Everything and nothing. Read it, shrug your shoulders and move on.

Wednesday, November 29

Christmas shopping


D - Almost done it all.....even though the retail sector is down on like-for-like sales at the beginning of the buying season and analysts recommend holding out until desperate retailers slash prices to shift their Chrimbo stock - you still have to shop in heaving, sweaty crowds on the brink of violence because they don't know what the fuck to buy for people (Mum is sorted though, it's another basket of smellies from Boots. Dad gets the latest Bernard Cornwell and you got your brother an annual like Viz, or Private Eye, which will sit unread forever).....and some quite nice pressies too, although I have to buy C's presents on my own which means the experience won't be quite so organised, easy or stress-free.

My Mum is getting a lava lamp (God knows what use she'll have for it but hey ho), Dad gets a sharpening tool for garden scissors/shears, Brother is getting some kind of (As yet unspecified) Lego-y thing to build and fob off on the kids, Sister-in-Law is getting some kind of (As yet unspecified) cat related thing, while the two nephews are getting a life-like plastic drill and a Lego police car for one and a finger puppet thing and block basher for the younger one.

Lovely

What a lovely weekend we had.

Probably because we seem to be inundated with gear now and spent the best part of the weekend off our faces. Which was nice.

Mind you, we did have some veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery strong weed that hit us quite hard. In fact, on every occassion we smoked it, either C or D threw a Whitey at some point. Odd whiteys too. In that they hit hard and fast, yet faded away pretty quickly (Which is always good as it allows you to get back in the game!) although we both had to fling ourselves onto the bed during the respective whiteys after almost passing out on the toilet. What a way to go that would be eh...

D almost went on Sunday. We were around a friends house (Friend? Dealer more like) watching the Chelsea vs Man Utd match, drinking beer and smoking more gear when D began to throw a whitey. The room was packed with strangers, was pretty hot with the heating blasting out, we were all slumped on sofas and the like, and D began to feel the blood drain from, and a sheen of sweat appear on, his face about 10 minutes before the match ended.

Our host discreetly opened a window behind him to let some cool air in, while C summoned up some strength from somewhere to fetch a cool glass of water as D tried to focus on the football (Can't really remember much of the match other than it was a better result for Chelsea). By the time the final whistle went D had managed to regain his composure but getting out into the fresh air was a relief for both of us.

We've now got hold of some good solid (Something we used to smoke tons of, then eschewed for almost a year in favour of the green) which we smoked all day on Monday (After bunking off work. Naughty! But's the beauty of sickness pay in the oh-so civilised Europe) while doing, well, fuck all really. We topped that day off with a final spliff of the weed before going to bed and dancing with the pixies.

Friday, November 24

China

I'm oddly intyerested in China.

Not just because it's likely to be the economic giant of the 21st Century, with a huge influence on geo-politics and all the rest, but because it seems to be such a genuinely fascinating nation.

The culture and history of all countries interest me (I've been to a fair few and experienced what it's like to live in them for awhile, although i'd love to know more about South Korea for one) yet there is something about the sheer size of China that draws me to it.

A nation that doesn't really seem to give a fuck about anyone else in the world as all they need is within their borders (Yep, I know that isn't the case anymore what with their presence in Africa and the import of foreign investment - which is, if we're honest, just the Chinese using outside expertise before they learn what they want and discard the foreigners) can't help but be interesting. That certainty of the nation that their way is the right one, that belief in the superiority of the Han and that disregard for the whining of outsiders is, rather perversely, quite appealing.

What is the real China anyway? Is it the State, still held in a tight grip by the Communist Party regardless of the opening up of China to capitalism, or do the people want different things? Do the Chinese have the same concept of indiviuality that we in the West have and is there anything wrong if they didn't?

I'd love to find out some answers to all these questions, to visit China and walk their streets, converse with the people and even settle there for a short while (Always the best method of getting to know a people) and attending the Bejing Olympics in 2008 would be a good start I guess. Except we're dirt poor and could never afford to. Ho hum, one day.

Wednesday, November 22

Torchwood

thedacs usually make time to watch this Doctor Who spin-off (In fact, it's just started and i'm watching the 'scary' opening scene where a lone woman is in her car on the moors and being abducted by something with a football for a head) but we're still not entirely sure about Torchwood.

D thinks the casting is a bit off and is such a sad old bastard that he can't let it go and just enjoy the bloody thing. C thinks the main female character would be really pretty if she got her teeth sorted (British teeth eh? Nightmare. Except thedacs all have pretty good teeth so it's not a nationwide affliction) and A tends to bugger off upstairs whenever it's on to watch something else or listen to music.

