Monthly Archives: October 2012


It’s been over a year since I started this blog. My original blog, at is continuing to achieve a far greater number of visitors, but it has many hundreds more posts (probably about more interesting things, and better written!). All this one seems to attract is comment spammers. Not that many hits, and no-one clicking on the ads. But I will not surrender! I have also worked out how to put photos on posts, so will be retrospectively adding those. Stick with it, chuck!

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X Factor 2012 Winner Prediction

I predict the miserable potato one from Middlesbrough will win X Factor this year.

I don’t like him or his music, but judging by the YouTube view counts, his videos are getting twice the number of views that other contestants are getting. I think Ella Henderson will be 2nd.

UPDATE: I was right about the winner, over a month and 2 weeks ago. Not a fan though, and there’s only one series left in the contract for ITV. Format is tired now. How many trawls of the country can there be before you run out of even mildly talented singers?

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The difference between being rich and being wealthy

A little obvious to start with, but stick with it, because some truly excellent points are made by Paul Daniels at 4:09 and 5:28  and 5:57 regarding becoming rich, the difference between being rich and being wealthy and how money attracts money (in a way).

I also thought it was nice of him to do a video like this – like an old man passing on wisdom.

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My ideal home

I’ve been wondering what type of building/setting would be my ideal home…

Would it be a house in the country?
A cottage in a village?
A house somewhere remote in Scotland away from people?
Or a big old haunted looking house like in films?
On an island perhaps?
Or maybe just an apartment on the top floor with no noisy neighbours and good sound proofing!

I think a good view is important. I just bought a house where on the 2nd floor there were velux windows and you could see a sweeping vista of the surrounding area. I haven’t lived in a house like that for about 7 years (where I loved the boarded-out loft, with its 2 velux windows and stored items from the 80s – it was like going back in time to being a child, and I would regularly fall asleep on the wooden floor!).

So far in my life I’ve lived in a 3 bed semi (for 26 years), a hotel (1 year), student flat share (1 year), bedsit (2 years), a 3 bed detached (2 years) and now a 4 bed detached (5 years so far).

The hotel was full of students (as was I) and was rather noisy because of that, as they all used to sit on the stairs and landings talking for hours, but I can see how living in a quiet or modern hotel with good soundproofing (very important!) would work. The student flat share was the first and second floor above a travel agent on a busy junction, but there were no neighbours. The bedsit was on the first floor, just 1 room essentially in a 10 bedroom house. It was fairly new when I moved in, as I was only the 2nd tenant. It was near the top of a steep road, and so had a nice view over the rooftops and out to sea. Poor soundproofing though – just normal cheap domestic hollow doors to each flat, slamming, downstairs having loud sex, etc. Looking back, I seem to have become more sensitive to noise since those days. I could be described as ‘hyper-sensitive’ which is quite a burden really. It all started when the elderly lady who lived next door moved out  and it became a rented property. The first tenants were drug dealers and had all night parties with music on full blast from late at night until the next morning. This coincided with my first full time job that made me need a good night’s sleep more than ever, so I started cataloging noises with the thought of complaining to the council noise people. Eventually, the man went to prison and the woman’s dog was taken away because she wasn’t looking after it properly. Students moved in who were much quieter I seem to remember, then a woman and son. I moved out shortly after this.

I like the thought of a large split-level lounge with large floor to ceiling windows around, as long as it was high enough up in a green area or had mirrored glass so no-ones sitting there watching you! Jimmy Savile’s flat looks great, but needs a lot of modernisation, is in Leeds and has the (now) infamy of Jimmy Savile having lived there. I wonder who will buy it? It’s on the market for £325,000.

When it’s really windy or rainy, where I live at the moment there’s always a concern about water coming in through the garage door, last time it rained it started coming in through the tiles in the garage roof, gutters overflow, etc. All quite concerning. In an apartment this wouldn’t be an issue.

One idea that is perhaps unique (and assumes you are a lottery winner/oil magnate/rich person) is using a large warehouse space (I always think of the size of a Makro wholesaler warehouse) and sectioning it off into numerous themed areas. A bit like the Crystal maze I suppose. So you could have a desert island, a pirate cove, a space station, a Roman villa, a Viking settlement, a cave, a ship, a faux top floor apartment with sweeping vistas over a city, etc. all recreated indoors inside this warehouse space by set designers from the film or theme park industry. Then whatever mood you are in, you can go to the environment that best suits it, for an adventure. Or whatever.

