Monday, December 29, 2008

Ho Ho Ho

Done. For another year. Had a fantastic Christmas actually, it had all the right things, lazing around, turkey and beer. Christmas day was the usual blur of opening the pressies, cooking, eating, playing, watching TV before finally sticking the Wii on for some late night darts. There was a bit of grumpy tiredness later on in the day but it basically had everything you'd expect from a nice pleasant Christmas day. Everybody got everything they wanted from Santa and I even managed to get the turkey right this year.

Boxing day we did nothing except play with our new toys. L hitting Animal Crossing on the Wii, S with the e-reader and me on the x-box. It was awesome. There are times when I think I'm missing out on stuff by not being in the pub as much as I used to (usually when I'm in the pub) but it's days like this that I really enjoy, just being sat around the house with nothing much to do taking it easy with my favourite people. There is a lot to be said for just being lazy every now and then. Maybe age will be a welcome companion for me after all. And that's been about it really. I'm not planning on doing a whole lot until the new year so it's going to be bits of work and playing games for the next few days. New years eve will be a case of a few beers and a board game with the in-laws, it's all rock n' roll.

For now though I hope everybody had a great Christmas and wish everybody a happy new year! Take it easy.

Slippers and cardigan on, must get back to the xbox.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Thank Fuck For That

Daughter does ballroom dancing. Wife is a huge ballroom fan. Queue 3 months of having that uber shite Strictly program on TV every single bastard night.

In a bit of parent child bonding I sat through the final on Saturday night and there were a few things I noticed.

1. The winner, Tom Somebody. What a smug twat. No really, I don't think I've ever seen anybody more smug. He couldn't have been smugger if he'd been born in the small town of Smugville in the county of Smugden in the country of Smugmania. Not only that but he was by far the worst dancer (I assume that is at least part of this program?). I have it on good authority that at least 3 of the girls and another one of the lads were significantly better than him throughout the whole thing. Certainly on the night the 2 girls seemed to be much better than Mr Smug. The judges and the experts around me said so. What the hell did the voting female public see in him? I understand that he doesn't have a competing vagina and that automatically makes him a vote for any girl 20-30 years old but seriously, come on?! Is it really that hard to vote for another girl?

2. Fred and Ginge. How many references can you have to Fred and Ginger in one program, surely Saturday night set some sort of record? It turns out that Tom The Twat has always wanted to be like Fred Astaire. He's also been dance trained. I'm beginning to smell something funny here.

3. Finally it all becomes clear. Mr Smug is actually an unemployed BBC actor, Strictly Shite seems to be on its last legs. The BBC will be looking for a new dance orientated Saturday night program soon (seeing as how it's the only program in their books with any viewer rating). Who better to host it than the UK's very own new Fred Astaire who also just happens to have just won Strictly? It could only possibly be better if he'd just got married (which got no coverage right, wasn't even mentioned?), a good wholesome Saturday night TV presenter. We give you, Mr Tom Chambers.

4. From looking at Lisa's partners face I'd say he worked this out a bit quicker than me. He looks like he could handle himself (for a puffy dancer), hopefully he'll man up and go and knock the crap out of Mr Tom "Smug" Chambers for wasting months of his life teaching somebody to dance who had no chance of winning because the BBC already knew who was going to win from day one. The only chance the judges had to put a spanner in the works the bosses just by-passed the dance off. Nice and subtle boys.

So that was about it. Basically another reality show of rigging and bullshit designed to do nothing more that rape people for phone money. 3 months of it. Even worse we'll now be seeing that smug fucker on every BBC program that they have the opportunity to put him on. Yet another reason not to pay a license fee.

Edit - And just to show how humble in winning the man is:-

"Chambers meanwhile believes he won because he was more of an entertainer than a dancer."

Ahh, so blubbering every 30 seconds about how lucky you are to be married is now entertainment you fucktard? No you smarmy waste of oxygen you won because MOST women don't like other women.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

BBC Taxes The Isle of Man

It is a well known fact that the Isle of Man gets fuck all coverage from the BBC. Oh sure we get the odd bit of bad publicity about being tax dodgers on Newsnight and maybe a few pictures of the Laxey Wheel taken by Ethell from Port St Mary on North West Tonight but that's about it. When it comes to radio our local station receives nothing from the BBC, it's funded completely by the tax payers of the Island.

Yet we still pay a license fee. Exactly the same as the one in the UK. To add insult to injury there are a load of places on the rock where you can't even get a half decent TV reception with an aerial. Many more with no signal at all. That's why 70% of the population are paying on top for satellite TV! So at last one of our politicians has had the gall to say something about this BBC rip-off. But we're told that if we scrap the fee then it will end up costing us more, except if you have Satellite TV.

Soooo 70% of the population have Satellite TV, therefore scrapping the license fee is going to save them money each year. Of the other 30% I wonder how many qualify for a free license? Just about all I would have thought. So they are being subsidised by everybody else. So here's a plan, how about we have a vote amongst those of us that actually get to pay for all this shit. Ignore the "I'm not paying for it but I don't like change" gang just for once.

Those who want to carry on paying a license fee no matter what the cost say - "Fuck me BBC now you bad boy".

Those who instead would like to see the license fee scrapped and have the subsidy money for 1 year go towards fitting Freeview satellite systems for the other 30% of homes (with no extra costs after that) say - "Fuck off you stealth taxing robbing twats".

The BBC is received without a license fee in tonnes of places all over the world. The UK are so keen to tell us that we are not in their gang at every opportunity so why do we volunteer our money to their state owned TV every year?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why Can't Women Blow Their Noses?

Mrs B has a terrible cold at the moment, it's on its fourth day and no signs of letting up yet. Last night was another sleepless night of tossing and turning, sniffling, coughing, sniffling and then more sniffling.

What is it that makes women unable to blow their noses? When I'm bunged up there's no better feeling than letting rip into a hanky leaving a trail that Ron Jeremy would be proud off. Get out you bitch! Of course it builds up again but at least it's half an hour of breathing freedom. When you're sniffling all you're doing is sucking it up to let it fall back down again. It's not going anywhere unless you do a super soak up when it ends up in your throat. That's alright when you're outside but you can hardly phlegm it out in the house.

Even when convinced that there is no shame in blowing your nose most chicks make a dismal attempt at it. Some half hearted pfffhhh through one nostril. I've seen my daughter cry when trying to blow her nose, giving up and rubbing half her nose away instead. It's easy, you take a deep breath in using your mouth, close your mouth and blow as hard as you can through your nose. When either your ears pop or your nose erupts you know you've done it right.

So girlies of the world there is no shame in blowing your nose, if it's one blow or 30 minutes of sniffling I know what I rather hear. Get blowing!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Manx Gas

Fifteen phone calls later.

Me - "Hi, I'd like to pay my gas bill please"

Lasy - "Sorry, they're with a customer at the moment, would you like to call back later"

Me - "No."

Lady - "Oh, why?"

Me - "Because this is my fifteenth phone call, I'm starting to lose my sense of humour about this, since 9 o'clock this fucking morning I've been trying to give you some money"

Lady - "I'll take your details..."

So the moral of this story is this. Fuck being polite.

You May Want To Close Your Ears...

Fuckidy fucking fuck, with a big yellow fucking fuck off on top!

I've taken the day of today, only 3 things to do, 3 very very simple things but I knew deep down that on this shithole rock nothing is ever that simple. Prepared, I've taken the whole day to get them sorted.

1. Pay gas bill via debit card. There is a number on the back of the bill so this should be a no brainer, or at least you'd think so. I've phoned at least 12 times this morning, either to get no answer at all or to be asked if I can phone back in 10-15 minutes because they're busy! For fucks sake I'm only trying to pay our fucking bill using one of the recommended payment methods on the back of the bill you cunts. So far I've racked up the cost of 12 phone calls without having managed to get even close to paying the bill.

2. Arrange to have the oven fixed. Now I knew this was going to be a shitter. First of all I phone the MEA who advertise that they fix Indesit appliances but surprise surprise, no joy. So I phone Indesit themselves who take all my details, the girl on the other end is actually very nice and helpful until she comes to pull up my nearest repair man. "Oh you live on the Isle of Man" she says with a level of fear that even I taste this end of the phone. 10 minutes of being on hold later she comes back with the news that they can't actually help me with my repair but instead a list of phone numbers to try. I go through them all, eventually coming across one that answers. As luck would have it I'm now speaking to the people who fix Indesit stuff on the rock. It's only taken an hour. They take the model of my oven, the phone goes silent. 2 minutes later I'm asked if I have the serial number, what the??? I check the Oven everywhere, there is nothing that identifies it anymore than the manual (which I've already told them). "Oh well there's 3 different types, without the exact serial right one we can't help". The end. So that's that, no chance of having the £500 2 year old oven fixed on the rock. As soon as I mention buying a new one though they are more than happy to help. They can shove it up their asses. So instead I take the oven apart, right down to its bare components, on giving up deciding what might be the thermostat (no parts are labeled of course) I decide that enough is enough. I'll be buying a £5 Oven Thermometer instead - from off island.