Other than that, it's a good enough show that doesn't quite match up to Doctor Who, although let's give it a bit longer and see if it kicks on a little. Bit drama school the action it has to be said and although it's supposed to be a grittier version with more swearing and sex, sex, sex, the little bit of erotic tension between two characters that was just on was....well...embarrasing.

Mind you, they've just found a stripped bare bloody carcass in the woods so it could get fun.

Romance

C just phoned to say that she is on her way home (C works in a private hospital in Great Missenden - she has to sellotape the tip of her nose up every morning to look stuck up enough - doing 13 hour shifts 3 times a week to save on the driving) as she does every night she's left work and she belched down the phone. Right in my ear. Who said romance was dead eh.

Tuesday, November 21

Celtic vs Man Utd


Celtic Park, 7.45 ko. Champions League Group F game.

Man Utd need a draw and they'll be through to the knockout stages while Celtic, in second place, will be desperate to grab all three and take top spot before the last group game.

Both teams will, no doubt, be looking to win tonight and claim bragging rights in what has, all too predictably, been dubbed 'The Battle of Britain'.

thedacs have to go out tonight to C's Dad's so hopefully we'll get the first half in there (The chicks can all natter while us chaps can watch the footy and attempt to outdo each other with footballing knowledge and our (Mis) reading of the game) and then shoot home and get back in time for the second half. Unfortunately that does mean we'll miss the searing half-time commentary of the ITV pundits. All 3 minutes of it between the adverts and competitions. Sacrifices must be made though!

Anyway, A supports Man Utd while C and her Dad support Chelsea (Which means they'll be faced with wanting the loathed Utd to lose or the English team to win) while D supports the magnificent Ipswich (Although veering slightly closer to the MK Dons every passing season) so hopes it's as good a game as we all want it to be. Oh, and Celtic winning could be pretty funny.

On a side note, Freddy Adu from MLS starts his two-week trial with Man Utd today. Let's see if he lives up to the hype or not.

PS. The picture of Rooney in his England shirt is to antagonise both sets of supporters who equally loathe England

Poxy comments

There I was, getting all excited over seeing a comment to one of my posts (It's been aaaaaaaaaaages since thedacs blog last got one - perhaps we need to be far more interesting or specialist? Nah fuck it) and it's just some fucker spamming. Fucker!

Monday, November 20

Poxy buses. May as well drive.

Over an hour spent stood at a poxy bus stop when all I wanted to do was get home kind of tarnished what had been a good day.

Got plenty of work done, had a laugh at one of the other branch managers who came to ours for a managers meeting and absolutely reeked of stale booze, didn't find myself distracted by wasting time on the net and felt pretty good considering I hadn't had much sleep (Due to staying up and watching the new series of Lost on Sky).

But it only took waiting for the bus home to put me in a shite mood. Not only was the bus home late in the first place, but the fucker just drove on by when it did finally reach the stop.

In those sorts of situations I always try to tell myself, 'It's history. Soon enough you'll forget that you were ever here in this mood', but today it didn't work because I was quite happy stewing in my own bitterness and resentment. In fact I was enjoying muttering curses under my breath as I stood all alone waiting for a bus. Watching waves of people coming to the bus stop and departing on other buses as I stood forlorn hardly helped the mood.....or did considering I was happy being miserable.

Friday, November 17

InterWebNet 'fuelling crisis in politics'

Apparently. According to this article on the BBC anyway.

Tony Blair's outgoing policy chief Matthew Taylor says, 'The internet has immense potential but we face a real problem if the main way in which that potential expresses itself is through allowing citizens to participate in a shrill discourse of demands'.

Make of that what you will.

Kind of reminds me of the initially baffled & hurt 'professional' commentators on Comment Is Free, who started lashing out when it became apparent that rather a lot of their technology minded readers didn't like the smug old crap the commentators were blithely spouting out and letting them no in no uncertain terms.

Don't blame the readers/bloggers for highlighting and criticising your poor performance or arguments.

Of course, the best potential for the InterWebNet is to use it as the means for Universal Representation. Stuff this Representative Democracy, let's have the full-on every vote counts democracy and rid ourselves of all these incestuous, cloned management-types that infest Government.

Thursday, November 16

Argh! 3/4 of a cat!



Any of you that can think of a funny caption for this pic please post it.

I howled with laughter after taking this last night, although I was a bit stoned at the time

Aaaahhhhhhhh!

















Time to cheer myself up (And you if needed) with these pictures of the adorable Scruff

Crap day

Boring, nothing happening, drawn out with the backdrop of rain and a soft grilling from the manager over a few fuck-ups. I'll be alright once i've got changed but it wasn't the greatest day.

