Saturday, February 13, 2010

Oh, simple thing, where have you gone?

I'm thirty-three-and-a-third years old, either today or tomorrow, depending on how you look at it. Tomorrow if you pretend that the year is made up of twelve months of equal length, today if you consider that it's 122 days since my 33rd birthday today. Anyway, it's official - I'm a long-playing record. I'm the somewhat disappointing second sequel to "The Naked Gun". I'm a third of the way through my life, assuming I fulfil my lifetime ambition of dropping dead on my hundredth birthday, just before the arrival of the telegram from the Queen, prompting all my friends to write back by return of telegram condemning her rudeness in sending a telegram to the deceased and upsetting everyone like that, and in turn causing Her Majesty to be so grief-stricken and mortified that she realises the error of her ways, abdicates, abolishes the monarchy and the government and institutes a perfect socialist utopia.

I'm going to celebrate it tomorrow, anyway. And by 'celebrate', I mean that I'm going to spend the whole day wailing, lamenting and screaming curses at the gods for allowing me to get so old. It'll be fun!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Hey, is it the Winter Olympics? I hadn't really seen any build-up to it on TV or anywhere. Perhaps I should keep in touch with things more. But it's not like it's the real olympics, anyway. Those happen in London, in August.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The robots are mounting an attack on us! Our hero pulled the trigger on the gun.

My blog has recently been repeatedly attacked by evil robots posting lots of links to what I assume to be naughty websites (they're mostly made up of Chinese characters, with occasional words like "sex" and "18" thrown into the mix - and also, fascinatingly, "85cc", which makes me think that the websites might also involve a little motorbike like the one I used to ride. I'm almost tempted to click on it and find out).

This has happened four times now, and for some reason it posts these links to the same fifteen blog entries every time - most of them from March, April and May last year, two from November, one from January 2008 and one from November 2006. I'm not sure how it chooses which ones to target, and I'd be fascinated to find out. Still, it's boring to delete them all repeatedly, so now I've switched on the setting of comment moderation for all posts over 14 days old. So do feel free to comment on my old posts, unless you're a Chinese motorbike sex machine, but if you do, I'll have to approve the comment before it appears on the internet for the world to see.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


No, not the memory kind, a different kind. I was out on a Microsoft Access training course today - I'm great with Excel, but I've never really done anything with Access, and it's a bit like being the world memory champion in that if you're good with Excel, everyone assumes you know everything about every vaguely-related computer software. Still, now I know enough about Access to bluff my way through a conversation, so my reputation is assured.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Listing history

At the weekend, I bought for 20p from a market stall "Hunter Davies's Bigger Book Of British Lists", published in 1982. It's a book full of lists of trivia, most of it up-to-the-minute details of what was happening in British life in 1981, and there are some fascinating facts to be found.

Did you know that there were 27,870,000 telephones in Britain in 1981 (and a population of 54,129,000)? Or that there were 615.7 million calls to recorded information services in 1980-81 - 401.1 million of those being to the speaking clock? Second on the list was dial-a-disc, with 102.5 million calls, then cricket, with 30.5. I remember those - you dialled 16, and you got the latest cricket news if it was the cricket season, or a pop song (randomly selected) if it wasn't. No YouTube in those days, people had to entertain themselves somehow. Calls cost 10p, as I recall, although my recollection is based on a few years later, so it might have been 5p back in 1981. Still, to be amongst the top 10% of male wage earners in 1980, you had to earn at least £179 a week.

The top five television programmes for 1981 were Coronation Street, The Benny Hill Show, This Is Your Life, To The Manor Born, and Magnum. And even though there were only three channels to choose from in those days, the average individual watched 3.37 hours of TV a day.

Finally, and most interestingly, the top-selling toys of 1981 were...

1 - Rubik's Cube
2 - Star Wars figures
3 - Sindy Doll and accessories
4 - Lego
5 - Astro Wars
6 - Action Man
7 - Rubik Snake Puzzle
8 - Connect 4
9 - Britains Farm & Space figures
10 - Kensington

Kensington? Astro Wars? I don't recall what I got for Christmas that year (probably a kick up the bum and consider-yourself-lucky, but possibly some Star Wars toys too), but I've never heard of those two lines. Ah, poor people of 1981, still three years away from the glorious revolution that was Transformers, He-Man, Thundercats, MASK, Action Force, all those classic toys of the greatest toy-and-cartoon era of history.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Who wants to be a millionaire

I did the lottery last night, for the first time in a while (I buy a ticket every time I'm sitting at my computer on a Saturday and an advert for the lottery comes on telly - I'm easily swayed by advertising) and won £10. Of course, since it's on the computer, it doesn't really count as money - I really should buy a ticket from a shop some time, and get a real £10 note to put in my pocket, that would be a lot more satisfying. Still, it seemed rather miserly to transfer £10 back into my bank account, so I decided to spend it on the instant win games on the National Lottery website.

And I can tell you, it's easy to see why people develop gambling problems. I had no idea those virtual scratchcards were such fun! I was playing the monopoly-themed game (remember that strange obsession with monopoly I had recently?), and it's really extremely cleverly made. It really does feel like you're playing an exciting game, even though you're actually just essentially watching a video and then being told whether or not you've won. It could be very addictive, and I might just have to delete my account, just in case I get tempted to try it again. I hope the person who designed it got paid well, anyway.

You know, it's been much too long since I went to Las Vegas. I'll have to see if I can fit another holiday into my busy schedule...