Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Bale us out, Christian

Like most people dragging their ass though life seemingly at random, I have little to look forward to at the moment. Obviously, there's the move coming up - but apart from that the only thing in my life that takes the form of a 'goal' is the long overdue repayment of my overdraft.

I've been overdrawn with the bank since I graduated from University in 2003 - that's nearly SIX YEARS of being nearly two grand in the red with Barclays. I don't blame Barclays for this - on the contrary, unlike most people who are in debt, the only person I blame is MYSELF. I'm the one who spent a £2,000 overdraft on booze, kebabs, computer games and shit I didn't need. I honestly think more people should adopt this attitude, but I digress. Last month though, after several months of saving, I managed to pay off one of those grands and it feels like a massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders. There's still the small matter of the remaining £900 to go, but that'll wait another 6 years. Why am I telling you this? Just to give you some sort of background to the tale of uber-anger that engulfed my this morning, to be honest.

It's like this: I'm skint and £900 overdrawn. It's the end of January and it's always fucking raining. Imagine my face when I opened a letter from O2 this morning to discover that I'd been billed £180 for internet useage via my crappy dongle - when it's only meant to be £20 per month. Apparently, this extra £160 on top of my usual £20 charge is for 'downloads and useage outside of my 3Gb quota.' BOLLOCKS!

You don't pay £180 per YEAR on some proper wired broadband deals, so how the fuck can O2 justify charging me this amount for looking at my hotmail and surfing Youtube on occasion? Apparently, they're meant to send you a little text alert when you're nearing your data alert I never received. I'm currently in the process of getting this charge refunded, but if - as I'm expecting - the cunts turnaround and say "no," I'll be straight down the small claims court faster than you can say "cancel my direct debit."

Going back to the start of this diatribe, I have actually found something I'm quite looking forward to, although there's going to be quite a wait for it: Terminator: Salvation. Here's a shot:

"He's behind you etc..."

Yep - that's Batman himself, Christian Bale, playing a grown-up John Connor battling against Skynet's finest. It's almost guaranteed to be better than Terminator 3 simply because it won't feature a half-arsed performance from Arnie California or (hopefully) feature any gaping paradox-based plot holes. Terminator 2 style, ass-kicking action-o-thon? I certainly hope so...

...Roll on July.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Oh Yeah...

Ever heard of a Rube Goldberg Machine? No? Neither had I until today. Well, actually I had - I just didn't know that that's what it was called.

A Rube Goldberg Machine is one of those things that has loads of bizarre events going on (like a candle burning through a piece of string, that in turn makes a spring-loaded boot kick a ball, that in turn turns on a fan that blows over a box that releases a balloon...etc etc etc.), but ultimately results in a rather mundane and simple task being carried out. We've all seen them in adverts for cars, dynamite and tampons* etc.

But check this awesome example out:

It's amazing isn't it?! Some of the processes involved look a bit suspect to me, but you have to applaud the inventiveness and patience the creators must have had to get it all together. If it'd been me doing it, I'm pretty sure I'd have lost my temper when the CD cases wouldn't stand up and smashed it all to bits. That's because I'm an angry twat with Satan's own temper. But enough about me and my massively and irretrievably flawed 'personality' here for more info on this intriguing art form.

*-confusing the latter two could be hazardous to health

I'm Outta Here!

Wahey! Only 3 days till I move now! The excitement levels, as you have probably guessed, are approaching something resembling happiness. Not true happiness you understand. No, more like the faux happiness people working in offices display in the run-up to Christmas. You, know - like when someone who has never previously acknowledged your existence suddenly starts speaking to you as you make a cup of tea in the kitchen...simply because it's nearly Christmas?

I'm straying from the point though. Let me explain my situation. As you will probably see from looking at my profile, I'm currently in the Royal Navy and as such live at a shore base. It's really not that bad and I'm sure some people currently serving onboard a ship would kill to live here...but there are a few things that really get up my nose and as such I've decided to eschew the cheap rent and relative security of the base and move into a shared house nearby.

You may think I'm a bit stupid considering the recent onset of a recession, but paying rent to a landlord is small fry when you consider the absence of things you might take for granted living in 'civvy street':
  1. On the base, there are minimal kitchen facilities. Granted, there is a 'galley' that provides meals at certain times of the day, but if you'd rather not eat chips and mashed spuds for every meal (washed down with warm coloured water falsely advertised as chilled cordial), you're pretty screwed. That's because the kitchen areas provided only contain a fridge and a microwave and there are no proper cookers or ovens, so healthy eating isn't a viable option.

