Archive for January, 2013

Snow!

Last night was bloody focusing. All that bollocks about “the weight of the truck melts the snow”.  Which is why every episode of Ice Road Truckers is 30 seconds long. They start the truck then plunge straight through the melted ice and snow to a watery grave. Clearly I didn’t think that through.

Around Stoke the third lane was snowbound, the middle lane had an inch of compacted snow/ice and the slow lane had two mostly clear tyre tracks. Then all it takes is one want-to-live-forever numpty to slow down to 30 mph and everyone is stuck behind them. Until you’ve had enough and pull out into the middle lane. Then it’s a matter of holding your nerve. Artics are just a ‘unit’ (the cab and 2 or 3 sets of wheels) and a separate trailer. The only thing making it one truck is a ‘pin’ (a 2” round post) on the trailer slotting into the ‘fifth wheel’ (a mechanism to secure the pin) on the unit. So everything rotates around the pin. This means on ice if you accelerate a little too hard the tyres spin and the unit pivots around the pin. That wakes you up. Worse, when you are going down hill you are scared to brake hard in case the trailer pushes the unit into a jack-knife.

One of our trucks was stranded last night as it hit a hill and lost all traction. I was having real issues getting the bloody thing moving in the snow. I had to reverse a trailer into a parking spot in a snowbound yard. It must have took me 8 shunts back and forward to get enough speed up to reverse all the way in. That was only on a slight incline. The other truck was up in the wilds past Bolton.

In Lymn services the snow came down that hard and fast that some wag built a snowman in front of someone’s truck whilst they were on their break.

snowman

Fun, fun, fun.

I survived and made it home in one piece at ungodly o’clock, then had to get up 5 hours 20 minutes later to go for a recce run of the Bolton Hill Marathon. I got up after struggling with the alarm on my ‘phone, turned on the PC to check the address and saw a ‘CANCELLED’ email. Ace. It took me an hour to get back to sleep. Grrrr.

 

In other news, I finally made it to the other Wing Chun class (in the same Kung Fu umbrella group) in Manchester last Sunday. You know how I was saying the class I go to on Thursdays only has about 8 people, all newbies, so it’s good for almost personal tuition? I was worried about starting a big new established class.  The Sunday class had 4 including me! 2 experienced and me and a young lad.

Excellent.

The not so great news is the head of the umbrella group likes loud colours. And apparently has a system of different coloured tops each year (presumably so you can monitor who’s up to date with membership).

I am the first to get this year’s top.

Kung Fu

Observe my joy.

The only bright side is it has engendered some banter on Twitter, mainly with my (straight, male) chum @735songs.

 

Me: I’m repeating the Ross mantra " it’s salmon, it’s salmon". It remains stubbornly pink

@735songs: It’s pink man. P.I.N.K. Sorry.

Me: SALMON!

@7: Pantone’s latest ‘salmon’ range of available colours. #pink

Me: There’s a whole fisheries worth of salmon there. #pink #denial

Me: I joined this Kung Fu club, they have a different colour top each year. Imagine my joy when that arrived yesterday. #salmon

@7: ‘Kung Fu Club’. Right… *Harry Hill sideways glance to camera*

Me: The rest of the club kit isn’t much better. The arseless leather chaps chafe and the moustache itches.

@7: I’ve never been more aroused.

@7: *turns down brightness on phone purely because of your avi pic* #pink

Me: It’s the ‘in’ colour for ninja-chic. Ninjas who hang out at certain gentlemen’s clubs.

@7: In fairness we’ve only your word it’s a t-shirt. I bet it’s a onesie. With feet. #pink

Me: Busted.

 

Apart from the Wing Chun I only managed one training session this week. I still don’t feel right. Just the breathing thing. A minor irritation, but the rest of my performance is reliant on it. “Man can’t breathe, he can’t fight”  To quote from the life lesson that was The Karate Kid.

The recce for the Bolton Hill Marathon has been moved to next Saturday. That promises to be the wake-up call I need. The first 4 miles of the marathon (3 of which are straight uphill) and the last 2, also uphill.

I’ll try for a distance run tomorrow, hopefully the snow will have melted by then. The car’s in for it’s MOT on Monday so I’m going to try and use that to get me back on the bike for work. I only have 6 months before the Outlaw. I need to get back to swimming. Lots of swimming.  Triathlon sucks bum.

 

Enough of my drivel, onto the wonderful world of Twitter;

The DM Reporter:

TRAGIC: Kate McCann launches Maddie book w̶h̶i̶c̶h̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶p̶r̶o̶b̶a̶b̶l̶y̶ ̶a̶l̶l̶ ̶l̶i̶e̶s̶ we wish her well with her endeavours.

HEALTH: Nurses blamed for not being enough of them.

WEATHER: Day 11 of Snowpocalypse • PM: "Nation needs time to heal" • 10m people still missing • London to be rebuilt • Getting slushy

EDUCATION: Michael Gove to "hollow out Carol Vorderman and wear her like a flesh onesie" in bid to justify further changes to maths lessons.

