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Friday, 30 June 2006

phone it in

tonight's blog entry is being typed on my treo phone. I'm in a hotel in Lancashire and don't have internet capabilities except via the telephone. So tonight I'm using that well known browser called 'Blazer'. And I'm typing this with two thumbs onto my phone keyboard. At least the journey here was straightforward because I suspect everyone had decided to go home early to watch the soccer. I missed today's game and realise as I type this that I don't know the score - but I expect Germany won!

Thursday, 29 June 2006

Thursday Thirteen (V25)

TTgreen2.jpgI'm combining the iTunes lyrics meme with a Thursday Thirteen. The iPod meme is about listing first lines from tracks as played on shuffle.

Those of you that have visited my last.fm will see the type of sounds I listen to, or maybe even have indulged in rashbre radio, which broadcasts 24x7x365 via the last.fm radio player.

I decided instead, to grab a selection of old vinyls and take first lines a la HolyHoses Simon. And Simon is looking for extra comments at the moment... Go on, you know you want to!
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So here's my first lines serially from a stack of disinterred thirty three and a thirds, along with assistant Bianca demonstrating the true meaning of vinyl.

1) When the night falls and the silence can be heard I hear you calling my name.
2) Oh come on come on dig my mine, Oh come on come on kiss me all along my spine.
3) Oh the feeling, when you're reeling you step lighly thinking you're number one.
4) The wine it was drunk, the ship it was sunk, the shot it was dead, all the sorrows were drowned.
5) As I did travel all on a journey over the wayside and under a dark moon hanging above a mountain.
6) And if you feel that you cant go on and your wills sinkin low, just believe and you cant go wrong. In the light you will find the road. you will find the road
7) Lime and limpid green, a second scene; a fight between the blue you once knew.
8) Don't you know they're talkin' 'bouta revolution - a whisper.
9) Oo, I bet you're wond'ring how I knew 'bout your plans to make me blue with some other guy that you knew before.
10) Hey can you follow, now that the trace is fainter in the sand try turning your face to the wall.
11)I was the master's best friend he was the only man I knew; its been a tall harvest that he turned us all onto.
12) Out on the wiley, windy moors we'd roll and fall in green; you had a temper, like my jealousy-Too hot, too greedy.
13) Standing on the corner, suitcase in my hand; Jack is in his corset, and Jane is in her vest, and, me, I'm in a rock'n'roll band.

Now some of you know my musical taste is somewhat eclectic, so can anyone name any of the tracks, artists or any other relevant fact?

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Wednesday, 28 June 2006

OTA: Wordless Wednesday

trainspotting
Boat of Garten Station, Scotland, June 2006

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Tuesday, 27 June 2006

Flammenkuchen

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I'm wondering where the tarte flambée went this evening? One minute it was in the kitchen, the next time I looked there were just a few crumbs.

Monday, 26 June 2006

mix

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More of an observation than a post. I help out Christina Nott with her blog and web site hosting and see her latest post has TWO great French bootleg tracks on it.

More than that, if you set them playing together and then pause them and wind them back alternately, they make a bangin club mix. Best to jump to her site for the full story, but I've added them here as well...

DJM j'adore katerine, jacksons and chilis
DJM hendrix, jamiroquai, red hot chilis and bikini machine

Sunday, 25 June 2006

da Vinci clothes

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I think doing the laundry would be a close run thing to watching the da Vinci Code this evening. I enjoyed the book which I will review in three words as "entertaining religious mystery" but to use three words on the film I'm saying "creaky, melodramatic disappointment". Anyone got change for the fabric conditioner? Oh, and more London laundry here.

Saturday, 24 June 2006

paper

toomuchpaperwork
Reality bites. I need to respond to most of this. Fortunately, the Americans have a simple suggestion to assist this.

invent yourself a shortcake

nmh79.gifI know this is a totally obscure post...A surprise package arrived this morning, containing a little book to accompany a strangely great album called 'Aeroplane over the Sea' by 'Neutral Milk Hotel'.

What, you say? I have never heard of this? No surprise really.

