Friday, December 29, 2006

This one's for Graham

Happy New Year Mate

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The Best of (Everything) 2006

Just to save you wasting time trawling through 6 million sites, here's what I've found so far (aren't I nice to you?)

Top Searches on Yahoo

Top of Everything on Amazon

Top Products on PC World (although how Office can come top.....)

Top Concert Tours

Best Game Stuff on IGN

Dumbest things from President Bush (although technically not just in 2006)

2006 Darwin Awards

Top 10 Gadgets for when you're loaded (with cash)

Top 10 Game Loving Girls

Top 10 Comedies of the Year

Top Villains

CNN's Best and Worst Movies

Dukes of Hazzard

In the Netherlands? Must have been taking advantage of the legal purchase of substances before they tried this one....


New Years Eve Countdown

With the snow still coming down in Denver, and the forecasts revised today estimating that the snow might not stop until New Years Eve, our plans for hitting the mountains are now either a) in jeopardy, or b) still fine, just with an extra long and hairy drive up there added for a bit of fun. Either way, I'm sure we'll still have fun, unlike the man below, who appears to have had that one extra pint that takes you just too far over the edge. Obviously, this will no doubt remind some regular readers of this blog of some serious nights out in Potts, and for some reason the names Bland and Wallace immediately spring to mind. Anyway, I digress - just make sure, when you're all out having fun this New Years Eve, always remember to use the pedestrian crossings - we don't want you getting hurt (and if you're at work, or the kids or around, you might want to mute the sound - the editor added one of the Southpark songs from the film version on here, and there's one or two swear words included).

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Fake Ducks and Boxing Day

Such was the level of excitment in our house yesterday (Season 5, 24, a few heart attacks and one or two "didn't that already happen in Season X?), that we started a new game - is the duck in the neighbours garden real. For those of you that have been around, it's the (one) neighbour we don't really like (old guy, always drunk, likes to wander onto your property, or into your party, without permissions and purely coz he can't bear to be unaware of anything going on in the neighbourhood). There was a duck sitting there last night, and we couldn't work out if it was real or fake - it was sitting kind of still, but it wasn't covered in snow like everything else in the street. Anyway, after much watching, and scheming to find out ways we could work it out without wandering throught he snow (duck whistle, paint ball gun etc were all discussed), we went to bed. Now, mystery solved - Heidi threw a rock at it this morning (alledgedly) and it didn't move. It's a rock hard, real brave real duck. Or fake.

Oh, and lots of people in the office asked what Boxing Day was, given I refused to work that day even though it's not a real holiday over here - finally found some info from Heather's site (I don't know her, her site just popped up when I searched for it).

Boxing Day goes back in time to when the working class gave boxes of food and fruit to tradespeople and servants the day after Christmas as a token of appreciation of their work over the years. Its similar to the modern day practice of giving tips or gifts to doormen, your delivery service or anyone else that provides a service.


Life as a package

Speaking of Christmas presents, and weather etc, I had two very different experiences with package deliveries over the last week or so.

First off, Fedex is great - I had ordered something for Heidi early last week on a two day delivery, and despite the snow and travel problems, they somehow managed to get it into town, and were very helpful on the phone and let me arrange to pick it up befopre the holiday from one of their depots, so Heidi got her gift in time. Everyone was friendly and helpful (even though the people at the depot were all working ridiculously hard on Christmas Eve when I called in), I got what I needed in time, and everything worked out fine.

Now onto UPS. Ordered (and shipped) the same day, this one was a next day delivery (I had seen the snow report in between ordering, so thought I better make it as fast as possible). Package was picked up fine, and even said it had left the first UPS depot on the tracking system. And then everything went quiet. I placed a similar call to UPS, even managed to work out the code to get to a real person (after 15 minutes of faking my american accent so the voice recongnition software they're using these days could understand me), and then was promptly given the message "All of our representatives are busy during this high period of demand. Please call back later" before the call was dumped. Nice, eh? So, resorting to daily tracking on the web site of the status of the package, I tried to follow along to see when it was likely that I'd get something delivered (in the meantime heading over to the local mall to make sure Heidi's stocking was filled, even if the delivery didn't make it in time). The long and short of it is, I still don't have the package - it somehow turned up in Colorado Springs yesterday, and is alledegdly on a van to be delivered today (although the site said that yesterday as well).

