25 October 2009

An Ill Wind

My general grumpiness at things I've seen this week is many fold, but despite the obvious chance to poor scorn at Nick Griffin and all things BNP, it has already been covered to death in every newspaper, blog or TV show.

It would be too easy, like shooting fish in a barrel, or to use a more appropriate metaphor, shooting mutated bug eyed toads an a bath of their own shit.

Nor will I moan about the posties. The media will happily tell you that they're striking about 'pay and conditions' - but have they told you what the issues with pay and conditions are?


I don't get a lot of post that I get over excited about if it's delayed. If I order something online it's generally because I can't be arsed to go to town and buy it in a real shop. If I needed it straight away, I'd get off my arse. I buy it online, it comes when it comes. If it still hasn't arrived in a week, it's probably the vendor, not the postman. The only thing that comes though my door on a regular basis is junk mail, which is about as welcome as the postie shoving his cock through the letterbox. Fortunately he has the choice not to do the latter, and probably hates carrying and shoving shit through everyone's door just as much as we hate receiving it. Check Roy Mayall's blog for the posties side to the strike. Up the workers!

No, this week I am pissed off about being blamed for global warming.

You must have seen the advert. The 'ACT on CO2' one with that bloke who used to be Nigel in Eastenders, then a doctor in Casualty or Holby or something, reading an overly cute child actress his daughter a bedtime story about how the adults have ruined everything.

As the story goes, 'CO2 is released into the atmosphere when the grown ups use energy'.

Now it's many years since I did science at school, so excuse me while I stuff another lump of coal into the laptop so I can open another tab and check Wikepedia...

...ah yes..as I thought. CO2 is produced by burning fossil fuels and vegetable matter. So maybe they have a point, and a coal powered laptop is not the most ecologically sound option, which is why I don't have one. In fact nothing in Slippy Towers is coal powered -with the exception of the coal fire - which really only goes on at Christmas.

Everything else uses good old fashioned electricity out the wall sockets. I know that fossil fuels are used to create that electricity, but that wasn't me. They don't stoke up the boilers every time I turn on the kettle. If I leave a light on , I am wasting energy, but it's energy that I have no control over how it is created. If I don't leave things on standby, and only boil enough water to fill the cafetiere (yeah - so I don't drink instant - I am a coffee snob), it will mean we all use less energy, but it doesn't mean the Energy companies aren't still going to burn that coal. It'll just take them a little bit longer to get through it all, and the government gets more time to prevaricate about alternate sources.

They could make it from any number of renewable sources, but still choose to burn fossil fuels, charge us though the nose for the electricity, then ask us not to use quite so much of it because we're destroying the environment.

And I'm also well aware that a lot of electrical appliances kick out a lot of excess heat - 90% of the energy used by an old style light bulb was converted into heat, not light. So now the nights are drawing in, and the evenings getting colder, on go the energy saving light bulbs - but it's still a bit chilly in the house, so on goes the central heating a little earlier than last year. And where does the energy come for that?

Oh yeah....

"Will it have a happy ending?" asks the girl in the advert.

"Yes" says Slippymark. "I'll be able to wear flip flops in the winter, and be able to walk to the coast rather than a two hour drive."

Not that I want that to happen. I quite like the North Norfolk coast, and don't think it should be relocated to South Cambridge.

But my electrical habits are not a contributing factor to CO2 production, it is the people who generate that energy.

My biggest contribution to Global Warming is my own personal methane production. Methane is 21 more times powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2, and I produce it in vast quanities. The government shouldn't be pointing the finger, it should be pulling mine.

So if the Government is serious about cutting greenhouse gases, it must pledge to invest more in renewable energy, and just stop burning the remaining reserves of fossil fuels used for energy generation.

If it does that, I will pledge to take a closer look at my diet, and try not to fart quite as much - if only to stop one of my favourite breweries being lost to the sea forever.

20 October 2009

My favourite waste of time

I am a creature of habit, and those habits are becoming more time consuming.

I've long since given up the far too time devouring World of Warcraft, and the equally disruptive, and wasteful habit of sitting around in a boozer most evenings, puffing away on tabs.

