September 29, 2008

four months with no post…….

I’ve been busy. Not that busy obviously, but busy enough to justify not postingfor 4 months.

Kind of.

New job, new home – in exeter this time on a 4 month contract for a government department. Very hush hush. I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you etc

I’m sharing a rented house with an airplane engineer and a psychiatrist. Evening conversations don’t really tend to flow, especially as one of them is into gardening and cookery programmes and the other… well I don’t really know what he watches, but it’s definately not cookery programmes. He’s made that quite clear.

I’ve been downloading most of the internet; currently pulling down Heroes season 3, Entourage season 5 and shortly will be obtaining Dexter season 3.

I recently watched Hellboy2: The Golden Army. Not bad, directed by Guillermo del Torro (Pan’s Labyrinth). It’s a better than average follow up seeing a mix of character development with gratuitous violence and some quirky humour. I also watched Cloverfield which, frankly, was shit. I like JJ Abrahm’s work on Lost, but Cloverfield is a stilted cross between Blair Witch and Godzilla. I was underwhelmed.

I managed to wreck my knee last weekend. I probably did the damage 2 weeks before when I slipped on wet grass and my leg locked up straight. It’s ok-ish now, probably done some moderate damage to cartillage, so I’m going to have to strap it when I start walking and jogging again. I should probably go to the docs as well. And maybe a chiropractic visit to straighten up a recurring locked neck.

Musicwise I’ve recently discovered Flobots (namely the hit song Handlebars). I have no idea how I missed this before, and I’ve never really been a fan of anything even remotely resembling rap, but that song is awesome.

Played lots of poker, all low stakes (except for one bigger cass game at the local casino which I made a 260% profit on a £100 sitdown – always good) and been playing like a fish. I can never play low stakes games properly, I start making wild gambles (it’s only a £5 buy-in right? who cares if I only have two outs…..)

Current list of non functioning things:

  • iPod nano – left it in the car too long and won’t do anything now.
  • XBOX 360 – DVDROM drive broke at the instant I bought GTA IV.
  • Knee – not much I can do about that
  • LG Viewty Phone – delete key no longer works meaning I’m sending people texts with bizarre words and spellings as i can’t be arsed to delete the whole message and start again. Possible iPhone candidiate to replace phone andiPod in one hit….. TOYS!!!!! 🙂

Oh and my car is still at the mechanic’s. hepromised it back in a week. That was 6 months ago.


Gibraltar return and obscene comedians

April 26, 2008

I went back to gibraltar last weekend for a little visit nearly 1 year after I left. A lot has changed, and even more hasn’t. New buildings have gone up, the impressive ocean village development on marina bay is looking good, and gib is still full of chavs on mopeds who try to run you over on zebra crossings and overpriced tourist tat shops.

Last night I went to the local comedy club for a friend’s birthday, and one of the comedians was Jason Rouse, a Canadian comedian who I’ve seen before at the Comedy Store in Haymaket (London) and who is billed as ‘edgy’. He was obscene, but very very funny. If you’re easily offended, then stay away because nobody is safe. I on the other hand, haven’t laughed so much in years 🙂

My drift car is still not complete, I’m hoping it will be by next weekend.

Managed to find Dogma on DVD a few days ago, it’s been re-released on the Film4 label since the original production or distribution company went bankrupt.

Poker wise I’ve not played much, having been tempted into blackjack by some friends locally, and I’m pleased to report that I’m about £3k up playing £5 a spot but using progressions and also playing the perfect pair bonuses – I ran into a couple of real platinum shoes and started getting perfect pair after perfect pair (a side-bet based on you first 2 cards) and the dealer was busting every other hand also which is nice – possibly the most beautiful sound in the english language is “dealer has too many”.

I’ve got a super satelite for the ladbrokes poker millions coming up soon, more on this in the next few days.



April 10, 2008

I’ve been a little busy… I bought a new car a week or so ago, an older style Nissan 200SX (S13 shape) and it’s currently with a garage in northampton having an SR20DET engine from the later S14 shape 200SX being fitted. This means it will soon be a 2.0 16v Turbo rather than a 1.8 16v Turbo and power up from 173bhp to 202bhp with lots more torque (and hopefully a distinct lack of bottom end rattle charcteristic of the older CA18DET engine.)

I’m also getting the diff welded so it skids better, and over time I’ll be sorting out suspension and brakes and getting the weight down. Not to mention practising drifting 🙂

That’s all for now, more posts in the next few days – I promise!


Product Review: Asus Eee PC 2g Surf

March 16, 2008

(first published on blogcritics.org: http://blogcritics.org/archives/2008/03/15/1307042.php )

I’m a contractor. This means I’ve moved around a lot working in different offices, and I’ve often lamented the lack of a means of checking my email and searching for jobs without using the client’s Internet facilities (which would probably be barred anyway).

Anyone who’s tried to do serious browsing or emailing on a mobile phone will probably relate to how bloody frustrating it is, so I decided that a small laptop was needed. One I could bring into work and connect to mobile roadband with. I needed something light, with a proper keyboard, reasonably sized screen, but small enough to be innocuous and not arouse corporate suspicion that I may be writing this review rather than designing service management processes. I didn’t want to spend a lot, and there isn’t a lot available under the £400 mark that I was prepared to live with or spend the money on. Most options were compromises between price, weight, and functionality.

