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?

Monday, 14 September 2009


Sunday was a day of rest...

Go up early, walked the dogs, did a little shopping, then it was on the sofa for most of the day.

Watched a few movies, on TV and DVD.


This was an aweful "before Sawyer for Lost was famous" movie. He was clearly the best actor in it, but was still unable to save it. So bad it had me laughing out loud...


TV crew that is shadowing a Fire crew in NY finds itself barricaded in a building with Zombies. Very well done, sadly spoilt by the cliched final shot... Well worth seeing if you like Zombies, though.


A really dumb movie about a pair of 40 year olds who still live at home sponging off their parents. Suddenly they find that they are step brothers and have to share a bedroom. All of the classic rivalries with the added daftness that they are old enough to know better. Would have been much better as a half-hour TV show, as I was glad when it finally ended.

Warehouse 13

Not a movie, but a new TV show - at least over here it is! Remember the warehouse at the end of the original Indiana Jones movie, where they store the Arc of the Covenant? Well this series is bases around something like that, a warehouse full of amazing stuff. First 2 episodes were fun, hope they manage to keep up the humour and wackiness of it all.

Finally ended my hunger by eating a ton of junk - fried chicken, ribs, cakes... Ooh Yeah, feeling good now...

Friday, 11 September 2009

Friday ramblings...

I had hoped to do a vblog today but my camcorder isn't playing today, so it will have to wait.

Hoping for a peaceful weekend as Mrs RC is a bit under the weather and I have to persuade her to rest. Not an easy thing to do as she can't rest if she thinks that there are things that need doing. I would threaten to tie her to the bed but - no, let's not go there, eh!

Nothing really exciting going on right now, just the usual Friday routine - tired, heading home to cook pizzas, maybe painting a few more soldiers, walking the dogs, trying to avoid the back blast from Spot, etc, etc!

So this is RC, signing off! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 10 September 2009


I am hungry. I always seem to by hungry at the moment, I don't know what is wrong with me.

Maybe I have got worms or something!

Mrs RC (busy feeding our teenage children) suggested that I might be in for a growth spurt. Hope not, guys my age only grow in one direction!

Another suggestion is that it is my new bike!

I got a new bike on Saturday, having decided that the quotes for maintenance to the old one were just too stupid to consider. We cycled to the next town along the coast where there is a good bike shop, bought one and then waited for it to be sorted out for riding home.

Of course, this meant I was in the wrong town with my old bike - what to do?

In the end I just gave it to a teenager I met in the street. He was a bit of a Goth and looked OK. He was suspicious of me at first ("Um, do I know you?") but when I explained my situation he was happy enough to take my old bike as a gift from a total stranger.

Anyway, the new bike is amazing, but I am thinking that in taking advantage of is amazingness I am pedalling just a bit harder than usual, burning more calories, leading to my never ending hunger!

I hope so.

I hope it's not worms...

Or a growth spurt...

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Man's Best Friend

For some time now, we have been walking my dad's dog for him.

Spot is a small white Jack Russell.

He used to be very timid and frightened of everything. At one point the vet said that he was so nervous it would be kinder to have him put down than to keep him!

Gradually he became less nervous.

Then we started walking him with Custard. Having this huge friend for back-up seemed to give him new confidence, and he is now the most bolshi, head-strong dog you could ever wish to meet. He has even started doing that strutting, scratching the grass with his back legs thing after he has done a poop!

So, back to Monday evening, walking the dogs. Everything was going as normal, sniffing, peeing (the dogs, not me), meeting other dogs.

Then Spot stopped for his second poop of the evening.

It was huge. I swear he got thinner as he did it. It was soft and curled round as he did it, like ice cream coming out of a machine.

Finally he finished.

He shook himself.

He kicked his back legs.

His feet hit the poop, spraying it in an arc behind him.

Guess where I was standing at this precise moment.


It was on my trainers, my trousers, my t-shirt and even one of my arms!

Is this the thanks I get for all that I have done for him?

I guess so!

Monday, 7 September 2009

The Horror, Part 2

"I started by asking close friends if they knew anything about it, but they either knew no more than I did or laughed at me for wanting to know more. They thought that such things should be left alone.

"I searched for clues and evidence. Books, movies, newspapers, magazines, but found only an elaborate smokescreen of misdirection. THEY could not hide its existence, but they were very good at hiding its exact nature.

"Once, in wild desperation, I asked one of THEM if they would just tell me about it. They smiled sadly at me and informed me that they could tell me, but would then be obliged to kill me. In some ways I think that might have been the better option to what finally happened!"

The patient was now on his feet, pacing around the room, glancing furtively out of the window.

