The Bleurg Archive - August 2002

Friday 30th August:

Is this not beautiful? 
Does one need to be a microbiologist to appreciate a good bit of mould? 
Surely not. 
I found it growing in the greenhouse where some fertilizer (organic obviously) had been dripping.


Thursday 29th August:

And talking of babies, as we sort of were t' day afore yesterday.  This poor infant little site has moved home, only two months old and already a www traveler, glory be to it all, indeed. 
So we're finally and rightfully Thanks to FreeUK for the slightly more longwinded, but free, hosting that we've had up until now.

I had some joke lined up about this being a babe-in-nappies-site and not just because it was full of crap, but I can't remember why I thought that was so funny in the middle of the night. 

So maybe not.

Tuesday 27th August:

Zee reckons today's piece is a bit "strokey beard". 
So you might want to give it a miss.

Today, we received an emailed picture of a friend's baby.  Good friends of the DKNZ crew and lovely to see.  Have a big WWW welcome added to the other more conventional ones.  
But the picture brought back a memory from long ago.  Do you remember young Damon Grant from the very early days of Brookside? Well, whether you do or not isn't really important.  Its just important for me to name my sources.  For, as I recall, young Damon came up with the idea of taking a picture of one's baby/child every week up until its eighteenth birthday and then turning the resulting images into an animated film.  This, I thought at the time was beautiful.  And I still do, up to a point. 

I take a lot of photographs.

People, places, pterodactyls if I'm lucky.  But not often of strangers (though that's as much from fear as from a respect for their privacy).  Because it IS intrusive, maybe even some hangover from the old "stealing you soul" idea.
The sad thing is that I find myself thinking this even when taking pictures of young Dee and Kay.  I hope I don't stop taking the photos because I'm sure the images will give the girls as much pleasure when they're older as the pictures that my father took of my siblings and me as children, do today.
Then we come to the internet, and more problems.  It is very sad to me that I think it unwise to place pictures of Dee & Kay which illustrate a happy childhood, online.  But I do.  Not least because even Grauniad readers get sucked into the DailyMail type hysteria over the internet being an evil place.

So, put it all together.  If I'd had the opportunity to take a picture of Dee & Kay every day or week since birth would I have done so?  And if I did would the animation produced have been uniquely for them or would I have wanted to show it to others?  Like I do with my better pictures.

So, I don't know.  Still unsure.

Monday 26th August:

So, Channel 4's night of dance, eh. 
And they start with Dirty Dancing. 
Still no mention of the special effects used in this movie (Jennifer Gray is 6ft2, Patrick Swayzee a mere 4ft7, so even with risers in his socks and dancing on a box there was something clever going on).  Zee says I have a thing about this.  Well, maybe I do.  But I just think everyone should be aware of the facts.

The "You askin'? I'm Dancin'" programme that followed DD was far more insightful viewing.  Though I'd like to know if, when they scripted the line "And if you thought Dirty Dancing was a shite movie...." they knew the very same DD was part of the evenings viewing. 
And if so, they just thought, "What the hell, they've watched it now." 
I do hope so. 
I like to think of programme schedulers as even more cynical than the critics.  They then went on to show some clips from "Flashdance" without using the only decent line from "The Full Monty", ie: "I don't know about her dance moves, but that welding's shite."  Oh well, gives me something to tune into anyway.

Sunday 25th August:

"Where do slugs go to die daddy?"
"To our back garden, darling?"
"Why, daddy?"
"I have no idea, but it is really beginning to annoy me!"

....well that's not quite how it went, but you get the picture. 

We, I like to think, have a nice garden.  People compliment us on it. 

And word has obviously got about.  Slugs make pilgrimages here. And when they get here they have a snack and then they die. Literally hundreds of them.  By beer trap, slug pellet, under-foot or even bisection with my trusty garden scissors (eeee I'm a bloodthirsty veggie) they do not survive for long.  Why do they bother?  Do our plants really taste that good?  Are they really worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Thursday 22nd August:

Oh dear, back to those "Best of..." charts again (9th August for most recent previous).  The Beeb has come up with the 100 greatest Brits (source the Grauni, as ever).  The names but not order have been released so far.  The Grauni, going all Torygraph on us,  appear aghast that John Lydon and Sir David of Beckscum are included.  Personally, I'm much more upset that that bleeding Churchill is at the top AND that there's no mention of the likes of Spike Milligan (I know he was born in India and carried an Irish passport but come on!).  On the plus side I was impressed that there were only five names that I hadn't heard of (though it would have been six if they hadn't written Bono in brackets next to err, sorry I've forgotten his real name again). 
Its a shame I already have a "B" lined up for the soapbox, since "Best of..." lists would make an excellent one.