Location Date Local Time Description
12/28/2006 6:45 A.M. OUT FOR DELIVERY

12/28/2006 6:40 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN
12/28/2006 6:00 A.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
12/27/2006 9:08 P.M. DESTINATION SCAN
12/27/2006 9:04 P.M. ARRIVAL SCAN
12/27/2006 7:20 P.M. DEPARTURE SCAN

12/21/2006 11:12 P.M. DEPARTURE SCAN


12/21/2006 1:05 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN
12/21/2006 12:15 A.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
12/20/2006 10:03 P.M. ORIGIN SCAN

So, if you have the chance to choose between the two companies, I'd vote for Fedex anyday.

Oh, and slightly related, but not really, if you want see how busy it gets at Amazon over the holidays, check out this shot from Gizmodo

Christmas was good to me

As always, I managed to score big this Christmas, with lots and lots of amazing presents from everyone. One thing I need to get sorted out is setting up my SlingBox Pro - this amazing thing lets you watch what's on your TV at home when you're not there, using an internet connection to stream it onto your computer (or even cellphone, although I'm not too sure how long it will take Cingular to shut down my account if I try this - worth a go though, right ;-)). I just need to call into one of the 6 million electronics stores on the way home to get a wireless adaptor thingy to put up in the bedroom (the HD box is up there, so that's what I'm going to hook into).

I'll let you know how it works once I get it all sorted. And if anyone knows whether you can have a few people watching it simultaneously, let me know - I'm sure there'll be a few people wanting to watch the Newcastle games from the office!

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More Snow on it's way

You've got to love Denver weather - it's only a week since the last big storm hit, and already it looks like we're in for another big one. I don't think there's been consecutive storms like this for a good few years, and with the colder temperatures, we've still got plenty snow piled up from the last one. At least the plows have been around our house in the last couple of days, breaking up the ice on the roads, and I'm sure given all the publicity the COlorado Dept of Transport got about not clearing everything quick enough, everyone will be working double shifts to keep things moving.

One side affect (I think anyway, unless it's purely Christmas related) is that the shops seem to be still pretty low on food. We had trouble getting a loaf of bread earlier in the week, and a few gas (petrol) stations were closed coz they had ran out.

Still, another few days in the house will hopefully not drive us stir crazy - and fingers crossed that it's not so bad that we can still get up to the mountains for what has now become our traditional New Years Eve in Frisco event.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Best Ever Office Prank?

The whole cube, and everything in it covered in tin foil. How great is that? The rest of the pics are here.

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The car is coming out



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Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Worst (or Best) T Shirts

I picked probably the most innocuous example to display here - I guarantee that there is at least one t-shirt in there that will offend you. Just imagine sitting in Potts, with Graham and Glenn after a few pints, trying to outdo each other, and you'll get the idea.

Oh yeah, link is here

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Ella Gets a Christmas Outfit

I know she's the cutest thing in the world, but Daniel, is there any reason to subject her to the clothes you normally wear in the comfort of your own home, and then publish them on the web? ;-)

At least she's still happy about it all!

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Random Lunchtime Updates

Needed a break from shovelling, so here's a couple of things.

Some of the best sports pictures this year

An interesting approach to travel snaps

The worlds top 100 wonders (and how many have you seen? I'm still counting, but it's not enough)


Big Dig Has Started

Snow has almost topped, so the big dig has started - it was a full on street party outside, as you can tell by the pics here.


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Snow buries car, Aaron cries

Not really (the crying bit), but I'm sure I will be when I have to start shovelling (i'm holding out until the snow actually stops, unlike our super keen neighbours who are giving it a go as we speak).

I had a couple of questions about how bad the snow is this time, so finally got around (or the wife did actually) to loading up the photos I've been taking over the last 24 hours, to give you a picture of what it's like in our street. All are of the car, which is relegated to the driveway until we complete the bathroom remodel (or at least start moving the stuff out of the garage into the bathroom).

First pic - I took this coz I thought it was pretty impressive (or it would be to the people back in Newcastle). It was about 11 yesterday morning I think.

It kept snowing, so I took another one after lunch - there are tracks to the left, as Heidi's work made her go in the office first thing, only to send everyone back home after an hour, when they realized that the weather forecast was right. We had to push her car up the driveway to get it back under cover, and that was around 1pm.

This one was around 9pm - as you can see, the car is completely buried. The weather forecaster said we'd had over 16 inches and it wasn't going to stop until lunchtime today (still snowing now....). After this, I went back and opened another Guinness. Not much else to do when all the TV programs are repeats, and you're stuck in the house ;-)

Last pic for now, taken at about 8.15 am. It's still snowing, and the car has disappeared completely. If there were some really clever thieves out there, they could have replaced the car with a big box and I won't find out about it until much much later.