The little book is from the 33 1/3 Press and contains the equivalent of extra sleeve notes for this 1990s composition. Occasionally an album is so intriguing that it is quite fun to get further into the head of the performer and like many (OK a few thousand) I have puzzled through the lyrics on many occasion.
jeff mangum and nmh
Jeff Mangum composed these lyrics partly about Anne Frank but mixed with circus imagery and other wild thoughts from an intense and creative mind. Some parts are simple to interpret and the recording flows like a single live set to be run chronologically. Neutral Milk Hotel was originally a name for the various cassette recordings of Jeff, but became the 'band' name for this and a prior record. Also, tucked into the book was a plastic bagged CD of Jeff live at Jittery Joe's. I shall enjoy a listen in this strange semi-private world.

What a beautiful face
I have found in this place
That is circling all round the sun
What a beautiful dream
That could flash on the screen
In a blink of an eye and be gone from me
Soft and sweet
Let me hold it close and keep it here with me

Friday, 23 June 2006

quantum glue

finish.jpgLike reading the cornflakes packet during breakfast, when unwrapping dishwasher tablets I've wondered why they don't just make the outer wrappers degradeable?

Well, Finish solved it and their 'Quantum' have this feature. I discovered, however, when I accidentally got water into the box, they all stick together into one big blob and now I have to cut them apart with a kitchen knife.

Oh well.

hot aire

balloons.jpgExcellent dawn experiment today in Stratford-upon-Avon with five hot-air balloons broadcasting ambient music and sound bites from A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest.

The idea is to see whether it affects the dreams of the residents. Luke Jerram is the person behind this with music from the Sky Orchestra. The Shakesperian extracts are read by the actors Patrick Stewart and Janet Suzman.

Dreamy.

Thursday, 22 June 2006

Thursday Thirteen (V24)

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Tonight's Thursday Thirteen is a bumper bundle. You have a choice of two versions - SPORT or LIES.

press to expandsport

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OK - I lied with the SPORT one slightly, its Thursday Thixteen instead of Thursday Thirteen. And why? Because these are probably going to be the final 16 teams. From the original 32, I picked 11 of the 16 winners but in a couple of groups there were surprises, meaning that a few lower ranked teams seem to have hopped into the last 16. The green ones are my predictions and the reds are the surprises!
Add a comment, trackback or a link if you are a Thursday Thirteener!


press to expandlies

Not telling the truth is not good. But I think I might have used these at some point. Have you?
1) The train was late.
2) I'm stuck in traffic.
3) It was on special offer.
4) I posted it yesterday.
5) There was no signal.
6) They didn't have any.
7) I didn't get it.
8) I've never seen it.
10) I must have been out.
11) I couldn't find one.
12) It was already cracked.
13) They didnt give me the receipt.

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Wednesday, 21 June 2006

OTA Wordless Wednesday

stonedhenge.gif
Solstice at Stonehenge


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Tuesday, 20 June 2006

long day and long game

m25.jpgThe M25 sign tonight said beware of delays on 20th and 21st June around Stonehenge. Tomorrow is the longest day so we can expect the sun worshippers to be out in force. Indeed rashbre central usually shows Stonehenge as its logo.

Its a shame we couldn't move a minute out of today into tomorrow. When Sweden equalised in the last minute creating a 2:2 draw against England it was a remarkable turnaround. But now England is still top of the group and get to play Ecuador(!) in the next round whereas Sweden play Germany(!)

Monday, 19 June 2006

kooky

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I spent part of yesterday evening listening to The Kooks. They are an indie-esque electric guitar band but with added acoustic guitars providing some light and shade to their performance. They've got a radio play at the moment with 'Naive' but have several other very listenable tracks.

I also checked out their fun to explore web site, which is clickable. Interesting to note that bands like this and also Dirty Pretty Things are almost mainstream in the UK.

