Dispatch RiderBritish Dispatches
Monday, June 30, 2003
      ( 3:32 PM ) Spengy  

BOOK

Just finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. Not as enjoyable as the previous in the series. Maybe suffered from the long delay between the 4th and 5th book. All the old regulars are there with a few new characters. Harry is certainly a typical annoying mid-teen prat. Not sure if that was Rowlings intention but his character sure did annoy me. I will not however jump on the HP knocking bandwagon as that has become oh so trendy and up there with "I never eat McDonalds" or "vine ripened tomatoes". Anyone who can get people away from their computer games or the television deserves my respect. My only wish is that Rowling gets an editor who is prepared to cull down the words for the next book in the series. I pity any 12 year old who tries to lie in bed and hold up this heavy 700+ page monster for more than 15 minutes.

Back to Brighton Rock.
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      ( 11:37 AM ) Spengy  

THE AUSTRALIAN AIRLINE

The Flying KangarooQantas is the only major airline that has never had a fatal accident. After every flight, pilots complete a gripe sheet that conveys to the mechanics the problems encountered with the aircraft during the flight, which need repair or correction. The form is a piece of paper that the pilot completes and then the mechanics read and correct the problem. The mechanics then respond in writing, on the lower half of the form, stating what remedial action was taken and then the pilot reviews the gripe sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of humour. Here are some actual logged maintenance complaints and problems, known as being submitted by QANTAS pilots and the solution recorded by maintenance engineers.

Problem: Left inside main tyre almost needs replacement.
Solution: Almost replaced left inside main tyre.

Problem: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
Solution: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

Problem: No. 2 propeller seeping prop fluid.
Solution: No. 2 propeller seepage normal. No's 1, 3 and 4 propellers lack normal seepage.

Problem: Something loose in cockpit.
Solution: Something tightened in cockpit.

Problem: Dead bugs on windshield.
Solution: Live bugs on back-order.

Problem: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 fpm descent.
Solution: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

Problem: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
Solution: Evidence removed.

Problem: DME volume unbelievably loud.
Solution: DME volume set to more believable level.

Problem: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
Solution: That's what they're there for.

Problem: IFF inoperative.
Solution: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

Problem: Suspected crack in windshield.
Solution: Suspect you're right.

Problem: Number 3 engine missing.
Solution: Hurrah!! Engine found on right wing after brief search.

Problem: Aircraft handles funny.
Solution: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

Problem: Target radar hums.
Solution: Reprogrammed target radar with words and new tunes.

Problem: Mouse in cockpit.
Solution: Cat installed

Thanks to Uncle Rob for this.
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Saturday, June 28, 2003
      ( 12:34 PM ) Spengy  

RULES FOR RIDING A PUSHBIKE IN ENGLAND: #2 (IN SUMMER)
(see May 15th Post for "IN WINTER")

01. Don't ride with your mouth open - Australia might have the nastiest bugs on the face of the planet but if seen they are set upon with tins of insecticide, shoes, rolled up newspaper or what ever is near to hand. They have therefore learnt to keep a low profile. The bugs in England aren't nasty and therefore are left alone and reach plague proportions. They seem to hang around in swarms along cyclepaths about 5 to 6 feet of the ground. I suppose it is one way to insure I get my daily protein allowance.

02. When you intend to spend all afternoon in the pub do not ride home along the crowded Thames Path between the White Swan in Twickenham and Richmond on a Saturday.

03. Do not ride under low hanging branches when you have your fishing rod sticking up out of your backpack. The fishing rod is stronger than your grip on the handlebars.

04. There is no such thing as a summer shower. It is always cold when it rains.

05. Always ride with sunglasses (see Rule "01" above).

06. Do not overtake a police car when going downhill in Richmond Park when the speed limit is 20mph for ALL vehicles.
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      ( 11:22 AM ) Spengy  

I'VE BEEN MOVED

I haven't been able to get into this blog for two days. Hence no posts.

When I do get in it all looks very different. I've been moved over to the "new and improved" blogger. I reserve judgement but have saved my templates just in case.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2003
      ( 1:06 PM ) Spengy  

WE WON: #2

We won ...... 27-4 ..... We took the series. All that remains is to make it 3-0 in two weeks time. I'm now going out to celebrate.

