!

New phone is good. It’s completely different from my last phone and I’m slowly figuring out how to do the basic things, so aside from the fact that the home screen graphic features the Houses of Parliament (and even then it’s the wrong way round for some reason), it’s already proving a more than capable successor to my old C600.

Bad joke from pub last night. Sitting at the bar with my mate when one of the staff came round with a plate of homemade chips. I took one, and made a comment about it’s shape (it was a nice thick flat chip, yummy). My mate said that it was just another ubiquitous chip. Guess where we were drinking

Christmas shopping is drawing to a close. A CD and some books for my Gran and we’re done. We’ll we’re done BUYING things but I’m still waiting on three things arriving, all for Louise! I’m trying not to stress over it… yet.


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… for a 5K!

Despite the weather dealing us a fickle hand, we did it.

I was a soggy, breathless lump by the finish, but still managed to sprint across the line in 31 mins 16 seconds. Not too shabby if I do say so myself! My Dad finished about 7 minutes later, Louise and my Mum walked it in under 55 minutes. Pretty good all around!

And just in case you don’t believe, here’s the proof!


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The best kind of To-Do list. An almost finished one!

TO Done


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I’m going slightly mad, I’m one card short of a full deck, I’m not quite the shilling, One wave short of a shipwreck, I’m not at my usual top billing, I’m coming down with a fever, I’m really out to sea, This kettle is boiling over, I think I’m a banana tree …

There is just too much going on at the moment.

However it’s a pattern I’m used to as we always seem to do things this way, not on purpose, cramming several different tasks and events into a short timeframe. The last ripples of the re-mortgage are lapping at the shore (for those keeping count, that was fixing the car, getting new double glazed front and back doors, and a slew of minor DIY related ‘stuff’, plus a wee bit extra for Xmas), the new TV continues to add value (it’s SOOO luvverly) and cost (new cables mainly, and I’m still trying to figure out if we are using more energy now than we were with our ageing CRT), the 5K looms on the horizon, and we’ve just about finished our Xmas shopping.

Add in the new job stuff (spare time being spent reading up on Extreme Programming), the putting up of Xmas decorations, completion of some long outstanding DIY projects, and the start of the Xmas night out merry-go-round is a positive relief!

My first is today, although it’s a lunch, with the development team from my new company. I had a half-day holiday left so it’s worked out quite well. Be a good chance to meet them all in a less formal setting and see what they are really like! Thankfully I’m driving so they are saved from lesser-known alter ego “stupid drunk Gordon”. He doesn’t get out much but BOY, when he does… ummm… well those stories are for another time (ohh I feel like Scaryduck now… no I will NOT be having a Vote-O).

Sunday WAS going to be next ‘festive drinking occasion’ but, unfortunately, a couple of close friends can’t make it due to work commitments (they’re not even in the country) and this was supposed to be the only day we all had free in December! So I guess we’ll have our Xmas night out sometime in .. ohh.. April probably.. I’m sure Keith, Stuart and I will cope admirably. Which reminds me, don’t expect anything from me on Monday coming as I’m celebrating completion of the 5K by getting completely trolleyed on Sunday night.

Next week should be a little bit calmer, thank god, which should give me some time to play with new mobile phone (which should arrive today). Alas the free XBox 360 doesn’t arrive until January…

Although the new phone does mean another jump through the multiple “how to port your number to the same network” hoops, but I’ve done it once before, just takes a little time and patience.

– – – –

For those who are wondering about the post title, it’s.. well.. ok, I screwed up. I always seem to think that Captain Edmund Blackadder, when pretending to be mad in Blackadder Goes Forth, sticks chips up his nose. He doesn’t, as can be seen here, so I guess my brain is mixing that with this scene from a Fish Called Wanda when Kevin Kline sticks a chip in each of Michael Palin’s nostrils (the photo was taken just before that moment, I think).

Just wanted to make that clear, it’s bad enough when the pedants correct your spelling and grammar…


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In a desperate effort to gain some weird form of validation, I stole an idea for a blog post and begged my readers to ask me a question. And they did. The buggers. Now I have to answer them.

Andy rummaged around and asked, succinctly, “Why are bin bags so flimsy?”

Why are bin bags so flimsy?
The simple answer is, they aren’t. You are obviously buying cheap bin bags from Poundland you silly, silly man. Either that or you are expecting them to carry loads heavier than they can manage, or are filling your bin bags with sharp pointy things, like kittens… no wait they go in sacks…

Of course, I’m not suggesting you rush out and replace your current bin bags with some industrial strength, triple-layer, kill-the-planet bin bags. No no, there are other factors that you need to consider first, one of which is how you gauge the carrying strength (or flimsiness ratio) of any given bin-bag. As luck would have it, I happen to have completed extensive research in this very area, and it’s a little known fact that I am one of the leading bin bag analysts on the planet. I don’t mention this often purely because I’m so very humble.