Sunday, 18 June 2006

camels of England

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Although I live close to London, we have some pretty countryside nearby and I have a choice when I leave home to head for the big roads and motorways, or to take a slightly different route about 300 meters from home, which leads to a country road and finally into a track. Ideal direction to take the now mainly functional bicycle.
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So today, thats what I did, and before long I spotted the first red deer, munching foliage by the side of the track. I did spot a few more, and they generally stood to observe me before sauntering away.
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Further along, the track thins further, but is still quite easy to ride.
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Then I spotted some wild ponies. The area is technically an extension of a much larger forest further to the south called the New Forest which was first given this name in 1079 by William the Conqueror - that the fella that fought King Harold back in 1066.
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Then the track continues and more conventional livestock such as sheep graze by the side of the track.
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But my favourite spot today was the camel, grazing in a nearby field.
mbcamel.jpg

rough house

mastroenisentoff.gifSo USA managed to get a point against Italy. Final Score 1:1. Let's not forget the three red cards (one Italian and two American), one own goal by the Italians, one disallowed goal, one bloodied face, three stitches and 37 fouls.

The United States have now conceded 49 goals in World Cup finals. Italy is the main contributor with nine goals in three matches. America's record against teams from Europe in the World Cup is now three wins, two draws and 11 defeats.

Italy have stretched their unbeaten sequence to 20 internationals.

lemans.gif
Meanwhile, for petrolheads, France's Le Mans continues! Here's a Porsche and Ferrari battling it out at 10:30 this morning.
UPDATE: Le Mans
AudiDieselFirstYes, this Audi diesel won the Le Mans 24h endurance race.

Saturday, 17 June 2006

big sister

monopoly3.jpgThe only part of this Big Brother series I have watched was the kickoff, when Davina said it was a smaller house this time.

I said, "That's because they have hidden another house next to the first house".

I could be right...Wait till they need 6 beds.

blow

screenshot_01.jpgI managed to find my mountain bike in amongst the self-inflicted debris of the garage and discovered it had two completely flat tyres. I then searched for about an hour for the pump. Unsuccessfully.

So I had to get in the car to go to the shop to get a pump before I could ride the bike.

Anyway a Joe Blow pump made short work of the tyres and so this afternoon I was out bouncing along a dusty track whilst I figured out how the handlebars had slid upside down and thats why the brake handles were pointing to the sky.

By tomorrow we should be back to normal.

evil overlording

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Back in the ancient days of the internet when R2D2 and C3P0 were still Arpanet nodes, rashbre central was a troubled place.

An evil overlord was attempting to dominate the entire domain and the guardians of instability had to use strange forces to create the positive experience we all know today. Luckily, the evil overlord had not met Peter Anspach and therefore fell into all of the typical mistakes of an evil overlord.

Knowing rashbre central has occasional visits from time travellers and spacemen, I thought it appropriate to republish the list which evil overlords always forget to reference. This can help anyone else suffering mild attacks from alien forces (Captain Picard and Doctor Sinister spring to mind).

Because the list is quite long, I've used a Star Wars style scrolling to keep the post size manageable. It also ties in nicely with the discussion on allblogstars about 100 lists.

