The Bleurg Archive - October 2002

Thursday 31st October:

So, the last day of October closes the birthday collection for another year.  It's my little sister's (Ell) birthday today.  But she's up North in Wales where they don't have t'internet.  The fact that her birthday was on Halloween is probably the root cause of me so hating fancy dress parties, I mean every year people were dressing up for her birthday (and casting spells on me to boot)... you can see how that might give guy a complex can't you?
Oh, and belated anniversary greetings to Mike's blog for yesterday.  Some excellent music currently playing at his site in celebration (listen to the KLF one if nout else!).  And his site is now holds the birthday spot for October 30th.

Wednesday 30th October:

Before we begin, let me just say that the joke itself isn't the point, OK?

But here goes.... 
"Did you hear about the dyslexic who choked on his own Vimto?"

Joke re-consideration part 1.
Young Dee finally got the joke and said "Urgh, that's sick". 
Exactly, from the mouths of children.....

Joke re-consideration part 2.
I've been worrying of late about the anglo-centric (if not even Londo-centric) nature of this Blog. 
Is Vimto a known beverage outside of Ingerland? 
When I were a lad it was even more localised, very definitely a "Northern drink" (see this helpful map from last month if the North thing confuses you).  

Monday 28th October:

Are you getting bored with this "October Birthday Collection" thing?
My Web visitor statistics suggest so.


But also tough, coz we're going to finish it whatever. 
And today is another important one, historically speaking.  It belongs to a young lady we shall call JayEmEe.  She used to live over the road from me when I was younger.  I shall leave your imaginations to conjure up vivid stories of young unrequited love if you wish.
But I shall say nothing.
My work diary is more loquacious, however, and says it's also the fortieth anniversary of the removal of the nooclear missiles from Cuba.  So JayEmEe was born at the end of the Cuban missile crisis.   Cool.

Saturday 26th October:

Now I suppose you might think it's all downhill for the birthday collection after my own. 
And I suppose it is in a way. 
But there's still a few important ones to go.  Today's is no exception.  It is Cee's and he'll be 43.  He's 364 days older than me.  Childhood friends we were, in the days when the summers were warm and sunny and never ending.  Though there were also the white, snowy winters that fitted in somehow.  Ma tells me that he's a Biochemist in Scandiwegia nowadays.  Which is not so different to a microbiolologist  in London really is it?  So we're still kindred spirits, though we haven't spoken or seen one another for thirty years.  Ahhh.
And, I've just realised he's the only real person who is featured by name in one of my songs (beware it's a very long one and he isn't named until near the end). 
Except for my brother  who features in a shorter song (but who, by a strange co-incidence I also grew up with).

Friday 25th October:

So here it is.
My age is now 42 years. 
And it truly is the ultimate answer, now everything makes sense. 
So simple now I know, why couldn't I see it before? 
It's obvious!

So far only two people have remarked on the significance of this 42nd birthday without prompting, DeeDee (not the Romonzy one) and my leetle brother who shall here be known as JayDee.  I say leetle as he is smaller than me (though younger too).  Obviously when we were younger he was smaller as he was younger, but that height difference has remained.  This never seemed strange to me, after all I've always been a couple of inches taller, why would it?  But as young Dee and Kay grow it's becoming obvious that Kay is, at some point in the next couple of years, going to catch her elder sister up and then shoot past her, probably completely reversing the height difference that was there until a couple of years ago.  So how will Dee cope with her "leetle" sister overtaking her?  I have no idea but I can't imagine JayDee overtaking me in height and,  I imagine if he had tried he'd have found himself being pummeled.  Oh yes!

But, to return to the Douglas Adams theme, it's now time for your first present.  When the late and great Mr. Adams had Zaphod use the term "Plate Captain" for a waiter, he was, I believe, not just poking fun at hip-street-slang but also at the absurdity of the need to give every job a more grandiose sounding title. 
Irony, surely?
Well, it's wasted on Sainsbury's.  Whilst queuing for the till the other day I noticed that the little plinth that the supervisor stood behind was labeled "Checkout Captain".  Is the late Douglas spinning or maybe laughing that once again life is imitating his wonderful art?

Gift number two is for any fellow bloggers who haven't yet seen Doonesbury's take on our "art" this week.  Start here and admit that it's at least partly true for all of us really. 

And finally, happy birthday dear me-hee, Happy Birthday dear me.

