Friday, 23 June 2017

Doughnuts not donuts

I'm disappointed to see that Mr Clark of Life, Explained has disparaged this fine blog, suggesting that it is only fit for use as fish and chip wrapping, whilst the shortcomings of his American blog are obvious.  Allow me to illuminate you.

For example, in his latest blog he uses the word "airplane", which as we all know should be "aeroplane".  Worst of course is the use of "donut" as opposed to "doughnut" - the item is made out of dough, hence doughnut. Donut sounds like an instruction to be violent.

Nevertheless, I'm sure that Tim's blog would be good enough - just about - to wrap a hot dog in, with sauce and onions of course.

I can only summarise that Tim is sadly suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect.  Thoughts are with you, Tim.



Thursday, 22 June 2017

Reasons why the UK is better than Ohio


Well, I just felt like listing a few of the things that make the UK better than Ohio.


  • The UK is twice as big as Ohio (242,900 sq.km versus 116,096 sq.km)
  • The UK has far more population (65 million versus 11 million) making us far more productive
  • The UK's GDP is far more ($2.79T versus $0.53T)
  • We don't have dogs that pretend to be doctors
  • Our workforces don't run on doughnuts
  • We don't dip our fries in slushies
  • Home Depot, Target, Kroger, and Walmart sound like esoteric destinations to us
  • We don't wear buckeye necklaces
  • We have proper pies, gravy, and sausage rolls



Consider this an opening salvo Tim.  I look forward to your response, I imagine it will be freshly composed using your new iPad Pro.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Silence...

...for far too long.

Almost 2 weeks since I blogged!  The simple reason for this hideously long absence is that for at least half that time we haven't had a computer up and running.

We've been very home-improvement focused this last couple of weeks, my wife took on the challenge of redecorating our sons bedroom ahead of getting a new carpet installed in the room, meanwhile our living room ceiling, which had been looking a bit dodgy, finally got some TLC.

Doesn't look too bad, does it?

Yeah... how about now

Some time ago we had a leak from our bathroom which loosened the plaster in the ceiling, and we knew it needed looking at, it turns out that basically the plaster was being held together by a bit of paper, and when we got a plasterer to start taking it down, it came down in one massive go!  Despite this, the ceiling has been replastered and we're now getting round to repainting the living room, a task which hadn't been planned.              

A side effect of all this is that when I haven't been too busy to blog because of moving things in and out of my sons bedroom, we've not been able to use our computers because they've been unplugged and in my sons playroom instead of the living room where they rightfully belong.  But at last, one of the computers has been temporarily set up so I'm taking advantage of it being Fathers Day to have justification to blog a bit rather than tackle any of the many chores I ought to be doing right now!

The other week it was our wedding anniversary, being our second one and the traditional gift being cotton my wife creatively camp up with the below sock bouquet gift for me!

 
I managed to forget that I bought her a present, so panicked the day before and bought her another gift! Such is life.

It's an absolutely glorious Sunday here, hot and sunny, which means I'm going to sit still and complain about the weather all day, being terribly English.  I hope wherever you are you're having a good weekend, and hopefully it'll not be quite so many weeks until the next blog!


Monday, 5 June 2017

Shaving


For too long I've been managing without the correct equipment.

Before this devolves into innuendo, I'm referring to shaving.  I typically use an electric shaver with a built in beard trimmer, so I can chop away the long stuff with the beard trimmer, go on to have a proper shave with the normal shavey bit, and then if I'm going all out I'll use a Mach 3 manual razor to get any rogue hairs that have escaped the first two attacks.  After this there will be one single hair somewhere of about two inches in length that has managed to evade all attempts to cut it, and I'll pluck the thing.

However, the beard trimmer has failed on the razor, after several years of use.  I've tried to manage without, because I like my old Braun 370 razor.  It's got some interesting features, such as the charging point - it has the usual two pin charging for a razor, but the port is shaped in such a fashion that a general charging cable almost fits (but won't), forcing you to order a bespoke cable online.

Enough is enough, and it's time to go and get a new razor.  Going onto the Argos website, I went into the Men's Shavers section.



Interestingly, by default the list is sorted by "Relevance" - surely everything in the "Men's Shavers" section is relevant?

Anyway, after a bit of a trawl, I decided to go for one that roughly looks equivalent to my existing one, and it is the Braun 3040s Wet & Dry Men's Electric Shaver, which is complete with MicroComb and SensoFoil. Sadly, this stuff does actually work on me, I'd be even more impressed if the packaging told me that the shaver came with a PowerCharger and an ergonomic Han-Dle.

And look at all that blue colouring. Couldn't we say something like the shaver has been designed to absorb six-sevenths of the visible light spectrum, minimising light pollution?