Wednesday, November 15

Poxy plastic packaging

No, nothing to do with leaving the excess & unneccessary food packaging at the supermarket till (Although it's a good and effective direct method of getting the point across - not that I could personally be arsed to spend 5 minutes extra at the end of the checkout unwrapping stuff, thedacs have their shopping/packing system down to a finely tuned machine that gets us out of their as soon as possible*) but a related problem that i'm having at the moment.

I ordered in some stationary bits yesterday and half the stuff has arrived, including three cheapo clipboards. Problem is, these clipboards are shrinkwrapped with plastic so tightly that I can't get the fuckers off. There are no scissors in the entire office and my nails are short (None of those disgustingly long, thick and jagged nails some foul men sport for thedacs) so I can't rip the plastic off. Over the past few years my teeth have slightly moved position so that they no longer meet anywhere which makes using teeth to rip open packets and stuff is something I can no longer do. I don't think you understand how frustrating it is to longer be able to rip sellotape off - I should be getting some form of Disability Benefit you know.

Anyway, these three fucking clipboards are just staring back at me as they suffocate in plastic and I can't help them. How unneccessary! How wasteful! How the fuck has shrinkwrapped clipboards become the most important challenge to my day!

*Side note, thedacs have abandoned the weekly shop at Tesco and reverted back to Morrisons. Aside from not being sure if Tesco was actually more expensive, the experience of shopping there was horrible because it was cramped, felt dowdy and, quite honestly, was filled with the dregs of society. But that's Bletchley for you. Morrisons is newer, on the west flank of the city so more affluent surroundings and geneerally just a better shopping experience on a Saturday.

Google your tax pounds

The Conservative Party and their Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, have unveiled (The filthy infidels) plans to publish all Government expenditure on a bespoke website.
As you can read from the proposal his,' "Google your tax pounds" proposal would result in every single item of expenditure above £25,000 - except when related to national security or personal privacy - being placed on the website.'

Now thedacs think that is a fantastic idea and dismiss the opposition they've heard to it so far as 'puny'. To complain, as thedacs have heard some do, about this being, 'a piece of Daily Telegraph wet-dream populism' or ,'It's just a toy for rightwing headline writers really, so they can pick out little pet examples that "prove" how badly public money is spent' ignores the benefits to be had from such a system and also smacks of cowardice in the face of the poxy right-wing press.

It also can only lead to counter suggestions that the Government has something to hide. Unlike the intrusive measures to be taken against individuals that Labour are so keen on, this really is a case of, 'If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear' as it's our money they're spending. Why should those on the left object to this? Muttering that rightwing hacks will delve into it to make trouble is a shit excuse. They already have no problem finding and publishing such information to suit their agenda.

Openess, transparency and accessibility are all staples of a stable, well-run business and, as Government is less ideology nowadays and more management, they should be accountable for their spending and that spending should be here for all us 'stakeholders' to view.

With accounts spread all over the place at present, it's a matter of collation and ease of access. thedacs would be quite partial to seeing how their tax money is spent if it was all in one easy to use website, but they aren't going to be bothered to search high and low, no doubt with fees attached, to find out that public information in its existing format.

Google your tax pounds is a sound idea.

Have a look at the Follow Your Money site

Monday, November 13

100% English

'Take eight people. All of them born in England. All of them white. All of them convinced they are 100% English. Convince them to provide a sample of their DNA. Then submit it to a series of state of the art DNA tests; and some of them will be in for a shock when they discover just how English they really are.'

Taken from the just aired C4 documentary 100% English.

What an interesting show, if somewhat predictable (English people have DNA from all over the world shocka!), but it was rather amusing to see such English nationalists have their certainties whipped from under them.

Now, i'm no self-loathing Englishman, I love so much of this country, its culture, its nature, its history, its character and its people that i'm actually quite proud to be an Englishman. However, having travelled a fair bit i'm comfortable with other cultures and people, and knowing a fair bit of history I also know a fair bit about England and what made it England over a millenia. That background helps me to take a more relaxed view of Englishness. It's certainly there and has been for a long, long time , yet it's also pretty fluid. It's not pure bred, as most of the participants of 100% English believed, but a far more appealing mongrel.