Evil Overlord Survival Tips
1 My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass visors, not face-concealing ones.
2 My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.
3 My noble half-brother whose throne I usurped will be killed, not kept anonymously imprisoned in a forgotten cell of my dungeon.
4 Shooting is not too good for my enemies.
5 The artifact which is the source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box. The same applies to the object which is my one weakness.
6 I will not gloat over my enemies' predicament before killing them.
7 When I've captured my adversary and he says, "Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?" I'll say, "No." and shoot him. No, on second thought I'll shoot him then say "No."
8 After I kidnap the beautiful princess, we will be married immediately in a quiet civil ceremony, not a lavish spectacle in three weeks' time during which the final phase of my plan will be carried out.
9 I will not include a self-destruct mechanism unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, it will not be a large red button labelled "Danger: Do Not Push". The big red button marked "Do Not Push" will instead trigger a spray of bullets on anyone stupid enough to disregard it. Similarly, the ON/OFF switch will not clearly be labelled as such.
10 I will not interrogate my enemies in the inner sanctum -- a small hotel well outside my borders will work just as well.
11 I will be secure in my superiority. Therefore, I will feel no need to prove it by leaving clues in the form of riddles or leaving my weaker enemies alive to show they pose no threat.
12 One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.
13 All slain enemies will be cremated, or at least have several rounds of ammunition emptied into them, not left for dead at the bottom of the cliff. The announcement of their deaths, as well as any accompanying celebration, will be deferred until after the aforementioned disposal.
14 The hero is not entitled to a last kiss, a last cigarette, or any other form of last request.
15 I will never employ any device with a digital countdown. If I find that such a device is absolutely unavoidable, I will set it to activate when the counter reaches 117 and the hero is just putting his plan into operation.
16 I will never utter the sentence "But before I kill you, there's just one thing I want to know."
17 When I employ people as advisors, I will occasionally listen to their advice.
18 I will not have a son. Although his laughably under-planned attempt to usurp power would easily fail, it would provide a fatal distraction at a crucial point in time.
19 I will not have a daughter. She would be as beautiful as she was evil, but one look at the hero's rugged countenance and she'd betray her own father.
20 Despite its proven stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it's too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly.
21 I will hire a talented fashion designer to create original uniforms for my Legions of Terror, as opposed to some cheap knock-offs that make them look like Nazi stormtroopers, Roman footsoldiers, or savage Mongol hordes. All were eventually defeated and I want my troops to have a more positive mind-set.
22 No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field bigger than my head.
23 I will keep a special cache of low-tech weapons and train my troops in their use. That way -- even if the heroes manage to neutralize my power generator and/or render the standard-issue energy weapons useless -- my troops will not be overrun by a handful of savages armed with spears and rocks.
24 I will maintain a realistic assessment of my strengths and weaknesses. Even though this takes some of the fun out of the job, at least I will never utter the line "No, this cannot be! I AM INVINCIBLE!!!" (After that, death is usually instantaneous.)
25 No matter how well it would perform, I will never construct any sort of machinery which is completely indestructible except for one small and virtually inaccessible vulnerable spot.
26 No matter how attractive certain members of the rebellion are, there is probably someone just as attractive who is not desperate to kill me. Therefore, I will think twice before ordering a prisoner sent to my bedchamber.
27 I will never build only one of anything important. All important systems will have redundant control panels and power supplies. For the same reason I will always carry at least two fully loaded weapons at all times.
28 My pet monster will be kept in a secure cage from which it cannot escape and into which I could not accidentally stumble.
29 I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.
30 All bumbling conjurers, clumsy squires, no-talent bards, and cowardly thieves in the land will be preemptively put to death. My foes will surely give up and abandon their quest if they have no source of comic relief.
31 All naive, busty tavern wenches in my realm will be replaced with surly, world-weary waitresses who will provide no unexpected reinforcement and/or romantic subplot for the hero or his sidekick.
32 I will not fly into a rage and kill a messenger who brings me bad news just to illustrate how evil I really am. Good messengers are hard to come by.
33 I won't require high-ranking female members of my organization to wear a stainless-steel bustier. Morale is better with a more casual dress-code. Similarly, outfits made entirely from black leather will be reserved for formal occasions.
34 I will not turn into a snake. It never helps.
35 I will not grow a goatee. In the old days they made you look diabolic. Now they just make you look like a disaffected member of Generation X.
36 I will not imprison members of the same party in the same cell block, let alone the same cell. If they are important prisoners, I will keep the only key to the cell door on my person instead of handing out copies to every bottom-rung guard in the prison.
