Thursday, 17 December 2009

Let it snow, let it snow let it snow....

Hi guys!

Well tomorrow is my last working day before Christmas, but with the snow closing in it looks like I might not make it in.

So, if this turns out to be my last post this year, may I wish you all a fantastic Christmas and a great 2010.

Next year will be very different to this year for many of us - new jobs, new cities, etc. Looks like I will have to keep up with an increasing number of people on FB too, but I guess nothing stays the same. Where ever you are and whatever you do next year, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Have a good one, and hope to see you next year!

Rock Chef

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Silly hat time!

Today our wonderful friend Terri posted a photo of herself in a silly hat.

Not one to be out-done, here are some picks of myself wearing a hat that I bought for my eldest daughter a lot of Christmases ago.

Merry Christmas!
PS Terri had a great idea - why don't you post a photo of yourself in a silly hat? Go on, you know you want to!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

One Frosty Morning...

Today is cold - I think you can tell how cold it is by my voice - I was having trouble moving my lips properly!

I have mentioned that Mrs RC has built a fake fireplace for Christmas - here is the proof. You can see the radiator through the grill at the front. There are orange and yellow lights under the logs to give the impression that they are burning, and this certainly fools our dog, Custard, who loves to lay in front of it.

My youngest has started to collect these wooden ducks - he knitted the hat and scarf himself. Isn't that cute? Especially when you think he plays games like Gears of War on the XBox where he uses a chainsaw to kill aliens! See, these games aren't bad for you really!

More later! Have a great day!

Monday, 14 December 2009

I almost found a bargain!

Lunchtime - out looking for a couple of extra presents for my youngest.

Went to Game and bought the expansion pack for Spore - Yeah, a good one!

The to the toy section of the biggest store in town. The toys are in the basement, along with the crockery, crystal glasses, etc. Who thought that was a good combination? Someone who doesn't have kids, for sure!

Anyway, I was nosing around and found a game that we had looked at last year but not bought because of the ridiculous price. This year it was knocked right down to £9.99, so I grabbed it.

As I left the store I phoned Mrs RC to tell her about my bargain.

The reaction?

"I hope you didn't buy it."

"Um, yeah?"

"We bought it last year."

"We did?"

"Yes, I paid a fortune for it and they never played with it."

"Oh. Better go and see about a refund then."

So I returned to the store, told my story and was given a slip to get my refund. Refunds are only given out by Customer Services on the 3rd floor.


Up the escalator to Ground.

Up to 1st.

Up to 2nd.

No more escalators. I was stranded in the middle of a sea of beds and bedding.


I started to wander, looking for another escalator, or something that would take me up.

No sign.

In the end I asked and was pointed to the distant corner of the floor. There, hidden behind a huge display, was the door to the stairs.

Upwards! Yeah!

Got to the top, to be faced with 2 signs - one way to the beauty salon, the other way to the management offices.

Hm, Customer Services must be in the Management bit, I guess. I arrive at an office door. Through the glass I could see that it was just a normal office, but lacking any alternative, I pushed open the door and asked.

Guess what? Customer Services was actually in the Beauty Salon!

So I finally stumbled in and got my refund. I have a feeling that this must rank as one of the best hidden Customer Services desks in the world!

Unless you know of a better one, of course!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

What a day!

Today has been really strange - mad activity with dull bits in between. Quite strange.

Not a bad day, though - suddenly found that I was a bit richer than I thought I was, which will certainly help make Christmas even better without racking up debt. Gotta be good!

A thought here - I posted a comment onto FB saying that I can't think of anything that I want for Christmas. A comment rapidly appeared from a good old blog friend of mine (Teresa, once known as Logziella) saying something like "Oh, so you don't want a visit from me then!" It made me laugh. A visit from her would be fantastic, but it is hardly something that I would put on my Christmas list, is it?

So, a question for you. If you could have a Christmas visit from anyone, who would it be? Don't worry if it isn't me, I won't be offended, you miserable git! :-)

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

A stolen Christmas Meme

I stole this from WIGSF - thought it was a good one!

Here goes...

What do you really want for Christmas but you know nobody will get it for you?

I can't really think of anything that I really want this year! Amazing, I know. I wouldn't mind a new guitar (even though I really do have enough already), but that is about it really...

What do you not want for Christmas but you know that somebody will get it for you?

We tend to be pretty careful with our presents - I can't remember the last time I got something that I didn't want!

When do you open your gifts (Christmas eve or Christmas morning)?

Christmas morning, with a few saved until after dinner too! Christmas Eve?

Do you prefer gifts wrapped or in gift bags?

Wrapped - you have got to have that paper ripping experience!

Did you regift anything this year?


What’s your favourite Christmas movie

Hah, my older readers will know this one! A Christmas Story! I have already watched it twice! "You'll shoot your eye out!"

What’s your favourite Christmas TV special

The Vicar of Dibley. She cannot bring herself to refuse Christmas Dinner with a series of lonely people, ending up eating around 4 massive meals, one after the other. Utterly hilarious.

Do you like egg nog?

I have never felt the urge to try it...

Real tree or fake tree, which do you prefer?

Prefer real but have a fake one.

Would you actually use one of those fireplace DVDs if you don’t have a fireplace?

We don't have a real fireplace, but Mrs RC has just built us a fake one!

Are you sick of Christmas music yet?

No! Never!

Are you getting up early to wait in line to do some Boxing Day shopping?

Absolutely not! This is a day for total relaxation, having fun with the family, etc. I do not want to waste it fighting my way around shops! I have a theory - God gave us Christmas, so the Devil evened things up by giving us Christmas shopping :-)

When was the last time you sat on Santa’s lap?

I don't think I ever sat on Santa's lap. Always found them a bit scarey as a kid - strange men in fake beards, there is something really wrong there...

Anyone else want to try this?

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Snooty sales people...

I hate snooty sales people.

The people who look at you and decide that you are not worthy of their attention. The ones who think that because you need a good hair cut you aren't going to spend any money.

Yesterday I went into a shop to buy a laptop for the kids. I had done my research and knew the one I wanted, and this store had it.

I went in and looked at the machine. Yep, a steal at this price.

A sales woman was busy with a middle aged couple, keen to get the sale. She was like a leech. Even when they made it clear that they wanted to be left to think about things she was still in there, blatantly ignoring my existance.

I waited.

The leech was still attached to her victims.

I waited.

And waited.

The leech continued to press for the sale.

Suddenly I saw a young sales guy across the shop. He looked totally clueless, having trouble summoning the enthusiasm for breathing, never mind a hard sell.

I marched across the shop.

"Hi, I want to buy a laptop."


He reluctantly followed me across the shop.

"I want this one."

As I said it, I watched the leech flinch and finally acknowledge my existence - TOO LATE! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

"Do you want anything else to go with it?"

"Nope, just as it comes thanks."