Suffer in your jocks Queenslanders.
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      ( 8:51 AM ) Spengy  

GO THE MIGHTY BLUES: #2

Thats right, today is Game 2 of the State of Origin series. You won't be getting much out of me this morning as I'll be listening to the game live with HG Nelson & Rampaging Roy Slaven on Triple J (click on the "listen to triple j" link at 10:30 hrs GMT). Go NSW, Go NSW Go NSW .....

For those who can't recall the first game ..... WE WON. See postings for 11-June.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2003
      ( 4:33 PM ) Spengy  

THE LAND OF THE LONG WHITE CLOUD

You think Australians are strange. Have a look at what our neighbours across the Tasman are building when not looking after their sheep.
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      ( 10:06 AM ) Spengy  

WHERE EXACTLY ARE THE SNOWY MOUNTAINS?

Australians are great at naming our famous geographic features. For example;

  • The worlds biggest coral reefs - "The Great Barrier Reef"

  • The mountain range that looks blue from a distance - "The Blue Mountains"

  • A large desert - "The Great Sandy Desert"

  • A weathered rock face that looks like a wave - "Wave Rock"

  • A bridge over Sydney harbour - "The Sydney Harbour Bridge"

  • Truly crap beer - "Fosters"

  • Mountains that get snow on them in winter - "The Snowy Mountains"


So where are the Snowy Mountains? According to an advert on the back of the Sunday Times Culture liftout for their Wine Club;

"Bidgeebong is a tiny boutique winery nestling high in the foothills of South Australia's Snowy Mountains"

There is a slight problem with that. South Australia is predominantly a desert state whose main mountains are the Flinders Ranges. Beautiful rugged landscape well known by outdoor adventure types but definitely no snow (not even in winter). Mind you, South Australia does produce some very nice wine. However I digress. The Snowy Mountains are part of the Great Dividing Range that run the length of the Australian eastern seaboard through the states of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The only part of this range that is known as the Snowy Mountains is a southern section on the New South Wales/Victorian border.

What is the issue with this minor mistake I hear you non-aussies ask? Australia is a big place. To give you an idea of how big, South Australia is a whole timezone (one hour) apart from the eastern seaboard states (Qld, NSW, Vic & Tasmania). This means that the advert has just relocated the Snowy Mountains approximately 550 miles (880km) from where they really are. This is equivalent of saying that London is nestled in and around the hills and bays of the Orkney Islands.
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Monday, June 23, 2003
      ( 10:44 AM ) Spengy  

EEUUWWW - MY HEAD

The Thames, sunshine, a bike ride, a river-side pub, meeting my cuz and far too much beer. Did nothing for the rest of the weekend (managed to ride home though - don't remember much except getting abuse from pedestrians that couldn't get out of the way of my wobbles). I hate getting older. My hangovers last longer cutting into perfectly good weekend drinking time.

Congratulations to England for their first ever win over the Wallabies on Australian soil. The World Cup should be interesting.

Oh and this is as promised for you Pete. Vvvvrooooommmmm
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Friday, June 20, 2003
      ( 2:22 PM ) Spengy  

SEX. MORE SEX AND THREE CHEERS FOR BIO-DIVERSITY

The header alone should increase my hits. Sorry for those of you who were expecting something else. If you are anywhere near South Australia get out your plastic mackintosh and be amongst your own.
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      ( 10:35 AM ) Spengy  

BOOK

Just finished The Dream of Scipio by Iain Pears. I didn't enjoy it as much as An Instance of the Fingerpost but he still did the 'unreliable narrator' thing at the end and changes your perspective on what you thought you knew was going on. It took an unusually long time for me to read as I was distracted by getting addicted to the whole blog thing thanks to my cuz. It all got a bit nerdy/geeky there for a moment while I sorted out the 'how to build a website' stuff. I still have a relationship and my habit is now much more under control. I seem to have replaced nicotine with html. Must be my addictive personality.
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Thursday, June 19, 2003
      ( 11:32 AM ) Spengy  