Beer and food hasn't ran out yet, and we've still got power, so all is good.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

LOL Funny

Two things made me laugh out loud tonight (and it wasn't the snow completely covering my car).

First are some school essays (you gotta love Jimmy's imagination), and second, pick any video over here, but my favorite was Barney rapping.

If you're after something a little more serious, here's a video of one of the Halliburton/KBR contractors getting ambushed in Iraq. How's that for a change of subject...

Denver Storm - it's a biggie

That's the latest Dopplar radar, and we've already had about a foot of snow in the metro area. My car is covered (pics in a little while if I can get organized), and the forecast is for another 12 to 24 hours before it eases off. Luckily, the beer fridge is stocked, I have my whiskey, we've got some logs for the fire, and of course, a large supply of DVD's (if the power doesn't go out). We've even got some food as well ;-)

Customers are great

Sometimes, over the course of working with various different customers, you get some classic moments and emails. A couple of weeks ago, we received the following list of new words that were to be added to the Webster (or Oxford) English Dictionary, solely for the purpose of our project.

New Words

We also received a classic email this morning, with a heartfelt, but legally correct greeting at the bottom - I've pasted it for your perusal

Merry Christmas!
Or you could say:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all . . .

. . . and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great, (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only "AMERICA" in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.

DISCLAIMER: By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher. This greeting constitutes the entire wish and should any part or parts of this greeting be held invalid, all remaining parts shall continue to have the full affect allowable under generally accepted wishing practices

A couple of updates

I finally got around to making a couple of updates to the site that I've been meaning to do for ages.

First up is the funky link preview stuff, care of - hover over a link on the page, and it should give you a preview of the site, so you can see what you're about to jump to before you make such a huge commitment. Let me know if you don't like this (or even if you do) - if I don't hear too many negatives, it's staying.

Couple of other more minor things - Mybloglog stuff is now integrated, so I can take a look at where people come from and go to (and you can see which users visited here over on the right, as well as a top 5 of the most popular outgoing links - hopefully anyway - have to wait until tomorrow to see if it works). Also, there's a world map to see where the visitors come from (probably only show Denver (wife) and England (mother) on there, but you never know - sometimes there may be an occasional stray wanders onto the page. Again, tomorrow is the day for this.

I also finally got around to correcting the little button to add the site feed to My (or in your case, your) Yahoo. This broke a couple of months ago (all my fault for moving stuff around), and now that the new Blogger is out of Beta, I get up to date atom and rss feeds automatically without any additional work.

That's about it I think - moved a couple of things around over on the right, but nothing major, and obviously no commitment to increase the number of posts here, but you never know, I might go through one of my massive typing phases with the holidays (and subsequent reduction in work schedule).

Oh, and one more thing - for some unknown reason, there's been 9 visitors (or maybe just 1, 9 times) from the Smallworldwide network over in Cambridge). I'm not even sure who still works over there these days (rumor of a Mr Dalziel back there was mentioned, but nothing confirmed), so, if you're looking here from there, leave a comment and let me know who you are. I managed to lose touch with everyone back there (apart from Mr Batty and a couple of others) over the course of my USA assimilation.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Marriage is great


You get reminded that you married the perfect girl when you come home from work, and there's a 15 year old bottle of Laphroig waiting for you, just because......

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Two more things

Nearly forgot

11. France is bombing countries in Africa!
and finally 12. Some parents are worse than their kids... (but funny)

Things I learned this weekend

There were a few things I learned this weekend, all completely different and unconnected.

  1. Some people still get away with uploading really long videos on Google (which is handy when you're out of the country for the last UFC fight).
  2. Puppies are actually pretty cute (but I'm still not buying)
  3. My usual Saturday night clothes worked well enough to get me into a White Trash Party
  4. Boogie2Night by Booty Luv is a great single, and the surveys agreed with me - it does mention Colorado
  5. Girls make a better job of decorating condo's than boys
  6. England's cricket glory days are gone for another 18 years
  7. Miami Vice the movie wasn't as good as Miami Vice the series (but still worth watching)
  8. If you have too many DVD's, The Container Store never quite has enough DVD shelves when you need them
  9. Traffic around Park Meadows sucks the weekend before Christmas
  10. There's never enough time between now and Christmas to get all your Christmas shopping done

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

M5 in M3 Body

Right up until I saw the price for this, it could have been added onto my list for when I get very rich and have a garage full of cars (along with the 911 GT3 rS, F430, Lotus Exige, etc). But over 150k euros makes it a little on the pricey side, even for when I am rich ;-)

So basically Hartge call this the H50 V10, and it's got a tuned V10 from the M5, along with the necessary running gear to not self implode when you put your foot down.