At least the latter two were not mutually restrictive, and with even the alleged mans inability to multi task, I could do both, and talk shite at the same time. I could even drink, smoke and play WOW together, but now that of the 3, all that I succumb to is the occasional glass of wine or G&T, I should have loads of time on my hands, but it would seem this is not the case..

I get up with the best of intentions to start work at a respectable time, but by the time I have made a cup of coffee and turned on the laptop to 'catch up on the news', all of a sudden its 2 hours later and I am still sat on the sofa wrapped in a towel, bath gone cold, and I won't be in the office before 10.30 again.

Because catching up on the news has become so fucking labour intensive, because there is just so damned much of the stuff that I need to read.

The news used to just mean logging onto BBC online and clicking through the World, UK, Health, Science, Entertainment and Sport sections. All done in 20 minutes.

Now I have to open multiple tabs for all the news I can't live without.

First comes Facebook. A notorious time waste, but relatively quick to get through. Amongst the usual bollocks of peoples updates on Farmville, Mafia Wars and such like, there just may be some news of significance from a real friend - not just someone who knows me, but I couldn't really care for, and yet was to polite to turn down the friend request.

As fast as new applications are added, I turn those fuckers off. I don't want to know what you just scored on Boggle, or that you just got a new virtual cow. I want see pictures of friends new children, and hear how they're coping with parenthood when in my mind they're still the boys from school who couldn't even take care of themselves. Five minutes is all I need for Facebook, then its its onto Twitter...

I've covered Twitter before. I now 'follow' 150 people. For all the media would have you believe, we are not part of Stephen Frys private army of nerds. It's a collective consciousness for passing on idle thoughts, or spreading news before the 'real' news gets hold of it. Passing links to stories that may never have got exposure otherwise. One prime example is the vile reporting of Steven Gatelys death in the Daily Mail. A paper that most right minded people would not normally even wipe their arse with was suddenly hit with 'an orchestrated campaign' to vilify one of it's reporters.

This from a paper that bayed for the blood of Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand, whipping it's readers into a frenzy over something they had never heard, but should none the less be outraged. What Twitter did was more like Chinese Whispers. Someone read the article online, was offended, and 'tweeted' a "fuck me - have you read this" with a link to the article. People following this person read it, thought "fuck me - the woman's clearly mad", and retweeted it, meaning all the people that followed them saw it too. Within the hour, probably everyone on Twitter had recieved the link, and so many had tried to register a complaint with the PCC, that it brought their website down.

That's not an orchestrated hate campaign - that's the public thinking for themselves, and thinking that Jan Moir is nothing but an ill educated homophobic cunt.

Not every day on Twitter is full of controversy, but amongst the ramblings, amusing links to videos and photos, there's also the breaking news that the networks can't or won't show you. I was following the chase for 'Balloon Boy' an hour before the BBC or Sky News had it as a story, and Trifigura would probably not have got the attention it did without the Twitterati passing it on. It can take a good 20 minutes to catch up on all the updates from overnight, before moving onto Google Reader.

Google Reader is a Web based aggregator of RSS and Atom feed. That is it takes the websites that you look at often, and whenever they are updated, it pulls them into one place to read.

See those little orange buttons at the bottom right of this page under 'Subscribe'? That's an RSS feed. If you have Google account, it means that if you click on that, every time I post a new blog, it goes to your Google reader page, along with any other websites that you subscribe to.

My problem is, I think I may subscribe to too many. Not all of the websites are updated daily. Charlie Brookers Guardian column is once a week, but Scaryducks excellent blog is most days. Star Wars, Fail blog, and Dinosaurs and Robots may post a couple of stories a day. Den of Geek and Boing Boing may post several stories. All in all I currently subscribe to over 60 RSS feeds, with can mean over a hundred links, stories, Youtube videos, weird photos and blogs to trawl through every morning.

I don't have time, but I have to do it. I can't miss the latest information on anything. And it's also come to my attention that some stories get duplicated, and there's no way of really knowing what is newest and hottest. So then I have to go to Reddit.

Reddit is a social news website. Here fellow Redditers post links to stories, photo's etc, and they are rated by users as to how interesting/cool/cute/fluffy/weird they are. It's real time updating shows what the World is looking at. If it's new I have to see it.