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Streamline card processing

I’ve been a Streamline customer for almost 10 years.

I really HATE being a Streamline customer.

Every year they’re creeping extra charges onto the bill – loyalty (and vastly increased volumes put through the terminal since the early days) account for absolutely NOTHING with Streamline. If anything, you feel penalised for it.

Last year they started adding a premium charges, which essentially are an extra 1% if the credit card is from outside the UK. And if it’s a debit card from outside the UK, instead of a fixed rate of 47p, it’s 2% charge, just like a credit card! Their reason? “Because there’s extra risk”. Yes, but if there’s a charge-back, you just take all the money off me, so they’re not at risk at all!

There is absolutely no joy whatsoever in being a Streamline customer.
No wonder PayPal are making such in-roads with online payment processing. I don’t feel quite so much like I’m being fleeced in my sleep with them, as I know exactly what the fees / rates are. I hate to see how much money anyone takes from me after all the hard work I do to market and sell things, when they just seem to do nothing but collect the money. Bring back cash!

Don’t even get me started on the £20 charge to fill out the PCI compliance web form which took 3 minutes and was multiple choice – you even had to print the certificate off yourself. Now, how on earth is the £20 cost justified in that?!?!?

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Rules of board games baffle me

In the last couple of weeks I’ve bought Scrabble, Yahtzee and Rummikub.

Aside from Scrabble, I’m finding it impossible to figure out the rules of Yahtzee and Rummikub – it’s like the person who wrote the rule card forgot the most important parts of the game that people would, upon playing for the first time, have questions about.

ie in Yahtzee, do you fill the upper section AND the lower section at the same time? How do you know which combination is best to pick? (I only recently learned you have to fill in all 14 boxes on the score sheet).

In Rummikub do you take new tiles from the pool after each go? So you always have 14 until there are none left in the pool? Or do you only have the 14 you pick at the start and when they’re all gone that’s it, you’ve won? What happens if you can’t see any opportunity to put a tile down in a run or set? Is that it? The game just ends so soon? There aren’t going to be many runs or sets when there’s only 2 of you playing with 28 tiles in total. Why are there so many tiles if not?

I don’t remember board games (or rather the instructions) being so complicated to understand when I was younger. I had “Frankenstein”, “I Vant to Bite Your Finger”, Jaws, and I always wanted Mouse Trap because my friend had it and I lover the chain reaction at the end, but never got it. Another friend had the “Game of Life” which seemed boring at the time (I was about 8) but now would be a bit more interesting (speaking as a recluse!).

One thing is for certain though – board games are a bloody racket. £13.99 for some plastic tiles and plastic racks? The box probably cost more to make than its contents. And these very brief rules printed in grey and white on bible paper (ie very thin). It’s a swizz.

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Mont Blanc pens

If you want cheap Mont Blanc pens, I certainly WOULD NOT use these guys.

They spam this blog with so much comment crap that I have to sift through.

NOT a good way to market your company, I wouldn’t say.

So a big THUMBS DOWN for these arse holes:

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Laptop in bed

Since I got a laptop, I no longer spend hours in front of the office desktop PC trying to get tired for bed.

Initially, I watched Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K), episodes of Never the Twain and interviews with Frankie Howerd and Kenneth Williams on YouTube. Then wrestling, realising that I’d only been a WWF fan for 1 year in 1992. Then I realised there were a number of full length films on there. Married With Children has been the recent craze! I remember it being on Sky One all the time when we got analogue Sky TV back in the early 90s.

Do people online shop in their sleep? The first you’d know about it would be confirmation emails in the morning, or if you go to work it may all be too late and the stuff’s been dispatched.

My Toshiba laptop is 1 year and 2 weeks old, and suddenly the track pad is right clicking on everything without me pressing the right click button, then Windows Live Mail won’t run because it says it wasn’t installed properly or is out of memory, desktop gadgets don’t load, Windows Update doesn’t run, lots of things just stopped working. Even system restore, which was my first thought – it said there was an error on trying first time, then there’s no option to even try it again now. So looks like I’ll be re-imaging it with the recovery DVDs they make you burn when you first switch it on.

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