Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Let's be careful out there on Halloween!!

Here is a little story for your amusement!

A couple was invited to a swanky masked Halloween Party.
The wife got a terrible headache and told her husband to go to the party alone.
He, being a devoted husband, protested, but she argued and said she was going to take some aspirin and go to bed, and there was no need of his good time being spoiled by not going.
So he took his costume and away he went.
The wife, after sleeping soundly for one hour, awakened without pain, and as it was still early, she decided to go to the party. In as much as her husband did not know what her costume was, she thought she would have some fun by watching her husband to see how he acted when she was not with him.
She joined the party and soon spotted her husband cavorting around on the dance floor, dancing with every nice chick he could, and copping a little feel here and a little kiss there.

His wife sidled up to him and being a rather seductive babe herself, he left his partner high and dry and devoted his time to the new stuff that had just arrived.
She let him go as far as he wished; naturally, since he was her husband.

Finally he whispered a little proposition in her ear and she agreed, so off they went for some passionate kissing.
Just before unmasking at midnight, she slipped away and went home and put the costume away and got into bed, wondering what kind of explanation he would make for his behavior.
She was sitting up reading when he came in and asked what kind of a time he had.

He said, "Oh, the same old thing. You know I never have a good time when you're not there."
Then she asked, "Did you dance much?" He replied, "I'll tell you, I never even danced one dance. When I got there, I met Pete, Bill Brown and some other guys, so we went into the den and played poker all evening. But I'll tell you... the guy I loaned my costume to said he sure had a real good time!"

So, let's be careful out there and if you are planning to involve your pet in the dressing up game . . . DON'T!!
It p*sses them off big time!

If you think that they look cute, then you need therapy!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

I plead 'Not guilty'!!

In a dramatic freak occurrence of nature this weekend, the earth started spinning the other way around for a short while with some stunning effects:

* The time went back by one hour
* Rain fell upon us at our short break in Scotland at double velocity
* My weekly weight loss program went into reverse as I put on 3 pounds rather than losing 3 pounds!

So, as you can see, it is not my fault!! Just a glitch in the system and if that does not cut any ice with you guys, I hereby name and shame the people responsible for at least the last point of the above disaster:

I blame:
* Jackie for organising a meal out at the local Indian Restaurant
* Doug for sharing his Whisky with me
* Their daughter for making the most delicious meal the following evening!
* Caroline for a meal involving cheese and pork pies (the death of any diet!)
* Brian & Carol for treating us to a Chinese Lunch and Sherry Trifle!

Well, it’s good to know that I was completely innocent in all of this and have therefore no need to hang my head in shame!

Bracklinn Falls, Callander, Scotland


My target weight is 199 pounds and if you haven’t sponsored me yet, please do so by going to http://www.justgiving.com/firefly and adding yourself to the list.

Throughout the next weeks you will be able to follow my progess (O God, I hope it will indeed be progress!!) on my Biff-o-meter and can comment on this blogsite with words of encouragment or by throwing abuse at me.

Here then is the Biff-o-meter after week 4 of my Challenge!

Weight now = 218 pounds
Weight lost so far = 11 pounds

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

No Trains, no Planes but a new Automobile

This will be the last post for this week, as I am off to visit friends in Callander, Scotland for a few days.
No doubt we will sample a few Whiskeys and have some laughs together.

So, what else is new? . . . Oh, yes!! I got myself a new car (well nearly new anyway) and I am picking it up tomorrow on my birthday! Ooohh!!

Now I know what you are thinking!! “What could I possibly get Erik for his birthday??
Well, fret not, dear friend!! Help is at hand! Just donate something at my sponsorship site
(go to http://www.justgiving.com/firefly )
to get me over the £1000 hurdle.

Sorry, that was very cheeky of me!!
Well, have a good few days and on Monday I will report on how everything went and hopefully post some pictures.

Happy days!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Whose Birthday is it anyway??

Last week it was my colleague’s birthday and Debs (The Debster) send a birthday card round the office for us all to sign. All went well until Sara passed the card to Stuart with the words: “Here, sign the card for Gary!”
Stuart, only listening with one ear, understood “Here, sign the card for Erik!” and promptly wrote some demeaning stuff, passing it on to Shane, who followed in the same footsteps. Shane then passed it on to Gary (whose card it really was) with Debs spitting: “Shane, what is wrong with you?? Why are you giving Gary’s card to Gary??!!!”
Total pandemonium ensued and everybody got confused as to whose birthday is when.
We already agreed to re-use the same card for my birthday on Wednesday.
This morning however I came to work to find this!