This mornings Reddit story is this afternoons Boing Boing, and tonights Twitter, and then next weeks Facebook link. In a month someone who'se only undestanding of the internet is their work email will send it to you, no matter how much in breach of your workplaces diversity and respect rules it is.

And when I get home from work - late because I didn't rock in until nearly 11 o'clock - the cycle begins again.

Where am I going with this?

Why does it matter?

It's because yesterday I remembered a book I read in my teens by E.M Forster.

Not 'Howards End' or 'A Passage to India', nor 'A Room with a View'. I don't yearn for a tech free society with under butlers and tea wallahs.

100 years ago this month (spooky timing), Forster published a short story called 'The Machine Stopped', which I read in a sci-fi anthology.

Set in a dystopian future (is there any other sort?)where humans can no longer live on the surface of the earth, it couldn't be more different than his more famous works.

People live in isolation, communicating via a global communication device called 'The Machine', which caters for all their social and spiritual needs. People communicate through a video conferencing/messaging system, where their sole existence is the seeking and passing of new ideas.

A society who never go outside, never see other people. Just sitting around, plugged into some global conscious, passing the same rubbish back and forth having long forgotten what real life is all about.

The internet machine breaks down, and suddenly nobody knows what to do with themselves.

Forster should have stuck to stuffy melodramas. His sci-fi is bollocks, and could never happen. It may have been written in 1909, but it's just preposterous.

Anywho, maybe I'll just pop out for a bit and stretch my legs. Get some fresh air. Talk to some real people.

Just as soon as I've checked Twitter.

15 October 2009

Riddle me this

I've just finished reading, or rather listening to, Dan Browns latest offering.

I've read his other four books, and despite recent criticism that his writing is actually 'a bit shit', I thought I should probably give this one a butchers. I went down the audio book route as it helps pass the time walking to work, although by doing this, I was well aware that I was going to be turning a four hour read into a sixteen hour listen.

He certainly does have a distinctive style, and has had a great degree of success, so I think I've worked out the magic formula for writing like Dan Brown.

------Contains Spoilers---If you intend on reading The Lost Symbol, go no further----

  • Take a bunch of hokey science, and hide it within the fact that the book opens with the statement 'all the technology, buildings, ceremonies are real etc....
  • Have your hero make witty references to his own books, where you are clearly referencing your own previous works.
  • Instill a sense of urgency by keeping the chapters so short, and always ending on a cliff hanger, so the reader keeps saying 'Just one more...'. Even though you know in your heart of hearts that this is really more likely to just piss them off
  • Start each chapter like an entry from Wikepedia, proving that it is 'all real'. Readers will not mind that the book scans like a shitty encyclopedia.

  • Bring in the usual stereotypes of a simpering romantic interest, a lunatic villain, an old friend in peril,and a foreign law officer that you don't know if you can trust
  • Orchestrate a ridiculous master plan that is dependent on several people co-operating, or not co-operating (because it is actually a clever double bluff and that's what you want them to do)
  • Organised religions and groups are a great target, as you can make up loads of stuff that they either won't dignify with a defense, or if they do, you can use the old 'no smoke without fire' approach. Catholics (or the Church as a whole), the CIA, the Masons are all clearly mad and dangerous, therefore good for a go.
  • Keep referring to modern technology just to prove what a cutting edge, techno thriller it is. Do not be afraid to crowbar something into the last few pages that hadn't been invented when you started writing the book,such as Twitter, although being as that is commonplace now, maybe Google Wave, and just hope it takes off.

  • Ignore Google. For example, if you think you're looking for the address '8 Franklin Square', but there is no such address, the top result of an 8x8 Magic Square designed by top Mason Ben Franklin, it's probably not worth mentioning. Particularly if you are trying to solve a puzzle of an 8x8 grid of symbols on the square base of a magic pyramid
  • String out 'puzzles' so the reader can play along at home. Even if a characters life is at risk, it's fun to waste several pages while the hero drops cryptic hints to the sister of the friend in peril so she can work out the solution for herself.

