Friday, 30 January 2009


Today is much more relaxed than the last few days - morning lecture, then a bit of study time, a bit of work on the web site this afternoon and then, BAM!, off home for pizza and beer!

This weekend we intend to do as little as possible. Mrs RC is planning some drawing and painting time, as is Number 1 Son who has some work to do for school. I am trying to get motivated to paint some of my soldiers, but haven't done anything for ages. I think the last thing that I actually finished was the Crusader camp scene that I posted photos of a while back! Failing that I will see about getting back to doing a bit of recording on the PC, sorting out some backing tracks that I can play along with.

Also long over-due is finishing off the V-bass! I only ("only", I like that) have to do the metal control panel and attach the knobs and buttons but I keep shying away from doing it. I think it is the thought of drilling through a sheet of metal that puts me off. I think I just need to get a grip and do it, don't you? What's the worst that can happen? Hm, don't answer that one, there are too many nurses reading this blog!

What else? Oh yes, the weather is getting colder and the snow is getting closer! They said on the radio this morning that it is likely to hit us on Sunday! Yay! I love snow! I will try to get some good photos so all you Americans and Canadians can see what a real snowfall is like! Hahaha, I am joking, of course, but the effect it has on us is incredible! 2 inches usually brings things to a complete standstill! We just can't cope!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 29 January 2009

What a day!!!!

So busy!

Almost had my dissertation project planned but decided to do something totally different while cycling to work this morning! The new project will be better, I think, looking at immigration into the UK - where people are coming from, where they are going and why.

It's cold outside!

A girl in my 12 year old daughter's class is pregnant!

My dad is having trouble with his electricity company and each time we call they say they have no record of the previous call!


Still, the weekend is coming!

Friday might be more peaceful - I wonder?

Oh, the competition! I will leave it open until Monday. Only 2 people have been brave enough to give it a try, so it is still wide open!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Name that movie!

OK, January is nearly over, the sun is clear of the horizon when I set off for work in the morning, things are looking good! So I have decided to have a little competition!

Name that Movie!

Below lines from 10 movies - send me your answers by email ( - the winner will be sent a mysterious PRIZE!

Use of Google is cheating, but I can't stop you using it. I will just have to trust you!

Good luck!

1 - "Never give up! Never surrender!"

2 - "If it bleeds, we can kill it!"

3 - "I just threw up in my mouth a little bit."

4 - "I know this ship like the back of my hand."

5 - "Yippie kayay mother-$%&*£$!"

6 - "Don't forget to drink your Ovaltine?"

7 - "This is my sister. She is 4th best prostitute in Kazakhstan."

8 - "That still only counts as one!"

9 - "XXX says that the chances of survival are 725 to 1. Actually XXX has been known to make mistakes... from time to time... Oh dear..."

10 - "I only told you to blow the bloody doors off!"

Update: Only 1 person has sent me answers so far! Are you really just going to GIVE him the prize?

Monday, 26 January 2009

This weekend...

was exhausting!

It was one of those weekends where I never seemed to stop. Walking the dog, shopping, doing stuff for family, doing stuff for a neighbour, cooking, cleaning....

The thing that kept me going was the new season of Lost. We have been looking forward to this for weeks, and it started last night.

Everything was done.

I settled on the sofa.

Drink was at hand.

I nibbled a Cream Egg.

The opening scene appeared on the screen.

I woke up about half an hour later wondering what the f£$% had happened.

I repositioned myself, trying to watch the rest of the episode, fighting my eyelids to keep them open, but they are sneaky little blighters. At one point I swear they pulled a flanking move and closed from the bottom up!

Still, all was not Lost. (Geddit?, Lost?) They were showing 2 episodes, so I could at least catch the second one. I decided that I would watch it in bed. I headed up the wooden mountain to Bedfordshire, stripped off, splashed myself with cold water in the bathroom and, fresh as a daisy, rolled into bed to watch more.

Yeah, right. I managed to force my eyes open for a few tantalizing glimpses, but other than that I was off counting sheep.

Oh well, it is bound to be on again. Wish me better luck next time!

Friday, 23 January 2009

Pie Day!

According my my son's calendar today is Pie Day!

What a great thing to celebrate!

We are having pie today in honour of this, moving pizzas to tomorrow, which will probably mess me up again making me think that Sunday is Saturday, etc, etc. My wife and the kids will be making savoury pies while I intend to do some banoffee pies for dessert. Yum!

Hope you manage to join in the festivities!


What does that conjure up?

For me, a tick is a blood-sucking parasite, making this a big green parasite that is looking for a hedgehog to get stuck into. Perhaps it is a 1950s sci-fi horror movie that I had not heard of before, featuring dodgey stop-motion animation, mad professors with pretty daughters and teenagers being played by actors in their mid-30s.