Thursday 24th October:

It's Indie-pop catch up day today (no birthdays you see).  Those with no interest in such matters should skip today's entry and come back tomorrow for a very, very, important birthday.  Oh yes!

Firstly we have the Polyphonic Spree, the Dallas 20-something strong (the exact number seems to vary from review to review) choir come orchestra-rock band.  First mentioned here back in August they've since been wowing crowds all over London and the hype continues to grow.  However, apart from the Roy Woodesque first single "Soldier Girl" there wasn't much to hear without buying the album.  The excellent blog at Hydragenic suggested it was "interesting rather enjoying".  And I've got enough albums like that already.  But then today, (with yet another recruitee in the shape of a three year old offspring of one of the band) they played a rather good live set (including the new single) on Zoe Ball's excellent drivetime show on Xfm (don't miss the Monday's show on Monday- a live set from Electric Six is scheduled).
So, I don't know, anyone out there know whether I should spend my hard earned dosh on these Polyphonic guys?  Normally I don't think twice about music purchases, which is why I have so many albums that I've not listened to more than once.  But I am trying to cut down!
The Spree also leaked news of a remix they've been working on of Death in Vegas's latest single "Scorpio Rising".  You know, the one with the excellent Liam Gallagher vocals (well better than anything he's done for Oasis for a very long time, anyway).  This is also the song with the Francis Rossi of Quo co-writing credit.  For their re- mix, they claim they threw out everything but the vocals and then started again. 

Finally some homework.  Try and see the video to Coldplay's "The Scientist" before the next pop-picker round up (could be any day soon...). 
We will be discussing it. 
If I don't forget what my argument was going to be.

Oh, and Harry Potter fans (or haters) should stay tuned also.  Tee hee.

Meanwhile Zee has asked what time I'm going to bed as she and her Ma want to watch Gosford Park again and she didn't think I'd want to.  Strange, I wonder where she got that idea from.

Wednesday 23rd October:

Now, the birthdays are getting important. 
For today is my father's, he's 70. 
Happy birthday pa!
Yes, I did send a card but he does read this sometimes so this greeting is as well as, not instead of. 
It's also Cat Deeley's birthday today but she's only 26. 
Which I think you'll all agree is too young by far. 

Meanwhile an update from the results of our shopping at Ikea t'other day.  Past experience with Ikea is that even if you buy nothing of any substance you still spend about £100. 
On candles I think. 
Since we were actually going with several items in mind I was expecting a hefty bill. But it turned out to be cheap, only £112 including several items for other people, the annual re-stock of teaspoons (and no candles).  The bargain of the day was Nero, a plastic mini drawer unit, supposedly for Kay to keep her various pens and papers in. 
But this was not how Kay saw it.  For it has become her loyal companion.  Within minutes of our return it had come back downstairs (and its two stories up to her room, remember) with a cargo of yogurt pots (4), teaspoons (3), plastic beakers (6) and ramekins (she likes pickled onions with her yogurt sometimes).  This unit was £13, when did a toy for that price last give such entertainment?

Monday 21st October: Part 2

MIB2 was not bad at all, and we nearly had the cinema for ourselves... just ten people in a 220 seat room. 
I always enjoy product placement in films, and here it was a Mk1 iMac amongst a heap of other junk. Was it supposed to be ironic, clever, sorry I couldn't work it out? I suppose there's no such thing as "bad" when it comes to product placement but it would have been nice to think that Microsoft paid for that particular one.  Tommy Lee Jones seemed to be just going through the motions a bit but my only real gripe with the film was the lack of Linda Fiorentino (...she wanted to go back to the morgue indeed...). 
Then lunch .
A very bijou little place on the North Circular, looking across a Wickes/Courts car park.  It's part of a chain apparently, Burger King.  Very quick anyway.

The Grauni, meanwhile, has seen fit to return to a previous subject close to the heart of the planarchy world, that of the so-called bio-diesel industry.   Highlights from today's piece was the fact that the bio-diesel guys call the conventional industry "dino-diesel".  Also interesting to learn that Rudolph Diesel, the inventor of the mysteriously named Diesel engine was originally planning for it to use vegetable oils in some wonderful humanist nirvana.  So maybe his vision will yet come to pass..

Monday 21st October: Part 1

It's half term so we're sleeping late, 
Yet the rest of the street is wide awake,
Strange indeed this is to relate,
As usually I'm gorn well before dawn breaks.