Yep, I gave the gormless teenager the easiest sale possible - I wonder if the leech ever did get her sale?

Friday, 4 December 2009

Quiz night...

Next week we are having a quiz night with the students. Staff have been invited to submit 10 questions for the quiz.

I am thinking of giong a bit different with mine and doing a "Name that Christmas Tune" round, playing a short burst of each song on guitar. Any thoughts? Any suggestions for songs that it would be really good to do? I have got a few in mind...

I am planning to get going on the decorations this weekend - yes the Pooh Bear Grotto will be back, as will the total tastelessmess of my Hall decorating. Mrs RC is doing the living room again, as usual, in her totally tasteful style. Should be really good this year as she has even built a fake fireplace to hang stockings on! Will post pics as things develop...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 3 December 2009


I was off sick - slept in until past lunchtime, only waking up to eat breakfast and take more drugs. By mid afternoon I felt a lot better and was able to take Number One Son to an open evening at the school he wants to go to next year.

The school looked great and my son had some great chats with teachers and pupils about the courses and what the school is like. One big plus for this school is that it is just over the road from the Uni where I work, so we can meet up in the odd lunch break or after school.

After leaving the school we had to go to the Tesco Metro store in the middle of the town. We wizzed around, grabbing all sorts of stuff. Then it was checkout time.

No manned checkouts.

Just the self-service ones that I hate.

Oh well.

And sure enough it all went wrong.

For a start we had more shopping than could comfortably fit into the bagging area, meaning that by the end I had stuff piled up at all sorts of stupid angles threatening to fall off.

And, of course, half way though that stupid voice started:

"Unexpected item in the bagging area".

I removed the last item.

"Item removed from the bagging area."

I put it back.

"Unexpected item in the bagging area".

I removed it.

"Item removed from the bagging area."

"Shut up you stupid bitch!"

OK maybe I wasn't totally better...

Assistance arrived. The guy had to log in, check that I wasn't trying to steal anything and then reset the system.


And the delay meant we missed the bus!


I truly hate self service checkouts!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

What a great idea!

Hi guys!

I have got a great idea!

Let's have a yacht race that runs along the territorial waters of one of the most unfriendly countries in the world and then passes into an area that is infested with pirates!

What? Someone already organised one?


Monday, 30 November 2009

A close call...

At lunchtime I did some Christmas shopping - got a few games for both the PC and Wii.

After leaving the shop I went to get some lunch. As I munched my way through my usual Monday quesadilla and cheese nachos I decided to have a closer look at what I had bought.

Then, looking at one of them I realised that either I or the guy in the shop had made a mistake - one of the games wasn't the game at all, but an expansion for it!

Just imagine that on Christmas morning!

The matter has now been put right.

Good job I was being nosey!

Crappy, crappy, crappolla...

I feel a bit crappy today. Nothing serious, just the sort of cold that makes everything feel like too much effort.

I was the same yesterday, got up, put dinner (beef and dumplings) into the slow cooker and then flopped on the sofa watching bad movies and trying to read stuff for my studies.

What movies? Don't remember them all - a couple of bad Christmas ones, Trancers 4 (and I thought the first one was bad!), "They Crawl" (someone planning to take over the world with mutant cockroaches), etc...

Dinner was fabulous, I could feel it making me better!

And now, I sit here at my desk, struggling with a stationery order that should only take a few minutes to do while the rain pours down outside. Ugh! I want Jelly Babies!


Just ate nearly a whole bag of Jelly Babies - now I feel SICK!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Why didn't I have my camera with me?

There are 2 main routes from my town into Canterbury. Once you set off on one of these routes there is no interconnection between them, no lateral roads....

This morning as I cycled to work the traffic ground to a halt. Drivers began doing U-turns and heading back.

I continued.

Car drivers started calling out - "Turn round, you won't get through!"

By this time, turning round would have meant adding around 6 miles to my journey. SCREW THAT!

I continued.

Then I saw it.

Let me draw you a picture.

The road is narrow - 2 cars can pass with a bit of care, but often lose a mirror if they pass too close.

One side of the road is a hedgerow. Hedgerows are tangles of bushes and small trees that have been there for a few hundred years. Nothing gets through them.

On the other side is a concrete curb and then a grass bank.

What had happened here?

A double-decker bus had been going one way, on the hedgerow side.

Coming the other way was a big UPS truck.

From previous experience, I know that the bus driver would have stopped and let the UPS driver decide what to do. He could have reversed into a farm entrance, but no, he had decided to take the grass bank instead.

He almost made it, but had clearly miscalculated both the height of his own vehicle and the amount that his truck was going to tilt as it went along, 2 wheels on the road, 2 on the bank.


The top of the truck ripped into the side of the bus, leaving them locked together totally blocking the road.

So I walked around the mess, remounted and set off again!

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Sometimes it is great to be a cyclist!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

This little guy is getting rather full of himself...

He has now decided that he should help me with my maps of Ohio. This one shows Median Income, green = rich, red = poor.

He is actually quite good!

Any suggestions for a name for this little guy?

This little guy...

...has been sitting on my PC tower for a year now! His hat is now back in fashion,which must be a relief to him.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Back to the grind...

Well not really. I love my job, but I just wish the weekend had been a bit longer.

Starting to get in gear for Christmas. Did a bit of Christmas shopping with the boys on Saturday and we had a great time - including lunch at my favourite Mexican place.

Sunday we went to a nearby store to check out the decorations - lots of really tacky stuff, including a bear that sang a version of MC Hammer's "Can't touch this", changed to "It's Christmas" while doiing a little dance. Bought some new lights to go in the Pooh Bear Grotto...

An interesting thought from my 11 year old - it is a shame that DVD players don't have a Shuffle function like CD players do - watching a movie with all of the scenes jumbled up could be very funny.

My daughter takes for ever to get ready. The rest of us were waiting by the door while she finished sorting herself out.

She finally comes down the stairs.

"I'm ready to go now."

"We've just come back!"

Starting on me next assignment - mapping Census data for one of the America states. I have been given Ohio. Anything interesting that I should know about Ohio?

Friday, 20 November 2009

One word answers

A while back, Terri posted a meme that required one word answers and challenged us to try it. This week has been so hectic (work, 2 assignments due, family, etc) I think that one word is about the best I can manage today!

So, here goes...

1. Where is your cell phone? Pocket

2. Your hair? Afro

3. Your mother? Insane

5. Your favorite food? Mexican

6. Your dream last night? Perverted

7. Your favorite drink? Pepsi

8. Your dream/goal? Gigging

9. What room are you in? Office

10. Your hobby? Fun

11. Your fear? Nothing

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here?