3. Get return box for x-box. My final job today, sit in and wait for the return box so I can have my 360 fixed. Microsoft inform me that it should be with me today. The local courier firm can neither confirm nor deny this although there's no sign of it yet. I'm not hopeful.

So overall out of 3 very simple jobs to do I've managed to complete fuck all. Is it through a lack of trying, our phone bill would suggest not? Or is it because living on this fucking rock nothing is ever simple.

Friday, November 21, 2008

GMail Gets Even Cooler

We love Gmail here, well all except one of us anyway. If however there was any criticism of GMail it was that it was a little dull looking. Well not anymore. Google have pimped the ass out of it by supplying a raft of interesting themes.

Enjoy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

WE ARE NOT A TAX HAVEN

The Isle of Man has accumulated significant wealth over the last 20 years. Bank deposits of more than 80 billion, pensions and investments also of more than 80 billion. As well as this we have one of the largest shipping registers in the world and not to mention a very active film/movie industry. There are thousands of companies registered at our companies registry, the vast majority of which have no connection with the Isle of Man.

Now the question, this wealth has been accumulated on the Isle of Man because:-

a) We are all really nice people, we say hello to the fairies, the Norse God Thor and his mighty hammer have blessed us with good fortune.

b) The Manx as a race are bred to provide unrivalled customer service. From our busses to our international telephone banking client call centres all our staff are immensely pleasant and helpful. Our natural skill base and "need to serve" has attracted big business.

c) We made doing business cheaper. Instead of paying £10 tax to somebody else we'll let you do business for only £1 or even better free (as long as you employ local staff) i.e we are a tax haven - we compete on taxation

Then there is the question of individuals. Why do so many non manx individuals choose to open accounts on the Isle of Man?

Is it:-

a) Because they came here once on holiday and liked the place so much that they thought it best to keep their entire life savings here?

b) They saw the TT on Men & Motors once and figured what the hell, that's the place where I want to keep my money!

c) Despite all the best regulations and claims in the world it is still entirely possible to hide the real beneficiary (or who owns what) via any number of corporate/investment vehicles. And at the end of the day we can always just claim that it is the individual’s responsibility to declare any money offshore as and when it is repatriated i.e. we are a tax haven?

Praise be to Thor and the TT is all I can say!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The woman who couldn't even clean

Nice article this:

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/4/20081119/twl-astronaut-s-bag-drifts-into-space-41f21e0_1.html

It's about the Astronaut woman who dropped her tools while cleaning something on the Space Station - the tools then drifted away.

By late Tuesday, the bag was already more than two miles (3.2km) in front of the shuttle-station complex

Given that (in space) everything is inertia based, since there's not much in the way of gravity or wind resistance. This means all motion is strictly proportional.

So, for the tools to drift 3.2 km in 24 hours it means they drifted 133m in the first hour. And 2 metres in the first minute. About an arm's length in the first 20 seconds. A slug is quicker than that. She's not exactly a quick thinker.

But it does beg the question:

Why the hell wasn't she in the kitchen!?

p.s. for the women who need this blog translated into woman-speak - forget about it, just put on a pretty dress or something. Get your nails done.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The One Flaw In Women

This is hilarious:

By the time the Lord made woman,
He was into his sixth day of working overtime.
An angel appeared and said,
'Why are you spending so much time on this one?'
And the Lord answered, 'Have you seen my spec sheet on her?
She has to be completely washable, but not plastic,
have over 200 movable parts, all replaceable
and able to run on diet coke and leftovers,
have a lap that can hold four children at one time,
have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart
-and she will do everything
with only two hands.'

The angel was astounded at the requirements.
'Only two hands!? No way!
And that's just on the standard model?
That's too much work for one day.
Wait until tomorrow to finish.'

'But I won't, ' the Lord protested.
'I am so close to finishing t his creation that is so close to my own heart.
She already heals herself when she is sick
AND can work 18 hour days.'

The angel moved closer and touched the woman.
'But you have made her so soft, Lord.'
'She is soft,' the Lord agreed,
'but I have also made her tough.
You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish.'

Okay....it was at this stage (while reading) that I realised that this wasn't a joke. It's a chain email that women send to each other when their "head isn't in the right place". Whatever that bollocks means.

At no point was there going to be a mention of how (with only two hands) she carries three-bottles of beer or what the extra opening at the back is for (add your own one liner)

It just goes on and on and on about how lovely woman are. I just wanted to inflict some of my disappointment on the rest of male-kind.

A Scene From RBS This Morning...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gears of War 2

I played through the single player campaign on GoW2 yesterday, started at 9 in the morning and got finished at 9:30 at night. Including a few breaks I'd say it's a good 10-11 hours worth of game play at the normal difficulty level (keeping in mind that I am a gaming guru and only died maybe once or twice during the whole game). It was very nice to be able to chill out and just enjoy a game instead of worrying about if it's too noisy and all the other crap that is part of.....well you know.

So is it any good? Yes. In fact it's excellent. I'm not going to bang on about the graphics because there are plenty of movie clips online that highlight just how stunning everything looks. It doesn't actually look that different to the first game but then again there wasn't that much they could improve on anyway. Enough to say that detail levels and frame rate are top notch throughtout.

It's also probably not worth going into too much detail on the gameplay either. If you've ever played the first Gears of War then this is exactly the same. Get into cover and pop out shooting is the name of the game throught 80% of the single player mission. There are a couple of nice vehicle style levels to break this up, important if you're going to play it in a monster session like me. But it is very much more of the same as the first.

What makes a game a classic these days isn't so much the graphics or the gameplay (not for FPS games anyway) but rather the story and this is weher GoW2 shines. The whole feel of the game is so much bigger than the first. It starts with a simple mission to defend a hospital but then the story erupts into mankinds fight for survival and one final choice. Attack instead of defend. From that point the game takes you on a roller coaster ride as you play the part of Marc Fenix as he leads Delta Squad to the core to take on the Locust on their home ground. You'll find hints along the way that reveal the very source of the Locust, there are plenty of personal elements as you come across characters from the first game and lose others. You will be very happy and more than a bit relieved when the Cole Train makes his first propper entrace! It's a movie style buzz. Inter twined amongst the main story is also the sub plot of Fenix's best mate Dom and his search for his wife. Whilst unlike a RPG where you get to decide on how the plot unfolds with GoW2 what happens will happen, of course this allows the developers to give it the full movie'esque feel. The game is stuffed with high quality cut scenes (even just taking a lift the camera angles add to the tension) and top notch voice acting. If you like big open feel games then this isn't for you, it is a linear story with high production values.

So are there any week points? Yes. As great as the gameplay is there has obviously been pressure put on the developers to make the single player game longer. About 70% into the game this results in some Halo style levelling. You know the type, lots of rooms the same that need to be cleared. For about an hour the game does become repetitive. I had to step away at this point and have a break. I was very worried that this was how they were going to end the game but thankfully they didn't. The first 70% is a fantastic journey with numerous different situations to fight your way through and the last 15% is the same. It looks like all the creative juice went into these elements and they just strapped on that middle bit to keep the marketers happy. Luckily unlike the first Halo this repetition only last an hour so it's well worth battling through it for the spectacular last few levels.

My only other minor gripe is with the difficulty. This is a common problem with modern games. They make the early levels easy enough to sucker the gamer in but then instead of a gradual difficulty curve they just go "right, try and beat that!" I was flying through it until the last 2 levels where all of a sudden I had to be very careful with ammo and staying in cover a lot more.

So all in all it's an excellent game. If you've got the first then it's a must buy to see how the story continues. At £35 (from Amazon) some might see it as an expensive 10-11 hours of entertainment? When you work it out I think it compares well to any DVD you'd buy plus there's also the small matter of online play. If you enjoy playing a game to see a very entertaining story unravel before you then you'll be struggling to do better than Gears of War 2.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Parents Evening

It's L's parents evening tonight. A chance for all the mums and dads* to go to the school and hear the teachers sprout a load of shit about what changes will be made in upcoming weeks that never actually happen but it makes them feel better like they're providing you as a parent with some feedback on your child's progress. It is in short a fucking great waste of time for all but the parents of naughty little shits, who lets face it don't care anyway and won't turn up. If you want little Johnnies mum and dad to know what a disruptive little fuckwit the kid is then why not just drag them in instead of having the whole school turn up, or is that classed as discrimination these days?

The thing is that both me and wife know how L is doing in school. We look at her homework, we talk to her. It works quite well. Tonight we'll get in from work, rush our tea, spend ages looking for a park. Spend even more time sat in a room on tiny chairs waiting for the form tutor to get around to us (they are always way behind schedule, ALWAYS). Finally he will tell us that L is doing fine, ask us if we have any concerns** and then let us get on our way. It's then a case of trying to navigate the car out of the inevitable cluster fuck of a parking situation. Wouldn't this work better if they just sent home a report (which they do) and if your kid is causing/having problems they have you in to talk about it?

*Do many other dads actually go to these things? I've been to every parents evening L has ever had and there's normally at most 2-3 other blokes there? I know my dad never went to any of mine.