37 If my trusted lieutenant tells me my Legions of Terror are losing a battle, I will believe him. After all, he's my trusted lieutenant.
38 If an enemy I have just killed has a younger sibling or offspring anywhere, I will find them and have them killed immediately, instead of waiting for them to grow up harboring feelings of vengeance towards me in my old age.
39 If I absolutely must ride into battle, I will certainly not ride at the forefront of my Legions of Terror, nor will I seek out my opposite number among his army.
40 I will be neither chivalrous nor sporting. If I have an unstoppable superweapon, I will use it as early and as often as possible instead of keeping it in reserve.
41 Once my power is secure, I will destroy all those pesky time-travel devices.
42 When I capture the hero, I will make sure I also get his dog, monkey, ferret, or whatever sickeningly cute little animal capable of untying ropes and filching keys happens to follow him around.
43 I will maintain a healthy amount of skepticism when I capture the beautiful rebel and she claims she is attracted to my power and good looks and will gladly betray her companions if I just let her in on my plans.
44 I will only employ bounty hunters who work for money. Those who work for the pleasure of the hunt tend to do dumb things like even the odds to give the other guy a sporting chance.
45 I will make sure I have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what in my organization. For example, if my general screws up I will not draw my weapon, point it at him, say "And here is the price for failure," then suddenly turn and kill some random underling.
46 If an advisor says to me "My liege, he is but one man. What can one man possibly do?", I will reply "This." and kill the advisor.
47 If I learn that a callow youth has begun a quest to destroy me, I will slay him while he is still a callow youth instead of waiting for him to mature.
48 I will treat any beast which I control through magic or technology with respect and kindness. Thus if the control is ever broken, it will not immediately come after me for revenge.
49 If I learn the whereabouts of the one artifact which can destroy me, I will not send all my troops out to seize it. Instead I will send them out to seize something else and quietly put a Want-Ad in the local paper.
50 My main computers will have their own special operating system that will be completely incompatible with standard IBM and Macintosh powerbooks.
51 If one of my dungeon guards begins expressing concern over the conditions in the beautiful princess' cell, I will immediately transfer him to a less people-oriented position.
52 I will hire a team of board-certified architects and surveyors to examine my castle and inform me of any secret passages and abandoned tunnels that I might not know about.
53 If the beautiful princess that I capture says "I'll never marry you! Never, do you hear me, NEVER!!!", I will say "Oh well" and kill her.
54 I will not strike a bargain with a demonic being then attempt to double-cross it simply because I feel like being contrary.
55 The deformed mutants and odd-ball psychotics will have their place in my Legions of Terror. However before I send them out on important covert missions that require tact and subtlety, I will first see if there is anyone else equally qualified who would attract less attention.
56 My Legions of Terror will be trained in basic marksmanship. Any who cannot learn to hit a man-sized target at 10 meters will be used for target practice.
57 Before employing any captured artifacts or machinery, I will carefully read the owner's manual.
58 If it becomes necessary to escape, I will never stop to pose dramatically and toss off a one-liner.
59 I will never build a sentient computer smarter than I am.
60 My five-year-old child advisor will also be asked to decipher any code I am thinking of using. If he breaks the code in under 30 seconds, it will not be used. Note: this also applies to passwords.
61 If my advisors ask "Why are you risking everything on such a mad scheme?", I will not proceed until I have a response that satisfies them.
62 I will design fortress hallways with no alcoves or protruding structural supports which intruders could use for cover in a firefight.
63 Bulk trash will be disposed of in incinerators, not compactors. And they will be kept hot, with none of that nonsense about flames going through accessible tunnels at predictable intervals.
64 I will see a competent psychiatrist and get cured of all extremely unusual phobias and bizarre compulsive habits which could prove to be a disadvantage.
65 If I must have computer systems with publically available terminals, the maps they display of my complex will have a room clearly marked as the Main Control Room. That room will be the Execution Chamber. The actual main control room will be marked as Sewage Overflow Containment.
66 My security keypad will actually be a fingerprint scanner. Anyone who watches someone press a sequence of buttons or dusts the pad for fingerprints then subsequently tries to enter by repeating that sequence will trigger the alarm system.
67 No matter how many shorts we have in the system, my guards will be instructed to treat every surveillance camera malfunction as a full-scale emergency.
68 I will spare someone who saved my life sometime in the past. This is only reasonable as it encourages others to do so. However, the offer is good one time only. If they want me to spare them again, they'd better save my life again.
69 All midwives will be banned from the realm. All babies will be delivered at state-approved hospitals. Orphans will be placed in foster-homes, not abandoned in the woods to be raised by creatures of the wild.
