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!