No!! Not yet, guys!!! Wednesday!!!
Now everbody walking past my desk wishes me a happy birthday and asks where the cakes are that we normally buy for this occasion.


My target weight is 199 pounds and if you haven’t sponsored me yet, please do so by going to http://www.justgiving.com/firefly and adding yourself to the list.

Throughout the next weeks you will be able to follow my progess (O God, I hope it will indeed be progress!!) on my Biff-o-meter and can comment on this blogsite with words of encouragment or by throwing abuse at me.

Here then is the Biff-o-meter after week 3 of my Challenge!

Weigh now = 215 pounds
Weight lost so far = 14 pounds

Friday, October 20, 2006

Hair today - Gone tomorrow!

Most of my friends have some sort of weird side to their character, which is probably why they are my friends in the first place.
This also applies to my friend Keith, who is and always has been stuck somewhere in the 70s!
When he was recently approaching his 50th birthday he let his hair grow even longer than usual and managed to look like a real old Hippy.
He is the only person I know who, when confronted with any 70s music, will not just be able to tell you the group but also the name of all the individuals in that group, what year the song came out, where it landed in the Top 40, what happened to them and what record label they were signed up with.
He is a bit of a technophobe and to this very day the word ‘Broadband’ will prompt the reply: “Don’t know them! Them must be one of them new groups doin’ Rap shit!

His heart however is in the right place and he is always busy as a Scout-leader or helping out at the church.
For him it was therefore a great sacrifice to have his hair cut off for charity and I think he was quite worried as to whether it would grow back.

Well, Keith, I am sure it will and you are da Man for doing this charitable work!
This post is for you and I’ll see you on the 8th for the Live Concert of Hayseed Dixie!

Click on picture to enlarge and read the article!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Blogger Frust!!

Today when I tried to look at my blogger friends sites I was greeted by this!
More and more things seem to trip up on Blogger!
My site takes ages to load the pictures, I cannot leave comments on some people's blog once they have moved to the new Beta version (which most of them are now bitching about as well) and more often than not you cannot post pictures via the blogger loader and therefore need to put the HTML code in yourself or just don't post them.

Time to move to a new provider??
Any suggestions?
What do you think?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dirty Work

Article in yesterday’s “The Times” Newspaper:

German women who can't face dumping their lovers are hiring a man to do it for them.
Perhaps if Bernd Dressler were smaller, sicklier, a little less confidently self-tanned and ivory-toothed, he’d be beaten up for doing the job he does. His victims find it difficult to argue with his unflinching, vaguely glamorous authoritativeness, the way he sternly peers out at them over the top of his fashionable spectacles to deliver the bad news, as if the German Paul McKenna had decided personally to intervene in their lives.
“There’s irritation. Then incredulity — ‘Where’s the hidden camera?’ ” Dressler says airily from behind a desk in his tiny Berlin office. “But once I show them the contract it starts to sink in.” The contract says that Berndt Dressler has been hired “to terminate the relationship between his client and his/her partner INSERT NAME”. Then there’s a list of reasons why.

Well, isn’t that just fantastic news, ladies - and I am sure soon someone will do the same for the gentlemen. Now you can breathe easily right from the start.

Pick your partner (not too carefully - no need!), have a lot of fun with him/her, get bored or exasperated or find someone else and Hey Presto!!
After not taking responsibility for the relationship coming together in the first place and not taking responsibility for the relationship cooling down you now also do not need to take responsibility for the death of the relationship.

You are therefore totally irresponsible!!!
. . .
. . .
No wait, - that sounded all wrong! I didn’t mean that, did I??

I mean, you can feel good - well, no, not good . . but OK about the whole thing for 2 reasons:
1.) At least you gave him/her (and yourself) an end with horror rather then horror without end
2.) Duh!! You’ve paid good money for it, so that makes it OK! The break-up has cost you dearly, you poor thing!!


So, let’s just check everything through to ensure we have the complete lover’s relationship sandwich (no pun intended here!) and see if this would work for marriages as well.