"Eventually, I decided that the only way was to see the truth for myself. I picked one of THEM, and spied on them, listening to secretive conversations as THEY planned their meetings. Eventually I found out where and when THEY would meet up. It was my big chance!

"I arrived at the location early, quietly entering through an open window and finding what I thought was a good hiding place. I would be able to see everything that happened without being spotted. What a fool I was!"

The patient returned to his seat, and began staring at the floor, rocking fast. Cold sweat began to trickle down his face as he tried to control his fear.

"They arrived. A few at first, and then more until the room was full. There must have been seven or eight of them in the end. It was horrible! The happy chatter and laughter covering up the true horror of what they were doing - unspeakable acts that no man is supposed to see - not if he wishes to remain sane! I saw it all and struggled to stifle my whimpers and cries. I failed.

"Oh the delighted shrieks of joy when they discovered my hiding place!"

The patient leaped to his feet, rushing to the window. For a moment the Doctor thought that he was about to hurl himself through the glass, but he stopped short, turning to face the Doctor, his face distorted as if in unimaginable physical pain.

"They forced me to join in! I tried to resist, but it was useless." He collapsed onto the floor, sobbing, a broken man.

The Doctor cleared his throat.

"There is just one thing that I need you to tell me. Just what was it that you saw? What were they doing?"

It took the patient some time to recover enough to speak again. Eventually he looked up at the Doctor and spoke, a thin line of saliva dripping from the corner of his mouth.

"It was-. It was...

Friday, 4 September 2009

The Horror...

The doctor settled into his chair, resting his notebook on his knee. After a short pause he glanced across at the patient, who sat on the edge of his chair, rocking slightly in his straight-jacket.

"So, Mr Russell, how are you feeling today?"

The patient continued to stare at the floor, rocking gently.

"Hm, you still don't want to talk about it? We have been doing this for 3 years, now, there must be something that you can remember, that you want to share with me. Tell me. How did it all start?"

The patient suddenly stopped mid rock, and fixed the doctor with a re-eyed, piercing stare.

"You really want me to tell you? You really want to know? I've seen things that no man was ever supposed to see! I know secrets that no man was ever supposed to know! DO YOU REALLY WANT ME TO TELL YOU?"

"Yes, Mr Russell", replied the doctor calmly. "Yes, I do!"

A bitter smile crossed the patient's lips.

"I thought I wanted to know, too. Curious at first, I now know that it was only madness that pushed me on. It all started innocently enough. I had heard hints about it - half heard, whispered conversations that would suddenly stop as I drew near. What was the secret, what was the truth? I had to know!"

To be continued....

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Sometimes it is embarassing to be a guy...-

The things that guys do in a desperate attempt to impress women...

Do they really work?

Does the sight of a middle-aged guy with a hair-piece really get the girls excited?

Does the spotty teenager in the rusty car that screeches around every corner really get any?

Are women really taken in by blatant BS?

Do women leap into bed with the guy in the sports car with the number plate that reads

A11 COX ?

(I saw this one this morning!)

Please tell me!

I just find it embarassing to be a guy when I see this stuff...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


It seems to be an accepted trade-off.

Your kids drive you nuts at times.

Then as you get older, it is your turn to drive THEM nuts. My parents (especially my dad) have taken to this role with gusto...

So, I got thinking that I should start practicing for when it is MY turn. This is how it went:

Daughter: Hey, Bladdy (she calls me that instead of Daddy these days), what's for dinner.

Me: Well it is Friday, which makes it Pizza Day. So I guess we are having pizza!

Oh, good!

We're having pizza, because it is Pizza Day.


And it's Pizza Day because it is Friday.


We always have pizza on Friday-


because it is Pizza Day.

Yes, Bladdy.

Because it's Friday.


And therefore Pizza Day.

Bladdy, stop it, you're scaring me!

[Quietly] So it's pizza tonight...


Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Back to normality?

Well it looks like the party is over - after managing to work for an amazing 4 days in the whole of August, life returns to normal. It is now the run up to the new academic year, next stop Christmas!

But it's not really that bad - I love my job and the people I work with. I will be starting another year of studying which will be fun and everything else in life is looking good too, so what the heck!

Yep, life IS good!

This summer has felt like a real turning point for us. Things are on an upward curve that does not seem to have an end. Mind you, we started pretty low so there was a long way to go wasn't there?

This summer has seen me on something of a high, I can't remember the last time I felt this good about everything. I've been through Hell, kicked The Devil's ass and come out stronger than ever. Having wonderful blog friends DEFINITELY helped here, of course!

Life is good again, against all the odds.

So take heart - if things are feeling crappy at the moment remember that even the worst lows don't last for ever.

Love and hugs to you all!