70 When my guards split up to search for intruders, they will always travel in groups of at least two. They will be trained so that if one of them disappears mysteriously while on patrol, the other will immediately initiate an alert and call for backup, instead of quizzically peering around a corner.
71 If I decide to test a lieutenant's loyalty and see if he/she should be made a trusted lieutenant, I will have a crack squad of marksmen standing by in case the answer is no.
72 If all the heroes are standing together around a strange device and begin to taunt me, I will pull out a conventional weapon instead of using my unstoppable superweapon on them.
73 I will not agree to let the heroes go free if they win a rigged contest, even though my advisors assure me it is impossible for them to win.
74 When I create a multimedia presentation of my plan designed so that my five-year-old advisor can easily understand the details, I will not label the disk "Project Overlord" and leave it lying on top of my desk.
75 I will instruct my Legions of Terror to attack the hero en masse, instead of standing around waiting while members break off and attack one or two at a time.
76 If the hero runs up to my roof, I will not run up after him and struggle with him in an attempt to push him over the edge. I will also not engage him at the edge of a cliff. (In the middle of a rope-bridge over a river of molten lava is not even worth considering.)
77 If I have a fit of temporary insanity and decide to give the hero the chance to reject a job as my trusted lieutentant, I will retain enough sanity to wait until my current trusted lieutenant is out of earshot before making the offer.
78 I will not tell my Legions of Terror "And he must be taken alive!" The command will be "And try to take him alive if it is reasonably practical."
79 If my doomsday device happens to come with a reverse switch, as soon as it has been employed it will be melted down and made into limited-edition commemorative coins.
80 If my weakest troops fail to eliminate a hero, I will send out my best troops instead of wasting time with progressively stronger ones as he gets closer and closer to my fortress.
81 If I am fighting with the hero atop a moving platform, have disarmed him, and am about to finish him off and he glances behind me and drops flat, I too will drop flat instead of quizzically turning around to find out what he saw.
82 I will not shoot at any of my enemies if they are standing in front of the crucial support beam to a heavy, dangerous, unbalanced structure.
83 If I'm eating dinner with the hero, put poison in his goblet, then have to leave the table for any reason, I will order new drinks for both of us instead of trying to decide whether or not to switch with him.
84 I will not have captives of one sex guarded by members of the opposite sex.
85 I will not use any plan in which the final step is horribly complicated, e.g. "Align the 12 Stones of Power on the sacred altar then activate the medallion at the moment of total eclipse." Instead it will be more along the lines of "Push the button."
86 I will make sure that my doomsday device is up to code and properly grounded.
87 My vats of hazardous chemicals will be covered when not in use. Also, I will not construct walkways above them.
88 If a group of henchmen fail miserably at a task, I will not berate them for incompetence then send the same group out to try the task again.
89 After I captures the hero's superweapon, I will not immediately disband my legions and relax my guard because I believe whoever holds the weapon is unstoppable. After all, the hero held the weapon and I took it from him.
90 I will not design my Main Control Room so that every workstation is facing away from the door.
91 I will not ignore the messenger that stumbles in exhausted and obviously agitated until my personal grooming or current entertainment is finished. It might actually be important.
92 If I ever talk to the hero on the phone, I will not taunt him. Instead I will say this his dogged perseverance has given me new insight on the futility of my evil ways and that if he leaves me alone for a few months of quiet contemplation I will likely return to the path of righteousness. (Heroes are incredibly gullible in this regard.)
93 If I decide to hold a double execution of the hero and an underling who failed or betrayed me, I will see to it that the hero is scheduled to go first.
94 When arresting prisoners, my guards will not allow them to stop and grab a useless trinket of purely sentimental value.
95 My dungeon will have its own qualified medical staff complete with bodyguards. That way if a prisoner becomes sick and his cellmate tells the guard it's an emergency, the guard will fetch a trauma team instead of opening up the cell for a look.
96 My door mechanisms will be designed so that blasting the control panel on the outside seals the door and blasting the control panel on the inside opens the door, not vice versa.
97 My dungeon cells will not be furnished with objects that contain reflective surfaces or anything that can be unravelled.
98 If an attractive young couple enters my realm, I will carefully monitor their activities. If I find they are happy and affectionate, I will ignore them. However if circumstance have forced them together against their will and they spend all their time bickering and criticizing each other except during the intermittent occasions when they are saving each others' lives at which point there are hints of sexual tension, I will immediately order their execution.
99 Any data file of crucial importance will be padded to 1.45Mb in size.
100 Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless trance, I will provide each of them with free unlimited Internet access.