**Of course you're not allowed to say anything at this point. Criticise the teacher and be damned. I'll never ever forget when I brought up how L couldn't read properly. I was then told that when it comes to reading it's not reading the actual words that are there that's important but rather just getting a gist of what the sentence is about. At that point we took it upon ourselves to teach L the art of reading the actual words. That teacher is now a headmistress FFS

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dear Diary

My very first blog started off as a Dear Diary sort of thing, and then a few friends and eventually strangers started reading it. (When I say a few strangers, I really mean 5 or 6; not the dizzy heights that LC & Annie get). So with my new found “fame” I started to embellish by daily scribbles. As they say: Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Then I started telling jokes, or at least recycling jokes I found off the internet and writing them as if I was in them and using relatives and friends as subjects. This was HILARIOUS…. At least I thought so, but when the “relatives” found out, they didn’t. Long Story Short: LOADS of Shouting and tears, and no one speaking to me. It took 2 years or so for it to be “forgotten” and never spoken of again.

So this Manx Lads was devised for two reasons, my anonymity from relatives and the fact with 4 of us posting we should get at least a blog a week up. Not that that happens often.

Anyway, as I can’t think of any rants, I am going to revert to my old Dear Diary on a Monday morning. So please ignore these boring posts, but as Civil Service Monkey riding the Gravy Train to retirement it will give me something to do.

Friday Night was the usual “Married with Kids” night. I drank Pear Cider and played Halo with the 4 year old online. Then drank more cider and played cards with the wife.

Saturday morning was the Rugby League World Cup; alas England blew it in the second half, but they have a second chance this week in the semi finals. Mind you, the way Australia are playing I wouldn’t give them much of a chance IF they get through to the final. Saturday afternoon was Rugby Union; with the new look Johnson side. I must admit they looked good. We can’t tell truthfully how well they’ve improved until they come up against the Tri-Nations squads, but the “black three” were excellent.

Then I managed to get some time on my latest Xbox 360 game: Viking. Although very simple, it looks good and the death scenes are excellent. Anyway, it was a tenner on eBay and only has to last till Christmas when I’ll get my hands on Fallout 3. Which is getting excellent reviews; including one that said it was a cross between Duke Nuke ’em, Oblivion & Gears of War. Which is praise indeed.

The evening was rounded off watching Tat on TV (ie X-Factor) and drinking Vodka.

Sunday morning was more Xbox, followed by going to see Igor with the little’un. Trust me, avoid it like the plague. That was pretty much it apart from the obligatory Sunday Roast all washed down with 2 bottles of Red Wine.

After re reading it, it’s just drivel. I won’t summit you to anymore of this as it bored the arse of me and I lived it. Still I’ve wrote this so this one goes up.

Sorry

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Living On The Edge

It's bloody stressful all this making money from the internet thing. Life goes up and down round and round and you hold on, partly shitting it, partly knowing that tomorrow could be the day....

Take today for example. One of my nice little side earners is referring people to bookmakers. Online gambling is big business these days and getting people signed up is a fairly easy way of making a few pound. There are that many online bookies out there that being positive about one is normally enough to get your signup. The problem is that most work on the basis of revenue share. So if your new gambler loses money you take a percentage of what he looses, but if he wins then a percentage of that comes from your earnings. You never owe the bookie money but you can end up with a big negative balance, it's all just part of the fun!

So I've been doing this for a few years now and have a lot of signups. Most are small time average Joe's who gamble a few pound here and there and over that time I've made "enough". Then about 2 months ago I must have referred a real pro. Somebody who spends big and wins big. In a matter of weeks they wiped out my entire earnings. Cooont! It was a bad day, put it down to experience and get on with it. What that money was sidelined for will just have to wait.

But back to today. I just checked and last week I must have referred an even bigger loser (or 2). They are losing money hand over fist and making me good money. How would an extra £50-£60 a day in your bank account feel? This guy or guys just love spending. This is where the fun starts though. I can't cash out until the end of the month, in that time he/they could win big. However I could spend that cash now on the basis that it's coming. It would go a long way to covering Christmas.

What do I do, spend spend spend or just leave it and pretend that money doesn't exist? If I put it on credit now and the money doesn't come then that's another lump to find next month.

Sometimes just having a normal job might be nice.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A game of chicken

The traffic lights outside the office are being replaced. The job that started on Sunday that took nine Dept. of Transport workers to stand around whilst two worked (it's coming up to Christmas after all - so everyone wants a slice of overtime) is now in its third day.

Just two bods are now frantically puzzling over the mess of wires that sprout from the top of the traffic lights - trying to fix them up before an accident happens. Because now this busy stretch of road has become a scene from Death Race 2008 - with the pedestrians trying to cross and the cars/lorries/vans daring them to take that first step to cross the road.

The cars actually speed up if they see pedestrians making their wat to the crossing. Speed up to scare them off - and ensure they don't have to slow down and delay their journey by ten seconds. In some wierdly perverse social experiment I stand at the window, coffee in hand, and watch this devolvement of human spirit as car vs person takes on a grisly spectacle.

So place your bets now. The white van vs the hassled office worker - who will come out the winner?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

That's Entertainment

Someone has to comment on the latest non-news item - Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross being abusive on the telephone to old people.

Should they lose their jobs - or are we over-reacting?

Who cares? The key thing is; these two guys are paid Entertainers, they are required to entertain.

Would it be more entertaining if:
a) they apologise and keep their jobs or
b) get sacked and jailed for breaking some Privacy/Obscenity laws?

Of course, it's "b". We'll get months of entertainment out of this scandal; their dismissal, incarceration, release, re-hab and re-integration into the BBC.

Plus, all the saucy stories of the pair of them being asked to pick up the soap. Personally, I find both of them hysterically funny. But, alas, I grow bored easily.

So Entertain us on her majesties pleasure - you lisping, dickless wonders!! It is, after all, your job.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nearly Killed

I just stepped outside the front door and went ass over tit. Some twat had conveniently left what looks like a couple of old fish boxes right in front of the door.

Luckily they just about managed to fit in the bin.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's Not Our Fault

So the Isle of Man depositors compensation scheme that was a waste of space is going to get changed to include other non personal depositors, up to a maximum of £20,000. On top of that the amount the banks will pay in has been reduced (because they didn't like it) and the income tax paying public will chuck in £150,000,000 instead. That is half of the governments reserves. More on that later.

The thing is that this new scheme will only be in place for 12 months. I think it has been worked out to try and do as much damage limitation as is possible for the customers of KSF and to salvage some of the Isle of Man's reputation. Will it work, only time will tell? One thing is for sure though it's certainly not a long term solution or guarantee against deposits in the Isle of Man. The government must be praying that another bank doesn't go under in the mean time because how many £150 millions can we afford, not many! Another bank going under will finish us off in my opinion.

This is what happens when you bank offshore, but it's not our fault. Not so long ago the Isle of Man had booming tourism and fishing industries, I'm not talking about hundreds of years here, just a few decades ago. Boats from other countries pillaged our fish stocks and with the advent of cheap foreign holidays to Spain the tourism industry almost vanished over night. As a country what are you supposed to do? We took the step that any other small country with no viable export/industry would do, we set ourselves up as a finance centre/tax heaven. We tried to attract business by offering them a low tax regime under which to work. It has worked very well, up to now.

The trouble is that with all deposits under management going well over 100 billion we don't have the economy in other areas to support that, it's impossible with an island with only 80,000 inhabitants, only 40,000 of which work and only 30,000 that aren't on the government payroll. There is no way that our economy can support those deposits if things go wrong. Even with all those billions on deposit for so many years we still only have a reserve fund of £300 million. Our government lives almost hand to mouth in terms of income/expenditure in order to provide the best environment for business. Just look at Douglas for example, it's a shit hole! With all the money kept here if the government was really raking it in do you not think that might do something about at least making the place look clean? Instead we borrow big for our big projects and get ripped off left and right by consultants. Our government is run by shop keepers FFS!

When our other industries were taken away the Isle of Man had 2 choices. Mass emigration and die or do whatever it takes to survive. The island took the second option and established one of the most well regulated finance centres in the world. You want to see the shit we have to go through just to open a bank account! BUT, there will always be more risk in depositing money in economies that can't afford to shaw up failing financial institutes, it's just a case of economies of scale. We are totally dependent on the finance sector as a country, if you deposit £2 million here and the bank goes bust then I'm sorry but we can't afford to give you free money, blame the bank for not operating a suitable business plan, and blame yourself for chasing the highest interest rate instead of using any form of caution. Blame anybody but us, because it's not our fault.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Remember This Day Well...

Everybody on the Isle of Man should make a note of this day, it's the day that the islands financial services industry (the finance sector) started its swift route to doom.

The manx government have just approved a new depositors protection scheme that will protect PERSONAL savings up to £50k. This new scheme offers no security at all to corporate/trust accounts. How much of our ecomony is based on corporate/trust work, shifting numbers on spreadsheets between banks? Shit loads. Who in their right mind will risk their money in such a small economy in the current environment? The shockwaves are already travelling around the internet at lightning speed at the news of the "local" savers at Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander (IoM)Ltd who have just been screwed. Like most of our banks, they are seperate entities to their UK/intl counterparts. Great when you're looking at tax saving when things are good not so great when things go tits up! If you're doing business in the Isle of Man you'll need a local account and all the risks that go with it.