THE PINNACLE OF CHEATING

It isn't as if he could have taken the lift.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2003
      ( 12:21 PM ) Spengy  

THE 5 STAGES OF CLOTHES PURCHASES

This is a summary of the 5 stages that must be gone through before a new item of clothing is bought and usually occurs over several days;

STAGE 1
Potential Purchasee: I saw a lovely pair of shorts in the shop today
Spengy: Did you

STAGE 2
Potential Purchasee: I tried on a lovely pair of shorts in the shop today
Spengy: Did you

STAGE 3
Potential Purchasee: That lovely pair of shorts was £80 but has been reduced to £20
Spengy: Were they?

STAGE 4
Potential Purchasee: I don't have anything to wear
Spengy: Don't you?

STAGE 5
Purchasee: I bought a lovely pair of shorts today
Spengy: Did you
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Tuesday, June 17, 2003
      ( 1:24 PM ) Spengy  

EXTRA SEAL ON DRINKS: 2

About a month ago I had a rant about all the extra caps/covers/wrappers that seem to be on products in this country (I would provide a link to this earlier diatribe but don't know how - something to do with the # at the bottom of each entry - but I'm sure someone will tell me how using comments).

Well I finally got something that takes the biscuit. A tub of plain yoghurt (bastard American spell-checker wants the “H” removed). The following seals/covers had to be removed before being able to use the product;

  • an anti-tamper plastic ring around the lid
  • the lid proper
  • an aluminium (bastard American spell-checker wants the 2nd “I” removed) foil cover
  • a piece of plastic paper sitting on top of the yoghurt itself (why, there was already the aluminium foil seal)


This wouldn’t have been so bad had I realized that there existed a piece of plastic paper sitting on top of the yoghurt itself but I didn’t. There I was happily cooking up a curry and about to stir in the yoghurt. Picture the basic ingredients for a nice hot chicken curry bubbling away in a large pot sitting on the stove. I rip off, pop off, tear off the first three layers of the yoghurt packaging and up end the contents into the pot. Just as the yoghurt plops into the pot I notice something that doesn’t look quite right about the way it had ‘plopped’. I look into the pot and poke about with a wooden spoon and pulled out a fast shriveling piece of plastic paper. Great. We ate the curry. I didn’t let on what had occurred but we both survived.
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Sunday, June 15, 2003
      ( 7:43 PM ) Spengy  

THE RETURN OF SPIDERMAN AND SPIDERWOMAN

After a 24-month hiatus Mrs Spengy and I returned to rock-climbing. This was a momentous occasion, as I have not been climbing since being knocked off my bicycle by a car door and smashing my right heel. I suppose this is understandable as it took over 6 months for me to be able to walk properly let alone run. Don't let anyone tell you physiotherapy is pleasurable. All that is left is two small surgery scars, a 3 inch stainless steel screw in my heel bone (this has led to some interesting moments at airport security check-ins with the guy who holds the magic wand implement) and a large lump on the back of my foot.

We searched the net for nearby climbing gyms, as we're not yet brave enough to return to the real stuff and 'plastic' is a good place to get back into shape. We were lucky to find a gym called Westway which was nearby. I must say we were mightily impressed with the size and height of the gym. Bigger than anything I'd been to in Oz. There were over 100 textured climbing walls each with 3-4 routes up each face. We scampered up several climbs and got used to the French grading system that is far more complicated than the simple Oz consecutive numbering version. It didn't take long before we were completely knackered. The lump on the back of my heel made my right boot even tighter than it should have been so I lost all feeling in it after about an hour. Hopefully the boot will stretch as I don't much fancy the prospect of having to buy two pairs of climbing boots and using the left shoe from one and the right shoe from the other. Despite this it was great to be climbing again and to have found a great training gym nearby (especially for rainy days). Definitely going back.