Except for the ASUS Eee PC. A small sub-notebook running a customized Linux build and coming pre-loaded with Openoffice, Skype, and several other tools.  The manufacturers have done a good job of providing you with just about everything you’d need day to day. You can create documents, spreadsheets, and databases. You can watch movies (DivX supported out the box), play a few games, listen to MP3s and connect to the net through the built in wireless, modem or RJ45 network port (or external USB 3g modem but more on this in a moment) and talk to people on Skype and Pidgin instant Messenger which supports major chat networks (MSN,AIM,YIM,AOL, and ICQ plus others). Handily, and curiously, the manufacturers have provided application icons which are links to Google Docs and Wikipedia – giving these the impression of being applications rather than mere web addresses.

The 7″ screen is small but usable, and the battery life is quoted as being 3.5 hours (depending on use). The Eee has a QWERTY keyboard which, though smaller than a full size keyboard, still allows fairly rapid typing with few mistakes once you get used to it. The Eee has 3 USB 2.0 ports, and external VGA connector as well as headphone & microphone jacks plus a smart card expansion slot.

In the box, as well as the Eee, mains charger, manual, quick start guide, warranty card and restore CD come a support CD with Windows XP drivers and an instruction guide detailing how to install XP. Having even having been a Windows user for years, I’m actually very happy with the standard Linux OS and applications and installing Windows is something I’ve not needed to consider.

The Eee PC comes in several variants, there’s the 2GB version and the 4GB versions available at launch, and recently an 8Gb version has been released also. Both the 2Gb and 4Gb can come either with or without a built in webcam – the Surf model deontes that the unit doesn’t have one. There doesn’t appear to be a ‘Surf’ version of the 8Gb yet, although with ASUS having recently announced at the CeBIT show that a whole new version was being launched (with a 9″ screen and more storage amongst other changes) it’s possible they may not want to put more effort in developing variants of the existing range.I mentioned 3g mobile broadband. Extensive reviews of Internet forums and other reviews indicates that a few 3g USB modems are supported out the box by the Eee. One of these is the Huawei E220 which, handily, is provided by ThreeUK on their mobile broadband package and which, if you sign up for a 12 month contract, costs £10/month for 1Gb transfer and will cost you £50 up front for the modem (it’s free on 18 month contracts).

Mobile browsing is impressively fast on HSDPA (3.5g) and on 3g networks. The Eee performs well although is slightly slower at loading sites such as Facebook. Overall, browsing is a pleasant experience.

If you turn off wireless, dim the screen, turn off sound and don’t connect to the net, then I can realistically use the Eee for about 3 hours before getting low battery warnings. With the external 3g modem connected or wireless turned on, this drops to roughly 90 minutes in total, (slightly less if I split this into several sessions throughout the day with multiple power ups and shut downs). There’s still enough juice to turn it on, check my mail and surf for 10 mins and shut it down again about 4 or 5 times during the day as well as play the frozen bubble game for a while! So for my usage, the battery life is just about sufficient.

Overall I’m very very happy with my purchase. It does what I need it to, and more. For the money this is awesome value when you consider what it does. However there is one huge downside. When I use it in the office, everyone comes over and wants to have a play, which is a nightmare when I’m trying to poke people on Facebook. But then again I should probably be doing work anyway…



March 5, 2008

I’ve just stumbled across a pretty funny tongue in cheek blog called “Stuff White People Like” (see blogroll) and it got me thinking about stuff I need to buy in the next few weeks. Well, correction, I don’t need to, I want to 🙂

On my list is:

  • A car (faster than current one)
  • An iPod (to listen to whilst I run)
  • A digital camera (to take naked pic…er…….. pictures of things)
  • A small laptop with 3g access for personal internet access whilst at work

Currently, the only semi-urgent one is the iPod, so I’ll investigate the rest later. Car-wise I’m thinking of an Audi S4 (one of the older 2.7 V6 bi-turbos) and for the small laptop I’ve been looking at Vye mini-pc and the ASUS eeePc – although I’ve just read that there’s a new model of eeePc coming out soon with a 9″ screen as opposed to the current 7″ screen.


The sheer genius of Entourage

March 4, 2008

(this article was re-written several times and became my first submission to blogcritics.org – http://blogcritics.org/archives/2008/03/11/215143.php )

Seriously. I love Lost, but it’s getting a bit over the top now. Heroes is awesome and I will brook no opposition, but even though it’s well scripted and produced, you still don’t believe it’s actually happening. Jericho had potential but went off course and struggled to get back on.

Entourage is real. It’s really happening. Right now. Well, that’s what I believe. And therein lies it’s genius. I’m inexorably drawn into the lives of Vince, Drama, E and Turtle and the obnoxious, offensive and deeply funny charm of Vince’s agent Ari Gold.

Why am I drawn in? Because, to an uneducated Brit who’s only ever seen New York a couple of times in the flesh, Entourage has that tangible reality of all great series. Friends had it in spades, Sex And The City had it (several times a day in Samantha’s case) and shows like CSI certainly do.

The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that Entourage is a male version of Sex and the City…. So now I have a major decision to make. Do I ration the last 7 episodes of Season 4, or watch them all in one go in a great big Entourage orgy?


A wonkey…..

March 4, 2008

I recently re-read an old-ish joke and told it to my neice, who is nearly 4.

The joke goes “what do you call a 3-legged donkey?” and the answer is “a wonkey”.

So tonight I’m chatting with a friend on msn and she tells me the full version, which builds up in layers, but the full cut is:

what do you call a 3 legged donkey with one eye playing the piano wearing blue suede shoes, wearing a feather boa that hasn’t washed?

a stinky kinky honky tonky plinky plonky winky wonkey donkey

genius eh?