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...