And that's enough awful rhyming for today.  But strange it is to hear the rest of the street going to work hours after I've normally left the house. 
The treats for today include "Men in Black 2", lunch out and then Ikea.  And taking Kay to Ikea is still a little dangerous.  When the girls first came to live with us I took them there and told them that unlike some other furniture stores, Ikea encouraged you to "try everything out".  Which to Kay obviously means jumping from bed to bed (I mean, that's what beds are for aren't they?).  She didn't spot the trap when we offered her one of those raised up beds with a wardrobe underneath (heh, heh, bounce on that if you can!). 

Sunday 20th October:

Today's birthday is Cee's, I think. 
I was at school with him and he used to copy from me in Math's tests.  Then I bumped into him a few yews back during a lost luggage adventure at Victoria station.   He was working in the office there and had acquired a perfect announcers voice (ie: unintelligible). 
Happy birthday Cee.

Now it's apologies time.  Seem's I mixed up Mike's mum's birthday, it should have been the 17th not the 14th.  It was an honest  mistake but I confess I needed a birthday for the 14th so possibly allowed myself fall into the trap.  Sorry Mike.  And sorry also to your mum.  I trust this total lack of efficiency on my part will not deter anyone else from offering a birthday for the collection.

Leaving the birthdays behind, though in a way not, last night we watched"Grease" with the girls.  They greatly enjoyed it, as did I (much to my surprise).  Of more to concern was the re-surfacing memory that I used to have a thing for Olivia Newton John.  And I'm talking about Livvy before they sewed her into that black skin tight outfit at the end.
Scary indeed.

Saturday 19th October:

The Grauni is often the source, or at least the start of pieces covered here.  So, its particularly refreshing to see that today's Grauni front page picture concerns the "spiderman" story that I featured yesterday.  So this time at least I got there first!
Have to say their picture is better than the one I nicked from the Beeb yesterday though.  Shame it's not on their web version of the paper (which means I'm going to have to go upstairs to scan it in, hang on a minute...)   .  Heartening to see, however, and presumably this is as a result of my comments yesterday, that they managed to get the name of the tower right! 
And interesting to read the different versions of why the climb ended when it did...

Alain Robert, as spidey is otherwise known, has, as you might hope, some excellent pictures of some of his tower climbing exploits. 

Friday 18th October:

OK, excellent to see you're getting the hang of this birthday's collection thing.  Mike has kindly donated his mother's birthday, so I've now got one for the 14th.  Now, some, after a closer interrogation of Mike and me might decide that I can't have his mother's birthday as I don't really know Mike.  But, I would counter, I know Mike's Blog and he obviously knows of mine.  As far as I'm concerned that puts his mum totally legitimately in my collection.  If anyone else wants to help out, there are currently holes in the collection (or maybe just my memory) at the 19th, 21st, 22nd, 24th, and possibly the 30th. 

Today's birthday is young Are, my only remaining DevLab colleague. 
And she decided to celebrate it at home. 
Which is fair enough.  Kind of quiet in the lab though.

And I couldn't even see this guy trying to climb the tower at 1, Canada Square, as Zee could (her place of work being just across the Thames from mine and hence closer to the tower in question (which most of you, like the Beeb, probably call Canary Wharf)).   He gave up because of the cold and wet, apparently.

 So listening to the weather forecast a good idea next time maybe.

Thursday 17th October:

Apologies are now being accepted from all Gooners for last night's dismal defending display.  AGAIN!!!  Geezer, you can start the ball rolling, as it were.

Today's October birfday is a particularly special one, no less than young Dee herself.  There was no horse, hound or hamster despite their prominent positions on "the list".  Neither, I should add, was there a "laptop like Dad's".  There was, however, Atomic Kitten, Pink, the Grease DVD, a rather nifty little digicam, jodhpurs for riding someone else's horse, a really cool neo-60's coat and other variosities. 
Is this a lot? 
I don't know. 
More than I would have got at 12 probably, but everything's more these days isn't it?

For more from Dee's new digicam click here...
And poor down at luck Trekkies will be pleased to learn that the Blink Digicam will turn you into an authentic Borg..
Go on you see if you can spot the fake.

Apologies for today's content, I've got a stinking cold and the drugs may be having strange side effects (a Borg?).  The illness, by the way, was caused by the fact that I've booked the day off as holiday. It never fails.