  • Spread out the action over multiple sites, so your hero has to rush around being chased by helicopters with the power to send electrical pulses that can knock out telecoms towers to stop emails being sent.
  • Have the hero 'die' two thirds into the book, such as by drowning him, only to later reveal that he drowned in a perflourocarbon chamber - liquid that you can breath, just like in the film 'The Abyss', and more 'real science' from the pages of Wikipedia.
  • If your 3 heroes have been drowned, had limbs chopped off, or drained of their blood by a madman (who may or may not be a thought dead family member, but is now very much dead), don't waste time with CIA debriefings, or medical treatment. Have them chortle to themselves about what a strange evening it's been, and talk some weird psychobabble about the biggest secret of all, is the power of the mind - it's just we've all forgotten how to use it.
  • Think of the film rights. Having a book climax with 60 pages to go gives away that it's not quite the ending, but in a cinema it'll be too dark for people to see their watches, and they'll all be really shocked when they realise there's still more to come.

So did I like it? I'm not telling, but if you look very carefully I've hidden a code of my own on this very page. Can you find it?

See, Dan Brown's got nothing on me.

12 October 2009


Another celebrity death and the vultures are circling.

On the afternoon of 10th October 2009, Boyzone member Stephen Gately was found dead at his home in Majorca at the age of 33.

I was never a Boyzone fan, and when Stephen was allowed to help Ronans weirdly affected vocalisations, he just came across as nasal and tuneless to me, but that's not going to alter the way I feel about his death.

I care, but I don't care.

I care in the sense that I needed to find out. He was in the public eye, so It's only right we should be informed if he's passed away, particularly as it was so sudden and unexpected.

I don't care to be updated as the headline news on every channel and newspaper. Ghoulish reporters hanging around airports waiting for the rest of the band to arrive so they can elbow their way into their grief so we can all have a gawp. Looking for any tell tale signs that anyone is not surprised.

That maybe there was some dark secret that we didn't know about, and it's not really a surprise to those who knew him.

But those who did know him (and there are loads on Twitter) all say he was a sweet, charming man, who didn't do drugs, and was no party animal. He was in a happy loving relationship with his long term partner. The police say there are no signs of foul play, yet still, the vultures circle closer and closer....

'He'd spent the evening at a gay club with a Bulgarian man' the media scum inform us, allowing us to fill in the blanks that it was probably some bizarre gay sex game gone wrong.

If they'd just reported that he'd spent the evening in a club with his partner and a friend, it would have been far less scandalous, but equally true. He was found in his pyjamas, not naked wearing a gimp mask.

We really don't need hourly updates as to whether Boyzones private jet has landed yet, or list in The Daily Telegraph of - and I kid you not - '10 other mysterious celebrity deaths'.

What we need to do is give his family and friends the time and privacy to grieve for a young man tragically taken before his time.

The remit of the news should be to inform us of important world events, not pray on the private misery of others because it sells papers and advertising space. If I wanted regular updates, I can get them on line from any number of websites. The 'News' should be just that. News. Not voyeurism.

There will continue to be speculation until the post mortum is carried out and results splashed over every media outlet. Irrespective of what it shows, I don't think we need to know any anymore than it was just too early.

For anyone who would argue that there's no smoke without fire, and people don't 'just die' at 33, it's a sad fact that sometimes they do, just not always people that the fucking media can make a buck out of.

R.I.P. Stephen Gately. 17 March 1976 - 10 October 2009

05 October 2009

What would you do?

What would you do with free texts for life?

  • Start a revolution?
  • Organise a massive pillow fight?
  • Do a conga?
  • Have massive fights for days?
  • Or is it just too mind boggling...
It's mind boggling for me why anyone would even want or need free texts for life (for only £10 a month....), yet this is what T-Mobile are offering an another of their piss poor irritating adverts.

And the suggestions above are what the shitty jobbing actors real people interviewed thought they would do.

Now why on earth would limitless free texts make you want to start a revolution? Maybe the twat in question already has a revolution planned, but lacks the means to co-ordinate it without exceeding his monthly tariff. Now with his massive free allocation for only £10 a month he can text his plans to everyone in the world on his SIM card, which could be either 200 or 500 potential people depending on his phone, but more realistically the 20 people he actually knows the number for, which once you discount his Mum, Takeaway restaurants and Taxi firms, is just three people. All in 160 characters or less..