Actually, it is the name of a new range of food! For some reason I don't want to eat it!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Interviewed by Ali!

Ali decided that she wanted to interview me and sent me some very interesting questions, as you would expect from a journalist!

Here we go!

1. What's the hardest thing you've found about being a student again?

Finding time for general reading on my subjects has been hard - with work, family, studying for particular assignments and hobbies (an absolute necessity if I am to maintain my current levels of sanity) take up a lot of time! The other adjustment that I am finding hard is being taught by old friends/colleagues - I have to fight the urge to engage them in conversation half way through a lecture when something they have said has triggered an idea...

2. In your opinion, what's the best rock song ever?

Has to be this one - the pure essence of ROCK!

3. What is your favourite quality about each one of your kids?

Daughter 1: The way that from a very early age she always spoke her mind. This did, of course, lead to a lot of incredibly fierce arguments at home - she really lived the stroppy teenager thing! But she was always her own person and never did anything just because it was expected or to make herself popular. Quite the opposite in many cases both at college and at the church that she went to. I will always remember the day she came home from church with steam coming out of her ears. There was a visiting speaker who lead a debate on homosexuality. The view that he was pushing was that it was an evil life choice and should not be tolerated. Let's just say that the debate was not as one sided as he hoped it would be! Hah, I have got a huge grin just thinking about it!

Son 1: His blinding intelligence, eagerness to learn and interest in just about everything. He is also extremely generous and willingly shares all that is his with others, seeming to spend half of his school time explaining things to other kids in ways that they can understand. A great kid!

Daughter 2: Her eccentric nature. She is a great artist, and a lover of animals. She also has a great attitude to boys, liking those who are actually nice kids rather than the 'popular' ones. In years to come I think that she will be the town's mad cat-lady!

Son 2: His sense of fun and mischief. He has a great sense of humour, loving a range of comedy movies and shows on TV. He also likes to delve into the depths of the ridiculous, having the most ludicrous trains of thought that no one can ever fully remember afterwards. He is my usual companion when I watch my dumb movies like Balls of Fury, Dodgeball, etc.

4. Blondes or brunettes? (Ahem, please keep in mind my haircolour when answering this, lol)

Brunettes, but I also like the various dark tints that people are using, reds, blues, purples...

5. If you could have one superpower, what would it be? And what would be your superhero name?

After careful thought I have chosen Flight. It has lots of uses, eg visiting friends who need cheering up, rescuing people, taking food to the hungry, etc, etc. I could also drop people from a great height if they upset me! Name? Hm, that is a tricky one. How about The Eagle?

Thanks for those questions, Ali! I won't offer to interview any more people because I still have to do questions for some who asked last time! Doh!

Monday, 19 January 2009

The most depressing day of the year?

"Psychologists have dubbed it "Blue Monday", a date in January when post-Christmas gloom is at its worst.
It is worked out with a formula taking into account six factors: weather, debt, time since Christmas, time since failing our new year's resolutions, low motivational levels and the feeling of a need to take action. " (Taken from the BBC website).

So let's have a quick look and see if this works for me, shall we?

Weather: OK, so this morning's weather stank, but the sun is now out and there is blue sky peeping through the clouds. Not too bad, eh?

Debt: Yeah, but it is only money, it's not as bad as it was this time last year and we are working on it. Why worry more than that?

Time since Christmas: OK, so the holiday is now a dim memory, but it was great and the kids are still loving the stuff we bought them. Can't get depressed about that!

Time since failing our new year's resolutions: Didn't make any! Hah! Take that Mr Sad-Pants!

Low motivational levels and the feeling of a need to take action: Feeling motivated, taking action and getting results!

Well I think that makes today NOT the most depressing day of the year.
What about you?

Friday, 16 January 2009

But isn't it Saturday????

Yesterday Mrs RC had to take our daughter to have her teeth checked so I finished work early and collected our youngest from school.

I decided that it would be good to bring pizza night forward from Friday and set to work on the dough etc, helped along by a Snakebite (half lager, half cider and a dash of blackcurrant) or 2 and Fox News on the kitchen TV. Wow, the more I see the more "interesting" Obama's presidency looks, not to mention the amazing weather in the USA and Canada. A reporter in Indianapolis did a trick of throwing a cup of hot water into the air - it turned to steam and blew away! I know I complain about our lack of snow, but if it brings temperatures like that, I take it all back. You can keep it, OK?

Anyway, after an evening of pizza and beer, my body decided that it must have been Friday, so this morning it wanted a lay in. Get up NOW? Are you kidding me? My legs were really not into the journey today, but I made it in OK. First thing? My Friday morning lecture! Did my brain want to cooperate? Hell no! At one point I couldn't even remember the name of the woman who wrote the Harry Potter books! (J K Rowling, in case you are just as bad as me right now!)

