Author Archive.

How do you like your… stake?

Posted by on January 26th 2018 in In the News, Lost in translation, Name and Shame, On the box

It's going from bad to worse at the Beeb:

Well done!

I’m Siri I Haven’t a Clue

Posted by on January 21st 2018 in LMAO!, Video (YouTube, Vimeo etc.)

At Tuesday's pub quiz at the Red Lion I was asked if I "do social media". My response was "No, unless you count blogging as "doing social media"". Maybe the following explains why I'm not a part of the herd:


People in glass houses…

Posted by on January 17th 2018 in Rambling on...

The school has a hi-tech ID-card-entry security system which feeds info into a little box called a computer. In theory, at all times said computer should know exactly who is on the premises and where they should be, logging all arrivals and departures.

Sadly, said computer isn't very clever and often has to be corrected by manual input.

And when the absentee isn't the pupil but is actually the member of staff responsible for making those manual corrections, the system goes to shit, sending out all sorts of inaccurate automated texts to unsuspecting parents, and waking the synthetic voice which rings our land-line to further the spread of fake news...

Press "1" for Bollocks, press "2" for Bullshit, press "3" to talk to a hapless keyboard-jockey.

In loco parentis, eh?

Auntie has a dicky ticker

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous grammar
Or to take arms against a sea of illiterates...


Here's evidence that The Beeb uses your licence fee to pay infant-school kids to input data - this sample of their output is from today's BBC News:

That was at 14:42. They must have been kept back after school to do it again - by 16:36 they'd posted a different yet still flawed version:

No “L”, No “L”…

Posted by on December 19th 2017 in Celebrations, Just for fun

Merry Christmas, folks. Here's an inappropriate festive card:


I'm told that the £2 sticker conceals an "R", but having looked at the picture on the card I think it may well be an "L".

Identity Crisis

Posted by on December 19th 2017 in A bit of a rant

Why is it that, in this age of lightning-fast networked computers, apps for every conceivable eventuality, and allegedly-ever-improving standards of education, the health services of this country still can't match names to phone numbers and/or documents?

Fail 1

A few weeks back I had a toenail avulsion, courtesy of the NHS. It's a standard procedure with a standard recovery regime - nail off, chemicals applied, dressing on, first self-redressing 2 days later, first clinic-redressing the day after that, then self-redressing every 2 days for a month, then a second clinic-redressing, assessment and discharge. The appointment for that second clinic-redressing should have been arranged during the first clinic-redressing session, and I was handed a set of sheets with instructions which included a space for the podiatrist to write in the details of second clinic-redressing appointment.

When the month was about up I consulted the paperwork to plan for the appointment but found that they hadn't written down the details, so I had to phone the booking office to get that information and that's where it started to turn weird... the system was telling them that I'd been discharged 3 days after the procedure, which isn't standard practise. They asked me to check the paperwork... it definitely didn't have any appointment details on it. Worse still, it didn't even have my name on it, according to the paperwork I was "Lyni Sargent". After I'd had a pop at them, they wasted no time in making an appointment for me.

Just to compound the confusion, they had no record of ever having treated a "Lyni Sargent", so why she had a post-op instruction sheet printed for her is a complete mystery. Maybe the system's wrong, and Lyni is still waiting for a call or letter that will never come, while her neglected toe's gangrene goes untreated.

Fail 2

Last week the home-care bods who visit my M-i-L rang our land-line yet again. Now there's a back-story here, and I'll keep it brief... my M-i-L has 4 offspring, and each of them has a spouse, and all eight have submitted their contact details so that there's always someone available to handle carer-calls when it all goes to pot. In practice, however, most of the calls were aimed at my Chris via our land-line and we'd assumed that was because the carers knew that she lives closest to her Mum. The problem was that my Chris works a fair distance away and at later-than-usual hours, and calls became cascades as the panic propagated from here through siblings and spouses, so we insisted that the carers created and used a Priority Contact List. It has five entries, starting with the nearest son, then his wife, then my Chris (her mobile number for when she's at work), then the next-nearest son, and finally my Chris again (our land-line number). The other son lives so far away that he's not on the Priority Contact List because he can't be expected to attend within the hour.