13. Where were you last night? Home

14. Something that you aren’t? Ambitious

15. Muffins? Blueberry

16. Wish list item? Explorer

17. Where did you grow up? Kent

18. Last thing you did? Drink

19. What are you wearing? Sweater

20. Your TV? Usurped

21. Your pets? Spoilt

22. Friends? Different

23. Your life? Fulfilling

24. Your mood? Relaxed

25. Missing someone? Always

26. Vehicle? Bike

27. Something you’re not wearing? Cape

28. Your favorite store? Musicland

29. Your favorite color? Blue

30. When was the last time you laughed? Today

31. Last time you cried? Can't

32. Your best friend? Steve

33. One place that I go to over and over? Musicland

34. One person who emails me regularly? Olga*

35. Favorite place to eat? Amigo Burrito

There! Made it!

Why don't you have a try?

Have a great weekend!

* She is Russian and keeps offering to marry me.


morethananelectrician suggested that I might want to wear an eye patch. I think it works...

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A Wargame in progress

A few readers have expressed an interest in seeing how a wargame works, so here is one that I fought out over the last couple of evenings. I was testing out a newish set of rules so I played it solo, trying to hand each army in the most sensible way to create an interesting battle rather than trying to win.

Here goes.

The Romans are invading Dacia, more or less modern Romania.

The Dacian Horde.

The Roman Legions.

The Roman right flank.

The Emporer. James might recognise him...

The armies advance...

Roman skirmishers seize a hill before the Dacians can get to the top. The carnage begins - the red dice indicates damage to the unit.

The main forces on the hill clash.

"Unleash Hell!" Sorry, I had to say that!

Another view of the Roman centre as the cataphracts (guys with armoured horses) charge home.

Carnage - some units are destroyed on impact, others fall back away from their enemies

The Roman cavalry learn that it is a bad idea to charge guys who are armed with Rhomphia - the legendary "battle scythe"!

The Roman right collapses under the assault.

The cataphracts press the attack in the centre.

Things are getting very messy in the hills too, with both sides taking serious losses.

The Elite Roman Praetorian Guard arrives to save the right flank.

A close up of the battle on the hill - the Roman line is thinning dangerously...

The last unit of Romans hangs grimly on to the summit of the hill!

The cataphract attack batters itself to pieces on the Legions.

At last, the Dacians have had enough, and flee back into the forests. Rome is triumphs!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Mr Observant!

This is how it went.

I returned home from walking the dogs to find the rest of the family watching TV. Biggest Loser had just started.

I took off my coat, got a drink, chatted a bit, watched a bit of the show.

The kids started giggling.

What's wrong with you lot?

More giggles, becoming increasingly uncontrollable. My daughter had tears in her eyes.

I failed to see what was funny.

I cleared the table and set up some soldiers for a solo game to try out some new rules.

Bed time arrived and the kids headed up stairs.

Mrs RC asked if my game was finished yet.


You can leave it there over night and finish tomorrow if you like.

I joined her on the sofa.

We watched TV for another hour.


"You're not very observant are you?"

"Not usually." I answered quickly looking around to see what I had missed - new hair style, outfit, furniture, pictures.... Nothing new that I could see.

Finally, seeing my helplessness, Mrs RC pointed at....


Yes, our little old one that we were using until we decided what new one to get had been replaced while I was out with the dogs! They guy next door had just bought himself a new 50" jobbie and gave us his old one. Cool! Takes the pressure for a new one off until after Christmas, at least!

But how did I not notice?


Monday, 16 November 2009

Rocking on...

Had a really busy weekend.

Took my youngest to his maths challenge on Saturday. We don't know his exact score (they gave prizes to the top 3) but he was happy that he did reasonably well. I hope that we get a score at some point, but the fact that it was a county-wide contest and he was one of only 130 kids to get in is still something for him to be proud of.

The weather over the weekend was really mixed. Saturday afternoon we were supposed to do some more repairs to Humphrey's stable. Humphrey is my mom's pony and he takes a constant toll on his poor stable. The weather closed in, though, bringing winds and rain so we hunkered down and did other stuff - apart from my brief expedition to get fried chicken and ribs...

Sunday started off much nicer, so we went and did the repairs to Humphrey's house and then did a bit of shopping, picking up some stuff for a barbeque - trusting the weather to hold off - which it did! YAY! Really appealed to the caveman in me - MEAT! FIRE! WOMAN!

Then the wind and rain returned...

Did I ever say how much I enjoy cycling into a strong head-wind that is loaded with cold rain? No? Well I love it! Really, really LOVE IT!

In between things I think I managed to memorise enough stuff for tonight's test - stuff which will probably go AWOL as soon the test starts. Such is life!

Hope your Monday is a good as Mondays can be!


Test over! Remembered too much, had trouble writing everything down in time! Still, better than "empty brain syndrome", eh?

Friday, 13 November 2009

Friday Ramblings

Oh the weather our side is frightful!

It is - high winds and rain - forecast to be even worse tomorrow!

Tomorrow, my youngest is taking part in an inter-school quiz. We are going along to cheer him on. Hope he does OK. He is a really clever kid but doesn't usually get involved in stuff like this.

I have got a production line going with my American Civil War soldiers - doing the North first, hoping to be able to recreate the First Day of Gettysburg fairly soon. Then I will work on more troops so I can do the 2nd and 3rd days too!

I have got a short exam on Monday - not looking forward to it, my old brain doesn't like working under those sorts of conditions. Swatting up, trying to force stuff into my creaking cranium, not helped by the fact that I still feel a bit tired and not quite here. Kay sera sera! Whatever will be, will be!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Moving up...

I have been blogging for a while now - nearly 3 years? Around 3 years ago I started lurking and making the occasional comment.

Anyway, amazingly, a few people still read what I have got to say here and have started to wonder about moving up in the world.

I am talking


And why not, I ask?

Look in the trash magazines.

X has split up with her boyfriend (again) and is looking for a new guy.

Y claims to have had a deprived childhood (i.e. he didn't get a talking Action Man when he wanted one).

Will they or won't they get married?

Oh no, he has had yet another affair? Can she forgive him this time?

Who really cares?

A lot of people, it would seem! How else could countless magazines keep on going with this trash?

So why can't I get in on the act?

I could do it!

RC fails to blog on a Tuesday!

Can the marriage last much longer? Surely they are sick of each other after nearly 25 years!

RC to replace Simon on America's Got Talent, rumour

RC for PM - RC to enter Politics shocker!

RC's Blog got me pregnant!
See? I can do it!

Any suggestions for stories that I can sell?

What about you? Care to become a Celeb too?

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

What the...???

My family has some strange conversations. My kids have all got a slightly odd sense of humour and amazing imaginations...

A colleague of mine was recently in South America, and brought a big box of chocolates back with her for me - a "thank you" for covering some of her classes while she was away. Rather than scoffing the lot at work, I took them home.

A couple of days later, as the last of the chocolates disappeared, Mrs RC commented that she liked them - somehow she had lost 4 pounds while eating them! Miracle weight-loss chocolate!

Then it started:

Maybe they had some nasty tropical disease in them, and you are going to waste away!