No purchase would be complete without a glance through the manual for interesting statements, and the Braun 3040s is no exception. Apparently:

"In order to maintain the optimum capacity of the rechargeable batteries, the shaver has to be fully discharged by shaving every 6 months"

No wonder my shavers fail, hardly a week goes by without me recklessly using them to shave my face.

Anyway, the moment of truth has come...

Before


During, taking advantage of temporary ability to offer my services as a Mario look-a-like

Gone!

I'm pleased to report that the new shaver works, and it still manages to miss one rogue hair that somehow survives everything I throw at it.  Life is back to normal.



Monday, 29 May 2017

Nine Steps to Using a Paddling Pool


Sometimes, you just gotta cool down.

These last few days it's been really quite warm, so we've had the paddling pool out for my son to play in.  It's fascinating how he doesn't appear to have any reaction to the coolness of the pool water versus the general temperature, whilst both myself and my wife, when tempted to the water, find it unacceptably cold.  I've theorised that the body acclimatises to the water in a number of steps, as follows:

Step 1: Touching the water with your toe, you say something along the lines of "OH MY GOD THAT'S TOO COLD!!!" and, resistant to your childs' commands, you decide to next to the paddling pool and read a book.

Step 2: Sat next to the pool, you think about just how hot it is, and summarise that it might actually be quite nice to have a paddle.

Step 3: You stand in the pool.  After a few seconds you become used to the water and find that paddling is relatively pleasant, but when you get accidentally splashed up to the knee you flee the pool squealing "It's SO COLD!!!""

Step 4: You reluctantly return to the pool, cautious of splashes.

Step 5: After persistent requests from your child, you kneel down in the pool.  That's cold.

Step 6: Then you sit in the pool. Now THAT'S cold.

Step 7: Your child finds a jug from somewhere, and chucks an entire jug of icy water at you. Blinded and shaking from the freezing water working its way down your torso, you sit in the pool clutching your face, hoping to be able to open your eyes sometime the next day.

Step 8: Your child takes advantage of your inability to see by pouring what seems to be the contents of the Arctic Sea on the back of your head.

Step 9: Congratulations, you are now acclimatised to the water!



Today the weather is far worse, and I look forward to a day determinedly inside :)

Monday, 22 May 2017

Register to Vote


Time's against us, so I'll be brief.  If you want to vote in the UK general election, but haven't registered to vote, you've got today to do it.  Don't leave it till the last minute - remember last time when the website went down because everyone tried to register?  Go to https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and register.

I do believe that voting is important, regardless of whether you vote for someone or if you turn up and deliberately spoil your ballot paper as a protest, because we are very fortunate to live in a place and time where citizens have the ability to vote.  There are still countries in the world where voting isn't possible, voting is restricted to certain people, or where the voting process is rigged.

Plus as one of the people will be sat in a polling station all day on election day helping voters, it makes my day go a lot quicker if people show up!

Don't forget also if you've moved house that you need to sort out your vote with the local council, otherwise you might be eligible to vote somewhere across the country.

For more about the rare breed that sits in polling stations, check out my 5 things you might not know about working in a polling station post :)

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Product Testing


As a guy, I find that the bathroom products I own do not relate to what I use.

You see, a safe gift for a man, for birthdays or Christmas (or indeed any other festival which involves giving presents) is "The Shower Gel Box Set".

The Shower Gel Box Set, which for me is often from Lynx, will include shower gel, a can of deodorant, but then often one other item, like shaving gel or after shave balm (never both - I presume they think that I'm either happy to use shaving gel and not both with after shave, or shave my bare dry rough face and use after shave balm to reduce the resulting redness).

Now my shaving regime, which is haphazard at best, generally involves a dry face, an electric razor, and then finishing up with a manual razor to pick off any stray hairs that the electric razor missed.  This is complemented by the occasional use of tweezers, because whilst the two razors do keep on top of 29,999 of the 30,000 hairs on my face, there will be one that somehow evades both trimmers, and in a matter of hours grows to about four inches long.  I sometimes wonder if my chin, becoming bored with the traditional beard, puts all of its effort into just one hair.

So as a result I tend to use up shower gel a lot quicker than I use shaving gels.  I decided to do some research, by been undertaking a number of tests of various bathroom products.

I decided to try showering and using the various products below instead of shower gel.  Mainly I chose to do this because I had run out of shower gel, but I felt that the research would be worthwhile regardless.


Test one - shampoo.  Well, of course shampoo was fine.  Anyone who uses the little shampoo/conditioners and shower gels in hotels know that they can quite happily swap one for the other and see no difference whatsoever.


Test two - Johnson's Top to Toe Baby Bath.  Basically bubble bath, but can be rubbed on children also.  Again, absolutely fine, you wouldn't notice any difference from normal shower gel except it doesn't contain lavender or volcanic rocks.


