It’s amazing just how much technology moves on in the space of a few short years. Just a few years back, a 1Gb microdrive for a digital SLR was hundreds of pounds and the storage capacity seemed incredible.

Move forward to a few days ago, when I received a package containing a 2Gb pen drive which cost me the quite staggeringly small sum of £10.99. That pen, which is 3cm long and 0.5cm thick, contains half of the space available on the hard drive of this antiquated laptop which I’m using to type up this entry.

How on earth did we store all of our information and data before the advent of cheap flash memory ? I remember when a box of 10 full floppies was considered excessive, and they were only 1.44Mb each. Now they’re relics consigned to the dustbin of technological history, and we’re each probably carrying gadgets in our pockets capable of holding a combined total up to 60Gb: mobile with 1 or 2Gb miniSD memory, pen drive on a keychain and an iPod or mp3 player.

Where will it all end ? How much data do we each need to keep, personally ? What happens when a format becomes obsolete – will we spend our lives accumulating terabytes of data which we need to continuously transfer onto new formats to keep the data available ? Will we need counselling and feel a sense of loss or bereavement if we lose huge chunks of our stored lives through theft or media breakdown / failure ?

I think I’ll start reverting back to using the good old pen and a pad of paper, so that hundreds of years from now whatever I write might still be available without needing the requisite antique technology to extract the data in the first place. Your eyes will do just fine, and hopefully in a few hundred years we won’t have replaced them with something electronic !

OK. It’s been a while. In fact, it’s been a very long while. There’s no excuse for it other than laziness…. well, in fact the truth is I’ve been a busy boy with lots of other things and so I’ve been neglecting poor old Waterside Tales for too long.

What’s been happening in the intervening months, then ?

  • Well, the cycling has continued throughout the winter months, except for the days when it would have been suicidal to attempt it (like the days I’d have been going sideways with the gales). I’ve clocked up another 400 miles since the last picture, even with almost four weeks off over Xmas and New Year with the festivities and the Winter Virus. The fact that the temperatures have remained on the mild rather than the brass monkey side has been an added bonus !
  • The little one has lost two front teeth and become acquainted with the Tooth Fairy and her monetary reward scheme for baby teeth. At her age I was almost yanking them out with pliers, lured by the promise of free cash, but she’s been rather reluctant to part with them. Hell, she’s not even seen that little lassie that sang ‘Grandma’ with the St Winifred’s School Choir back in the 70’s, so she can’t have been scared off with the fact that she may end up looking like an OAP who’s had a false teeth crisis.
  • Talking of teeth, Grandad lost his down the toilet after being sick with the Winter Virus. Poor old soul (who’s registered blind with his macular degenaration) didn’t even notice they were gone for a full half-hour. He’s had to make multiple visits to the dentist to have a new set made, so hopefully he’ll be smiling again on Saturday rather than sucking his cheese toastie to death with that horrendous, sunken-faced grimace that a lack of top teeth has endowed him with.
  • I was given a free laptop last week, which I am sitting with in the living room typing this as I wait for Mock The Week to start on BBC2. It’s an old brick of a Compaq, with a 4Gb hard disk and 64Mb of memory, but it does what I want it to, albeit at a more leisurely pace. I’ve managed to create a network to that I can access the files on my PC, though the laptop is cabled in rather than wireless. I’m trying to retain the ‘free’ vibe here, so buying a wireless adapter would spoil things.
  • I aim to be debt-free for the first time in over 6 years by April. I’ve cleared a large chunk with a generous January bonus, and with some share options and savings I’ll clear the rest soon. It’s like a huge, oppressive weight has been lifted and I intend to live my life from now on withing my meagre means.
  • My video died just before Xmas and I was embarrassed in the shops by an officious young man who told me that VCRs were no longer sold, as “they’re antiques now, Sir”. I ended up treating myself to a 180Gb Humax PVR with twin Freeview tuners, which is brilliant and I don’t know how I’ve managed up until now without being able to pause the TV whilst I nip to the kitchen to make a cup of tea ! Of course, it does MUCH more than that but I can’t be arsed listing it now as I’ve paused the telly and want to watch it before it gets too late.

