Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Tuesday 13/01/09

IT Guy took some 4 hours to rebuild my laptop yesterday. I’m certain this was a false economy as given his salary (consultant) it would be cheaper to simply throw it away and give me a new one, recycling the old one to some 3rd world kid who aspires to becoming a hacker.

Hay took delivery of a dry log maker yesterday - not the type that has you making papier-mâché bricks and laying them in the sun to dry like Sumerian mud village makers. It cost £18 while using less than £0.18 of raw materials and perhaps another £0.25 of manufacturing capacity. The company making them is Logmaker. According to the blurb the ‘compact’ logs will burn between 10 minutes and half an hour. Now I can believe that logs made of pure wood may well burn for slightly longer than 10 minutes, but even a solid wooden log ain’t going to last half an hour, so how a Christmas cracker made of loosely crumpled newspaper is going to last more than a few seconds is a total mystery to me and is stretching the bounds of credulity a little far.

The test log we made last night disappeared in about a picosecond and produced the thermal output of a damp Swan Vesta. The whole thing provides about as much value for money as a sub-prime mortgage! Hay, however, refuses to give in and is planning on using sawdust, teabags and other household detritus in her log-making escapades. Personally I think this device merely provides a means of disposing of waste paper in a non-green manner – far better to recycle it. However, if you have a few bob to spare sink it into this company as the profit margin is verging on criminal.

A bunch of Kiwis (is that a racist term?) have claimed a new world record for the most number of people ironing under water at the same time. Now as I understand it, and speaking as one of those rare individuals who actually find ironing cathartic, ironing is the action of smoothing material with heat such that wrinkles are eliminated. Call me stupid or call me old fashioned, but it’s not possible to plug in an iron under water (salt water and electrickery don’t mix) and therefore this record is a) inaccurate and b) plain daft.

Managed to knacker the e-cigar atomiser yesterday. I was idly tapping it on my desk, quite gently, and it must have broken something. Luckily I had a spare with me but it also doesn’t function at 100% capacity. I’ve ordered a new atomiser for £16,95 plus p&p, however, the e-ciggy company has the annoying habit of not despatching goods for at least 24 hours. These damned things are ever so sensitive to knocks.

Prince Harry is in trouble again. Spot the odd one out:
  • Waziristan – Waziri
  • Kurdestan – Kurd
  • Turkey – Turk
  • Saudi Arabia – Saudi
  • Afghanistan – Afghani
  • Uzbekistan – Uzbeki
  • Kazakhstan – Khazak
  • Pakistan – Paki
  • Britain - Brit

Yes, you guessed it - Britain is not in the middle east. However, there’s also another odd one out – Paki, which is considered a racial slur. What makes it racist? I think we must all agree that only the person at the receiving end of the term determines whether it’s racist or not, and even then, only if there’s a general consensus among the others in the group at which it is targeted. The word Paki gathered its negative connotation when it got suffixed by the word ‘bashing’ by skinheads in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Abdul Rahim, who runs Star Crescent Clothing in Peterborough, sells T shirts emblazoned with the logo Pak1. He admits the logo could look like a racial slur, but maintains that Pakistanis should take back the meaning of the word and wear the clothing with pride. What a refreshing attitude – reclaim the word, use it with pride and it no longer has the power to hurt, while simultaneously making those who use it as a racist slur look anachronistic. There is opposition though, and it seems to come from those who wish to remain victims by being reactive.

I guess Pakistanis (and Asians in general) could lessen the obvious differences between themselves and the indigenous population by Anglicising their names in the manner the Jews changed their names when they migrated to various European countries or adding a European forename to their names like the migrant Chinese. Abdul Rahim, for example, could become Adam Raymond. My parents did it for me, changing my given name of Philip to Philip and my surname of van Bergen to van Bergen. The secret lies in the pronunciation – if my surname were to be pronounced in the Dutch manner you’d end up gobbing on whoever you’re talking to.

Now to return to Prince Harry and his unfortunate gaffe at calling someone a Paki. He’s an army officer, went to a public school, is a member of the Royal family and has Prince Philip (he who is renowned for the royal gaffe) as his dad. Using my rationale from yesterday, the poor bugger didn’t have a chance.

Land of Leather has gone into administration. I should imagine style gurus and interior decorators all over the country are breathing a sigh of relief.

I was going to write about something else, but I’m damned if I can remember what it was. Annoys the hell out of me when that happens.


  1. After seeing the Logmaker I'm astounded by what they can charge for a piece of Wavin pipe and a round stick basically. Something you might like to try in your stove though is filling used waxed paper milk cartons with slack, pack them tight and pop them in, should last longer than sticks, you can damp the slack to slow the burn down too. You may need a coal grate for your wood burner but I would try it without first. It was a tip a canny old age pensioner gave me a long time ago.

  2. Mike,

    Our milk comes in plastic bottles. If we were to fill them with crap and burn them on the wood burner I fear we'd have the council descending on us for contravening some pollution regulation.


  3. Good God, Prince Philip is Prince Harry's dad, you say! This is taking in-breeding to a new level.

  4. Matt,

    I don't wish to start any rumours, but .....

    Anyway - it's debatable whether Charles is his dad anyway.