Wednesday 21st August:

Never mind faking the moon landings, now they can read our minds!  Though only if we're a) a terrorist and b) at an airport, apparently. 
And could this not have come straight from the Onion?

Tuesday 20th August:

Now, I guess a band of twenty three white robed guys from Texas should set some alarm bells ringing in a wizened ole liberal (with a small El) like me, but The Polyphonic Spree, or at least the single "Soldier Girl" sounds pretty good.  Describing the single, however, one fails to inspire any enthusiasm.  Telling folk that it sounds a bit like ELO, albeit before Roy Wood went elsewhere, seems to turn people away.  Can't think why.

Monday 19th August:

As we drive back into our little corner of good old London E 10 we can't fail but notice some good souls have brightened up our block with some nice little yellow shoes for six of the cars that have opted to spend their last days in this quiet little spot.  As we pull up in front of DKNZ towers I spot two suspicious guys sitting in a white van with the engine running.  Whilst we unpack the car they jump from their van and award another unlicensed vehicle with one of their little shiny prizes. Tee hee hee.  And to think only the other week t'estate agents were claiming this car graveyard was the new Islington.

Friday 16th August:

Good to see someone's taking the 25th anniversary of Elvis's death seriously.  The Xfm breakfast show finished with a cross London 21 flush salute.  Good stuff.  Other good stuff from Chris & Christian this week included some additional suggestions for the anti-social behaviour on-the-spot-fines.  To speed the process up they suggested that PC's carried swipe card readers, possibly with an option of cash-back on top of your fine (so you could get another round of drinks in!).

But now we're off for the DKNZ weekend on a narrow boat.  Expect the travelblog shortly.

Wednesday 14th August:

With the girls avec les grandparents Zee and I decided to sake the opportunity to have an evening at the cinema.  While first choice would for me, obviously, have been "Lost in la Mancha" this was not on locally and we're far too old to jaunt into t'West End of an evening, aye.  So we ended up with "Minority Report" over at t'local multiplex.  We allowed an hour beforehand for a pizza next door, which was just as well as it took them an hour to serve us.  As recompense they knocked the salad off the bill.  Considering all there was in the salad bins was peas, carrots and pineapple chunks I think they had a bit of a cheek daring to describe it as a salad in the first place.   THe rest of the piece is probably only really worth reading for those that have seen the film.  I won't actually discuss any plot ruining action but will assume a working knowledge of the story.
It was enjoyable if a bit long (the last half hour could easily be condensed into ten minutes for anyone with an IQ above ten).  In fact I thought it HAD finished twenty minutes or so from the end and, if the screen had stayed blank for two seconds longer would have started to leave.   Apart from being too long my only other major complaint was all this nonsense with the hands controlling the computer interface.  I find that a good interface involves minimal movement not conductor like histrionics just to move one futile over another.  Ditto with the display they worked with.  We all like a big screen but if you've got to move your head around like a newly qualified news reader (excellent examples on BBC News 24 at the moment) then maybe its a little over the top.

Why not use a mouse, Tom?

My final regret is that they didn't, in the end, debate the morality of the pre-crime concept.  That is, is it right to lock up people who are just about to commit a murder?  And more interestingly if, by doing so murder becomes a thing of the past does it matter if you get it wrong occasionally?  An extension of the old its better to let a guilty man walk free than lock up an innocent guy type thing.  Only the other way round which I'm sure is what many people believe anyway.

Tuesday 13th August:

I've just narrowly avoided having one of my ears cut off.

And it was the one that works! 

I was sitting nervously in the barbers having a number 2 over one ear (heh-heh) when on the radio (bleedin' Magic FM) comes "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay".  Now, I hadn't realised up until this moment just how deeply the excellent Vic & Bob sketch ("What are you doing Marvin?" "I'm sitting on the dock of the bay, Otis" etcetera, etcetera) was ingrained in my consciousness.  As a result, this airing of the song left me unable to stifle a short guffaw.  Which nearly cost me my ear.  Steve (of local barber's "Steves" so named as they're both called Steve) didn't know the sketch and you can't explain that sort of thing can you. 

Apologies to the large percentage of readers who once again have no idea what I'm talking about.

Monday 12th August:

Cheers to my Lambeth born, Canadian mate Em for bringing to my attention the final proof that the moon landings were fake.  He's been convinced for years but I, as someone who remembers it all happening (or so I thought) I have been a little more sceptical until now.  If you've missed the less convincing evidence then maybe its time to visit  here, but there are thousands of other equally convincing sites.