On the bottom we have:
No hassle speed dating
So we don’t have to get of off our arses to meet people and when we do we don’t have to go through the laborious time called courtship (where we would actually find out much more about a possible partner and build trust and relationship). Instead we get a bunch of lonely people in a room, see whether they throw up seeing us or if we throw up seeing them, ask them a couple of pertinent questions such as “Do you have aids or gonorrhoea” and “How do you feel about being humped on your first date?” and then settle with this partnership ‘choice’.

In the middle we have:
Relationship (good, bad, indifferent)

At the top we have:
No hassle speed separation
So we can get on with our lives and with new, more exciting partners without having to do this pesky breaking up and arguing (or even crying, eeeww!!) bit that is just so tedious.

Excellent! We’re almost there!

All we need to find now is someone who will do all that yucky, fluffy stuff in the middle such as telling our partner that we love him/her, buy their presents and . . well . . talk to them!

I wonder if I have a look in Google, whether . . . .

Clippety Clop!!

From horsepower and 4 wheels yesterday to horsepower and 4 hoofs today.
It's all in a day's work - or more accurately it’s all in a day off work as our department decides to seize the last opportunity of the year to watch the races at Windsor, London.

Apparently there is no horse racing in winter as it is too tricky galloping down the track in snow shoes! I don’t even know where the brakes are on those wildebeests but how difficult can it be picking a winner??!?
Very difficult apparently as such names like “Always a Winner” and “Run like the Wind” easily turn out to be nothing else but wishful thinking crossing the line in place 7 and 9 as they don't always win and rarely run like the wind.
Have they never heard of the trade’s description act?

After backing a couple of particularly stupid mares I finally managed to get a winner (see proof photo below) but was disappointed when the bookies told me that I had not won the horse but just a few notes instead!
Gorram nonsense!
Nevertheless we all had a good time and laughed a lot.
In the evening we had a nice meal and none of us drunk much alcohol . . at all . . hardly any . . honest . . barely a drop!!

Here are some pictures from the day(click on them to enlarge) :

The Work Bunch trying to work out how to fill in the coupons

and again

There is always one Smarty who has been swatting up on the odds beforehand!

Before we decide, let's look at the horses! (As if that would help!)

On our balcony at the start & finish line!

For the first race most horses were still asleep, hence the poor turnout!

"C'mon 'Moon on a Spoon' or it's the butchers for you!"

. . . and he backs the winner.

If proof was needed!

The staff looking after us for the day were green with envy of my winnings!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Wroom! Wroom!!!

This Sunday my good friend Garry invited Jan and me to Silverston for the British Touring Car Races but Jan was still not too good on her feet having had an operation on her toe so Sally came with us instead.
It was a great day apart from it being f***ing freezing!

Here are some pictures from the day
(click on them to enlarge) :

Renault Clio Race

and again

Seat Cupra Race

Looks like Heather (Canada) landing

The British Touring car Race we really came to see!!

Overtaking on the grass?? Is that allowed?

Sally, Christine and I

The girls are munching the sandwiches Garry (right) so kindy provided.

Formular Something!

Garry, Christine and Sally


My target weight is 199 pounds and if you haven’t sponsored me yet, please do so by going to http://www.justgiving.com/firefly and adding yourself to the list.

Throughout the next weeks you will be able to follow my progess (O God, I hope it will indeed be progress!!) on my Biff-o-meter and can comment on this blogsite with words of encouragment or by throwing abuse at me.

Here then is the Biff-o-meter after week 2 of my Challenge!

Weigh now = 219 pounds
Weight lost so far = 10 pounds

Friday, October 13, 2006

Past Echoes of the slimmer Kind

Sensing my state of low resistance my daughter managed to persuade me to bid (and eventually win) a Video-DVD Writer Combo on Ebay.
With son No. 1 currently being ‘up on blocks’ after a knee operation and lingering around our house like a bad smell, he managed to rig this contraption up last night and we all sat around watching the old self-made videos from ‘Anno Godknowswhen’.
In the videos there were family members showing their complete lack of style through Elvis Presley sideburns, half-hearted Afros and beards to rival Bluebeard the Terrible!
And those were just the women!
My good friend G. B. looked like Harry Potter and my brother-in-law like the Cookie Monster!