Perhaps the crunchy bits were eggs and you have now got parasites living in your intestines!

Or spiders of some sort!

Or a monster!

You might have something like Alien in you that is going to burst out of your stomach!

Or an illegal immigrant!!


There could be illegal immigrants in there, waiting to burst out. That would be a great way to beat the Border Police!

Should we all be certified?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Today's Sermon...

Warning: Not all of this story is true. Also this is not intended to offend anyone - my God has a sense of humour!

My dearly beloved Groupies!

Today I want to tell you about what happened to me this morning!

There I was, ridin' down the road like I usually do, when I noticed that a woman in a car was right behind me. I mean RIGHT BEHIND ME!

Then, as we went into a narrow bend, with cars a-comin' the other way, the car that was RIGHT BEHIND ME started to over take me!

Now, I knew that there wasn't room on that bend for me, the car that was now RIGHT NEXT TO ME and the cars that were a-comin' the other way, so I pulled over and stopped.

And I looked up to The Lord and I said to him:

"Please Lord, Smite this stupid bitch down!"

But The Lord in his wisdom spake to me, saying:

"Do not show anger to this poor person! Show her kindness and compassion so that she will take this forward and become a better person. Besides, I don't do Smiting any more, in case you hadn't noticed."

So, taking The Lord's advice, I smiled at the woman in the car, gave her a "thumbs up" and shouted:

"Good morning! Nice driving!"

And did my happy, friendly gesture make her happy?

Did it hell! A weaker man would have been struck dead by her glare!

So I looked up to The Lord again and said:

"Did you see that?"

And The Lord spake again:

"Ah screw it!"

And that is why the Police are currently trying to work out how a perfectly good car could suddenly explode in the middle of the city.

Take heed - Smiting is back on the menu!

Monday, 9 November 2009


Been feeling a bit off colour. Started Saturday evening. Had a bath, went to bed, woke up at 11.50am on Sunday.

Felt OK for a while, but gradually sank as the evening approached.

Not really with it this morning - don't feel ill, just have this slight feeling of not quite fitting into my own body - my body is doing stuff and my brain is just tagging along for the ride.

Oh well.

Friday, 6 November 2009

A big moment (for me)

This lunch time I was headed to the shops when I passed a mobile blood donation unit.

I went in and gave blood - I am O Negative, so my blood went into those little bags that are headed for the baby unit at the hospital. Seeing this gave me a great feeling.

"What is the big deal here?", I hear you ask!

Well I will tell you. This is the first time I have been able to bring myself to do this since we lost Sophie. This was a very big moment for me, believe me.

So, have a great weekend - we are having a BBQ tonight (weather permitting!) and I have got a nice bottle of red waiting for me.

Hey, that reminds me of a radio show that I heard last night. A posh Englishman is being tortured by another posh Englishman.

"I say, this salmon is a little over cooked."

"I know". Evil laugh. "Here have some wine, it might help."

"What's this? Red wine with fish? YOU FIEND!"

Finally, for Terri...

Rebel Yell!

Still in need of flags and unit name plates, here are some of my American Civil War soldiers:

Early "fire and movement" tactics!

Forming up for the battle.

Firing line with eager reserves being restrained by their officer.

Here comes the cavalry!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Just a quicky...

Another busy week! Still haven't finished my first assignment! Hoping to get an hour in now...

Mrs RC has been volunteering as a classroom assistant at the local school. Her main reason for signing up was to work with a kid who is supposed to have severe learning difficulties, but while working with him she has found that he really doesn't have any real problems - except a lack of interest! Once engaged in the work he does OK. She has also found that this kid (7-8 years old) who is supposedly unable to remember numbers and letters actually plays online games and chats to friends via MSN Messenger!

Other kids with more real problems are also benefitting from Mrs RC's attention - she is a great teacher!

What have I been doing? Writing a song! Yes, I have got a great song in the works with what I think is a great guitar melody going through it. Need to get into a band - no I haven't heard any more from the punk band...

Painting soldiers! I am working on my American Civil War stuff now, and they are looking great - will try to get a photo over the weekend...

Bye! Have a great weekend if I don't get back before then!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Saying Goodbye...

Standing at the back doorstep, helmet on, ready for my morning ride to work.

"Bye, babe, see you later."

"Yeah, see you later."

"Normal time tonight?"


"Be good."

"Of course! I'm always good!"

[Sign] "Yes dear."

OK, I know the sigh comes across as one of resignation, but I know it is really one of those movie "My Hero" signs.

"I can't help it. I am just one of those 'Good Guys', aren't I?"

[Rolling eyes] "I'll see you later, then."

She plays it cool, but I know she loves me really!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Halloween Weekend

Had a fun, if quiet weekend.

Our party ended up as just family - others that we had invited seem to gave wanted to avoid any chance of catching what Mrs RC had last week. Can't say I blame them - not that we think that she was still contagious or anything!

There was a distinct shortage of Trick or Treaters this weekend! Seems that the Police were patrolling and telling kids not to knock on doors. This makes sense, even if it rather dampens things. We do have a lot of (A) old folks who get worried at this time of year and (B) dodgy characters that you don't want having contact with your kids in our area...

So we ate the food, drank the wine, watched "Shaun of the Dead" (the best Zombie movie ever) and dug out the Tarot cards! All good, harmless fun! Seems that I am going to be really rich sooner or later, and Number One Son will have power at a global level! How can it be wrong?!??!

The weather continues to baffle. We have had great weather for the last couple of weeks, but then it changed on Sunday - rain and high winds pounded the country with flooding in Scotland, apparently. I had to venture into the garden to remove a couple of low branches from out eucalyptus tree that were threatening to cause damage to the shed as it thrashed in the wind. I felt quite the hero as I wrestled with the writhing tree and sawed away at the offending branches, but when I looked back at the house did I see admiring faces at the glass? No, they were all laughing! Ah well. Now I just wish someone had taken a photo!

Friday, 30 October 2009

Friday ramblings...

Here we are again, another batch of Friday Ramblings!

Let me see...

Oh yes, some of you may remember me moaning about my dad claiming that he never goes out and is afraid to leave the house. On Monday he was out walking his dog (the one we walk because he can't do it) and bumped into my daughter. That evening I was late going to walk his dog (I have a late lecture on Mondays) and he must have thought that I wasn't going to walk the dog any more. He fell over himself to explain why he was out with the dog and there has not been any more talk of him becoming a hermit.

Coppicing - although a coppice is a small woodland, Coppicing is more than that. It is a method of managing woodland that involves cutting trees to ground level, causing multiple, thinner trunks to sprout. This thinner wood can then be used for burning, charcoal, fencing, etc. Done right it is totally sustainable and produces a very distinctive woodland.

Number One Son did a sort course in podcasting this week. The final part was doing their own podcast on any subject with voting for the best. He won. His podcast was amazingly cheesy, but good fun.