It is very quiet in the house tonight.  Yesterday we took the girls down to my parents to stay for a few days.  Its now well past their bed time now but something still seems missing from the house.  Jay, Zee's dad came round for supper and suggested we just do the things we used to.  The thing is, I really don't know what we did with all those spare hours that we had only three and a bit years ago.  I guess its just a little example of the "taking the whole day to do nothing" syndrome which is so easy to slip into on a day off.  You only really know how much time you've got when you're cramming everything you can into it.

Saturday 10th August:

The first post brings the stopwatch that Zee ordered online Thursday evening.  The shame is that this excellent internet shopping experience will never result in any great rewards for AST Ltd, as we'll probably never want another stopwatch.  They're not like CDs or jam are they?
And how can they make money on it anyway?  £4.70 for a stopwatch including shipping anywhere in the world.

It came from Ashby de la Zouche by the way, which to me means  Adrian Mole.
"Why does Zee need a stopwatch?" I hear you ask.  Well, Dee and her are in training for the Flora 5K run on Sunday 1st September.  The stopwatch is an integral part of the training regime.  Oh, yes.

If its Saturday it must be family shopping!  I had a new mobile to purchase (the old one having broken despite only £30 worth of calls over three years).  Zee meanwhile takes the girls off to buy the final bits of Dee's new school uniform (she starts secondary school in September).  
"Has dad approved these purchases?" she asks Zee. 
I think Zee just made a face.  But its good to know that Dee misses nothing of her parents budgetary discussions (I'd suggested leaving it all until the Saturday before term started 'cos "they never sell out of school uniform").  It was with a certain wry delight that Zee informs me that they've sold out of grey sweatpants.  (As if!)

The evening sees us all seated in awe around the recently purchased DVD player to watch "The Lord of the Rings".  Still a little bit underwhelmed I'm afraid.  Not at all a bad attempt at a vastly overrated book.  My main interest ultimately was the EnZee angle (see....).  As mentioned in the The Real Downunder travelblog I still don't really see how this film can be an advert for this beautiful country (the mines of Moria and Mordor were special effects guys!!).  And not a single tree fern in sight.  And let me tell you, EnZee is tree fern central (well maybe second to a certain garden in London E10 maybe).

I don't want to turn this into a "Kids say the funniest things" type affair but before the film Dee asked K who her favourite Hobbit was.

"Birdwatching!" spake young Kay. 

Friday 9th August:


Now, I think I have discussed "Best of.." polls before (Robbie lost to the calculator by the way).  Well, Sight and Sound and their twin poll of Directors and Critic have agreed(!) that Citizen Kane as the best film ever. 
Obviously, this is untrue. 
So until I've actually watched "Citizen Kane" all the way through we'll have to agree that Terry Gilliam's meisterpiece Brazil is the best movie ever made.  A future item for the soapbox here also, why is" Brazil" not available on DVD for British audiences (the same question applies to Eddie Izzard videos incidentally!).  That state of the art DVD player is appearing to be more and more of a white elephant every day!

PS: I've only just discovered that Terry Gillliam was behind those Nike adverts involving the three a side football on board the rusting boat.  Should have sussed that out earlier I suppose, very Gliilamesque.  Not sure how I feel about a hero so blatantly selling new millennial slave market but there you go.

Also, and appearing everywhere from noospapers to radio and beyond is the so-called Clever Crow.  Apparently, this bird can bend a bit of wire into a hook and get meat out of a beaker.  Pah!l.  Our local neighbourhood Jay will, if I leave out some bread, butter and a jar of jam, happily make himself a sandwich. 
Clever crow indeed!

Stop Press:
Wow!  Anyone see McAlmont & Butler on TOTP.  I've been hearing the song ("Falling") for weeks on Xfm and not thought much of it.  But live it really made me sit up, in a way that TOTP appearances rarely do these days (I know I'm not really in the target audience but I still think young). Anyway, the girls enjoy my witty comments(!). The Butler's guitar was out of tune but much further up in the mix.  And he was obviously having a whale of a time.  The two still don't appear to be on the best of terms but.... Truly excellent stuff!

Thursday 8th August:

So in an attempt to reduce the numbers that are stolen and dumped Asda have unveiled a new type of supermarket trolley.  The trolley is automatically stopped at the boundary of the store car park by invisible magnetic rays (or something).  I'm sure I'm not the only one who has experienced a prototype of this device in which the wheels lock for no apparent reason half way round the store.  Still its nice to know I was playing a part in this important scientific breakthrough.