So that’s a quick summary of what life’s been like for the last wee while. Hopefully I’ll be back again soon and thereafter on a much more regular basis. I know there’s podfade in the podcasting community, but is there such a thing as blogfade ?

Fear not though, I’ve not succumbed.

1000 miles on the odometer

Today I reached the 1000 mile mark on my bike. From slob to daily cycle commuter in 7 months is nothing short of miraculous ! I’m utterly hooked – why else would I have spent the evening drying out sodden clothes and cycling shoes after cycling home in the wind and torrential rain just so that I can get up at 5.45 tomorrow morning and do it all over again ?

To some I may seem mad. To me I just seem to have found myself a way to get to work that gives me a workout and which is a damn site more enjoyable that being stuck on the bus with some of the Burberry-clad amoeba that travel that way.
I’m chuffed for me. I’m giving myself a BIG pat on the back and another celebratory cup of tea.

This is just brilliant. Why no-one got this proof-read and checked by a native speaker prior to printing, I’ll never know. But I bet he feels a right ass now 😉

From the BBC News site:

“Scotland’s fire services have scrapped hundreds of leaflets after a mistake urged members of the public to jump on a donkey when fleeing a house fire.

The leaflet by the Scottish Executive for the eight fire and rescue services was aimed at Urdu readers.

The advice was that anyone leaving a burning building from a window should lower themselves on to cushions.

However, the authors got the Urdu word for cushion mixed up with another very similar Urdu word for donkey.

A spokesman for Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service said it was grateful that the misspelling had been brought to its attention.

The spokesman said it was clear within the context of the sentence that it was a mistake.

The leaflet has now been withdrawn and will be reprinted.”

I go by Croila’s blog for the first time in a while and what do I see ? She tagged me and I knew nothing about it. After a bit of a game of following links backwards, I’ve worked out what I was supposed to answer.

1. I’m a single man, who will hopefully soon be divorced. It wasn’t my fault; she was the one who did the dirty on me. I’m sooo looking forward to the lawyers’ fees adding to my debts though. I’ve had a few relationships since we split, but I’ve decided that I’m far happier and more content on my own for now, thank you very much.

2. I believe in karma. The soon-to-be-ex suffers from chronic pancreatitis, which flared up after we split and means she no longer works and has gone from a size 10 to a size tent. I’m sure her new partner was delighted with what his tasty bit turned into.

3. I love podcasting. Done it for over a year now and have listeners across the world. Hell, I’ve been visited by a listener who works as a Hollywood costume designer. You meet the nicest people who genuinely enjoy what you do, though I have to admit that ‘fan worship’ makes me feel very uncomfortable and embarrassed. I’m just Mr Ordinary who blethers into a mic and plays music once a week as a hobby !

4. There is nothing more satisfying than a good long pee in the shower. I’ve no idea why I find it so enjoyable, though I worry people who read this will think I’m weird (which I am, but I don’t let on to the fact) !!

5. I am a human wind generator. Much of it smells very unpleasant; it must be the veggie diet and the gallons of tea that Croila forces me to drink at work 😉

6. I have a lovely scar running from the small of my back down into the vertical smile area (between the arse-cheeks, if you want me to spell it out). Caused by a pilonidal sinus when I was 17 – 18, it required a week in hospital whilst they operated and cut out the damn thing (a hair-lined cyst). There are plenty of images on the web you can enjoy at your leisure, but for a small fee I’ll gladly show mine off. After all, the original and the resulting surgical wound was seen by (a) a classmate working as a nurse at the time; (b) dozens of junior doctors (who I recognised from around the campus at Uni) and (c) various doctors and specialists prior to hospital admission. It was bloody painful before and after, especially when I fainted hours after the op and fell onto my backside… oooooooow !

7. I love Slovenia, especially being up in the Julian Alps mid-summer. Clear air, breathtaking views and the only place in the world where I can leave normal life behind and completely empty my head and feel alive again. I’ve not been since 2003 and it’s killing me slowly not to have that release.