Wednesday 16th October:

So, A level re-marking has benefited 168 pupils.  I have to say that I'm surprised that mine were not amongst them.  The only thing that keeps me sane is that apparently no-one from 1979's A level group has been re-assessed. 

So we're still waiting.

This evening I witnessed an amazing happening. 
Dee was a volunteer helper at her secondary school's open evening for next year's prospective pupils.  Never mind that a whole year has shot by since we were there with Dee as one of the potential intake.  That's amazing enough, but more striking is the change in the three and a half short years since she first came to live with us. She had to be practically dragged, close to tears, to her junior school  but now she has a quick confident stride, she loves school.... truly amazing.

....and yes, we have no birthdays.  We have no birthdays, today.

Tuesday 15th October:

I didn't think there was going to be a birthday today, but at lunch my Boss casually mentioned that it was his wife's. 
Which was fortuitous. 
Happy birthday Eye and welcome to the collection.  Actually, I've just remembered someone else's birthday.  JayBee, the boy who lived across the road when I was 10.  He was always Spock when we used to play Star Trek (I was either Scotty or Chekov, yet somehow still got to boss around my little bro', despite him being Kirk).  Even in those days I had no respect for management structures. 
Oh yes.

From yesterday's birthday there was a present of the video of "Gosford Park".   Have you seen it?  If not, I strongly suggest you don't bother.  I'm not saying that it's badly acted, filmed or even written.  It's just that I can't understand why they made it. 
Its's just a total "So What?" film. 
Who cares?

"Like Citizen Kane?" asked my friend Em.

                                                 So what.

Monday 14th October:

October birthdays. 
I collect them you know. 
It shouldn't be too hard should it?  What's that statistic about going to a birthday party and it being someone's birthday?  No, that's not right, you go to a party and everyone's got the same birthday as your mum (or is this it?).   Despite the easyosity of it, no-one else I know collects birthdays, which means swapping doubles is out the question.  So I don't bother with doubles. This means that if you have the same birthday as someone already in my collection you'll have to change your birthday to another date to get in.  Unless I like you more than the existing listee, in which case they get bumped.  The only exception to this rule is that there are several family me members in the collection and I probably shouldn't bounce them from the list if relations are to remain cordial.
Anyway, I should have started this piece yesterday....when it was Eee's birthday.  She's a friend from work and the first in the collection at the moment. 
I used to have every date from the 15th to the end of the month but I seem to have lost a few over the years (memory problems probably).  Today's is Ess's, better half of my frequently mentioned Otleian Canadian friend Em. 

Friday 11th October:

If it's Friday, it's Top of the Pops, right? 

Well yes, I confess I do watch again nowadays, thanks to the girls, and this week particularly for Otway. The man, whose single is not being stocked by Woolworth's despite its #9 chart position, was enjoying both himself (as ever) and the absurdity of the situation.  
The prize, however, goes to Kay once again.  Upon being informed that the aforementioned Otway was 50 she replied,
"So, Grandad's nearly 70". 
Indeed, but not on Top of the Pops.

Whilst on the subject of the family, last night we (well Zee ) were running a meeting of the local adoption support group.  There were some people there who were right at the beginning of the process.  It was scary to think that that was us seven years ago.  I think we worried them a bit with our talk of the various delays (three years waiting for the girls, eighteen months from placement to adoption, the total lack of any support from anyone in the education service, etcetera, etcetera).  Nevertheless, I hope the overall feeling we gave was that none of that really mattered now.  It's as though they've been with us for ever and every week they amaze us more. 
By the way, I'm evil apparently, because I won't let them watch "Eastenders". 
Fair enough.

Wednesday 9th October:

So, are you running your car on Mazola yet?  According to today's Grauni, it's all the rage in Llanelli.  It works out 40p a litre cheaper than standard diesel (mainly because of the lack of duty, which means it's also highly illegal).  As a microbiologist, I get to wear a white coat.  So obviously everyone at work saw me as the person to ask for the correct Methanol:Mazola ratio.  Sadly I couldn't tell them.

However, a quick Google search tells us that, on the minus side, you also need to add potassium hydroxide but, on the plus side, used oil (which large volume catering establishments would normally have to pay to have taken away) is just as good as new stuff.  Those worried about damage to the car should be relieved that this "bio" or "e diesel" actually seems to perform better than standard diesels.

