Sunday, July 01, 2007

Thanks, Sky

It's been a few months since all the kafuffle between Sky and Virgin Media erupted, and it seems the dust and the threats of court have died down. After the initial ruckus, many Virgin subscribers like myself used the opportunity to renegotiate our deals with the company. I went from the basic package of normal phone, basic tv, 2mb broadband to free weekend and evening calls, the largest tv package without sport and movies and 10mb broadband, which is now in the process of being upgraded to 20mb. And all for £10 a month less than I'd been paying! The deal lasts for a year, but I expect I'll be able to extend it. Others more savvy than me got lifetime deals, or free V+ boxes,but I'm happy with my lot. As for the loss of Sky channels, well that hasn't been as traumatic as first thought. Thanks to the kindness of others I've been able to keep up with the programmes I'd been watching 'till the end of their runs, and any new progs I won't get into (sorry, Dresden Files) and so won't bother me (besides, Brainiac without the Hamster just doesn't feel the same.) Plus, being able to watch M.A.S.H on Paramount Comedy 2 more than makes up for any loss (and Taxi is starting this week! Heaven!). So thanks, Sky. Your greed has made my world a better (and cheaper!) place.
P.S. It seems Sky is trying to lose another show it's audience. After taking Lost and 24 from must-see status to TV footnote, word is that they're trying to grab Prison Break from 5. Looks like they still haven't realised that hijacking shows won't have the fans flocking to them, only make them even more despised, and give the show the kiss of death.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Blood 50

A mini milestone for me. Yesterday, I gave my 5oth blood donation. I got a nice presentation box with a lapel badge, an engraved pen and a letter of congratulations. More donors are always needed, and the process is simple, quick and you get tea and biccies afterwards! (in the UK at least, I don't know how it's handled in other countries) For more info and a look at a virtual visit, go to

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tempus Fugit

It's almost February. WTF happened there?!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Random Roundup

The grass is always greener the other side of the fence is an old adage that it seems millions have taken to heart. Many UK citizens are heading to pastures new in the former colonies of America, Canada and Australia, while the UK is bracing itself for a wave of Romanians and Bulgarians trying to enter as these countries become the latest inductees of the European Union. This on top of the influx of immigrants - especially from the middle and far east - which is increasing the population by 500 bodies a week on an already crowded island (the UK population density is four times greater than the rest of Europe and 12 times greater than the USA). This has given rise to hysterical headlines and intense debate on the benefits and detriments of this perceived inpouring of legal entrances, without introducing the vexed subject of illegal immigrants. In a further twist, Romania is seeing an increase of migrants from China.

The prospect of a UK singles chart full of Beatles songs has been floated as the rules on compiling the chart change. Previously, only new releases (or re-releases) were counted. Now, any single bought from a shop or downloaded - no matter when it was released - will be included. Of course, for the Beatles scenario to work it would mean Apple Corp burying the hatchet with Apple and allowing the songs to be downloaded on iTunes. Don't hold your breath...

Is it me? The National Operatic and Dramatic Association (Noda) reckon panto needs new gags and new stories. Noda chief executive Mark Pemberton said the vast majority of amateur theatre groups want to perform traditional titles, such as Cinderella and Mother Goose.
"There is nothing wrong with this, of course," he said. "The titles are tried and tested, and some audiences are attracted to the traditional.
"But there are some groups and pantomime publishers who hunger for something different.
"It is also the content of pantomimes that needs reviewing for the 21st century. Are some of the traditional titles and gags over-used and exhausted? Most date back to the 19th century and the days of Victorian music hall and Dan Leno.
"And some of the titles, like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Robinson Crusoe, are becoming more difficult to stage in this age of political correctness.
"So perhaps it is time for pantomime writers to think of new titles – why not Big Brother the Panto? – and new gags."
Mr Pemberton said that Noda, which publishes pantos for the amateur theatre market, would be delighted to offer something modern and different to its membership.
He added: "It is frustrating to be sent scripts by aspiring writers that show little originality, shoe-horn in the same gags and read like production-line fodder. We need new titles and new jokes for a new century." With panto people know what they're getting, a major reason they go in the first place. And while the formula goes way back, the story evolves each year to incorporate highlights of the year, so I'm pretty sure that big brother will have been incorportated in a panto at some time. Progress is fine, but aren't some traditions worth keeping?

Is it me 2? Rail fares have gone up to reduce passenger numbers. Brilliant. Why don't we raise the price of cars so less people drive? Put up air fares so less people fly? (Oh, they have). It's not as if poor people have to travel anyway....

Friday, January 12, 2007

Tenant Time

I've been neglecting my duties as landlord recently, so slapped wrists for me. This week's boarder is YouTube Karaoke, which in the good traditional of Ronseal does exactly what is says on the tin: You send in requests and they provide a YouTube video and the lyrics for you to sing along to. I'm off to belt out Love Shack by the B52s for the umpteenth time....