  2. The aforementioned fridge. Because the kitchen areas are communal, everyone has to share a fridge. Put anything - anything - other than milk or margarine into this fridge and you can rest assured that it WILL be gone the next time you go to the kitchen. Once, I put a bag of shopping in the fridge and tied the handles together in a misguided attempt to deter any would-be thief. Silly me. The thief simply untied the handles, went through the food and took the items he/she wanted. Then had the fucking audacity to cook this food in the microwave (it was a microwave lasagne, just in case you were wondering), take one fork-full, decide he/she didn't actually want the whole thing and then tossed it into the goddamned bin!!! What a fucking cunt!

  3. I have bought two toasters for the communal kitchen - both of which have been stolen.

  4. The security staff on the gate insist that you show your ID card entering the site. Fair enough - it is a military base after all. You also have to show it going out of the gate. Why?! This means groups of people fishing around in bags/pockets/wallets etc looking for ID cards hanging around...when all they want to do is go out! I remember one occasion where I entered the site, got a phone call from a mate asking me to meet him outside, turned around literally in front of the guard...and was ordered to show my ID again before I left! I'd shown it to the guy literally TEN SECONDS beforehand!

  5. The shop on the base is about 3 times as expensive as the ones just outside the gates. And the staff all have faces longer than Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
Don't get me wrong - it's not all bad, but after several months these little annoyances start to It's time to go. And like I said - only four days and counting!

Monday, 26 January 2009



But that's not what I want to bitch about right now. No, another thing that pisses me off (there are quite literally hundreds of thousands, by the way) is the random postage cost of items for sale on eBay. Why does it cost £10 to post a game or cable, yet it costs £2.50 to send a fridge freezer?! I'm exaggerating, naturally, but there's no standardisation on what sellers can charge for postage costs.

As you may have deduced, I do use eBay quite a bit and it really annoys me that people can just state random (and generally over-the-odds) amounts for the postage costs. Recently, I purchased an Xbox 360 game and the postage costs amounted to nearly a fiver, but when the thing arrived, the total cost of the stamps on the envelope came up to something like 98p. I wouldn't have minded if the game had been in a padded envelope, either - but it wasn't, it was just wrapped in brown paper. Brown paper that clearly didn't cost £3.02.

So where did my postage money go then? I'll tell you where - straight into the pocket of the arsehole who sold me the game. Hopefully it'll go towards the cost of a tin of Haze and a bottle of Shake 'n' Vac, because judging by the stench eminating from t'game the house fucking needs it.

A couple of final thoughts: why is is always written as 'eBay' when the actual logo doesn't feature a capital 'b,' and why isn't it called 'eBid'?


Technological Breakdown

Hello. Thought it was about time I started a 'proper' blog. I'm pretty confident no-one is gonna give a flying toss about anything I write on this thing, but hey - it's what all the coolest kids on the block are doing these days, right? I do write on another blog - The Dreamcast Junkyard, but that's mainly just about games and stuff. This one is going to cover any random shite that I feel is worthy of writing - or blogging - about.

And there's no time like the present, so I'm going to sing the praises of my newest technological acquisition: my Sansa Clip MP3 player. It's fucking awesome. I used to have an iPod Shuffle that I used in the gym, but the piece of shit broke after a few months of use (the little metal bit inside the charging hole broke off so I couldn't charge it up with the dock anymore), so I had to go back to using my old £6.99 Aldi MP3 player. Which was fine, but it didn't have a belt clip so I had to put it in my shorts' waist band when I was on the rowing machine...which led to me having to fish around inside them when it inevitably fell into the void between shorts and underwear. Not a good look in a busy gym.

Anyway, I got this Sansa Clip 2GB from Currys at the weekend for 25 quid, and it blows the Shuffle out of the fucking stratosphere, let alone the water. It's tiny, has an FM radio and is loud as hell - perfect for drowning out the twatting Basshunter infinity loop they have on in the gym.

I'm quite into technology and stuff - especially cool little gadgets. Another top bit of kit I recently got hold of is the Flip Video Ultra. You've probably already seen one or own one, but if you're not familiar with the name, it's a super-basic video camera thing:

It's possibly the most idiot-proof piece of technology I ever clapped eyes on - it's got one massive red button on the it and it records. Simple. Plug it into your PC and you can upload what you've just recorded straight onto Youtube. If you have a fucking crap net connection like me (one of those shite O2 mobile broadband dongles), it can take several millennia to upload though.

The quality of the video is really quite good, but due to compression or whatever the fuck it is, when you upload to Youtube the resolution takes a dive. It's still decent enough though. The Flip usually sells for about £100, but I managed to blag one off eBay for £30! God knows how, but it wasn't boxed and didn't come with the cable that you use to plug it into t TV.

Went to Maplin on Saturday to try and get one of those cables and the one the guy sold me doesn't work so now I'm gonna have to haul my ass all the way back over there tonight after work to get a refund. Yes, I know I'm a moaning cunt - but surely that's the whole purpose of having a blog...isn't it?!