The only strange thing was that supervision and safety was first class if not over the top. Required because of insurance premiums etc. This is based on the noble sentiment of protecting people from there own stupidity but also means that you assume that people are incapable of not taking responsibility for there own actions. It really seems to sum up the general approach that is taken by the British to most aspects of life. The dichotomy of this saftey attitude is that the wearing of helmets while bicycle riding is not compulsory in the UK. Had I not been wearing mine when I was knocked off my bicycle and broke my heel then I wouldn't be sitting here and typing this.
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Friday, June 13, 2003
      ( 9:30 AM ) Spengy  

LETTER TO MR VBHTJSSHLC.....

Dear Mr Vbhtjsshlclsdkgjjnglghhvhgt,

Thank you very much for your unsolicited email and kind offer of a bottle of "Androstenone Pheromone Concentrate".

Before finalising my decision on whether to purchase this product please could you enlighten me on two questions that I have.

Firstly, you failed to include the price of your product and when I clicked on your hyper-link to discover more I was taken to a most offensive pornography site offering "Hardcore F**king", "Lesbian Double Acts" and "Dirty College Girls". I think you should investigate this as it is apparent that some disreputable elements have obviously take over the domain name of your legitimate business. May I recommend that you take action on this immediately as I am sure other potential customers have suffered the same unpleasantness as myself.

Secondly, your claim on the effectiveness of your product states "attracts the opposite sex like a magnet". I am somewhat confused by this as I do not see what properties a magnet has in attracting the opposite sex. Of course if you had a particularly large electro magnet you could attract someone of the opposite sex who wore alot of metallic jewellery. Unfortunately by my calculations to attract even someone with as much jewellery as say Mr T you would need to have an electro-magnet the size of a small car and a three-phase power socket. This poses me with two further problems. If I was able to get the electromagnet of this size past the doormen you would be unlikely to find a nightclub with an industrial three-phase powerpoint in which to plug it in.

I look forward to your prompt response.

Kind Regards
Spengy

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Thursday, June 12, 2003
      ( 11:26 AM ) Spengy  

WISDOM FROM THE OFFICE

  • Eagles may soar high, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
  • Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.
  • There may be no 'I' in team, but there's a 'ME' if you look hard enough.
  • Process and Procedure are the last hiding place of people without the wit and wisdom to do their job properly.
  • Remember that age and treachery will always triumph over youth and ability.
  • Never do today that which will become someone elses responsibility tomorrow.
  • Every time you open your mouth you have this wonderful ability to continually confirm what I think.
  • Show me a good loser and I'll show you a LOSER!
  • Put the key of despair into the lock of apathy. Turn the knob of mediocrity slowly and open the gates of despondency - welcome to a day in the average office.
  • If your boss is getting you down, look at him through the prongs of a fork and imagine him in jail.
  • If you can keep your head when all around you have lost theirs, then you probably haven't understood the seriousness of the situation.
  • If you treat the people around you with love and respect, they will never guess that you're trying to get them sacked.
  • If at first you don't succeed, remove all evidence you ever tried.
  • You have to be 100% behind someone, before you can stab them in the back.
  • If work was so good, the rich would have kept more of it for themselves.
  • Those of you who think you know everything are annoying to those of us who do.
  • There's no 'I' in 'team'. But then there's no 'I' in 'useless smug colleague', either. And there's four in 'platitude-quoting idiot'. Go figure.
  • Know your limitations and be content with them. Too much ambition results in promotion to a job you can't do.
  • If you're gonna be late, then be late and not just 2 minutes - make it an hour and enjoy your breakfast.
  • A problem shared is a problem halved, so is your problem really yours or just half of someone elses?
  • Is your work done? Are all pigs fed, watered and ready to fly?....
  • I thought I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it was just some bastard with a torch, bringing me more work.
  • Avoid employing unlucky people - throw half of the pile of CVs in the bin without reading them.