This Evil Overlord List is Copyright 1996-1997 by Peter Anspach. If you enjoy it, feel free to pass it along or post it anywhere, provided that (1) it is not altered in any way, and (2) this copyright notice is attached.

Friday, 16 June 2006

coke and mentos

cokeandmentos.jpgMost people have seen the Diet Coke and Mentos videos where you add Mentos to a Coke bottle and watch the science. The most basic is to just drop a few Mentos into the top of a 2 litre Coke bottle (Two litre because of the wider screw neck) which creates a rather spectacular fountain.

Coke and other fizzy drinks have a lot of compressed Carbon Dioxide in them. The Mentos, with their gnarly rough surface comprise thousands of tiny pits which are perfect places for carbon dioxide bubbles to form as it wants to desperately escape from the prison of the coke liquid. This 'nucleation' is like when the rough spots in a beer glass allow bubbles to form that that rise to the top of the beer. The other Mentos component is the gum arabic used as a binding agent. This reduces the surface tension in the Coke, making it more slippery.

So when the Mentos hit the Coke, the Carbon Dioxide bubbles form really fast in all of the tiny pits. This gas pushes the slippery liquid out of the bottle at jet propelled speed. So a fountain or a more advanced rocket become easy projects, (with safety goggles and outdoors). Trying this in, say, a kitchen would be devastating. In the mouth this can create concussion. Seriously.

So lets see a few experts such as the well known eepybird video using 200 litres of Coke and 500 Mentos which attempts to simulate a Las Vegas Bellagio Hotel fountain moment, but I prefer the more extreme rocket versions.

Now Italian-owned Mentos spends less than $20m per annum on US advertising. The blogosphere word of mouth advertising of this is reckoned to be worth more than $10m with over 800 Coke 'n Mentos videos (many from cellphones) on the web and counting...

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Thursday, 15 June 2006

Thursday Thirteen (V23)

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1) My recent travelling finished early this morning, when I returned home at around 02:30.
2) By the time I got to bed, it was around 03:30 and I could see the early signs of dawn with some pretty light blue streaks in the sky.
3) I still needed to be back on the road by around 07:30 this morning, so I am rather bleary-eyed by now.
pod_19_small.jpg4) I couldn't help notice the rather light traffic today. I wonder if a lot of people had an urgent need to work from home, possibly linked to the soccer fixture which started at 5 o'clock this evening.
5) There was enough interest in the last part of the England game to keep me awake, despite my late night.
6) My early World Cup predictions are still holding out. I will review at the end of the first set of matches to see how many of my calculated teams have been dropped. Sweden's victory over Paraguay may interfere slightly with the odds.
7) Whilst on the road, I was adding blog entries from my PC. Everything was much more fiddly than doing the same on my mac.
8) I did also watch 'The Convent' this evening, which I'd recorded on Sky Plus. An interesting way to show the lives of nuns, using a reality format.
tabbouleh.jpg9) Enjoying a light tabbouleh this summery evening, as a refreshing supper.
10) I rescued my pedal bicycle from under the general domestic debris in the garage a few days ago. If I can next locate the tyre pump, I will then be out for a meander in the country lanes this weekend.
midnitespider.jpg11) Tonight I will be in bed long before the midnight spider scuttles across the floor in this room. Its pretty regular and normally has a very similar route. I didn't know spiders were creatures of habit.
12) When did borrowing friend's wi-fi links start to become commonplace? We have people drop in and borrow bandwidth and I was doing it myself a couple of days ago somewhere else.
13) I started another book to review for Bob's Books, but am not finding it much fun. I don't really want to write negative reviews, so I shall probably let it quielty slip under the water.

{Yawn} Sleepy tonight. Next, to bed.

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Wednesday, 14 June 2006

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

coast to coast (kinda)

kirkby stephen
Today, after I'd finished in Newcastle, which is very close to to the east coast of England, I had to travel west to Lancashire and to within 3 miles of the west coast.

A small loop the loop to get out of Gateshead and then I was on the way through County Durham, then part of North Yorkshire partly along the route of a very ancient and characteristically straight Roman Road. Next to some very pretty Cumbrian countryside including a picturesque run through the Eden valley and across the back of the Pennines hills, which run north to south in the upper part of England.

My journey was in early evening, there was sunshine and not much traffic on this drive across farmlands, lanes, small villages and past ancient pubs as I traversed the full breadth of England (admittedly at one of the thinnest points).

I arrived at my new destination, refreshed from a great summer evening.