8. My daughter means everything in the world to me. She kept me going when my world and marriage fell apart and she’s my wee treasure.

I am mightily hacked off. Today was too windy to cycle safely to work, so I left the bike at home.

Tonight I was all packed and ready for tomorrow and looking forward to it. (I think I’ve become an addict – if I don’t cycle to work now, I feel like something’s missing. There’s a thirst that’s not been sated).

Before getting ready for bed, I like to put the bike in the hall and give the new tyres a once-over to check for any sharp nasties that may be stuck in them. Whilst spinning the back wheel, I noticed two more broken spokes and an even-more pronounced buckle in the wheel itself. Damn ! That’s now five gone since my last big flat; the wheel’s booked in for a spoke repair and a trueing on Friday and they did warn me that after losing one, the unequal redistribution of the tension on the remainder would mean that others might go. I’d hoped they’d hold out a bit longer, but there are now so many gone that it’s too risky to attempt to ride it to work again now before it’s fixed.

I’m gutted. I’m craving a ride in the now-crisp and freezing morning air; hell – I have been preparing for the freezing temperatures I knew would come and I wanted to try out all my new kit tomorrow.

Roll on next Tuesday and the start of the next 4 days of cycle commuting. I can’t wait !

Thu 28/09/2006 07:20 A lovely glow enveloped the Shore this morning as I waited for the bus after sleeping in by an hour. All I had was my mobile, but it catches the light nicely even if the composition is awful.

Quite literally, in fact.

I really don’t know where certain cultures get their particular culinary choices from. I mean, who decided that tripe would be a good thing to eat ? Imagine the conversation –

Hot dogs' sausages
  • “Uh-huh. So you ripped out it’s shitebag and were thinking of doing what with it ?”
  • “Boiling it for a wee while and then eating it. Thought it might be quite tasty in fact.”
  • “Jeeez… I think it’s time you went back to your solitary cave and continued your conversation with Shuggie, your pet rock.”

And if you think that we have shit taste (sic) in food, wait until you catch this lot. Quite what Mr Guo was thinking of does take some working out; I reckon he’s not quite the full shilling given what he decided his restaurant would specialise in – big dogs’ cocks. Fido’s willies. Alsation john-thomases. Pooch penises.

I mean – why in God’s name would ANYONE sane want to get their laughing tackle round an animal’s tackle ? But it appears that this place is doing good business and the patrons believe (rightly or wrongly) that the ingestion of dangly bits is doing them good.

Personally, I’d side with Jim Royle and shout “Dog’s knobs MY ARSE !”, but since bull’s perineum is also a delicacy on the menu I fear many people are already talking through a bovine’s bumhole when they claim it tastes nice.

Enjoy your dinner !

I know the site’s not been updated in ages, but I’m not abandoning it. Life’s just been a little busy over the last month and poor old Waterside Tales has been low on my priorities list.

Fear not, though – I’ll be back with more random ramblings and scary photos soon. Bear with me until then….

I was delighted to see that there’s a vigilante in Hampshire slashing the tyres of motorists he’s spotted driving whilst using their mobile phones.

These selfish fu*kwits deserve everything they get, especially the one who nearly had me off my bike in a Tesco pedestrian-only area.

Personally, I’d love to walk up to their cars at junctions / lights with a baseball bat and smash their windscreens in for them before they can try steering round the corner and changing gear with one hand. They’re nothing more than potential killers who believe that the law doesn’t apply to them. The other week as I left work on my bike I almost collided with another lunatic female who was driving round the roundabout whilst texting on her phone and not looking at the road at all.

I’m sure they’d be very apologetic to the family of their victims and sob in court claiming that it was all a stupid mistake and they’re really sorry. Yeah, right. I propose that anyone caught using a mobile whilst driving should have their hands chopped off- that’d stop them ever doing it again 😉

Oh yes, and if it was man I’d cut off their goolies too for good measure !! Heh heh.

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