Now, if you are like me, when you are filling a bin bag you just keep chucking stuff into it until it’s full. The general assumption is that, by this point, the bin bag may have exceeded it’s carrying strength parameters because when you try and take it out to the bin it starts to split open. However, contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the material from which it is made, nor the contents with which you fill it, that are the only factors that require analysis to determine the flimsiness of the bin bag. In fact it’s a subtle combination of the former two elements + the distance you have to carry the bin bag that are combined to give us a Flimsiness Rating (FR) which can be applied to every individual bin bag.

Note: You may occasionally see the FR system referred to as the “McLean Bag Theorem” (or the “Bag o’ shite” principle) as many believe it can applied to other forms of content carrying apparatus. Studies are ongoing to establish a valid set of data in this respect.

Whilst there are other, less obvious, parameters that may also be taken into account (how you carry the bin bag, whether you swing the bag to and fro whilst walking with it, and so on) largely the three mentioned elements —content, weight, and distance— are all that you need to consider to determine the FR of your bin bag. However, early studies are showing that one parameter, above all others, seems to unduly influence the FR. The specific content of your bin bag may hold the key to being able to determine an accurate FR scale. As such we need rate the content and assign it a value from a weighted index which takes into account the shape and form of the content.

Now, I realise this is a complex scientific that we are discussing and so, to make it easier for the idiots simpletons uneducated masses you lot to understand, a few real life scenarios follow. They presume that you have double-tied the top of the bin bag, and are firmly grasping the bag under the double knot. They also presume that you are not whirling the bin bag around your head whilst pretending to be riding a chariot in a re-enactment of a scene from Gladiator… cos no-one does that, right?

In all the scenarios, you are extracting the bin bag from an internal (kitchen) bin and carrying it outside to your wheely bin. The heights of the kitchen bin, and the wheely bin are taken into consideration. It is presumed that your wheely bin is no further than 10 yards from the point where you remove the bin bag from the kitchen bin.

Scenario 1
You have one bin bag half-full of round lead weights. The bag is very heavy with no sharp edges. The content scores low on the index. The bin bag will likely make it 20 yards before showing signs of stress.

Scenario 2
You have one bin bag, half full of broken glass. The bag is not particularly heavy but has many sharp edges. The content is scored around the middle of the index, and the bin bag is expected to make it around 10 yards before showing signs of stress.

Scenario 3
You have one bin bag containing a rotting chicken carcasses, an over-ripe melon, and a mysterious sludgy liquid. Not that heavy, and has no sharp edges, yet the content is scored at the very top of the index and your bin bag will split open just as you step out the back door, depositing half the contents outside on the back step, and half inside on the floor. Some residual splatter will attach itself to your shoes.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding on the complex and fascinating world of bin bag flimsiness. Follow up comments on this topic will be answered, the floor is open for questions.

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UPDATE – 13th Sept. 2009: I’m glad this post is still of use, if you do find a different solution, please add it to the comments. Mostly I think that the iTunes stutter is only a manifestation of other issues (drivers out of sync or whatever), but glad that this is helping people fix their issue.

Since updating iTunes to version 7 (.02) I’ve been plagued on and off by this issue. Googling brought some success but I’ve seen a few different suggestions of how to fix this, all from different sources with different setups. I finally managed to cure MY system so thought I’d collate everything I’ve found in the hope that others find it beneficial.

So, if you’ve been experiencing the now infamous “iTunes Stutter”, and like me it hasn’t been happening consistently, how do you fix it?

Waiting at the station, a plane drones overhead, buses grumble and whoosh as they pause at the bus stop, cars rush noisily to their destinations. Commuters prowl the platform, rustling papers, whistling from earphones, chatting, yawning, heels clicking on concrete. All around the sounds of the day slowly build.

A piercing melody cuts through the haze of noise, heads turn to gaze, to listen. A few people lower their morning tales of death and crime, and stand motionless to capture the serenade. All too soon the train rumbles into view and the familiar noise of morning returns.

But for that moment, for one brief song, a few of us stood, captivated, lulled and buoyed. Marvelling at the beauty of the moment, the late moon and morning sun beamed down on the assembly. As the clouds lightly scrolled across the translucent sky, the sweetest melody washed over us and caressed our spirits.

Thank you little blackbird. Thank you.


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I type this amid much banging and with a distinctly chemical odor pervading my home. I’m freezing cold as the heating is off, and I’ve got headache kicking in.

But I don’t care because they are almost finished fitting our new front and back door. No longer will the wind whistle round the door frame, no more drafts and wet towels behind doors.

Looks like it’s gonna be a nice cosy winter this year!


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