So now I am getting ready to resume work and my body thinks otherwise - I should be playing guitar, or sorting out my toy soldier collection, or reading, or going shopping - anything but EXCEL!

Will this continue? Will I think it is Sunday tomorrow and want to watch awful movies instead of going shopping? We will see.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Hump Day!

Today was very hectic, far too much going on around here!

Still, it IS Wednesday, HumpDay, so we are now on the way to the weekend - YAY!

I have noticed something recently - I keep hearing phrases that I haven't heard for a long time. Not that my tired and dulled brain can recall exactly what they were or who said them :-( but it did make me think of one that I would like to use again sometime soon.


Cake-hole means "mouth" if you didn't already know that.

Isn't it a great description, especially if you like cake?

So, what long-forgotten term or phrase do you think we should resurrect?

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Happiness, happiness

My last post brought some great comments, and inspired this post.

When I was young, this guy, Ken Dodd, was one of the biggest entertainers around. James, at least, will remember him. This was one of his most famous songs: Happiness.

It embodies a lot of my approach to life, especially when talking about measuring success in terms of happiness and not money. I do the work that I do because it makes me happy, not rich!

People comment on how happy I am, not only bloggers, but people who deal with me face to face.

I recently had a student tell me that without my happy chat each day she might not have finished her degree. How is that for sharing a smile and making a difference?

When we were doing our Christmas food shopping, the woman on the checkout commented on how jolly I was, when everyone else seemed to think that the end of the world was coming. She said I should be employed at the store to cheer up the workers!

A few days ago I was walking down the High Street and was stopped by one of those poor people who do market research. I stopped, chatted, answered her questions. She said I was the first smiling person she had seen ALL DAY! We parted and she returned to her task with renewed vigor.

Spreading a little happiness isn't really that hard, and who knows, you might start a ripple effect going, making a small part of the world just a bit nicer! We all have stuff that tries to make us sad and miserable, and there are times when even I feel like crap, but we also have plenty to feel good about, and I prefer to focus on that, something I learnt to do in my late teens when trying to fight depression.

So, my tip-top tip for today? Think a happy thought, hum a happy tune and SMILE, dammit!

Monday, 12 January 2009


Terri made me think of this post. When she gets a song stuck in her head she calls it an ear-worm. What a great name for it!

On Saturday, my Ear-worm was "Give it up" by Thin Lizzy:

I didn't realise until I was in the cheese aisle of the local supermarket and found myself singing it, um, quite loudly! Glancing around the packed store I found that there was a huge space around me, the only person within about 20 feet of me was a very worried looking guy rushing past with his trolley. I had to laugh! Were they frightened of catching something? Happiness, perhaps? Who knows? Who cares?

But it does lead to my tip-top tip for the day!

If you are in a busy shop and can't get through, start singing very loudly - you might suddenly find that you have a lot more space around you!

Friday, 9 January 2009

Silly Snippets

This morning was very cold again - so cold I saw steam coming out of a sewer cover! I have never seen this in real life before, only in movies when I suspected it was just an effect...

Got my marks for my first 2 assignments since returning to studying. Pass mark is 40, if you get 70 you are into the First Class category (i.e. the best one). I got 74 and 75. OOOH YEAH!!! (said in a Macho Man Randy Savage voice).

My youngest came up with this the other day. He has been watching something that features a "Yo Momma Fight", as in "Yo Momma is so stupid/fat/ugly...". His one was "Yo Momma is so stupid she sold her car for gas money!"

Mr and Mrs RC walking down the road. RC has a bag of chips/fries. He feeds one to Mrs RC. Mrs RC: Oh, that is so good! Can you do me and eat at the same time? (She actually meant "can you FEED me..." Just so you know...)

Have a great weekend!

I will leave you with a bit of Gary Moore.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Cutting Crime!

I heard a wonderful theory on the radio last night, it goes like this.

Whenever some awful crime has been commited, the perp's friends and neighbours always say things like "he was such a nice guy, he was the last person in the world to do something like this!" We have all seen this on the TV and in the newspapers.

So, when the Police are investigating crimes they should start by arresting the most unlikely person to have committed the crime. Should save lots of time interviewing the usual suspects only to find that it was the nice postman who did it. (Sorry James!)

In fact, they could go one step further and just lock up everyone who seems to be too nice to commit a crime! That would probably wipe out around 90% of all crime!

What do you think?

That was nice!

I woke this morning to the DJ on the radio telling us that there was more snow coming. People were calling in from all over the county saying that there was snow where they were. Looking out of the window all I could see was the remains of our last fall.

By the time I got the bike out there was evidence of a little fresh snow - a gentle sprinkle, like sugar on a cake.