Monday, 12 June 2006

up north

angel240
'Up North' is a variable expression in English.

As a Londoner from North of the River Thames, 'Up North' generally means above Watford, which is about 20 miles north of London itself. A South Londoner would regard 'Up North' in much the same way as 'North of the River' (Thames) and a North Londoner (and taxi drivers) regard 'sarf of the river' as a somewhat unknown area.

But today I've been properly 'Up North' in Gateshead - which is adjacent to Newcastle, in the quayside area by the rather spectacular theatre complex known as 'The Sage' - and I know its proper North because there's a famous landmark called 'the Angel of the North' which is slightly to the south of Gateshead and Newcastle.

Sunday, 11 June 2006

of Pimms and nuns

convent St Clares
This afternoon will be Pimms time. And Pimms were giving away nice Pimms jugs to mix the drink. So a number 1 Pimms comprising 5 parts lemonade, 2 Parts Pimms and 1 part gin, plus mint, orange, lemon, apple, cucumber and a tiny amount of lime. Oh, and ice.

Then I will be programming Sky plus for a complicated week. I'm partly away travelling, and in addition to soccer which I can watch wherever, I will want to see "The Convent" with wild women's poet Vik and others showing 40 days and 40 nights in a strict convent in Arundel. Its up on the BBC2 web site and also on BBC's religious site! Take a look at the trailer!

Saturday, 10 June 2006

rashbre.tv: fruit

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A wonderful, hot afternoon, time for a fruit drink and a neat rip-off of the Sony commercial. Click the television to view.

soccer options

mario.jpg
Since I started my posts about this not being the Official FIFA World Cup Germany Site 2006, I seem to have been collecting rather a lot of hits in the search engines. I think my continued references to Official FIFA World Cup Germany Site 2006 seems to have created many inadvertant references to this site.

How could I have guess that this would have happened?

gary.jpg
So, I got to thinking. There are people who really enjoy soccer and there are people who prefer to go shopping. Oh and there are Americans who kinda don't get the European pre-occupation with this sport (or cricket or rugger).

Anyway, I decided, for the duration of the Official FIFA World Cup Germany 2006, I would have an optional facility on rashbre central, so that those of you who like soccer are satisfied, but those who prefer a more soccer free zone (like craziequeen) can still feel satisfied if they pass this way.
gordon.jpg
So I have made the top corner of my banner optional. Sure, it drops down with a modest reference to England who will win the World Cup, of course, but if you prefer non-soccer then simply mouse over the image and a normal rashbre central header will re-appear.

I hope this caters for most tastes and I will continue to post in a suitable random manner on topics other than soccer.
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All *Blog* Stars

allstar.jpgWell I'm flattered to have been asked to join the All *Blog* Stars after an email invitation. I've added an initial post and wish every success to this new enterprise!

UPDATE: Revised logo:
allstarrain.gif

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Friday, 9 June 2006

sven its good its really good

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Dieser Bild is nicht meinem. Ich habe es an flickr gefunden nachher Ich "fifaworldcup" angeclickt. Aber es gibt der Atmosfer des Mondial ganz gut. Hier is die erste Spiel des Deutschen und sie haben 4:2 gewonnen.
claudia.jpg
So, as Claudia seems to be enjoying the few moments of the World Cup in German hands, we look forward to saturation coverage on all media over the next four weeks. And don't forget, this is not the Official FIFA World Cup Germany Site 2006, but along side the hoses of the holy in the world cup universe reportage, I shall do my best to keep a blip of relevant news.

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Thursday, 8 June 2006

FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 Results

worldcup.gif
I thought it would be a useful service to calculate the results of the Official FIFA World Cup Germany 2006. So, sitting at my friend's granite kitchen countertop, I decided to use some rudimentary statistics for this, which have been partly gleaned from the local betting shops.

I then took the average of everyone's odds to work out the order that everyone will be knocked out and who the winners will be. So here's a preview of the England / Brazil final, and due to a small statistical error at the moment it shows Brazil winning.
worldcupresults.jpg
I will fiddle systematically reanalyse my computational error later so that the correct result shows England winning. I suppose this is good value for Germans, though, because in order to become third they will have to play an extra game after they get knocked out in the semi-finals.