Anyway, as I was saying, the bods rang our land-line and I picked up. They had dialled the fifth entry first, and for some bizarre reason they were expecting me to answer to the name "Geoff", supposedly the spouse of my Chris. Yes, you guessed it, Geoff is the one who lives far, far away and who is not on the list and who isn't married to or living with my wife.

When I said that I wasn't Geoff, they thought that I might be "Sue", who is the spouse of Geoff's brother, and who doesn't live either here or with Geoff. Eventually they decided that I must be "Chris", the person that they were actually trying to contact, and I had to nail into their numb-skulls yet again that Chris was at work and could have been reached on her mobile, but only after the previous priority numbers had been tried.

The following day I went to their office to bang a few heads together. Again.

After getting home with a printout of the Priority Contact List we found that when they created it they had transposed a couple of digits of Chris' mobile number, so they would never have got through to her that way. And they weren't using the bloody list anyway, they were using a database which has the same transposition error and has the contacts in alphabetical, not priority, order.

Oh, I nearly forgot to mention what dire emergency had prompted the carers to pick up the Bat-Phone to initiate this communication crisis... one of them had been into the pantry and had found some tinned fruit which was just past its "Best Before:" date. Whoopie-fucking-doo!

Fail 3

Today my mobile rang and I answered it to find that it was a call from the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening peeps, they wanted to discuss the twice-postponed impending internal photo-shoot which is their birthday present for all 55-year-olds (with all of the delays, it's taken so long that I'll be nearer to 56 than to 55 when they get a round tuit). For some dumb-fuck reason they had it in their heads that I was "Melvyn Hines". They've sent me an enema-pack, and they've told me where I can stick it. BOHICA, Melvyn!


So, in the space of a few weeks I've been Lyni, Geoff, Sue, Chris and Melvyn. On Friday I'll be having an MRI scan to see if I need a replacement knee, and God only knows what gratuitous identity will be assigned to me for that. If it turns out to be "Neil", they can fuck off.

Observing Report 13th-14th December 2017 (Geminid meteors)

Posted by on December 17th 2017 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics
Tags: ,

Typically there was much cloud on the two best Geminid meteor observing nights. Just to rub it in, it had been clear for both of the two preceding nights and it was clear again for both of the two following nights. I managed a stop/start session on the night of the 13th, the skies changing from short clear periods to longer periods of snow or sleet far too often for my liking. I seemed to spend most of the time stopping/starting the capture software and covering/uncovering the camera. About 25 bright trails were observed while only 118 camera shots were taken, but only two Geminids were recorded.

Here's a composite pic, click it to see a bigger version:

A pair of Geminid meteors.


Posted by on December 10th 2017 in In the garden

He OD'd on the white stuff and couldn't hold himself together. He lost his fight this afternoon:


Boxer Rebellion

Posted by on December 9th 2017 in Lost in translation

I can just imagine the kicking and screaming of the chefs as they are shoe-horned into the containers at the start of their shift:


They'll escape soon enough though - the sodding lids never stay on for long.

Kudos for effort

It's an improvement of sorts:

At least she fully-blocked only my neighbour's ingress/egress, I had only her driver's side impeding mine.

To be fair, she put in way more effort than the two who visited here earlier...

I'd answered the front door to a bloke who, while looking straight at the adjacent number-plaque which bears a number that's clearly not 20, proceeded to ask me if this was number 20. If that wasn't enough lunacy, about a minute later he (I think it was the same bloke) had made his way up our side-garden path and was trying to get through our garden gate (the one that's marked "Private"), and when I went out of the back door to accost him for trespassing he proceeded to asked me the same question again! He was an estate agent. I was unamused.

And not five minutes later the postwoman dumped a pile of junk-mail through our door. She was unimpressed at being called back from the other end of the close for me to hand it all back to her. She claimed that she had not noticed our opt-out notice or the sign on our letter-box flap:

One of the junk-mails was from Specsavers, I recommended that she should keep it for herself but I think that she was so unobservant that she couldn't see the irony of it.

So, we've had a fair crop of eejuts already, and it's not even lunchtime. It doesn't bode well for the rest of the week.

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