As I left I could feel that something was falling, but it was so fine it was invisible, just lumps of damp air.

Heading off along the road towards the woods I felt it forming into something more substantial - icy lumps of freezing rain, so cold my face hurt!

But I can take it! I am a strong guy! (Cough, cough) I am! Honest!

Anyway, it was not until I arrived that I realised what had happened to me and my bike. We were covered with a fine film of ice. Parts of my coat were rigid! It was so cool! I have never had that before! I felt like Scott of the Antartic, but still alive!

I am such a hero, don't you think?

Monday, 5 January 2009

When a Princess asks questions...

How can I refuse to answer?

The always wonderful Princess of the Universe sent me these questions, threatening to send me to The Tower if I did not answer! So here goes!

1. Do you love students, or do you find them to be a hindrance to getting your actual work done?

I love it when the students are around. Smoothing their way through Uni is one of my main roles (for me anyway) and when they are on holiday it always seems a bit quiet and dull. If the job was all serious research and stuff I would have moved on long ago.

2. Did you in fact make a sleigh for Pooh? (And how could you not know about Pooh's history with Winnipeg? Shocking!)

No, I never found the time to do it. I improvised for our Christmas Eve BBQ, though. I sat them all in our garden trolley - Pooh in his Santa outfit, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore with stuck on card antlers, with a big sack of presents. It was great. Regarding Winnipeg link, I have never heard that. Sorry... I tend to think of Pooh as a fairly local thing, given that The Hundred Acre Wood and Pooh Bridge are just south of London.

3. If you had the choice, would you rather be young Anakin doing a pod race, or Luke doing the blowing-up-the-deathstar scene in Episode IV?

Luke blasting the Death Star without a doubt! I always wanted to be a hero, and it doesn't come much better than that, does it? I mean, he almost got the Princess didn't he - but given that she was his sister it is a good thing he didn't quite get her isn't it? Not the sort of thing we want in a family movie!

4. What's going on with Fat Jedi cat? I haven't heard about him in months!

I haven't seen Jedi for some time - when the weather turned cold he just seemed to vanish. I hope he is OK and had a great Christmas. I will be sure to report when I see him again!

5. Did you ever try Coke Zero again? What about Diet Coke? I'm very concerned about your sugar intake!

No, I never tried it again. I didn't really enjoy it, it doesn't seem to be any better for you overall and I think I just need that sugar boost to get me up the hills on my bike! I do keep thinking that I should look for an alternative but nothing really seems to last for long, I wander into a store and they have Coke or Pepsi on offer and I just grab it! Thanks for worrying about me - guys tend to like that sort of thing!

I hope my answers were satisfactory - if not, I guess I will be answering them again, with a bit of encouragement from the royal torturer!

If you would like ME to interview YOU, please let me know!

Blog Rules:

The only rules are that you have to link back to the original post and you have to put these rules in your post:

Want to be part of it? Follow these instructions:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions."


Well, 2009 is here - I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a great 2009. (I will be catching up up blogs ASAP!).

We had a really good Christmas.

Our Christmas Eve barbeque was great - I did turkey breasts and pepper steak which went down really well. We also had a sack of small presents that were looked after by Santa Pooh in his "sleigh" (see my next post for a full explanation of this) which were given out while I cooked. This really added to the event, as did a bottle of really good red wine - sadly I am the only one who likes it so I had to take care of it all by myself...

Christmas Day was also really good - the kids loved their presents. The boys spent the rest of the holiday playing Gears of War 1 and 2 and Halo 3 on their new X-Box 360 while my daughter played around with her new make up, clothes, MP3/MP4 player (which I had taken the liberty of pre-loading a load of great stuff onto), etc.

We also went to dinner with some friends and ended up playing Guitar Hero World Tour, complete with guitar, mic and drum kit. I know I have said some things about this in the past, but we actually had a blast playing it, and are now considering getting it ourselves. Or perhaps Rock Band? I will have to check them both out before taking the dive - any comments on this would be most welcome!

New Years Eve was spent playing a game that we have just discovered - Chinese Checkers. We all love it, especially Mrs RC who gets really competitive with things like this. I expect that someone will now tell me that you can play it on Facebook! Please don't ! I might just have to revive my account if you do!

Finally, at the weekend, we played host to the people we had visited a few days before, doing a load of Mexican food (including a great chili that we kept going in the slow cooker) and then played Wii Fit, Wii Sports and Mariocart until some awful hour. Great fun, though.

So now it is back to work - and we finally had snow last night - a whole inch! Yes, we get it tough here, you know! It was grewat, though, because even a tiny amount like that stops lots of people driving, and those that do tend to go very slowly! YAY!

Back soon with my answers to The Princess's Questions!