The newspaper story gets better and better. Seems that one person who was named and quoted in the article did not realise that she was being interviewed for a story! Could get messy now!

Saturday is Halloween! We are going to be having a bit of a party, food, drink, decorations, maybe a bit of dressing up, who knows? Should be fun, though. I promise no sacrifices...

Been a long time since I heard that song - I used to like it!!!!!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Local News Papers

My local news paper has reached a new low in my opinion ratings.

It has never been that high, to be honest.

At lunchtime I had a phone call from Mrs RC. She had just got a copy of the paper and was so astonished at the front page story that she just had to tell me about it. After our conversation I went and bought a copy so that I could read it while at lunch.

The story?

A person from the next street to us was complaining that she is being victimized by the neighbours. She has had her windows smashed, her children threatened, her garden firebombed.

Bad, huh?

Well it would be, except that the windows were actually smashed by her own son. Far from being threatened, her son is always at the centre of any local trouble, being one of a gang that attacked my eldest son a few years ago. The firebomb in the garden? That would be the time that they had a bonfire and someone threw an aerosol can on it. The story somehow managed to miss the fact that this house is the centre for almost all local crime and drug dealing, and is the hang out for the local thugs. The rest of us are worried about our own kids because of the people in this house!

Mrs RC is wanting to do something to set the record straight - just needs to work out the best way of doing it. Right now we are just amazed that such a badly researched story could be published like this.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


Today really feels like Humpday!

Monday and Tuesday were insanely busy.

Last night Custard, my dog, had a "bad stomach" and kept me up most of the night - cleaning up his accident on the kitchen floor and taking him out to see if he wanted to do any more. A dog walk at 3am certainly wakes you up, that is for sure! I can't do sleep deprivation -thank God my baby days are over!

This morning we had our walk in the countryside with the new students. Nice warm weather, dry underfoot, it was great!

We found these guys who were coppicing the woods, using a couple of these stocky and powerful Ardennes Ponies to pull away the wood. So much better than a tractor!

Now I am passing the afternoon with a group of GIS students, just being here to make sure that they are OK. And they are very OK so I can write this before I finish sorting the photos from this morning.
Have a great Humpday!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

"Growing up"

Heard an interesting thing today.

I was told that we stop "growing up" at the age of 25. We don't get any more sensible after this age.

So if you are over 25 and wish you were a bit more mature? Forget it! This is it, pal, make the most of it!

The Shopping Experience...

Today I visited a store called Aldi - "Spend a little, live a lot!" is the strap line. They are cheap-ish, everything is still in its boxes and it all seems to come from east European countries that no one has ever heard of.

Anyway, I was passing, needed something to nibble on so I went in.

It is a fairly big shop - half a dozen aisles and 5 checkouts.

There were about 3 customers and one worker in sight. The worker, a blond haired, blue eyed Nazi of a woman, was arranging some stuff in a basket near the middle of the shop.

I grabbed a couple of items and then headed towards the checkouts.


The words came like bullets.

I dived behind the nearest box of beans and weeners. Poking my head over the top, I could see that she was still fussing with the basket of something or other.

On my belly I crawled to checkout 5, breathing easier when I reached the trench between it and checkout 4.

Eventually Eva (the name I decided to give to the woman) finished rustling the contents of the basket and strode slowly, menacingly, over to the checkout.

She seated herself.

Adjusted the seat.

Typed in her ID code.

Shrugged her shoulders.

Then, BAM, BAM, she scanned my items with lightning speed and precision.


I dived into the bottom of the trench, covering my head with my hands, waiting for the dust and rubble to settle.

I gingerly raised my hand over the top of the parapet, depositing the cash and grasping my rations.

I made a break for the door.


The last aimed just above my head, making me duck but not slowing my rush to escape.

"Live a lot", eh? Can't accuse them of false advertising, I guess!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Friday ramblings...

Another week over!

Another busy one too! All sorts of stuff going on!

Number One Son had some issues with a gang at school, but Mrs RC stirred things up and the ringleaders have now been thrown out of the school.

Number One Son has just found that he will have to move on to another school or college next year as the current school will not let him study science the way he wants to. He wants to do the 3 sciences as seperate A Levels, but the school has decided to only do a single combined science A Level. The hunt is now on to find the best place to do this and how to get in!

Mrs RC has been a bit ill the last few days. with a nasty chesty-throaty thing going on. Hopefully a weekend of rest and pampering will set her on the road to recovery.

My first assignment is almost finished. It is around 90% written, then I can polish it a bit ready for submission. It isn't due in for another month, but I want to move on to the next assignment - can't do 2 at once (my poor old brain can't take the strain) so it is all about time management for me!

I have now moved on to painting my next set of toy soldiers - American Civil War! I have had these soldiers for pushing 20 years, so it is time I finished them off. They are quite small (10mm tall, less than half an inch) so I am going to make each regiment into a small scene around 3 inches square with lines of troops, bodies, wounded heading for the rear, bits of fence and broken cart wheels, etc. Should look great.

Christmas is approaching fast! Think this will be a fairly restrained one present-wise. To be honest, no one seems to be able to think of anything that they really want and we don't want to spend silly amounts of cash on stuff just for the sake of it.

But Halloween is even closer. Looks like we will be having a bit of a party. The kids want to dress up so we are going to do some food and get in a few silly horror movies. Should be a blast.

Have a great weekend! Back with more RC garbage next week!

PS Just bumped into a guy who is looking for someone to play bass in a punk band. Showed him where the music department is, but gave him my number just in case he can't find a younger one. Might be a fun way to get back into the band thing! We will see!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

We need to go shopping... (BAD TASTE WARNING)

We have reached that time when we need to do a serious food shop.

For the last few days it has been a case of making meals out of whatever is at hand.

Last night I ended up with Lentil and Lamb Curry.

It was utterly delicious!

This morning I feel cleansed, purified.

Who needs colonic irrigation?


By nature, I am a hoarder.

I keep things for years. For example, I have toy soldiers that I bought when I was 13. I have books that I read when I was 11. I have stuff. Lots of stuff.

I don't get rid of things very often, but when I do I often regret it sooner or later - I wish I still had that book, those soldiers, that chair...

I have guitars - several guitars.

I have amplifiers for these guitars - several amplifiers.

I have seen another guitar that I would love to have - but I can't justify buying it. It is just another guitar and it is not like I am gigging and earning cash with my music!

But what if I trade some of my less used stuff to pay for it? That would be OK. I would get my new guitar for little or no cash outlay.

But would I then regret parting with the stuff I traded?

This probably sounds really dumb to some of you, but I find this a really tough call.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

So far this week...

I have:
  • Cycled 50 miles
  • Attended 2 lectures
  • Drawn maps of the world showing who could be hit by Korean missiles
  • Made a load more maps
  • Rescued students from iminent disaster
  • Bent a few rules
  • Worked like mad
  • Had a baffling email from one of my best friends
  • Eaten far too many doughnuts
  • Eaten really bad burger really quickly

and it is only Tuesday!