FACTCHECK: Is crime really at its lowest level for 20 years, or are there just more immigrants flocking here for benefits than ever before?

THAWMAGEDDON: White British population set to reduce dramatically as snowmen melt across the country.

 

 

Top tips:

BMW DRIVERS. Avoid everyone taking the mick out of your rear wheel drive car in the snow by driving everywhere backwards.

BABYSITTERS. Get kids to go to sleep early by telling them it’s Christmas tomorrow. The parents can deal with the fallout.

DONT waste money on expensive ergonomic office chairs, just sit bare-arsed on a pile of house bricks for 8 fucking hours.

DAVID CAMERON. Avoid Europe being a major issue by making it a fucking enormous one

 

 

General stuff:

An MP (Tom Harris) wrote: So it turns out the Ministry of Sound isn’t even a proper Whitehall department! That was a waste of an FoI request. [Freedom of Information]

Two accidentally shot at NC gun show safety check-in. In related news, The Onion [spoof news account] announces going-out-of-business sale.

If the ppl of Sodom had Bushmasters w/which to defend themselves, God would be nothing more than a bloodstained sunset #GunAppreciationDay

The irony toll keeps rising! Now at: EIGHT people shot at FIVE different Gun Shows: http://bit.ly/Wt6IuB @KagroX #GunAppreciationDay #Darwin

He was shot dead > RT @Jimmertime33 Even on Martin Luther King day @piersmorgan finds a way to push his anti-gun idea…

As soon as women start making headlines for shooting their rapists the male republicans will be all for gun control. I can promise you that.

Town is full of ninja cyclists. I know they’re ninjas because they cycle in the dark without lights, reflective gear, or fear of death

Not tryin to impress anyone BUT the priest did just say I had the "body of Christ" right before he fed me a cracker. Gym has been paying off

Norway braced for slump as UK economists confirm snow main cause of recession

After the BBC kids channel ‘the Tweenies’ aired an old Jimmy Savile spoof to knee-jerk hysteria:

I’m watching the Tweenies. Max is dressed up as Hitler. This could be the end for the BBC.

The best possible YouTube comment imaginable on the credits of Jurassic Park:

Remember that scary bit in Jurassic Park when your mother leaned over and said ‘You were adopted. And you’re not coming home with us’?

NATURE FACT: If a crow gets hungry enough it will eat its own face.

I was a smug, hipster douchebag BEFORE it was cool.

My body is a temple, but I don’t want to be entered by a priest.

Shock sporting pictures;

I hate that thing when Murray’s doing well we claim him as British but when he loses, we say he’s black.

Didn’t make it to the gym today. …That makes 4 years in a row now.

That awkward moment when you ask a lady if she’s pregnant and he says no

If we do leave Europe I hope we go somewhere warmer.

Confectionery pouch. Like a bag of sweets but made of platinum, judging by the retail value. #cinematweet

 

My dad said my job brings shame to the family name which is extremely upsetting because our family name is already Hess.

Oh to be this elephant..

man flu update: I drift further into darkness, nothing to be heard. a light glimmers, I fall towards it, in a moment its gone, as is hope.

 

 

Tory Scum:

We’ll cut back on snow by cutting back on gritting. Gritting has created a dependency culture.IDS”

Meryl Streep won an Oscar for impersonating a British Prime Minister. So when will David Cameron receive his?

11 govts sign for the Robin Hood bank tax. UK govt was not among them. Why? Because the UK govt and the banking industry are one & the same!

Gov Borrowing is rising and is over £7 billion higher than last year;All cuts, job shed and home loss went for ?nothing http://www.labour.org.uk/tory-economic-plan-is-hurting-and-not-working,2013-01-22 …

Hague explains how "the will of the people" on the #EUref is suddenly paramount. What was "the will of the people" on the NHS, you maggot

The day I vote Tory is the day the world can turn off the machines,dip my corpse in lime & fire residue into heart of the sun

You say ‘triple dip recession’, I say ‘HYPER-DEATH SPIRAL’.

After David Cameron’s recent speech on Europe, The Jewish Chronicle ran the headline "Muzzle Toff!".

 

And finally, cute:

 

Later,

Buck.

Snowmageddon!

To paraphrase the DM Reporter, WHITE BLANKET OF DEATH as ten snowflakes fall! We have been reduced to cannibalism and wearing the skins of the fallen. Society has fallen. But at least Twitter is still going.

 

It’s been a hectic week at work and I’ve got some non-specific malaise. I went for a run on Monday morning, all unsuspecting. I did a slow/ steep 6 minutes then put it to 6 m/m / 1%.

Usually that has me gritting my teeth by two miles, and a heart rate of about 154 bpm.