I'm of to buy a gun and a fishing rod. Not worth worrying about money, cos fairly soon none of us are going to have any.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fat Bastards Breaking Cash Machines

Why is it that every time I queue behind some morbidly obscene fat knacker at the cash point they break it? Do really fat people have a special talent for breaking the hole in the wall or is it just fat fingers confusing the electronics? Either way a solution needs to be found urgently.

What Financial Crisis?

I was watching the BBC news this morning and they were doing a sterling job of explaining the current banking difficulties.

From what I can gather it all comes down to a lack of confidence resulting in the banks being unwilling to lend money, what's the problem here?

I was brought up with the notion that being in debt was wrong. Even worse borrowing more to sort out your debt is never a solution. You want nicer things? Get another job, ask for a pay rise, work harder, save. If the banks aren't willing to lend money to people who can't afford it then surely that is a good thing?

Same goes for businesses. I thought the first rule of business 101 is watch your cash flow. Money in before money out. You shouldn't have to borrow except for when you want to expand quickly, a shrinking economy wouldn't be a time for expansion anyway so I take it the businesses that want to borrow just have bad cash flow? If they can't get that most basic part of business right then I woulnd't want to lend them money either!

I can understand it being a crisis if suddenly everybody's current debt repayments tripled overnight (which I don't think they have?) but just not being able to borrow even more, I just don't get it? I MUST have this all wrong, obviously I'm stupid and don't understand economics at all but I don't understand where the crisis is in not being able to borrow.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Characterture Artists: Bastards

Have you ever met such low life’s?

They sit there in the middle of the street all pompous and twatish waiting for the next victim.

Some self conscious individual sits down as they want a memento of their time in the big city and everyone is egging them on.

So this “Artist” or piss taking bullying twat as they prefer to be called begins their ritual humiliation of subject.

They find anything that the person may feel insecure or even suicidal about and enlarge it by 10 whilst the gathered crowd just laugh and point.

You can here the whispers, “Christ he has got sticky out ears, I hadn’t noticed till this umber perceptive street artist pointed out the error of my ways, how can that poor bloke live with himself, freak”

All the while they give you that sit there and take it bitch look.

You are then expected to hand over £30 and smile, rush home and put the dam thing above the fireplace to allow all your visitors to laugh at you in the one place you would normally feel safe.

I put it to you: Artist or Degradation Terrorist?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is Halo 3 a Good Teaching Aid or Bad Parenting

Daniel and I have just finished the Campaign on Halo 3, and he often plays it when there is nothing left to do; as for some reason it never stops raining.

Is this bad parenting on my behalf or is he learning valuable skills for life?

I mean he is gaining:
1. Eye Hand Co-ordination
2. Team Playing
3. Advance to contact skills
4. Sniper skills
5. Military vehicle skills
6. Computer Skills
7. Parental bonding

I don’t mean he’s on it all the time, but the last week it was fair bit. We did spend 2 hours messing on the beach last Saturday in the Wind and Rain (we were soaked to the skin and cold, but happy)

So am I bad parent or ground breaking educator?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

White Van Man

The local Police, known as the Mickey Mouse police to those in the know. They're not exactly very pro-active to put it lightly.

Take this van for example. Every morning it comes and parks on the zig-zags of a pedestrian crossing where it stops for half an hour. It's a pain in the hole, he conveniently parks it in just the right place that it completely blocks the view of traffic approaching and people wanting to cross the road. Every morning the same. Most mornings there is some sort of incident where either somebody crossing has gambled or a car has approached too fast without being able to see. There is a real somebody getting hurt accident waiting to happen. It's bone idle, there are dozens of parks within a 30 second walk, he's just a lazy twat.




The annoying part (other than White Van Man) is that less than 200 yards down the road is one of the main police stations on the island. All they'd have to do is look out the bloody window.

It's hardly the biggest offence in the world really but it's just a little example. It would take 2 minutes for somebody to nip out and tell him to shift it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Killer Seagulls

The Isle of Man have developed a rare bread of Seagull that targets humans as for food. All attempts at driving them away have failed, DO NOT COME TO THE ISLE OF MAN (Like there is much danger of that)

Killer Gulls
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Have they never heard of shotguns? A nice long barrelled (31"-32") shotgun for a tight grouping, BB or AAA shot. Not that I would ever do such a thing but just say if at any point in the past farmers were having problems with black backed gulls preying on lambs if I wanted to get rid of them that's the route I would have gone. I would guess that the gulls would pretty soon come to associate humans with death rather than a free lunch. If scraggy arsed shite hawks are now sitting above us on the food chain then something has gone very wrong with the world.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Secret To A Good Nights Sleep

Work stress, tick. Home stress, tick. Family stress, tick. The end result is weeks, maybe even a couple of months without a decent nights sleep. That was until last night, all you need is beer.

Five or six pints, put the world to rights and then sleep like a baby, only trouble is I slept in till midday so that's even more work stress now! Never mind, at least I'm not feeling tired anymore.

Friday, August 22, 2008

When I Rule The World..


...the first thing I'm going to decree is that anybody who feels that a phone call is more important than the life and limb of those around them should have their ears removed by coating them in sugar and letting mules chew them off.

No less than three of the cunts stopped right in front of me yesterday, one of them slamming on the anchors in the right hand lane not only causing me to skid to a halt but also blocking anybody coming the other way. The stupid 4x4 bint then calmly talked on her phone for a good 3 or 4 minutes before setting of again (Car A in my excellent diagram). Apparently turning on your hazard warning lights makes it ok. I have never ever ever ever felt like hurting somebody so much. You selfish, stupid, retarded, fucked up in the head, if brains were dynamite you wouldn't have enough to blow your hat off uber-cunting bitch.



Here's a life saving tip for you, if your phone rings when you're driving, ignore it. If it's important they'll either phone back later or I shit you not, phones actually store missed numbers and you can call them back. Just a thought.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Manx Myths Number 1

Don't Buy Online, IF Something Goes Wrong You'll Have to Pay to Have it Sent Back, You're much Better Of With A Warranty From A Local Store



Much spewed bullshit from the local traders who expect us to put up with the average 40%-100% mark-up that they decide to put on everything. I recently bought a new TV, I knew which model I wanted and did a lot of research on the net to find the best price. Because of stock shortages online I ended up taking a wander around the local shops (MEA, Waltons, Colebourns). Whilst there I looked at a number of TV's, the average mark-up was about 60% over the best price online. On a £1800 TV that's a shit load. When I asked about this I was told the local warranty, cost of courier bullshit. It was the same in 2 shops, it's like they've got together to compose a speech for ripping of mugs. I was in a buying mood so decided to ask if they actually had any knowledge of ANY online retailers that require you to stump up for the cost of a return. Funnily enough they didn't.

I've been buying stuff online for years, I've bought quite literally tonnes of electrical items, clothes and everything in between. Over that time I've had to do my fair share of returns and without fail it follows the same pattern. Phone up, get sent a return label, box it, apply label and have courier pick it up. The only hassle in any of this is having the courier actually turn up to pick it up (you usually give up and bring it to their warehouse yourself). It costs nada. If you do happen to come across a site that wants to charge you for returns then don't buy, go somewhere else, the great thing about the internet is that there is choice.

Another thing that gets on my tits is the repair thing. You know, you'll have it back quicker. If it's something electrical and modern then chances are they are going to have to send it away for repair anyway, just the same as you would. Also, shopping locally you get the after sales support of being able to go in and speak about what've you've just bought. Like shopkeepers are experts in every product they sell. Yes of course they are. My own choice would be to phone the support of the people who actually made the bloody thing and are being paid solely to know about that.

There are probably good reasons for buying local, enjoying browsing and being able to get credit on some items that you couldn't online being two. Is it worth paying twice the price of online for, I dunno? But the whole warranty, convenience, repair myth is a load of bullshit.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Low Maintenance Kids

My mum and dad split up when I was 11 years old, my big brother was 16, my little brother was 7. I say they split up but in reality it was the beginning of a process that took nearly 4 years to get sorted, during that time my mum was a complete mentalist (she was the cause of the split). She couldn't decide what she wanted, dad moved out and us kids were left to get on with it whilst my mum concentrated on "dating" on and off the bloke from next door. It didn't really bother my big brother that much, he was big enough and old enough to get on with his own thing. For me and my little brother things were very different, stuck between parents who grew to not be able to stand the site of each other very quickly. When the hard choices had to be made, who to live with, for me there was no choice. My mum had all but abandoned us to go after what she wanted, we were left to clean, cook and do everything for ourselves. My younger brother was barely in double figures. I can still remember my dad sitting us down with tears in his eyes and telling us that it would be best if we stayed with mum, his food skills were basic at best, washing clothes and house work was never a priority with him. We were still at school and it would be for the best. Screw that! There was no way I was ever going to stay somewhere where I wasn't welcome. I'd rather eat raw gammon steak somewhere I was welcome that beans on toast somewhere I wasn't any day. I had a hatred for my mum, not the sort of hatred that most teenagers have, this was a very grown up hatred of her for being the selfish bitch she was. My little brother (although he would never admit it now) was still like my little shadow back then and he was going wherever I was going. So me and him moved in with dad, leaving our big brother with mum. He always sided with her, I could never understand why.