Thanks to Princess Rebecca for this.
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Wednesday, June 11, 2003
      ( 12:01 PM ) Spengy  

STATE OF ORIGIN - GAME 1

We won. 25 -12 ......... look at the score and weep Queenslanders.
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      ( 10:20 AM ) Spengy  

SOMEONE SMELT A RAT

Mr Ebersole's business has gone to the dogs.
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      ( 8:24 AM ) Spengy  

GO THE MIGHTY BLUES

Every year it is "State against State, mate against mate". Thats right, today the mighty NSW Blues take on the Canetoads in the 1st of the 3 game State of Origin series. It is a tradition to watch the game on TV with the sound down and listen to the game with HG Nelson & Rampaging Roy Slaven on Triple J (click on the "listen to triple j" link at 10:30 hrs GMT). Go NSW, Go NSW Go NSW .....
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      ( 7:33 AM ) Spengy  

msbb.exe; fiz files; N-case; & Solution 180 ARE NASTY

I have spent the most of yesterday afternoon and all night clearing my machine of these nasty programs and folders. It got so bad last night that they managed to crash my machine several times and when not doing that they were making it nigh on impossible to gain access to the internet. I was able to get MSN Messenger working so thanks to a friend in Oz who was able to consult the net we disinfected my machine (Thanks Jack). Apparently these are part of a third party program that are installed by stealth that monitor your net usage. If you want to know more or clean your machine Annoyance.org has a great article on the problem.
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Monday, June 09, 2003
      ( 5:03 PM ) Spengy  

WEETABIX V's WEETBIX

It all seems so much clearer now. I have spent most of my life wondering whether it is "Weetabix" or "Weetbix". Just when I was sure I'd have a doubt but could never quite put my finger on just why I should have the urge to add an "A" or remove an "A". I have only now, just worked it out. The reason stems from the fact that my early years were spent in the UK where Weetbix is called Weetabix. I then immigrated with my family to Australia where Weetabix is called Weetbix. I am so relieved that I have solved one of those little useless questions that seem to nag at you from time to time.

Weetabix box UK Weetbix box Oz

Maybe now I should turn my thoughts to conquering the world ..... mwhahahaha
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      ( 9:39 AM ) Spengy  

CUZ NICK GOES LIVE

After some delays and frustrations the Upsetter has finally taken his site live. Go visit meafmania. I spent a good 20 minutes messing about on it. Some great little animations.
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Thursday, June 05, 2003
      ( 1:24 PM ) Spengy  

NO SEX PLEASE WE'RE BRITISH

For a nation that is known for its stiff upper lip, quiet reserve and not being seen to make a fuss (excluding football fans on tour) there is an awful lot of sex on the television. After about 10pm each night the various free-to-air channels shovel soft porn or sexumentaries at you. A selection of the programmes from this week;

Monday: "Mistress" (ITV); "White Girls are Easy" (C4)
Tuesday: "Cosmo's 50 Ways to Please Your Women" (C5)
Wednesday: "More Sex Tips for Girls" (C4); "Lesbian Love Stories" (C4); "Real Sex" (C5)
Thursday: "Secret History - The Affair" (C4); "Cosmo's 50 Ways to Please Your Man" (C5)
Friday: Oh, a night off. However there is "Big Brother" all week on C4

At least there is the good old BBC to maintain proper standards, what.
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Wednesday, June 04, 2003
      ( 3:04 PM ) Spengy  

Ooh No more Curry for Me

I just love this rewording of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Check out the Tuesday June 3rd entry titled "Bohemian Curry" at Myboyfriendisatwat.
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Tuesday, June 03, 2003
      ( 1:42 PM ) Spengy  

FASHION

I just don't get this whole fashion thing:

F: I'm back from looking at the shops
Me: Hi there, how did it go? What do you think of our town?
F: It's lovely so many nice shops
Me: You've been gone ages. We were thinking you might have got lost
F: No, I've bought something
Me: What did you get?
F: I bought a pair of "Diesel" jeans. They were reduced from £80 to £20.
Me: Wow, that was good. Why don't you model them

A short while later;

F: Ta-dah, what do you think? (twirl)
Me: They fit well
F: Do you like them?
Me: .....
F: Whats wrong with them, is it the flares
Me: No...
F: What then?
Me: Were they £20 because they were second-hand?
F: No, don't be rude. They are brand new
Me: So why are they all worn and paler on the legs and bum?
F: Thats the fashion
Me: .....

I can only surmise from this is that if you horde all your old clothes for long enough (no matter how worn) you can probably either wear them again or get good cash for them.
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