The week should ease off a bit from here, though...

... I hope...

...I need some time to work on my assignment...

Hope you are having a great day!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Monday Monday

Remember this one?

I do!

Anyway, the weekend was great.

Saturday I checked out TVs and laptops with HD outputs - some great possibilities here. Will probably buy the TV fairly soon and then the laptop nearer Christmas. While in town I went to my favrourite butchers and bought a load of stuff for the barbeque. The afternoon was clear, still and cold, meaning that everyone else sat indoors watching me cook. Ah well, it all went down a treat, especially the lamb steaks. I have decided that lamb is my favourite meat for the barbie - tastes much better than when it is done on the oven.

Sunday I took the kids and 2 friends to play laser tag, which was great fun. Terri, you must get out to where Jake works and have a go - you will love it! Sunday morning seems to be a good time to go, as it was very quiet. We played 3 games, the first 2 also involving a dad and his 6 year old boy, while the last one was just the 6 of us. My daughter got all silly over the little boy ("Ah he is SOOO CUTE!") and refused to shoot him even though he was like some sort of gremlin when he had the gun in his hands. The little git shot me 23 times in the first game! The last game was hilarious as we split into pairs and tried to work together, but there where still quite a few friendly fire incidents...

So, back to Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, 16 October 2009

TV envy...

Around a week ago our main TV went wrong - not worth fixing (it was one of the old, fat ones), so we resurrected an old portable to use until we could sort out a permanent replacement.

I want to get a reasonably sized LCD - nothing massive, just something that is good to watch that will work well with the Wii. Don't really want something the size of a cinema screen...

The kids have added the idea that we could also get a new PC and hook it up to the TV, allowing us to play things like Sims 3. Of course, the PC could also be used to play DVDs and music CDs... They are also angling for something a bit bigger than I am thinking of...

But now I have to decide what to buy, where and when!

What is going to happen to prices as Christmas approaches? Should I buy now or hold on until the Pre-Christmas Sales kick in? LED TVs are starting to appear, so will LCD suddenly get even cheaper? I hate it when I buy something only to see the price fall through the floor a week later...

We will see...


Looking forward to Sunday, as I am taking the kids and some of their friends to play Laser Tag. Great fun - like paintball but without the mess and pain...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

I need ANOTHER T-Shirt!

The kids were in bed.

Mrs RC and I were sitting on the sofa, watching Regenesis.

I was slowly sipping from a glass of very tasty Chilean red wine.

I was wearing THE white t-shirt. The one that Mrs RC loves me to wear, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

I was cool.

All was right with the world.

Enter Custard, the lumbering Golden Labrador...

Suddenly I was NOT cool.

Suddenly things were NOT right with the world.

The classic answer to this sort of thing is to add white wine, but we were out of it, so I doused the t-shirt in water and then scrubbed it with Vanish, one of those "miracle" cleaners.

The red stain turned green.

I rinsed and tried again. The stain faded slightly to a sort of fungoid green - really uncool, and definitely losing that "irresistible" factor.

I also missed the end of Regenesis...

So that is two new t-shirts that I need!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


Not feeling like much of a genius right now.

Lots going on, especially reading fior my first assignment which is going OK - maps are done, the bones of the essay are written, just need to flesh it out now. Reading a chapter or 2 in the bath tonight should see me on my way. Just hoping for the spark of Genius to return for my final write up.


Still feeling like Hot Stuff, though. Just so you don't feel too sorry for me. That feeling is here to stay, I think :-)


Not sure what my dad is up to. He keeps telling members of the family that he is affraid to go out and stays in his bedroom all the time. Really? What about going to the shop the other day? Or riding your bike to the Post Office? Or those afternoon strolls you have been taking?


I have a feeling that I might not be immortal any more. There is a saying amongst those who collect toy soldiers - you don't die until you have finished painting all of your unpainted soldiers. As most of us tend to have at least 500 unpainted soldiers in boxes around the house this tends to guarantee eternal life. Sadly, I have been working my way through mine, fighting the urge to buy more. I must be down to the last couple of hundred now. I can feel myself growing weaker as I paint...

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

I Need a T-Shirt...

I was in Student Mode.

The lecture came to an end and we were given 8 minutes for a quick break (i.e. the lecturer needed a cigarette) before the seminar.

OK, I was thirsty, so I headed up to my office and a drink of Pepsi.


About to head back to the seminar when a colleague (OK it was my HoD) asked me to print a map for him.




No good.

Search again.

Rummage, rummage.




Back for the seminar.


I think I need a t-shirt to let people know when I am in Student Mode.

Any suggestions?

It has already been suggested that I have one that says "Feck-Off, I am a Student". Yes, the suggester was Irish and a big Father Ted fan. It was also his seminar that I was late for...

An easy option would be to wear my Mr Lazy t-shirt - that might work.

Any other ideas?

Monday, 12 October 2009


Well it is Monday again!

The weekend was a bit odd - we have a few ideas of things to do but none of them worked out for various reasons. It even rained because I had suggested a barbeque! oh well, what do you expect?

Had a bit of a "situation" on Saturday. Eldest son had been invited to a party, but no one seemed to know exactly where it was going to be. Eldest son was totally in the dark, just knew it was Saturday evening. We wanted to know because A we don't let him go out in the evening unless we know exactly where he is going and B we wanted to book a taxi to bring him home when it was over.

Then, on Saturday morning, one of his friends dropped it - the party was going to be on a beach. And not just any beach, it was the beach where there is regular trouble with fighting, underage drinking, vandalism, car racing, etc, etc.

No wonder no one was saying where it was! The knew what our reaction would be!

So we had to be party-pooper parents. We explained to him exactly why we didn't want him there and he was very good about it.

Unfortunately I doubt this will be the last time we have to do this, but we see it as our duty as parents to stop him getting involved with this sort of thing until both old enough to make a sensible decision for himself and also old enough to deal with any unpleasantness that might happen at things like this.

And now I am feeling a bit past my best - arrived at work this morning to find that 2 truckloads of stuff was being delivered and , like the fool I am, I offered to help unload it....

Have a great Monday!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Friday ramblings...

Woa, stuff going on!


Had to call out someone to look at our gas supply because the house was about to explode.

Went out to play toy soldiers last night - great fun, even though I got trampled.

Walked into a door yesterday - bruised cheek, split lip - look like I got into a fight!

Mrs RC starts as a volunteer helper at the local junior school on Monday. Given her experience with home schooling our eldest and her particular skills and understanding when dealing with children with special needs, I think she will be great. There is one particular kid that she is eager to work with who has some extreme learning difficulties. Seems to remember things for a very short time and then forget, only to suddenly remember again an hour later! Strange things, brains. If anyone can make things stay in place it is Mrs RC!