After 6 months of living with my mum my brother decided he couldn't take it anymore and so wanted to move. Being ignored was not something my brother could stand. My dad sorted out a room for him and he moved in with us. We stayed that way for a couple of years, a real lads house, we had great fun. The domestics got taken care of in a round about way but we were always well turned out for school etc. We never really had much money but to be honest I was happy shooting, fishing and all those sorts of things. Whilst my friends were knocking around town in the £100 trainers, drinking cheap beer I'd be out on the boat fishing. Things would have been better if my big brother would have chipped in, he had a good office job but was living totally rent free. All his money was spent on himself.

Eventually my big brother settled down and got married. At the reception (always a difficult thing for a split family) he took the decision to have my mum and her boyfriend on the top table whilst my dad was sat with some of my mums family and us. Even today I can't understand the logic behind it. After all he'd done for him, my brother still decided to do that, wanker.

Jump forward 5 years and I find out the truth of why my brother is such a mummy's boy. My mum and I have found a level of peace with each other. My big brother was actually adopted by my dad, in a twist of fate that put our lives on such a similar playing field that I had no idea about. My dad had gone through almost an identical adoption battle as I went through with my daughter. He'd brought M up as his own to the point where me and S had no idea. Even after spending years of his life bringing him up, having his mum cheat and leave him my dad had still done what was best for my big brother. I was puzzled by why he hated my mum quite soo much at the time, at that exact moment where my mum spurted it out to me whilst she was drunk I knew exactly where the hatred in my dad came from. Never mind understand it, I could share it.

My dad is now married again and happy with his new wife. She has a grown up family, 3 boys in their late 30's, 40's. She dotes on them, they are still like little kids to her and it means my dad spends a lot more time with her family than he does with us. You see my mums actions made us all fiercely independent, well 2 of us anyway. I was living on my own by the time I was 18, only to have my younger brother move in with me eventually. My big brother lives on the other side of the island with his wife, close to her family. I'm now married and living close to my wife’s family, it's just the way things go. My big brother can't accept this though. He thinks my dad should "still" be popping around at weekends or something. He's busy, we're all busy. My brother now has no time for my dad, he will drive past his house every other week to go and see my mum. If I'm around that neck of the woods I make a point of dropping in, even though I might only see them 3 or 4 times a year. I usually phone my dad if I need something manual doing, he's the person I phone if I need something. My mum is the opposite, she phones me. 99% of the time it's because something has gone wrong with either her or somebody she knows computer. I don't mind though, even with all that has gone on, I do most of what I can to live an easy life.

So what was the point of the longest blog post of all time? Well next week is my nieces birthday and I'll drive up to see my brother and drop a present off. The second set of words out of his mouth will be some sort of slagging of our dad. As it always is. The selfish selfish cunt. One day I will lose my temper and set him straight. Not this time though, I'll not tell him that the first question out of our dad's mouth every time I see him is "Have you heard anything from M?" (Not "How's things?") or that he's been around 4 times (it's way out of his way) but nobody is ever in. It's hardly a 5 minute trip either, as things go it's about a big a trip as you can make without driving into the sea. That's 3 times more than my dad has come to see me and my family this year. Why dad feels any guilt I don't know, but he does. Why M think he deserves special treatment I don't know, but he does. All I do know is that it twists my melon, and the great news is that Christmas is approaching fast. That’s when it all gets really fun.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ammmmmerrriccaaa , Fuck Yeah!

I love America me! It's the way they spread their "culture" around the world via the bastard Disney channel, cool as fuck they are.

Take my daughter for example, she now thinks it's normal to have a huge, no expense spared birthday party when you turn 13, after all you're only 13 once. A normal party will not suffice, you need hundreds of guests and the sort of venue normally reserved for top end wedding receptions. They are 13 after all so I suppose we're meant to lay on complimentary lines of coke as well? I wonder where she got this idea from? Cunts.

Why Are Buses So Fucking Expensive?

I was up and away early this morning, far too much work to do. I've been getting a lift of the wife recently but wanted to start work before 8, that was a definite no go so it had to be the bus.

It's about a 2 mile ride, would be a bit shorter if it went from A to B in anything like a straight line but it doesn't, it goes around the houses stopping every 100 yards, we don't want people to have to walk too far do we? Anyway the price of this 15 minutes of joy is £1. Use it to and from work every day and that's............(carry the 2).... £10 a week. It's a 2 mile journey. Or 20 miles for the week. It costs £10. Why the fuck does it cost £10 to travel 20 miles on a stinking piece of shit bus?

Our car does roughly 35-40mpg. So even with the starting and stopping we are going to easily use less than a gallon of petrol. Going with a nice extortionate £1.25 a litre that's roughly £5.60 (for the full gallon) to do the same trip in the car and in comfort. Not only that but it gets much worse if you think that there are 2 of us heading for work each day. If we both got the bus that would be £20 a week, or nearly 4 times what it costs to go to work in the car*. It's not even like the buses are adding anything to the experience, they usually stink and they are always slower than driving. Why would anyone want to pay at all to get on a bus, never mind paying more than it costs to drive?

Just to show how shit this situation is the lads and I went for a beery day out to Ramsey the other month. It was £2.50 per person each way, so £20 all in for the 4 of us. Driving to Ramsey and back is about 30 miles or as I prefer to think about it, £4.20 worth of petrol. IF we could find a designated driver that £15 could have gone in to the drinks kitty. Not ever likely to happen but it proves the point, if you had a friend who doesn't drink. Yeah I know the bus driver has to be paid and the bus has to be serviced and tax and yadda yadda but still, I don't care about that. We have a car anyway, if anybody wants people like us to stop using it for work then they'd better come up with something a little bit better than the current bus situation.

The real "thick as pig shit" thing that makes all this even worse is that our bus service is still running a loss. So they are over charging and running at a loss.

So either:-

1. Not enough people use the buses to pay for them
2. There are too many buses on the roads
3. The bus staff are being paid too much

It's the Isle of Man, there's no way that the staff wages are going anyway but up, any attempt to reduce the service will be met by the screeching blue rinse brigade (Another fucking rant just waiting to happen). That only leaves the option of trying to get more people on them, well that's not going to happen as long as it's more expensive to get on a bus than it is to drive.

* I'm not going in to parking, the wife has a free park. I've had free parks with the majority of the places I work as well. If you do have to pay to park, unlucky, that's another huge rip-off where the numbers don't add up either.

Monday, July 28, 2008

What I Did Yesterday

Wrote a fucking awesome utility for finding expired domain names with high value links. Paid for itself within 10 minutes of finishing it.

A great day.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What I've Done Today

9am - Turn up in the office, get plugged into the Matrix, turn up headphones.

9:03am - Start advertising campaigns that were paused over night. Don't want to lose money whilst I'm sleeping!

9:04am - Open tracking software and refresh to see if my newly started campaigns have made any money yet, a tad optimisistic maybe.

9:05am till 9:50am - Hit refresh a lot, not make any money. Surely hitting refresh every minute will make me more money? Hit refresh faster damn you.

9:50am till 10:45am - Bored of refreshing I write a huge blog post about a new ad network I started using last week. Won't get any feedback though until America wakes up in a few hours.

10:45am till 11:57am - Hit refresh lots more times, answer a support e-mail from somebody who is far too stupid to ever be allowed to use a computer.

11:58am - Answer a personal e-mail, begin a debate over who is better Google or Mircosoft

12:00pm till 2:20pm - Emails going backwards and forwards as a mate and I bait each other over the various benefits brought to the world by both Microsoft and Google. I argue in favour of Google, well just cos. I refresh my stats lots, still make no money.

2:21pm till 2:44pm - Write one final big email, forget stats whilst I concentrate. Just before posting I check stats and discover I've just lost a load of money in the last 20 minutes. Damn you bastard internet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2:45pm till 15:10pm - Add a load of keywords researched yesterday to a clients advertising campaign. They all look good, very pleased.

15:11pm - Refresh stats, lost more money. Give up for today.

Yep, this online life, it's certainly all rock and roll. Lost money, debated nada and had to bite my tongue answering some useless twat. Here's hoping tomorrow is a little more productive.

MacKenzie - My Daughters A Chav

Number one daughter went on 3 day school trip to Manchester earlier this week. They were staying in the Trafford Centre so a big part of the trip was shopping.

She's come back with a suitcase full of MacKenzie clothes, never heard of this brand (I'm getting old so shove it) so I decided to have a look on the net and turned up this:-


Once all the chav and chavettes have greeted each other in the usual manner (i.e. wos up blood or yo yo yo) they congregate in the foyer of Sainsbury's. Each one taking it in turns to either sit in the baskets, be in the competition to see exactly how many chavs you can fit in one Postman Pat kids ride or how many times can you really wind up the security guard or trolley boy.