Its the eighth of the eighth again, which means it's my 14th anniversary in my current job (hooray!).  Now, maybe you think its a bit sad to be celebrating such things (it is) but the only reason I remember the date so specifically is because I started there on the 8/8/88 which is a little bit memorable.  Also very lucky according to Chinese numerology, I believe.  As to just why the Chinese consider eight so lucky there seems to be some disagreement out there in web-land.   FIrst I'm told its because the word eight sounds like multiply but elsewhere that it is because it sounds like the word for prosperity.  I suppose they could both be right, I can see multiply and prosperity meaning the same thing in some contexts?

  Anyway, needless to say no-one at work had seen fit to get me a card. 

Wednesday 7th August:

And the site goes from yellow to grey.  Yellow and purple was just too much like young Kay's very colourful bedroom.

Tuesday 6th August:

Hiroshima day, nout else to say.

Monday 5th August:

Excellent stuff! 

Today's G2 section of the Grauni has a wonderful piece on Estate Agents, specifically an office in 'stow.  Though, technically we're a Leyton family since we moved across the great High Road we still greatly enjoyed their description of Walthjamstow as the "New Islington".  Aye, we're fighting off them Tony cronies as I type.

Sunday 4th August:

The closing ceremony of the Commonwealth games held but one amusing spot for me (other than the rain).  This man of light thing had me thinking alternatively of "The Wicker Man" and Eddie Izzard's Roman(?) funeral sketch where they end up by "twanging him into a tree" (it was all those strands of elastic I guess) but  maybe you had to be here.  Apparently the real message was of all the world's faiths coming together.  Yeah, right.

Saturday 3rd August:


We are, at last, a DVD family (the last in Ingerland if some of my younger friends are to be believed).  I've been thinking about it for a while but remained un-convinced about any benefits other than that the discs take up less space on our overcrowded shelves than those of the humble old VHS cassettes. 
"You'll really notice the picture quality," people would crow.

"Harrumpff," I would reply, "Films aren't like music, you don't look for the detail like you do on a CD."
I still stand by this one, by the way.
"But the sound, the surround sound will blow you away," my would-be-convincers retort, changing tack abruptly.
"Then again since I'm deaf in one ear how's that going to work exactly?" I reply.  Its at this point that most folk remember why it is they don't discuss anything remotely contentious with me very often.

Nevertheless, with the impending release of "The Lord of the Rings", Kay and I went out to purchase the Which Best buy model.  We eventually found it a whole 1p cheaper than the list price, so I'm glad we didn't just buy it in the first shop we went into (those lessons in thrift my my Ma are still burnt deep into my very existence).  It's a Toshiba SD220 by the way. And Alexi used to advertise Toshiba didn't he?  So it must be OK, eh? Why no website Alexi (or have I missed something obvious)?  As for the SD220 I'm a little perturbed that the Toshiba website picture is the same as for the earlier SD120 (indeed, the picture is called "SD120").  This is obviously the state of play.  Why bring out a new model every year? Just change the model number and hope no-one will notice.  After all if you bought a DVD player one year you probably wouldn't be looking for another player a year later, would you?  This way everyone has the same machine but the satisfaction of thinking they've got the latest technology.

So, having purchased the latest model Toshiba DVD player we leave the shop.  Foolishly, I let Kay carry the boxed machine to the car.  Obviously she decides that this is as suitable a moment as any to play "Race you back to the car , dad."
I just about manage to re-memeber the psychology behind positive reinforcement and thus warn her to "Be careful" rather than shout "Don't drop the DVD player".  This elicits a turn of the head rather than a slowing of pace. 
Great, so now she's running across the car park looking back over her shoulder.  I find myself hoping that DVD players bounce. 
Having got the item home, Kay was happy.  THis was it, we had a new status symbol.  I felt there was still something missing, however.

Like something to play on it.

Saturday afternoons in 'stow aren't my favourite shopping experience.  But, I'm glad to report that by far the widest selection of sensibly priced DVD's were to be found in our independent record shop (as I still think of it), "The Cavern".   Loads and loads they've got.  And two for £22 to boot.  But what to buy for family viewing from their selection which was geared to a slightly more adult market than our 9 and 11 year olds might demand.  In the end I settled for "The Matrix" (well you have to have it on DVD don't you) and "Tootsie" because Zee's been moaning that someone had nicked her VHS copy and she thought the girls would like it.  Not really my cup-a char but it did have a few more good moments than I remembered and the girls indeed enjoyed it.  I can't see why its a 15 certificate though.  The expletives I suppose. 

Friday 2nd August:

This is good, no real purpose but surprisingly addictive for something so simple.  Maybe you could try the Reflex Tester during an evening of alcohol consumption and find out just how slow you get.  My best, before intoxication is 0.16 seconds, but I'm old (apparently).



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