According to, with the Rapeseed crop already grown in the UK we could replace 5 percent of our current diesel.  So, if we actually grew more (instead of the current absurdity of paying farmers not to grow anything) we could drastically reduce dirty old diesel use age.  Obviously this would then be taxed which is not quite the angle our Welsh friends were coming from.  But why isn't there more discussion of the issue?  Do the oil lords hold too much power with our governments?  

Sorry, am I stating the obvious? 

Elsewhere, Otways's video is available for viewing or download.  You know you want it really.

Monday 7th October:

Far too little live music in my life recently. 
But last night that was put to right with a trip to the London Palladium to see the one and only John Otway
A difficult one to cover this. 
If you're not aware of the anarchic musical genius that is the Otway then its probably not worth going any further.  And if you've not previously encountered his music then do not judge him by his current hit.  Live, it worked, but the recorded version is I'm afraid, awful.  By design I assume, as its purpose was to give John his second hit (a mere 25 years after the first).  Thus the sampled bassful party rap (Bunsen Burner) is John's fiftieth birthday present from his fans.  And it was a delight to see the lanky fifty-year old so obviously delighted to have finally had a second hit.  Its just sad that the rest of the world will perhaps miss the point of John Otway. 
You really do need to see him live.
And I'm sure he'll be out and about again soon (TOTP on Friday doesn't count but could be interesting nevertheless)....

And buy the single, the B sides are excellent!

Sunday 6th October:

An absolute delight is all I can say about yesterday evening's Spike tribute "I told you I was ill..."  The cast list alone probably told you it was going to be good... Eddie Izzard, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Paul Merton, Kathy Burke, Eric Sykes and John Sergeant.  I know Harry Enfield was there as well, but he behaved himself for once.  If you missed it you missed a real treat and reminder of what an absolute anarchic comic genius he was.  Thanks guys.

Thursday 2nd October:

It's not mentioned in the Tomlinson A-level enquiry report but apparently Biology, Physics and Chemistry papers from 1979 are also to be re-marked. 
This will show that I actually got A, A, E and not D ,D ,E as originally graded.  As a result of this, everything in my life is about to be sued for a large amount of money, as obviously if I'd got better grades I'd have dropped out of University, become a rock star rather than a microbiologist and been much richer (in the monetary sense at least.... obviously on a personal level I couldn't be any richer than I am right now).

Elsewhere, what's with all the rampaging rhinos.  Does Broadband really bring about such Jumanji like occurrences?  Or is it just blatantly dishonest advertising?  And what's with Jarvis Cocker hanging from a lamp-post?  Did Whacko script the ads? 

What a complete and utter load of tripe. 
Broadband Schmordband.  Of course I want a ""faster-always-on" connection but why the rhinos?  Am I being really dim here? 

Wednesday 2nd October:

Hurrah!  My referrals service shows that someone's found this site via a Google search. 
But who, other than those who know me would have typed in "planarchy".  I'ts not yet common English is it? 
Presumably a mistyping.

Even Google says "Do you mean "panarchy"? 

Meanwhile at DKNZ towers.... tonight was "Planet of the Apes" night for Dee, Kay, Eff and me.  Eff, for those unsure, is Zee's half sister, little sister in age (14) but not height (6ft).  Dee and Kay look up to her obviously, a 14 year old aunt from the real downunder (EnZee) is not something everyone has. 
I think Eff was a little upset that it was the original Charlton Heston version, despite my assurances that it was much better than last years Marky Mark effort..  But I have to agree with her dislike of the music.  Very intrusive.  The jarring discordancy is OK the first time but soon grates.  I really had forgotten how slow this film is to get going.  And how quickly it ends.  Maybe I should have left it my memory as a classic.  Not as good as I remember.  Sorry girls.

Tuesday 1st October:

Kay has moved on from having to write a sentence for each of her spelling words.  She now has to write a story which uses all of the words.  I thought Dee had plummed the depths of tenuous tales when she reached this stage two years ago. 
But Kay has outdone her. 

The spelling words are in red...

I have a bike and it's like a cat and one day a bit came off. 
I got a kite and I went diving for five minutes.  I walk on a line and I hide and it was wide.  I saw a pipe and it was black and I saw somebody wiping it.  I went for a bite and I am nine.

I think we've all paid money for prize-winning literature that makes less sense. 

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