The most common chav attire is:

MacKenzie
Burberry
Hackett
Von Dutch
Le Coq Sportif
Henry Lloyd


For fucks sake!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

BEWARE - Feral Kids On The Loose

I hate where we live, not the Isle of Man, not even Douglas in particular, just our own little bit of Douglas. Every time I go into and out of the local shop I hold the door for other people, don't think I've ever heard anybody say thank you or hold a door in return once. I'm not posh, not a snob, I was brought up on a similar kind of estate just in a different town for fucks sake. It pisses me off, I was brought up to be polite and with basic social manners. Even just walking to the shop after 7pm is like walking through a mine field, you never know what you're going to have to face. Be it kids trying to kick balls through the local school windows or shit faced dole scummers who have managed to stumble from the pub to the shop, mainly because they want a scrap and don't want to get barred from the pub. There's a debate in our house every time somebody has to go because we forgot to get something when in town. Usually I lose.

Take last night for example, we needed a few bits so I took a wander to the shop at about 7:30. As I walked through the kids park there was a group of lads ahead, all about 12 or 13. As I got closer I could see what they were doing, they were throwing biscuits on the ground to attract Seagulls and then throwing rocks at them! Seagulls are a pain in the arse I know, but it is illegal to kill one. IF you're going to throw stuff at them at least do it away from where people can see and especially try not to throw bloody big lumps of rock where people are walking. They didn't stop until I got about 5 yards away. I don't think they would have stopped at all unless I told them (to much muttering under breath). I was no sooner past them when they started again. I didn't have much time to dwell though because around the next corner I was greeted by a couple of my daughters friends....smashing some goal posts into a lamp post and fence! Did they stop? Did they bollacks? All I got was a "Hiya L's dad!" Now I was never a perfect kid, far from it. But I would never ever have dared to vandalise stuff not only in public view but right in front of one of my friends parents. It's just plain stupid and totally arrogant. It's that whole "well what are you going to do about it attitude". I know the correct PC approach with kids like these is to buy them some even more expensive trainers and send them of to Disney Land for a week (that'll teach em). But I'm more inclined to go down the get a grip of them, drag them home to their parents where I get a load of abuse and told to fuck of and mind my own business from whichever random bloke is living there this week who I then flatten (in the process of explaining about controlling your kids) and for the pleasure recieve a Police caution. I imagine that in the current environment (and 8 years more mature) I'd probably be more than cautioned so on my way home from the shops, fearing exactly what will end up happening when I turn the corner and still see the lads stoning Seagulls I decide to take the long way home. Not a decision I'm proud of but what exactly are you supposed to do?

Just to top of the evening well we got a knock on the door at 9:45. The wife was cozy on the sofa watching TV, I was finishing some holiday washing, our daughter was in bed. It's a school night so that means in at 9 o'clock, she is allowed to stay up late if there's something on TV like "America's Next Top Singing Starfish" and she wants to watch it with her mum otherwise it's bed time. Anyhoo, stood at the door, in the pissing rain, with no coats on, soaked through, at 9:45, on a school night, is 2 of her friends wondering if she's coming out? She'll probably get teased now for being in bed and not being allowed to roam the streets. What chance do we have? I mean what chance do we have of being able to bring kids up if most of the parents where you live just don't give a fuck? There has been a couple of generations now of kids brought up with no discipline, where you can't smack them, teachers can't tell them off, the Police can't do much in case they get sued, whose parents would rather be in the pub at night and leave them to wander and it clearly doesn't work. I'm fucking sick of it. New. House. Please.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vegas

Just back from Vegas, had an excellent time.The whole place is like buying a great big TV. The scale of it makes you go WOW for at least a couple of days.... then you start to get used to it. Only problem is that it spoils you for life. Don't know if I'll able to stay anywhere now that doesn't clean your room at least twice a day, have a feckin huge casino beneath you and provide free drinks whilst you have a bit of a game of poker or whatever you fancy. Comes highly recommended, everybody was really nice, was brilliant to be on holiday somewhere where they appreciate it and aren't just out to fleece you. Couldn't get over the quality of the customer service.

Highlights:-

Flying over the edge and into the Grand Canyon in a helicopter that reminded me a bit of AirWolf.

Being driven around in a stretch Limo by a driver called "Big" Ron who looked just how you'd expect a mafia security/driver to look.

The all you can eat $11 Island Buffet. Who'd have thought that Mash, Steak, Rice, Coconut coated shrimps and sweet and sour chicken would go so well together? Nothing else to say, does what it says on the tin.

Watching the Mac King comedy/magic show. Was great to watch a magician and wonder how the hell he was doing it. Paul Daniels he wasn't.

The Vegas hotels! F'in huge. Each one was like a theme park in it's own right. They get a bit samey after a while but for the first few days you can't believe you're walking around inside. Especially in the Venetian where we went on a Gondola ride. Took 20 minutes just to walk from 1 side of the hotel to the other.

Prices. Everything seemed cheap. Even the expensive things when you divide by 2 into sterling were cheap.

Bad points:-

The number of dinks. It was like the entire populations of China and Japan had decided to turn up armed with at least 3 cameras each. It made getting around a royal pain in the ass.

Ugly women. For every good looking chick there were at least 50 munters. I was expecting all the girls working in the casinos to be stunners, damn you Hollywood!

Whooping frat boys. Cocks.

The heat. We topped out at about 116 degrees. Was a bit like opening the door to the fan oven and trying to breath a lot of the time. After a few days we got used to it though and were strolling around like locals when it went down to 106.

The irony of the entire holiday being that after spending a week walking around in 100+ heat and eating cheap diner/restaurant food from places called Fat Burger my guts stayed in excellent condition. Couple of hours back and feeling hungry after 24 hours of travelling I order a rip-off kebab from Flamming Great and now I've got the screaming shits. It's good to be home.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hancock - half a great film!

A surprise last night as B bought tickets for us to go watch Hancock at the local cinema. The Broadway Villa (probably the only state run cinema in the Western world - owned, as it is, by the Manx Government) - has all the appeal of someone's front room - but we got great seats and settled in (sans popcorn :( ) for a movie that has been successfully hyped through Sky Movies specials.

The movie starts off well - the ever likeable Will Smith as a drunken superhero causing loadsa damage when he gets involved in heroic duties. He's not the smartest superduder - but it does make for excellent comedy moments with a train wreck and car chase and landing/taking off. There's even some Frenchie-bashing - which is never a bad thing.

The movie hurtles along at super-speed as Hancock reluctantly agrees to serve porridge and spends some quality time with guys that he put behind bars - rehabilitation not coming easy and he's called upon by the city during a particularly nasty bank robbery.

All good so far. Throw in some yuk-yuk's, more special effects - introduce a big baddy and 'wallah' - fun-time family superhero movie! Unfortunately, around mid point of the movie - the whole storyline swerves, derails like a previous traincrash and comes to a messy, pointless second half that jars the superherodic nature and just doesn't fit together at all.

I'll not spill the silly 'turning point' midway thru the film - if you've seen it, you know. However, I will tell you what this film has suffered - and it lands slap back in the lap of the screenwriters. This movie suffers from the precise anal following of 'The three-act structure'.

From the introduction within 3 minutes where you know the faults of the hero and what he has to overcome, to the inciting incident that will lead to his first 'plot point' (jail time) and starting Act 2. Up to and including the 'mid-point' half way thru the film that turns the whole movie in (a supposed) new and exciting direction.

Ugh. Yuck. Hancock and the three act structure. How not to write a movie. Perhaps it was being polished in needing of shooting before the scriptwriters strike last year. Perhaps they rolled in a barrell full of monkeys and told em to finish the script, tacking a big 3-act structure sheet on the wall in front of them.

Anyhoo. Hancock is half of a great film. Excellent stuff, so long as you set your watch for one hour into the movie and get up and leave at that precise moment. Sure, you won't know how it ends. But your imagination'll fill in the gaps and you'll be a happier camper for it.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Money: Who needs it?

We were clearing out the cupboard that we throw all the bank statements, tax stuff, receipts etc in when I came across Pay Slips from 8 years ago.
It fired home that I was earning more then than I am now.
That is the life of the Civil Servant, to be Under Paid, and Over Worked. It upset me for a second, till I thought; BOLLOCKS. So what? I’m happier now than I was then. My job is REALLY easy, and the people I work with are all OK.
Plus nobody earns as much as they think they should.
Nobody gets enough pay
Everybody just spends as much as they earn.

Put it this way, if I was earning £200 or £1000 a week, I would still end up spending it all.
So all in all I am very very Happy.
Money who needs it?
Life will Provide!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Nathan Barley

For anyone involved in the world of websites or media this was a must see series. Unfortunately it was only ever shown once on TV and a lot of people missed it.





You can get the whole series on DVD from Amazon in the UK

Nathan Barley On DVD

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Solution to the Worlds Food problem

I think I may have stumbled upon a solution to the current world food crises. It's a stunning revelation - but with some persistence and careful monitoring - I think we will be able to feed the world three times over!