Funniest participant though was the middle-aged female lawyer who runs some charity promoting Englishness (Pure bred of course), lays flowers at the tribute to Harald in Hastings (Harald being the last Saxon king of England, killed by the invading Normans at the battle of Hastings in 1066 for those who are feeling a bit clueless) and took a stern view of what the Normon Conquest meant for England - Ground Zero, ethnic cleansing on a grand scale and the subjegation of Englishmen into slaves. There's a modicum of truth in the last bit, although it's a bit hysterical and a bit rich considering the Anglo-Saxons slaughtered the orignal Britons.

Anyway, what was so funny in her case was her DNA make-up showed her to have large traces of Romany Gypsey. She fudged some response to that revelation and then the presenter told us that, four days later, she fires off some missive claiming the producers stitched her up and the tests were flawed. Hahaha you wish baby!

In fact, as the Goodness Gracious Me team showed a few years ago with the Kupars/Coopers sketches, it seems those who buy into the idea of Englishness the most vehemently, those who take it the most seriously and proclaim themselves loudly to be English also happen to be those with plenty of non-English blood. It's weird.

I tell you what though, I definitely want one of those DNA tests. It would be fascinating to see the rich genetic make-up (Or Tebbit-like dull DNA) of my family history. Where can I get one done and can I get a discount?

Oh look, found out where I can get a DNA ethnic test already. Can someone lend me £200 please?

Next generation gming


I've been toying with the idea of technological purchases lately (Whenever money allows - a digital, HD Ready LCD TV is the first port of call for thedacs disposable income once Chrimbo passes) and set my mind to thinking of a new console since the next generation of them have already or are due to come out soon.

Waltzing our way through Need for Speed: Carbon since last week and battling through the massive Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Although nowhere near as massive as Final Fantasy VII nor as mesmerising) thedacs are enjoying their gaming at the moment and starting to cast their eyes over the future.

Nintendo's Wii (Unfortunate name but hey ho) has been the one console that has caught my eye purely for the controller. A wireless contraption with motion-sensors that allows the player to experience a new physical way of gaming, the Wii controller holds out a tantalising prospect of swinging madly while playing tennis for example. On the down side however, it's still a Nintendo and i've never got on with them. Too cutesy, colourful and kiddy quite frankly. The price is nice in comparison to others but....it's a no.

Microsofts X-Box 360 has the advantage of already being out, with a good game selection and pretty impressive hardware. Thing is, I breifly had a normal X-Box a few years ago and I didn't particuarly like it. Looked shite for one thing and let's face it, Microsoft ain't cool and cool is important with consoles.

There is of course a grandaddy of cool when it comes to consoles. The Playstation. The PS is a tried and tested console, hugely popular and dripping with cool. Sleek and sexy, the games play fantastically with classic controllers and the slimline PS2 fits in nicely with any other technology you've got. The added features of the latest Playstation are fairly compelling (Although Blu-Ray doesn't do much for me) and could mean that the PS3 takes pride of place under the new TV. Reading one Japanese players first thoughts on the PS3 in this BBC article has probably been the clincher.

thedacs will be purchasing a PS3.

In fact thedacs will probably buy two if possible (Money allowing of course) and flog one off as soon as we can. Pre-order the two PS3's as soon as shops and online sites allow it (2008 by the time Sony release it in Europe), sell the surplas console on ebay, pocket the cash and see if the sale pays off the kept PS3. How naughty...

Thursday, November 9

A crappy few hours

Literally!

The day was going fine, if unutterably slowly, up until half an hour before I was going to do the off from work.

First I get a call from a woman looking for support (D works for Victim Support now) but she's not only looking for it, she's demanding it and much more else. I'm being shouted at, dealing with a woman at the end of her wits fresh out of hospital with a broken jaw, shit scared of the offender reappearing and with no follow up contact from the Police.

I manage to calm her down, trot off to CID and get some info and contact numbers for her, but she's still near hysterical and not happy with the offer of support I can give. She wants someone to visit now, but we just don't have the resources what with our support coming from volunteers who aren't able to heed our calls at the drop of a hat. Nor am I happy with the idea of sending out a volunteer to her house when she's too scared to even be there herself. Whatever, although I sent an email to the volunteer who had picked up her referral on Tuesday outlining all the above, it will have to wait until tomorrow.

I'm still on time to get my bus so home is calling. It's dark already, cold and no one will be home until 9pm but I just want to get home and cast off the day. There are tons of people at the bus stop so I do the usual and hang back waiting for someone else to hail the bus when it arrives as normally happens. But the bus routes have changed this week and no one hails the bus as it goes by and, with my shitty eyesight, I don't see it approach and depart before it's too late. Fucking great! Another haf hour wait for the next one. But oh no, that bus doesn't arrive for another 45 minutes. During that time my stomach is rumbling, my mood is turning shitty through harrasment and hunger so I eat half the blackened banana left over in my lunch box and smoke my last tab.