We laughed and generally extracted the urine (took the p*ss) out of each other.
There were people who had since died, people who stopped being friends, people who stopped getting in touch, people who stopped being children and people who stopped worrying about getting caught by the style police!
I, too, had more hair, less weight, more muscles, less wrinkles, more energy and no glasses.

By the time we managed to ice ourselves away from the trip into our past it was past midnight.
As I stood in the bathroom brushing (what are still my own) teeth I looked into the mirror and thought:
What happened?
Did the F*ck-fairy come when we were all asleep and hit us with an ugly-stick??
Is the universe and everything in it travelling North at high speed thus leaving all our body parts to drag behind?


Either ways, the hunt is now on to find all the people in the videos (Spoken in a German Accent: "vee have vays of finding you!!") in order to make them watch the video with us, giving us the chance (and enormous pleasure) to laugh at them whilst pointing fingers at ‘em!

P.S.: It's Friday the 13th today! If this gives you the creeps . . Snap out of it, Freak!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Teflon Leaves

Following on from yesterday’s post and triggered by the comment made by City Slicker today’s post investigates the mystery of train delays due to leaves on the line.

I have travelled by train to various countries at various times of the year and I have encountered problems with frozen diesel, frozen power lines, cows on the track, melted rails and signal failures but only in England have I come across delays caused by leaves on the line.
To top it all this is not an isolated incident but happens here in autumn on a regular basis.
Even the time-table is amended to cater for delays thus caused!

So let me get this right:
A train weighing several tonnes is somehow affected by some leaves weighing less than 10 grams!
(draws picture in head)
Nope, still don’t get it!
But wait!! Help is at hand via the nice people from Translink who explain:

When leaves fall on or close to the railway line, they are swept up by the turbulence caused by passing trains and compressed under the wheels of the carriages. The leaves are pounded into a hard, black, shiny Teflon like substance which is difficult to remove. The problem is exacerbated during bad weather.
Crushed leaves become slippery when wet which causes a greasy ‘mulch’ to cover the rail. This mulch is to rails what ice is to roads. The poor adhesion between the wheel and track makes it difficult for trains to slow down and stop and causes ‘wheel slip’.

Now, that makes sense!!
My only question is . . why does this only apply to English leaves?? Do they have a special coating only seen in this part of the world?
If, as Translink put it, the crushed leaves turn into a Teflon like substance, could that be the reason why Britain is currently not partaking in the latest trials of magnetic trains, as the leaves solve the ‘friction’ problem?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Me in the (T)rain

Here I am sitting on the train to London which has now accidentally stopped because there is a terrific thunderstorm going on outside to which we have top seats. The water is coming down so fast that the people in the carriage are looking round to see if it is entering the train by the doors.
As we pull into the unsheltered station somewhere between Aylesbury and London the people resemble drowned rats and the smell of wet clothes fills the place.
The weather forecast says that by the time I return home it will be nice again but as the guard announces that this train will be delayed due to problems on the line (hmmm . . . what could it possibly be??) I am reflecting on the following:
What would happen (or should it be will happen) once global warming has turned this otherwise calm and moderate British climate into a cauldron of storms and other types of severe weather??
Already predictions are that a major part of Southern Britain will fall victim to floods and be submerged, which will turn my little home in the centre of England into beach property.
England is already densely populated without a third disappearing under water.
Where is everybody going to go??
How very ill prepared we all are for such things.
Wait!! Hang on!!

(computer being hastily turned off)

Right! I am back! Back on the same train, having been ordered leave it, running across the bridge to the opposite platform and re-boarding it back to Aylesbury.
Apparently lightning has taken out the signalling system ahead and there will be no trains to London.
This reinforces my argument.
Single lightning strike = no trains
Global warming = ????

Jan and I have for some time toyed with the idea of becoming self-sufficient. Easier said then done!

Yes, you can put solar panels on your roof to get your electricity but the way it works is that it first gets put into the national grid and then you take what you want from there. If you produce more than you use, they pay you and visa versa.
Problem is . . . if there is a shortage, will you (as the producer) get first dip into the energy pot?? Eeeehhhmmm . . That would be a NO and you are just as screwed as everyone else.

Even though I have been known to produce considerable amounts of it after kebabs, beers and other culinary delights, it just won’t be enough to heat a house or cook a meal.

Wood burning used to be an option before England built their navy ships by cutting down most forests around the country. England once resembled Canada (forest-wise) but now looks more like . . . well, Holland I guess.