Here's the plan. Lads, tell your other half to just buy what they plan to consume. Radical, I know, as weekly shopping bills regularly break the three digit mark (ummm, not including the pences) and the other half seems to need to stock up for the forthcoming Nuclear winter (oh - what a relief they must feel when Thursday comes around and - yet again - we haven't been bombed back to the middle ages).

Instead of throwing away all the food unused, unopened, untried and rotted - we try to purchase foodstuffs we only are going to cook, eat and enjoy!

This'll also save on overflowing bins and seagulls raiding the litter strewn backyards on Monday mornings (thanks binmen!).

It's gonna be difficult, I know. A shift in the paradigm of shopping. But hey, saving the planet is worth it, huh!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Indiana Pants and the Temple of O.A.P.'s

Turn away now if you don't want to read spoilers for the Indy IV movie - or indeed you grew up with the whip cracking archaeologist adventurer and cherish memories of raiding tombs and unearthing holy relics.

Went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull last night with fellow compadres - kept away from reviews despite internet mutterings of pantness. The movie opened with their classic fade from logo to similar shaped gopher mound - and then we begin!

And within ten minutes I was clawing at the seat hoping and wishing and praying it wasn't true. But yep - Indy IV is about aliens. Oh - darn it. First a foray into Area 57 to unearth an alien corpse with a bunch of characterless Ruskies (even the chick boss falls flat) - where Indy gets betrayed, goes rocket powered, survives a nuclear blast (indications that we just ain't in Indy territory anymore) to end up with that guy from neighbours saving Indy from FBI interrogation - that we never get to see again.

From 'racing' around his college campus on the back of a jallopy to creaking thru a peruvian mini-tomb to trundling thru the Brazilian jungle in a three car fight scene - the action sequences are pedestrian, slow, awkward, timeline skewy and just plain dull. A few 'amusing' sequences with Mutt astride two vehicles, swinging thru the jungle with his troupe of monkeys, or just setting up a plot device to escape then get captured again. Doh!

Rick O'Connell and the Mummy crew did the 'Valley and pyramid' sequence a whole lot better - with their undead pygmies fun and savage (as opposed to the bola swinging tribe who burst out of clay hiding places). The Ruskies resorted to dancing like cossacks to remind us that they were actually ruskie - and the fight scene 'tween Indy and the semi-big ruskie was charmless and and boring.

The set pieces were crap. The plot was crap. The chase from one location to the other was crap. And this is before we start on the 3-step waterfall antics!

And then there is the aliens. Oh please, god, NO! The alien crystal skull, the alien autopsies, the alien 'put my head back on' ending. The whole adventure was X-files in a fedora - and it just doesn't sit well with the Indy Mythos! Makes a travesty of the Holy Grail (an alien douche?) or the Lost Ark of the Covenant (an alien prada bag?).

The actors were aged and drawing a pension as they made this film. And I sooooooo wanted to enjoy it, to love it, to purchase a blue-ray player specifically to buy the disc on its release. Sheesh - pants.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Daddies Day

It’s Fathers Day on Sunday; well it is in all the other house holds across this noble and majestic land. However, we have a tradition in our house that Daddy’s Day all ways comes early.
The reason being, that there is nothing happening on Sunday, the most I can get is a lie in (which I don’t like) and out for a meal somewhere.
Whereas on Saturday that is RUGBY from 8am till around 11pm.

Sat 14 New Zealand v England 8am 1st Test
Sat 14 Australia v Ireland 10:30am International
Sat 14 South Africa v Wales 1:30am 2nd Test
Sat 14 England Saxons v Ireland A 7pm Churchill Cup
Sat 14 Canada v Argentina 9pm Churchill Cup

So it has been agreed that the wife and kids shall make themselves scarce for the day and I shall enjoy a day of quality Rugby and peace and quiet.

Roll on Saturday.

Manx National Anthem

Especially for those over at IOM Newspapers (fucking muppets), here are the words to the Manx National Anthem - O Land of Our Birth

O land of our birth,
O gem of God's earth,
O Island so strong and so fair;
Built firm as Barrule,
Thy Throne of Home Rule
Make us free as thy sweet mountain air.


When Orry, the Dane,
In Mannin did reign,
'Twas said he had come from above;
For wisdom from Heav'n
To him had been giv'n
To rule us with justice and love.


Our fathers have told
How Saints came of old,
Proclaiming the Gospel of Peace;
That sinful desires,
Like false Baal fires,
Must die ere our troubles can cease.


Ye sons of the soil,
In hardship and toil,
That plough both the land and the sea,
Take heart while you can,
And think of the Man
Who toiled by the Lake Galilee.


When fierce tempests smote
That frail little boat,
They ceased at His gentle command;
Despite all our fear,
The Saviour is near
To safeguard our dear Fatherland.


Let storm-winds rejoice,
And lift up their voice,
No danger our homes can befall;
Our green hills and rocks
Encircle our flocks,
And keep out the sea like a wall.


Our Island, thus blest, No foe can molest;
Our grain and our fish shall increase;
From battle and sword Protecteth the Lord,
And crowneth our nation with peace.


Then let us rejoice
With heart, soul and voice,
And in The Lord's promise confide;
That each single hour
We trust in His power,
No evil our souls can betide.

Sam can certainly belt one out though, you go girl.

(3 posts in 1 day, that's it for this month).

Lancaster Bomber

Not something you see every day, one of these flying a few hundred feet above your house!

Minimum Wage Rises to £6

Minimum wage in the Isle of Man is looking like it's going to jump from £5.60 an hour to £6 an hour. I must be getting on, I can remember when that was a fairly decent wage (my first job as a computer programmer paid £3.85 and hour and I'm not THAT old).

So what does this mean? Basically anyone working full time (call it 37.5 hours a week) on the Isle of Man is going to be earning at least £11700. Stick holiday pay, sick pay and employers NI on top of that and a rough estimate is around £13500 a year. That's what the minimum annual cost is to employers. Any emmployer is looking for a return of 30-50% on top of that just to make it worth their while employing you, the hassle of staff issues, the extra administration (and staff) payroll etc etc so in order to earn your pay you've got to be earning at least £17500 a year or providing £17500 a year of value to your employer. I have a sneaky feeling that the cost of living is about to make another little jump over here. As you increase the costs to lower end service providers such as cleaners they up their prices which in turn increases the costs of other businesses who use their services and it goes on and on until everybody has upped their prices and the consumer foots the bill. All of a sudden that 40p an hour pay rise for those on minimum pay doesn't seem so great when you are having to pay £1.60 for a loaf of bread and your landlord has upped your rent by 5%.

If I was in a position to hire staff, I just wouldn't. Well not unless I could hire them on my own terms anyway, I'm taking the risk running my own business so I decide the terms, like it or get a job elsewhere. I'd be much happier letting the labour market decide what minimum pay is.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sometimes The Isle of Man Is Pretty Good Place To Live

I got a phone call this morning from the bank looking for Mrs B. She was at work so I took a message, turns out that she has lost her credit and debit cards. She didn't even notice! How the heck you don't notice that you've lost your purse I've no idea, but she's been told off already. Anyway, the bank knew because some kind sole had handed it in at the police station, cash and cards in tact.

To fully appreciate how cool this is you have to understand that at the moment it's the TT over here so is the busiest time of year by far. Not only that but Mrs B dropped her purse at lunch time in a public park where there is no CCTV. The person who found it could have quite easily stashed the cash and binned the rest. They didn't, they picked it up and then went out of their way to drop it in at Police HQ. It's a great gesture and one both the Mrs and I really appreciate. Thank you stranger.

There's no doubt that this island has got rougher over the last 5 years but it's just little things like that that can make you really appreciate where we live. I don't know if there are many places left in the UK where you could drop a cash and card filled purse in a public park and get it all back the next day?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You Can Tell The TT Has Started When...

...the weather goes from warm sunshine to cold and pissing down within 2 hours. Welcome to the Isle of Man lads, I hope you've brought plenty of water proofs.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Robert Dunlop Dies

Robery Dunlop, the younger brother of Joey Dunlop died yesterday in a crash at the North West 200. Both Dunlop brothers were legends in the world of motorbike racing and were well loved by bike fans all over the world, especially in their home country of Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Road racing bikes must be one of the most dangerous sports on the planet, there must be one of hell of a buzz out of it and I think that's the best way to remember it! Over the years I've lost a couple of friends this way, all you can do is think that they died doing what they lived for. It's still a bit shit though.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Get Paid For Searching The Net

In these times of financial shiteness I guess we could all do with some extra money. A couple of quid here and there woudn't go amiss? It would also be very nice if we could earn this extra money by doing nothing? Walking, breathing, perhaps just dragging our asses out of bed of a morning? Unfortuntaly I haven't found a way of being paid just for breathing yet but what I have stumbled on is a way of earning a few pounds just by searching the internet, something that I guess most of us do just about every day?