Is it just me or is the blogosphere running out of steam? Less posts and less comments seems to be the order of the day all round. I have tried FB but I just don't click with it - too superficial, I guess! Oh well, all the time someone shows up here I will remain Rock Chef!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Back in a Microsoft Minute!

Currently installing software on PCs.

The progress line currently says "6 minutes remaining".

It has been saying that for the last 5 minutes.

Yesterday I had a machine that said "0 seconds remaining" for long enough for me to go down 3 flights of stairs, buy a drink and return...

A Microsoft Minute is clearly a very elastic measurement of time!


Youngest son had a great day yesterday. Weather stopped us having a real barbeque, so we cooked the food in the oven and ate indoors. It was still good. Having a real one at the weekend if the weather clears up.


Now I am hungry again.

Ate far too much last night - still too full in the morning to eat breakfast - now I am starving. Will go to lunch as soon as this installation finishes.

"5 minutes remaining".

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

11 Years Ago Today...

My youngest was born - a bouncing baby boy, weighing in at an eye-watering 11 pounds 3 ounces. He is a tall kid, at 5'3" he is almost as tall as Mrs RC and he is taller than a lot of his teachers!

We got up early for the opening of the presents, and bacon and cheese rolls for breakfast.

He wanted a barbeque for dinner tonight, but it doesn't look like the weather is going to play ball. If not tonight,we will do it at the first opportunity.

Happy Birthday to my Baby Boy!

Monday, 5 October 2009

The Next Mega-Star - according to Mrs RC

They Call it "Stormy Monday"

Oh yeah! What a way to start the week!

And it is raining outside - not stormy, but who knows...

Anyway, the weekend!

Did I manage my tasks? Let's see...

Reading - not really. Had a quick flick through some journal articles but nothing solid. Never mind. Will do some reading over lunch.

Preparation for youngest son't birthday is all done.

Painting soldiers - finished the work in progress and also sorted out an army for a tournament that I will be entering early next year. Although technically a competition, I am doing it for the fun of it so my army consists mainly of peasants with good troops hard to spot. Should be great fun to play, although it could well land me in last place!

Song writing - nope, never even touched a guitar all weekend :-(

Bass lessons with my daughter - nope, she was too busy playing Sims...

Photo - too lazy to dig out the camera - don't give up, though!

So, the new week starts! We are having the Global Warming debate this afternoon - thanks to those of you who put forward comments, I am sure that some will be quoted! It will be fun to see if the class thinks that Canadians are evil villains bent on World Domination!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Friday ramblings...

I think I might make this the regular title for my Friday posts - I don't seem to be able to do much more than that by the time Friday afternoon roll around!

So what's on the To Do list?

Let's see...

Get reading for my fiirst assignment! Just found a pile of stuff on US immigration and migration that will be a good start, so here goes! Also finding data so that I can make some nice maps to go with it. Feeling good so far!

Finish preparation for our son's birthday on Tuesday. More or less there, should be a good day. He gets to choose the food for the evening meal and has chosen to have a barbeque! So I will be dashing home and firing up the coals that night! Hope the weather holds out for him!

Finish painting up a few soldiers that I have had on my board this week. Nearly there!

Get a song written down! I know that once I get to it I will be able to nail 2-3 really quickly, but it is just making the time.

Give my daughter more bass guitar lessons. She is doing well so far. Working on Black Parade by My Chemical Romance.

Take a photo of myself with my tongue sticking out. Don't ask, there are some real perverts out there, you know! :-)

I think that about wraps it up for this week! A busy time for everyone, so have a great weekend!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Hey, that's my daughter!

OK, I know that this is my second teenage daughter, but it doesn't get any easier.

Boys and guys are starting to look at my 13 year old daughter in THAT way.


It is a difficult time for a parent. You have to let it go, but there is the constant urge to grab the guy by the throat and shout

"Hey, she's 13 years old, you f-ing paedophile!"

But you can't, can you? Not without looking like a total psycho. Not without risking arrest. Not with out permanently scarring the child you want to protect!

This morning we had a talk about ideal boyfriends and came to the conclusion that one that resembled Custard, our Labrador, would be great. Someone who is happy to be patted on the head, talked to in silly voices and fed nice things. Yeah, that is a boyfriend that I could be happy with.

Of course, Mrs RC has another plan, which involves introducing them to Mr Baseballbat who lives under the stairs...

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Global Warming

Next week one of my classes is having a discussion about Global Warming, and one of the questions is:

Are Canadians pro-Global Warming?

You see, on the face of it, Canada has a lot to gain from a warmer world.
  • Currently inhabited areas would have less severe winters.
  • Areas that are currently uninhabitable could be open for settlement and farming.
  • The opening of sea routes across the Arctic Ocean would allow the development of major dock facilities there. Canada could become a major hub for world trade.

What do you think? Do you really want to fight it or is it a case of "Bring it on!"

Similarly, are those of you who live in the northern USA happy with the thought of warmer winters?

Monday, 28 September 2009

The Start of Term...

Yes, I have my first lecture in the new academic year this afternoon!

It is always something of a shock to the system, sitting there, pen in hand, taking notes.

My big problem is that my mind often fires off in random directions, triggered by something that has been said. In past lectures I have found myself drifting off and thinking about Charles the Bold of Burgundy, or something that General Patton once said!

Must learn to control my mind!

Yeah, right! If I can't control it now I don't think I ever will!

My other problem is my awful handwriting. I start off moderately bad and just degenerate from there. I have to make a point of word processing my notes into something readable before I completely forget what they were about. To be honest, though, this isn't a bad thing as it helps me to remember what was said and often gets me looking up extra stuff to flesh out the notes.

A final quote that I rediscovered the other day when looking for something to read in the bath - this is very applicable to University life:

"Of course, it is very important to be sober when you take an exam. Many worthwhile careers in the street-cleansing, fruit-picking and subway-guitar-playing industries have been founded on a lack of understanding of this simple fact."
Pratchett, T. (1991) Moving Pictures.

Have a great Monday!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Friday, AGAIN??????!!!!!

I swear that someone stole a couple of days this week!

Where did they go?

I am sure that it should only be Wednesday right now!

So come on, then, own up! Who had a couple of extra days, MY DAYS, this week?

I want them back!


Anyway, as a couple of people on Facebook pointed out, it DID make the weekend arrive nice and quickly so I guess I shouldn't throw too much of a tantrum...

The weekend?

Well we are having a spot of leisure shopping on Saturday, partly to finish buying birthday presents for my youngest. These are pretty much chosen but still lack something really silly and age appropriate. Will see what we can find.

Sunday sees us visiting Humphrey, my mom's pony again to do a few minor repairs to his stable. For a small, old pony he can still cause damage! Poor old thing. In fact, the vet recently told us that she thinks that this might be his last winter. I hope not, as he is a great character and we will miss him a lot.

Have a great weekend, more RC rubbish next week as my new year of studying really gets under way!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Last night's dream...