Growing your own food:
Good idea but if the future holds storms, floods and on the other end of the spectrum severe droughts, the only thing that will grow here successfully is water cress!!

So, in summary:
Are we worried about the change in climate? Has the government taken a “lead by example” approach to this looming problem??
Perish the thought! Britain is far too busy sending tax demands to their people, soldiers to Irak and celebrities to the jungle!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Of Hearts and Dreams

From a very young age we all develop dreams for the future. First those dreams are about things we might want to do or have the next day or next week but gradually they become more ambitious and wide-ranging and more often concern themselves with what we want to be doing when we are grown up.
For example, when I was young my dream was to be a train driver. You know . . one of those impressive steam locomotives which I was fortunate enough to observe many times whilst standing on my grandparents balcony near the train station.
I was fascinated by the big, shiny, gleaming locomotive bellowing smoke from seemingly every orifice and those massive wheels of steel being driven forward by a red steel rod connecting them all.
I had visions of me pulling the train into the station and people looking at me with great admiration, jealous of the fact that I had a job where I would see many far away places.
Today, even though the original dream still sits deep in my heart as a young boy’s dream of how things should have been, I realise that reality is never quite like the dream. Electric trains and diesel powered ones just haven’t got the same romance and being assigned to a shuttle service between 2 cities doesn’t hold true to the childish idea of ‘seeing the world’.

Many of our dreams will get shattered throughout our life but after reading many people’s blogs I guess the ones hardest to handle are broken dreams about relationships.
Whereas not achieving the job we dreamt of or the belongings we hoped for might point to various reasons, broken relationships seem to firmly point to one thing:
I am not worth (read pretty, fancy-able, clever, slim, tall, exciting, sexy, successful, lovable, adorable, secure, etc.) enough’!!
This ‘fact’ is further enhanced by each and every day we have tried to no avail to keep the relationship going and by every tear we’ve cried.
If your Best was not good enough, what chance of happiness is there for the future??

Children have a great self-preservation mechanism at their disposal!
They constantly make new dreams and if a dream gets shattered, they just make a new one - always hoping - always trusting - always waiting for the next dream to arrive.
Like you and me, children are scarred by broken relationships and just like them, you need to know that you are loveable, acceptable and worth more than you could ever imagine.

If you had saved up for a car and when you took the money to the dealership it was gone, would you burn your money?? No way!! You’d keep it save in order to buy a different one at a later stage!
So it must be with your heart, your dream!
Your Best might not have been enough in your last relationship but your average will be more than enough for another one, as long as you don’t lose heart!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Thou wisheth to ride to a Venue of Debauchery?

Well, here we are at the end of week 1 of the sponsored slim which went quite well until the weekend arrived and with it an invitation to Mary Arden’s House (Shakespeare’s mother) for what they call “Apple Day”.
Basically there are lots of things going on which would have been happening around the year 1600.
Such things as archery, falconry, music of the time, wood carving, cider making (which at 6.9% alcohol just had to be sampled) and many other things could be observed.
The problem came when we all went to the Crabmill Pub for a spot of lunch!
Nevertheless (and due to extreme discipline throughout the week) I managed to lose 5 pounds in weight this week! So that’s not a bad start I guess!

Here are some pictures from the day
(click on them to enlarge) :

Birds of Prey

Barn Owl

European Owl

Toffee Apples (A gazillion calories!!!)

Call me sceptical but did they really have this machinery in 1600??

Mary Arden stuffed??

Jan and Victoria in Mary's house

Do these mushrooms taste wooden to you?

Even some of the visitors look anchient!

What freak named these donkeys??

Gorram Morris Dancers get everywhere!! Shoot me now!!

Chris hammering back the Cider in a desparate attempt to block out the music.

Mari-Colette, Victoria, Chris and Jan waiting for dessert.

Christine and Sally gasping for coffee.


My target weight is 199 pounds and if you haven’t sponsored me yet, please do so by going to http://www.justgiving.com/firefly and adding yourself to the list.

Throughout the next weeks you will be able to follow my progess (O God, I hope it will indeed be progress!!) on my Biff-o-meter and can comment on this blogsite with words of encouragment or by throwing abuse at me.

Here then is the Biff-o-meter after week 1 of my Challenge!

Weigh now = 224 pounds
Weight lost so far = 5 pounds