Monday, January 08, 2007

Snapped Spade

After seeing Blogger has moved out of Beta, I decided (after taking a deep breath) to make the jump and upgrade to the new system. The transistion seems to have run smoothly so far - I haven't encountered any disasters like others - but I have come across one problem. I wanted to post a couple of items from the site. Previoulsy this was just a matter of clicking a button on the Digg site and the item would be posted here. When I tried this time, Digg kept can up with an error, saying my username and password were invalid.
Ok thought I, no problem, my username and password were different so I updated them in the Digg profile. The same error came up. After numerous attempts at updating the info and trying to post, I decided to see if anyone else had experienced the same problem. The upshot is that the Digg link won't work with the new Blogger, nor will some other third-party websites. Flickr was one of them, but they have since updated their software to accept the new Blogger. Guess I'll just have to wait until Digg does the same. Until then, here are the stories I wanted to post.....

Proof that no good deed goes unpunished.....

How do Arnie and Stallone match up in the body count stakes?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Don't rush to resolution

So it's over for another year. Presents have been exchanged and opened, and exchanged again for something you really wanted (thanks, HMV!) You've drunk, eaten and slept too much, moaned that there was nothing on the telly, and gone over all the same arguments with the same people as you did last year. And the year before. Now the tree and the lights have been taken down, the world seems a little greyer, and you've already broken the resolutions you made. But all may not be lost on the resolution front, if you follow the advice put forward in the post below taken from If your resolutions are health orientated, try and their Change One Thing promotion.

New Year's resolutions have a tendency to be made with enthusiasm and determination. Unfortunately, very often they're forgotten by the time February rolls around.

Here are 7 simple ways to make New Year's resolutions that stick and help you accomplish your goals.


For most people, making a resolution for the entire year is way too difficult. Instead, make your resolutions once per month; January resolutions, February resolutions, etc. They're much easier to achieve and the accomplishments can be celebrated sooner. Plus, if you don't quite reach what you want to accomplish in any given month, you can simply move that resolution into the next month--no more feeling so guilty that you have to wait an entire year to start over again!


It's nearly impossible to do everything you've always wanted to do in a short period of time. To be sure you don't forget about the goals you'd like to accomplish, write them all down on a Master Goals List. Then, each month throughout the year, focus on the one or two that are most important to you. You won't get overwhelmed and you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish.


  • SPECIFIC: Your resolutions must be specific. For instance, saying that you'd like to spend more time with your kids in the new year is too general. However, saying that you vow to spend 1 hour of quality time with your kids each Friday and Wednesday, immediately following dinner, is very concrete and specific.
  • MEASUREABLE: Resolutions that are worked on and achieved, are those that can be measured and tracked. When you think of making a resolution, think in terms of numbers. Perhaps you'd like to lose weight. Thinking in numbers, you might state that you'd like to lose 5 pounds--1 pound per month for the next 5 months. Or possibly you'd like to go on a short vacation. Thinking in numbers, you may state that you'd like to save £51 (£52 ($100)) per month, so you can go on a bed and breakfast weekend in June.
  • ATTAINABLE: You can certainly make challenging resolutions, but don't make them so difficult that they're going to be almost impossible to achieve. You can always break your resolution down into smaller goals. For instance, if you'd like to put aside £26 (£26 ($50)) per month, make a resolution to set aside £6.42 (£6.45 ($12.50)) per week.
  • REALISTIC: You might want to be a pro golfer this year, but if you haven't even started training yet, then this resolution is going to be unrealistic and unattainable. Instead, set more realistic goals, such as taking a few basic golf lessons or playing golf once per week on Tuesdays for practice.
  • TIMELY: The word 'someday' is indefinite. Yet, often people say they have so many things they'd like to accomplish ... someday. Resolutions with no start or end date in mind never get accomplished. Be sure all of your resolutions have both a deadline, and a starting date. For example, you might say you'd like to change your job. Your deadline might be March, 2001, and your start date might be next week--determining what you'd like to do, seeking available positions, etc.


It's so important to be motivated about the things you'd like to accomplish. When you make a resolution, tell your spouse or a friend. Post a message on a discussion forum. Tell a co-worker. You'll be more determined to accomplish your goal, if other people are cheering you on.


If you're constantly staring your resolution in the face every day, you're bound to keep it uppermost in your mind. If you'd like to lose weight, keep a photo of an actress or actor you want to use as a model, on your refrigerator. Want to go on a vacation? Post a photograph of your dream destination where you're sure to see it throughout the day.


There are so many things going on in your daily life, and you may experience a day or two when you lose track of the resolutions you set. That's ok. Get right back on track. No need to wait until next year, or the 1st of next month. Simply make any day of the week DAY ONE, and begin working on your resolution again. Winston Churchill once said, in the shortest speech ever made, 'Never, never, never give up.' Heed his words of wisdom.


Celebrating your accomplishments along the way will give you the motivation to keep going! Set appropriate rewards for each mini-resolution you make, and have a small celebration for each one you achieve. Let's say you'd like to put aside £5.14 (£5.16 ($10)) per week in January. For every £5.14 (£5.16 ($10)) you're able to save at the end of each week, you might indulge yourself in an hour's worth of free time to enjoy one of your hobbies. Reward yourself. You deserve it!

About The Author:
by Maria Gracia - Get Organized Now!
Want to get organized? Get your FREE Get Organized Now! Idea-Pak, filled with tips and ideas to help you organize your home, your office and your life, at the Get Organized Now! Web site

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

As I look out across the balcony of Wolf towers the night sky is full of exploding light stretching to the horizon as people celebrate the New Year. For many it will be a year to remember, for others a year to forget. A moment to remember those not with us for whatever reason, and to give a hug to those who are. To everyone, I hope 2007 will be a great year for you.