It's probably why the peasants revolt failed in 1381. No mobile phones. 'RICHARD OF WALLINGFORD IS A LYING CNUT. WAT TYLER HAS NOT BEEN KNIGHTED, THEY'VE CUT HIS EFFING HEAD OFF. STORM STEPNEY!!!!'

But now all the fucking peasants have got mobile phones, so surely it's just a matter of time?

Or not.

Because I believe texting is a dying fad. A waste of time and money. How often have you got half way through typing something out only to think 'Fuck me, it would be easier to just ring them?'. 'I can't fit everything I want to put on the text any way, and depending on the response, I'll only have to text them back. This could turn a 20 second conversation into a 20 minute one, just trying to establish if a friend is coming to the pub, if so, then which pub, and when..'

Texts are restrictive in length, clog up your phone, and once you delete them to make space, they're gone for ever.

If I need to send a message that can be read (directions, shopping lists, plans for invading France etc..), I'll send an email. All modern phones come with email capability. Sending an email is free, and you can read it on your phone, or any PC. What's more, you never run out of storage space, as it's backed up for life in 'The Cloud'. And you can fill your message planning global domination with links to useful websites on how best to co-ordinate your attacks, and your clothes.

I already have a bundle of texts on my phone contact, and I never get anywhere close to using them, because I nearly always ring, or email.

But if I had free texts for life (for £10/month), what would I do with them?

Probably text T-Mobile every day to call them cunts with the shittiest adverts in the world.

What would you do?

01 October 2009

Pull your trousers up

Walking through town yesterday evening Mrsslippy and I had the misfortune of being stuck behind some arsehole who was intent on showing it to us.

He probably thought he looked really cool, but to the 36 year old me, he just looked like a twat.

Having lost a bit of weight recently, I have found myself constantly having to hitch some trousers up. It's fucking annoying, so a belt is called for at all times.

I'm not ashamed of my pants. In fact I've got some great pants that I'd love to show everyone, but could really not be doing spending my entire time preventing them from dropping to my knees by carefully pulling them up, but only by a couple of centimeters so everyone can still see the ferocious Hulk defending my arse crack.

All this whilst walking with some affected tilt of the head, roll of the shoulders, and semi Jamaican patoire that just doesn't sound right from a whitey from Cambridge. It just screams out 'I AM A PRETENTIOUS CUNT' even louder.

I assume twats that wear their jeans like this want to emulate the gangsta style of American rappers, and are vaguely aware that it's history lies in the prison system.

'Yeah' there clothes say. 'I'm dangerous. I've done time, that's why my trousers hang half way down my arse'.

'I've spent time in the big house, and to let my fellow big housemates know that I was up for some big fun, I'd dress like this'.

'Yep, my ringpiece is an open door for anyone who wants to..........oh now just hang on a minute. Is this really what I want to say with my attire?'

Apparently so. There is the alternative camp that says the low slung trousers mean your belt was taken away in prison to stop you killing your self, but the first camp is ...well...,just more camp. Either way, if I can see your pants, it either means you're suicidal, or the local bicycle.

How can we stop arseholes from not covering their arseholes?

Two ways as far as I can tell;

Firstly, you could creep up behind them, shiv them, then violently violate them anally under the assertion that you believed they were sexually available, and therefore gagging for it.

Secondly - and probably more fun, is with chocolate Matchmakers. Any flavour will do, but if you can get hold of the new blackcurrant ones,they will probably work best. When you see a twat with trousers halfway down his buttocks, clean white Calvin Kleins on display, simply take a Matchmaker from the box and slide it down the cleft, between pant and trow, leaving a couple of inches protruding. They should be narrow enough to slip in un-noticed, and within a matter of moments the pristine stick will have transmogrified into a streak of brown sludge.

I have yet to test the melting properties of the blackcurrant ones, but am hopeful that the little crystalline fragments will create some kind of deep red stain amongst the fresh skiddy that would make it oh so more alluring on the eye.

Feel free to try with a finger of fudge, or a Twix, but I don't think the biscuit or caramel will disperse with any degree of speed or satisfaction. A Wispa might melt pretty quickly and efficiently, but could be a bit chunky to slip in without being noticed.

Or if you really want, I suppose you could go for both options, and just anally rape them with a Snickers.

Just make sure its a big one.