All the juicy details are here if want to read...

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Marine Photos

BBC has some pics of newly discovered (or maybe just photographed) marine life.

Killer Squirells!

This report on the BBC had me a bit worried, as we have a couple of regular squirrel visitors in the back yard on a daily basis. They once even ate through my hammock, so maybe this is the first stage, before they start killing other animals....


Nicole Richie Arrested for DUI

Not for drinking mind you - nope, she confessed (allegedly) to smoking some pot and popping a vicodin or two. Apparently she was driving the wrong way down the freeway when someone called it in.

What might be more scarier is the fact that she weighed only 85lb when she got booked in - 85lb!! That is so low, you could almost get her in your suitcase without being hit by the excess weight charge on United.

I wonder if she was on the phone to Paris when the cops caught up with her?

Anyway, lots more details if you're really interested here

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USB Pole Dancer

Is there no end to what can be done with a simple USB plug?

This one is extra special, allowing lonely boys (or girls I guess, if they're into that sort of thing) to fritter away many hours on a computer watching a little mechanical girl spin round and round. It might be worth it if you could actually get fellow workers to throw tips for her dancing - might even pay for lunch one day if they decide she's "the one".

But despite how amazing this is, what's even more amazing is that this little gift was actually on sale at Marks and Spencers! Only for a week though, before someone decided it was a little too risky to be sold from the store that stands for British decency (or something like that anyway). Check out all the details here if you don't believe me. (oh, and their site seems ridiculously slow at the minute, so apologies if you've already clicked).

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Enspiria Christmas Party

The Girls

It was another classic party - lots of fun, great company and a drink or two. Hopefully nothing got broke in the house, which was decked out with more decorations and Christmas trees (9 to be exact) than any house I have ever been too.

George made a break for the door late on (but luckily Tonks persuaded him a walk home wasn't the best idea), Dave initiated shots of the dangerous fire water that turns up every year, and some people even got to wear their Christmas sweaters. Me, I resorted to taking the opportunity to wear a tie for the first time in a couple of years. It even stayed on all night, and I didn't get choked by anyone, so has to be considered a success.

Photos are here, but the camera didn't come out until late. I'll try and get some links once the other photos are uploaded somewhere (Neil, Kathy, Tonks......)

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Super Saturday

OK, so this week was a rough one - after my previous post, the England team went into a terminal spin and somehow contrived to lose the Ashes on the last day. I think it was actually harder to lose than to draw, but somehow they managed it. Work wasn't the quietest of weeks either, with some of the team out with me in Atlanta, and the rest of them pulling all-nighters to meet a delivery date.

Still Saturday is a new day, and with it brought no hangover from Mr James "Ossie" Osbourne's I've had enough of America, I'm selling up and moving back to Oz party, and brithday party for Holly at Red Robin (sorry, no pics, I left the camera next to the computer) and still to come, the Enspiria Christmas Party. Suppose I better start getting ready soon!

Anyway, in honor of the weekend, here's a little blast from the past - a few clips of the legend that was Group B Rally Cars. Way to fast for the open road, and banned after one or two seasons, they were the stuff of my childhood dreams (if I ever get back to England loaded, I might still be looking for a Lancia Delta Integrale.....). Enjoy

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cool Sites

If you're looking to waste a night or two, check out this site - lists cool web sites (designs, no guarantee on the content). Some famous and not so famous sites in here.

Web Design Gallery: Best of the Best Web Site Design Pages - Top Websites Design Gallery and Examples CoolHomepages

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Best Advert Ever?

This is so not safe for work or parents (so you've been warned Mother)........

Viagra (

Monday, December 04, 2006

Entertainment Tonight

Not really much going on in the world today apart from work and the Ashes plowing slowly to a draw, so here's a little something to spice up your life (well, not really, maybe just something midly entertaining). First off is J Lo trying to copy Britney's commando impression from last week (you must have seen it by now, if not, get your link somewhere else coz I'm not posting it here), but in a not quite such a skanky way.

And now my favo(u)rite late night show host, Mr Craig Ferguson. If you cant stay up late to watch him, just check out some of his stuff (legally) uploaded on YouTube.

Friday, December 01, 2006

WORLD MAP - The Competition

Well, game really, not a competition as such (but I scored 47).

WORLD MAP - countries of the world

997 GT3 - I think I'm in love

I do believe that unless I win the lottery and can afford my Ferrari, after watching this video, the GT3 has jumped to no.1 in my list for next cars (it'll be in another 5 years or so, so expect the list to change over time ;-) )