Anyhoo, this is as simple a way of sqeezing money out of the internet as I've found. All it involves is you using a new search bar (That's the bar to the right of your address bar on Firefox). This isn't one of those fancy toolbars that install all sorts of crap and kills your computer, there are no ads or spyware things going on. It just adds another search option to the Google, Yahoo and MSN options that are there by default. The cool thing is that because it uses a Meta search of those engines the results you get are also great, or just as good as Googles anyway. It will work with Firefox or IE7, if you don't have those then you can even search using their portnal page. All you do then is use the search bar (or portal page) from My Search Funds to search and they pay you for the pleasure. It's not mega bucks but I'm already up to £3.50 after a couple of days of normal browsing. Once you reach £20 you can withdraw your money, either via Paypal or if you're in the UK direct to your bank account.

Whilst it's not going to buy you a new house it might pay for a few lottery tickets :)

You can sign up and find out more information about My Search Funds by visiting their website here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

New Gladiators - Ice

Did anybody watch the new series of Gladiators last night? I was impressed. I was expecting the full on Sky hype machine with maybe 10 minutes of action in the hour but to be fair it seemed to fly by. Anyhoo meet my new favourite Gladiator, ICE Fox!



I think that she might be the reason why Sky invented Sky+.

Friday, May 09, 2008

EuroManx Go Into Receivership

Vital to staying sane whilst living on the Isle of Man is the ability to get of it! Unfortunatly then for all us Manxies the second largest airline to service the Isle of Man has today gone into receivership. This means less flights, less competition and you can be as sure as day turns to night higher prices in the long term. Bugger. There has always been the argument that the population of the Isle of Man, the almost non existent tourist industry and the fact that so much business can be done "out of office" means that there is no way that 2 airlines could be sustained/profitable. It's an argument that has gone on since the days of Manx Airlines and it seems every day the people who say nay get proved right. Somebody ends up having to pull-out or go bust. This is life, companies come and go, people lose jobs and get new jobs (the staff down at EuroManx have my sympathy, it's no fun having a company you work for go bust).

The problem I've got is this. Why when it's fucking ab-so-lut-ely clear that as an Island we can't sustain more flights than are currently being operated have the government felt the need to pump yet more millions of OUR MONEY (about 40 I think) into an airport that compared to most other small regional airports is already spot on? All this shit about improving infrastructure my ass, how about concentrating on getting people to travel first? Tourism/business, I don't care, start attracting the people, when you need the extra space you can start thinking of expansion? The current plans for Ronaldsway are equivalent to building a six-lane motorway between Peel and Douglas, just cos we can, cos we're the Isle of Man you know! Thanks to so many people in authority over here only being interested in lining their own pockets WE are going to end up with the longest, fanciest, shiniest regional airport in the UK with nobody using the bloody thing. We rock!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Friday Nights

I used to love Friday nights. Finish work for the week, hot foot it home in the car via the local Chinese. A quick shower, TFI Friday on in the background and then straight to the White House to start the festivities. The first four pints would fly down as the lads would slowly turn up one by one. When there was enough of a gang it would then be a tour of Peel, The Royal, PC, Central, Peveril, Marine and usually ending up in either the Creek or the White House depending on what type of night it was. The White House was always a much better drinking venue but the Creek would often have coach parties in giving you that little bit of something to look at or try your luck with. Along the way we'd talk shit, play pool, argue over table football and just drink until we were at the right level (stumbling, slurring). Every week it would be a toss up of who managed to make the biggest cock out of themselves. The great thing is that when you drink with drunks nobody cares anyway!

Getting drunk without any real cares in the world where the only real problem was trying to get chips out of the Chinese at 2 in the morning when they closed at 12. On the odd occasion that I did overstep the mark with the beer and found myself with a dose of the beer guilts there was always a routine that got me through it. Fry-up, pastie, Soccer AM, watch the local football and then getting ready to do the whole thing again on Saturday.

Friday nights were all about mates, beer, music and just having a laugh, this brings it all back.

Friday, May 02, 2008

PS3 Controller Interferes With WLAN

Just to make a change from senseless ramblings about those money sucking parasites of society I thought I'd post something remotely useful.

One of the other Manx Lads and I recently bought PS3s to complete are gaming setups. I wasn't that fussed as having it as a gaming machine (the XBOX 360 is far superior in all things gaming) all I wanted it for was Blue-Ray play back and media streaming from my house server. It is black and shiny so it goes well with my TV.

To be honest I'm not impressed with the PS3 on the whole but what annoyed me more than anything about it was the flakiness of the media streaming from my wireless network. It just constantly drops out the wireless signal. Music is just about possible but movies are a no go. I wanted a media centre playback device but the PS3 isn't delivering for me. So I've been running tests for a couple of weeks now, hopefully some of this might help out other people having problems with their WLAN and the PS3.

For a start I seriously recommend hand entering all your network details into the PS3. SSID, IP etc etc Doing this and keeping to WEP security seemed to stop any intermittent 15-20 second drop outs. However there was still a serious problem with what appeared to be interference drop outs. Less regular but even more annoying. I've got a lot of wireless stuff in the house, cordless phones, 3 Bluetooth enabled mobile phones, wireless TV signal senders etc All this plus another 5 wireless networks in range. It was a real pain in the ass to narrow down what the problem was.

After some serious investigation I came to the conclusion that the wireless signal strength on every WLAN device in the house was dropping whenever the PS3 was on. The internet was almost impossible to use much to the wife and daughters annoyance. It was then that I had the idea of testing the PS3 controller (it is Bluetooth wireless and apparently plays nice with 802.11b/g/n networks). The tests were conclusive, the PS3 wireless controller seriously interferes with the wireless network in my house. Part of my final testing involved playing back a DVD with the controller turned of (could use the internet fine from any PC in the house) and finally streaming a movie from PC to PS3. With the controller left on play back would crash out after less than a minute. With the controller turned off I managed to watch several movies without any problems.

It should have been obvious really, when I first got the PS3 I had to do a system update, it took 6 hours with my 2Mb internet connection. I just performed another system update this time turning the controller off. It took less than 40 minutes.

What I've now discovered is that if I alter the wireless channel to 11 or greater that the Bluetooth PS3 controller doesn't interfere as much. Unfortunately with the number of wireless networks around where I live this isn't possible because I get such a weak signal anyway that it renders every PC more than 3 metres away unable to connect. So I'm left with the choice of using a low wireless channel (1,2,3) and having great wireless whenever the PS3 controller is turned off or using the high channels (11+) and having a generally poor signal but one the PS3 controller doesn't interfere with (as much).

For now I just live with the low channels and turn the PS3 controller off whenever it's not needed. Of course this means that the PS3 Shop and PS3 web browser are dog shit slow to the point where I can't use them. Luckily I don't use my PS3 for online gaming because if I did it would have gone back by now. My next move is going to be to buy the remote control for DVD/BR playback and give that a go, I'm sure that's also Bluetooth so I'm not hopeful of any great improvement.

From my own experience it's clear to me that the PS3 Wireless Controllers Bluetooth signal is shitting all over the lower channels of a 802.11b/g/n network.

------UPDATE----SOLUTION FOUND!
So after messing around with new no fewer than 4 different wireless routers (and numerous settings) to try and solve this I finally found one that worked. It's the Linksys Wireless-N (available for less than 50 quid from Amazon). This routers range extension works amazingly well at the higher more crowded channels. The end result is a router that gives great range/speed and does not get interfered with from the PS3 controller all. Movie streaming here we come! So if you're having the same problems with your Netgear/PS3 controller I suggest you try switching over to that Linksys. I've considered billing Sony for mine but I don't think I'll get much joy out of them?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Teachers Strike

I just can't put in to words just how much I hate the public sector!

The average teacher is paid about 33k a year, obviously that means some are paid less, some are paid more. Take into account the amount of holidays they get, a nice public sector pension and that works out as a nice little job. You don't have to be that clever, don't have to put too much effort in (all teaching material is provided for you), the only thing you do have to do (which is no different to any other apprenticeship) is to take a lower salary for a while whilst you first learn the job. The great thing about being a teacher as well is that because you're dealing with kids all day you tend to wander away from what is real life. More than 90% of the teachers I've spoken to as part of bringing up my daughter and as being Friends with them when they were at school appear to live in a dream world that has seen them go from school, to university and then back to school (normally in the guise of one of their old teachers).

Because of this la la land approach they're now going to go on strike because of below inflation pay rises. If they could just open their eyes a little bit they'd see that below inflation pay rises for the public sector has been the norm for a few years. This is because the down turn in the economy that we are now seeing was expected. The private sector, the thing that actually generates the income that all these public sector workers (including you teachers) are being paid out off is struggling. When things were good teachers got great pay rises (in real terms 10% above inflation). Things are now bad. Any pay rise above 2% is seen as good in companies where all costs are spiralling, company owners can't afford bigger pay rises because they can't just dip into the public purse. If the Government are forced to dish out more money to 33k a year teachers then somebody else has to pay for it, us suckers in the private sector with our non secure jobs, private pensions that we have to pay for and less than 2% pay rises. Great, we all get landed with giving more of our money to the government so that they can pay themselves more money.

Sort of begs the question why don't we all just say fuck it and sign up for a cushy number with the government? After the bastard of a week I've had it's crossed my mind more than once.