Test three - Facial Wash.  Again, absolutely fine.  We're essentially talking about shower gel for your face after all, which the last time I checked was made out of skin, just like the rest of the stuff covering your body.

Now it gets slightly more interesting...


Test four - shaving gel.  Absolutely fine!  Yes, shaving gel, perfectly fine for showering with.  Slightly thicker than shower gel, but nothing shocking.



Test five - after shave balm.  Again, absolutely fine, very similar to the shaving gel, slightly thicker than shower gel but no problem.


Test six - hair gel.  I was expecting this one to be dreadful - it was okay!  And the traces left in my hair helped to make it look slightly more exciting than usual.


Test seven - hand cream (not the Norwegian one in the photo, I should say) - this was the only one that wasn't ideal.  It stuck to my skin, moisturising it by creating a barrier between my skin and the shower (which to be quite honest I always thought could perhaps help with moisture deprivation) and took a bit of effort to get rid of.

So in summary, almost anything in your bathroom cabinet you can shower with.

Although perhaps not mouthwash.

New video is out - if you want to watch my forehead while I cook a meal, go and watch :)

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Tomorrow


The life of a writer carries with it a heady mixture of stress and guilt.  Are you creating right now? Why not? Why are you wasting time not creating? Will you ever create again? Will you ever reach that place (fame, money, satisfaction, whatever it is that you want one day to be yours) that you tell yourself one day you'll get to?

If you are writing, what are you writing? Are you enjoying it? Are you writing something from your soul, or writing something to keep the wolves at bay?

If you have written, is it actually any good or are you just churning out some meaningless drivel that doesn't deserve the time it'll take someone to read it?

Tomorrow.  There's always tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the day that you write it. The piece of work that will elevate you, set you on your path to greatness. Everyone will say how you were discovered because of it. You got that writing job because of it. You're at one of those terribly middle-class evenings, chatting with your other writing acquaintances, supping on vintage wine (as though you'd know the difference) and commenting on the vol-au-vents, blissfully unaware of the other people lurking around the room that would desperately love to talk to you, just for a moment of your time, but your reputation precedes you and they can't even begin to build up the nerve.

Because of it.

So you place all your hopes on tomorrow.  But hope is dangerous, because without a plan, without action, hope is nothing more than a wish.  Hope is buying a lottery ticket. Hope is closing your eyes and running across a busy road as fast as you can.

Meanwhile you're watching repeats of an old TV show you used to like, telling yourself that it's because you need to watch and read to give yourself something to write about, but really it's just because the remote control is at the far end of the sofa.

You tell yourself, you're not going to write today, because you wrote yesterday, or earlier this week, or you are absolutely definitely going to write, but not right now, because you need to do that email, or buy those shoes on Amazon, or just finish just one more level on Candy Crush.


Yet day by day, those tomorrows are running out.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Friendly Advice


So, the other day we went to the mail sorting office in Hull.

This wasn't a day trip, allow me to elucidate, rather it was a journey in order to obtain one of the many parcels that my wife orders, probably of materials needed as part of her burgeoning Etsy shop (www.denkaidesigns.com).  All of the parcels seem to have one thing in common, that being that none of them fit through a letter box, and as the postman carefully times his deliveries to coincide with when no one is in the house, they end up back at the sorting office for me to collect.

Opposite the sorting office is some metal railings, from which you can look down into a muddy bit of the River Hull - back in the day it was probably some form of boat dock, but now it's just a load of mud.  My son decided to have a look through the railings at the muddy water for a minute, and not being in a particular rush, I joined him.

After a couple of seconds of looking at trolleys stuck in the mud (the nearest supermarket must be at least half a mile away - someone must have gone to a lot of effort to dump a trolley here) a helpful voice from behind us broke the silence.

"Excuse me - it's not very clean over there!"

I turned to see a chap addressing us.  I thanked him for his advice, and turned back to my son to tell him that it was about time to go to the sorting office.

The helpful voice sounded again.

"Yeah, I'm talking Weil's disease."

I turned around, surprised that he hadn't walked on, and once again I thanked him for his advice, although it did cross my mind that from the first piece of advice it hadn't been a massive leap of imagination to conjure up the possibility that he had been talking about some sort of infection, so the second piece was, to my mind, superfluous.  Again, I turned back to my son to ask him to come to the sorting office.

And yet, there was more to come.

"I would get his hands washed sharpish if I were you!"

Of course, I'm certain that the fellow was only giving advice in order to protect my son.  A nice gesture.  A helpful human being, by any account.

As a result I didn't even get my son to rub his hands on him, obviously with the man being so concerned with his well being I can only assume he'd be more than happy to have any germs removed by liberally scrubbing my sons hands on his face.  Always think twice before acting, that's what I say.
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