Inspired by Wreggie's posts about odd dreams, here is one I had last night.


Mrs RC and I had arranged to have an evening at home to ourselves. The kids had gone out doing stuff, so Mrs RC set out the dining table while I popped out to grab a load of Indian takeaway.

The table was covered with food - various types of curry, rice dishes, naan bread, poppadoms, etc, etc. We were about to start tasting it all when the door opened and our kids, each accompanied by a friend or 2, came in.

To cries of "I love this" and "Thanks I'm starving!", they cleared the table, leaving Mrs RC and me at the table, looking at each other with smiles of resignation.

"I'll go and get some more."

Changing the subject somewhat, I have decided that I need to get some serious song writing done. I have got these half written songs sloshing around in my head and I need to get them out. Doing those silly songs in the summer was great fun but it is now time for something a bit more gritty.

Who knows, if I overcome my stage fright I might even post a vblog of myself singing one of them. I know that some of you want to hear me regardless of how awful I will be. Or is that BECAUSE of how awful I will be?

Hm, I sometimes wonder about some of you...

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Lies, Damn Lies and the Beauty Industry

OK, we all know that the beauty industry tells lies:

  • Use this mascara and your lashes will be 3 feet long!

  • Use this cream and you will look 500 years younger!

  • Use this hair conditioner and your hair will look like the wig on this famous actress!

And so it goes on.

But I heard a real corker the other morning! It was a woman who worked for Chanel talking about face wrinkles.

Do you know what she said was a major cause of wrinkles?

Her new scapegoat?

The mother of all evil?


Yes, sugar!

Now I don't want to come on all boastful, but I eat and drink a stupid amount of sugar each day, but I don't think I have that many wrinkles. OK, I'm not the most handsome hunk around, but I don't look like this:

which I would do if sugar caused wrinkles!
Do you have a favourite Beauty Industry lie?

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Monday, 21 September 2009

Saved by the Barbie!!!!

Yesterday afternoon the electricity cut out.

No warning, no apparent reason. The weather was still and fairly warm, so it is not like the wind had brought down the lines or anything!

Half of the town was out.

Time ticked on, and still no power.

I finished painting my Madhists (see below) in fading sunlight.

The kids played on their Nintendo DS's and the laptop until the batteries faded.

We started to get hungry...

So, what to do?

Drag out the barbeque! I had stocked up on charcoal at the beginning of the month as stocks in the shops ran out - I even managed to get it half price! Yes, I found a bargain!

We had the meat for a good grill-up, so I mixed up some bread dough, fired up the coals and got making bread rolls, just like I did when we were camping. When they were done, it was on to the gammon slices, sausages (including some great looking apple and plum ones that vanished before I got to try one) and burgers. It was great! Had a real survivalist feel to it - yes, we will be OK when civilization comes crashing down around us!

Fortunately the power came back on just as we finished eating, so we were OK for lighting, TV, etc, for the evening.

Unfortunately, it seemed to do something to our water heating system so we are hoping that someone will get out today to sort it out - otherwise I will be in for a cold bath tonight :-(

The Fruits of my Labours...

Below are some photos of my latest set of soldiers.
They are Mahdists from late 19th Century Sudan. They fought the Egyptians and British while trying to spread an Islamic Jihad through Africa, the Middle East and India.
I did these using a high speed painting technique - very simple block colours in clothes, flesh and weapons, then slap on a coat of mahogany coloured varnish from the DIY store, then quickly wipe off the excess, leaving thicker varmish in the creases to create shading. I think it works rather well for this bunch!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Friday ramblings...



That was a LONG WEEK!

In fact I think it might actually have been 2 or 3 weeks! Monday was a long time ago.

This weekend is going to be one of those "nothing planned, lets just see what happens" weekends. The weather has cleared up nicely today from the rain we have had most days this week, so hopefully I can drag out the barbeque at some point!

The next couple of weeks are going to be insane at work - the freshers arrive next week, and we have loads of them. Add to that we have a load of building work at the Uni that is just finishing up - new book shop and coffee shop right down stairs from me, new science labs, new library, new lecture theatres - I am going to be just as lost as the freshers at first!

Then the rest of the students arrive too and I also start studying again! One of mymodules this year is all about the USA and Canada, so it will be fun to see what I can find out about where my American and Canadian friends live! Essays? Not so excited about them...

Oh, one thing that I DO plan to do this weekend is to finish off my latest set of toy soldiers - Sudanese Mahdists from the 1880s-1890s. They are looking pretty good so far, so I will see about posting photos when they are totally done.

Finally, another bass guitar lesson for my daughter...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 17 September 2009


No, I am not being rude!

Some of you talk about car-dancing.

I tried bike-dancing but fell off.

Now I had found Bed-Banging - head-banging in bed, with a bit of air guitar thrown in.

The local radio station has started playing this song

("Sex on Fire" by Kings of Leon) at the time I am supposed to get up. Getting up is now delayed while I Bed-Bang to this great little song.

A great way to start the day.

What is your favourite way to start the day?

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

I was right!

All summer we kept seeing amazingly bright Hawaian shirts in the shops.

I wanted one.
I would grab one off the rack and hold it in front of myself, saying "I want this!"
The reactions were varied:
  • No, bladdy!
  • Please don't!
  • Don't you dare!
  • Who is that person?

Varied but united in their rejection of my desires - I am a simple guy (aren't we all?), I don't expect much from life, but they all conspired to stop me getting the one thing that I wanted - a really embarassing shirt.

But what has happened now? Number One Son has been invited to a party - a Hawaian party. Can we find him a suitable shirt now that the summer has gone? No, of course not!

Now, if only they had allowed me to get one in the summer....


Tuesday, 15 September 2009


My youngest will soon be 11 years old.

OK, his name is Ira, reflecting my distant Jewish ancestry - still visible in the shape of my nose ;-)

He is a great little guy - well, not really that little any more, he is almost as tall as Mrs RC!

Anyway, he is a great little guy, intelligent, works hard at school, and has a wicked sense of humour. He will often see something and then take the idea and ramble on, taking the idea to ridiculous extremes which have us all in stitches.

He only has a few friends his own age, mixing much better with older kids. He finds most kids his own age "too baby-ish" - he can't connect with them, whereas he is more than able to hold his own in the company of 15 year olds.

Which brings me to his birthday. We are having real trouble deciding what to buy him! I have already ordered a copy of the latest Halo game for the XBox (which he is probably technically too young to play, but what the heck! I don't have a problem with Halo - Grand Theft Auto is another matter...) but a lot of other stuff that is designed for his age group just looks, um, "too baby-ish"!

We sometimes wonder if he has somehow skipped part of his childhood, going straight from little kid to teenager. Perhaps he has just caught up with his older brother - I remember trying to do this when I was a kid, but I failed to catch him!


Any ideas for birthday presents for a 15 year old 11 year old?