When I finally get home to a cold, empty house I can only muster the will to make cheese and beans on toast (Which is actually pretty lush). After shedding myself of my work clothes, i'm ready to take the recycling out and relax with a fag. Dusky, one of the dacs gorgeous cats, has other ideas though and decides to unleash a torrent of diorreah all over the floor. Luckily it's done on a wipeclean surface so isn't a massive hardship to clean up but just as i've finished she releases a sloppy mountain of crap all over the carpet!

What a shit few hours!

It's all cleaned up now, the house is clean, washing up done, Dusky has come and sat on my lap (Hope her arse is clean) to show me she still loves me even though I kicked her off and was horrible. She was utterly riddled with worms and skinny as hell when we got her from the RSPCA but we cured her of that....looks like we'll have to do it again.

I just want C to come home...

Poppy


Wear one

Make a donation

Support The Poppy Appeal

and

The British Legion

Housing

With the Bank of England looking set to raise interest rates today (Up 0.25% to 5%) it seems many borrowers are likely to face an unpleasant rise in their mortgage repayments. With insolvencies up, it's clear that many borrowers have extended themselves to the limit financially and even small rises in the interest rate are going to have a negative effect.

Ally that trend of present over-extension to the ridiculous multiplications of salary banks are willing to lend now (The Abbey are willing to lend up to five times your salary in some casess), the changing nature of mortgage repayments (One paper today leads with news of 57-year mortgages) and the strong resurgance of the Buy-To-Let market on the back of massive immigration, and it doesn't look particuarly healthy for those on or below average income to get their foot on the housing ladder.

Whether or not it's a good idea to get your foot on that ladder at all costs in the first place is another matter. People possibly expect too much now - a house in their early twenties, fully furnished with all the mod cons and still enough disposable cash to spunk up the walls on fashion, holidays and leisure pursuits- whereas in the very recent past, expectations were probably more realistic, ie you can't have both.

thedacs are priced out of the housing market entirely at the minute and for the foreseeable future. Since we're in a Housing Association property though it isn't really such a big issue (Rent is low and any repairs to the property are taken care of by the association) until the family grows and the property becomes too small. Then we may have to bite the bullet and purchase through a shared-ownership scheme.

But truth be told, i'm not entirely positive about buying. a) For the reason of over-extension financially, b) I don't believe the properties are worth the vast amounts being asked at present, c) the properties around here are badly built and d) I can't see the present trend continuing, it has to collapse under its own grossly inflated weight someday soon.

Anyway, if interest rates go up, what little money we have saved will at least grow a tiny bit more.

Wednesday, November 8

The BBC

The BBC is ok, it has a vast range of services that swing in quality from great to shite and it's rare that I don't utilise at least on of those services every single day.

However, the increasing commercialisation of the BBC is becoming increasingly annoying. Barely a half-hour goes by on any BBC platform without a long trailer for another part of the BBC or, even worse, BBC shows forcing their way into news programmes and masquerading as news. The upcoming Strictly Come Dancing appearing under the guise of a human interest story on a news show 2 days before is cynical and crass marketing of the sort Murdoch would get hard over. As are the monotonous references to 'the BBC' every five minutes.

But mostly, the problem with the BBC is the method in which it is funded. To force people into paying a license fee, with the threat of an extortionate fine or imprisonment hanging over those who don't pay, to watch the tv's they have already paid for is nothing short of scandalous. Television is the mass entertainment of society, yet it can be legally withdrawn on the basis of you not subsidising one channel. It's laughable.

The BBC is rightly the most popular station in the country, but that has nothing to do with the license fee anymore. The license fee has served its purpose in allowing the corporation to build up, over almost 80 years, an unrivalled braqnd in terms of quality & trust. The BBC should get it's hands out of the immoral coffers of the license fee and stand on it's own two feet with funding via subscription.

If it fails to survive as it is, then we were never that enamoured of it in the first place. Since I, along with millions of others, would happily pay a subscription for the breadth of reach, services and quality that the BBC offers, I don't see it having to change in the slightest.
Time for the BBC to grow up and walk away from the wet nurse of the license fee teat.

Tuesday, November 7

C's 30th Birthday

C's 30th Birthday on Friday went fantastically well. She had no idea of the surprises waiting for her, loved them when they were revealed and had a brilliant birthday.

The fireworks went well too, except the one rocket which went a bit west in an arhritic arc into a neighbours garden whereupon it exploded rather loudly. Good citizens that we all are we just ducked out of site while pissing ourselves laughing.