I was dying within half a mile. I tried to ignore it thinking I was being a lazy lardarse, but I just couldn’t breathe. My bpm was 170+ and rising. (160 is marginally in the red for me.) I managed 8/10ths of a mile then had to slow it right down. I still hadn’t realised there must be something wrong (I was feeling fine before I went in to the gym) so I forced out the rest of the half hour slower but on a steeper incline. Then I tried the bike. I lasted about 8 minutes before quitting. I was wheezing and dying.  I quit the gym in disgust. Then, as I was opening the door to the changing room, thought ‘bollocks!’ and went back. I set the treadmill at the fastest/ steepest pre-set programme and forced myself to do another half hour run. It was hellish.

It wasn’t until I got home and still couldn’t breathe that I realised something was amiss.

I’ve had a couple of days of feeling done-in. Oddly with a day between them feeling fine. Today it feels like I’m breathing through a thick damp cloth. And I just feel tired and useless.

I was a bit worried about how I was going to do the Helsby half marathon tomorrow, but I’ve just found out it has been cancelled due to the snow. I was planning on dosing myself up and just doing a slow run. I can’t say I’m disappointed, though. I really am not up to it.

 

Work has been mad busy. Last week I only got two days this week it’s back to five days/ 55 hours. On Thursday I was sat waiting for a specific trailer from 1430 until 1830, then the truck they gave me was knackered so I had to swap, I didn’t leave the yard until 1915. Then I had to drive to Crewe. Some selfish crashy bastards had blocked the M6 because there was a flake of snow so I didn’t get there until 2030, ended up setting off for Cowley (nearly 3 hours drive) at 2100. They want me there for 1830. So not pleased.

That was a 14 hour day by the time I got back. An hour commute. Six hours sleep. Which left me with a decadent three whole hours to fritter on making food and showering and such.

In a way it’s good, now is definitely the time we need some money. I’ve still not got my tax bill off the accountant but it’s due. Also the Canadians still haven’t taken the $200 out of my account, so that is pending, and I have to tax and MOT the car.

I didn’t feel like it with the cold and all. Bright side, I finally cracked that reverse in one go on Friday! Huzzah!

That was after a hell of a drive through the snow. It’s not the snow, per se, it other drivers. The truck, due to its massive tonnage, liquefies the snow so it’s just like driving through rain, albeit rain with bits of ice in it. The problem is car drivers, suddenly panicking and hitting the brakes. Twice I narrowly avoided crashing because of the flapping bastards. The trick to snow is to drive steady. No hard braking, no mad swerves. Some prick panicked and slammed on in front of me. I yanked the wheel and managed to throw it into the outside lane, just avoiding killing the fuckwit.

If the crash hadn’t killed them, me losing my job and temper certainly would have.

Anyway, snow driving is mad stressful. Though I did get to see (what I think was a BMW) in the oncoming fast lane spin out and smash into the crash barrier. That was hilarious.

 

In other news, after sending my TA kit back the other week I got a letter on Friday saying I am officially terminated from the TA.

I AM NOT A NUMBER, I AM A FREE MAN!

 

Enough of my witterings, what of Twitterings? Well might you ask. It’s been a themed week. You can hardly have failed to notice the story of horsemeat being found in Tesco burgers. Twitter was all over that like a cheap rash:

TESCO. It’s spelled "Hors d’oeuvres" What you’ve done there is added an extra "e"

A tesco burger please. Hold the dressage!

well i dont want to worry you…we know theyve found the horse but has anyone found the rider?

Horsemeat in burgers served by staff on zero wages. Every Little Helps. #Tesco

A Tesco burger walks into a bar..

“A horse, a horse, my Clubcard for a horse!”

Breaking News: Traces of zebras found in Tesco barcodes

I just checked my Tesco burgers in the freezer aaannnnd they’re off….

I was in the Tesco Cafe ordering my food & the waitress asked if I wanted anything on my burger. So I had a fiver each way

Chucking out Tesco horseradish sauce. Just in case

Breaking news: Tesco hotdogs come under scrutiny:

 

The DM Reporter was keeping us abreast;

WEATHER: ‘More photos of snow on Instagram than there are snowflakes in the sky’ say experts.

WEATHER: 10,000 feared dead as nearly 2cm of snow hits Britain, raising fears we could be facing the worst infrastructural damage since WW2.

WEATHER: Day 2 of Snowmageddon • PM dead • 30% of Britain lost to savages • army to begin burning bodies • further 2cm may fall tonight.

IMMIGRATION: 29 million Romanians and Bulgarians could move here, and no-one can stop them touching your stuff.

 

Snow advice in general;

Remember, when it’s snowed, you MUST NOT drive your car over 5-10mph, because, if you do, it will EXPLODE.

Guardian headline ‘wintry weather expected to last up to a month’. So, almost until the end of winter, then.

 

We lamented the demise of the Blockbuster chain;

*applauds* RT @davidcavanagh2: The thing about Blockbuster was, they just didn’t have a clue what to do.

 

While someone advised the BBC nature programme:

In my ornithology lab we used to refer to a large flock of birds as a ‘shitload’.

 

General in general;

I can’t decide if this girl in Asda wearing her Pyjamas has given up on life or living it to the fullest.

I remember this one time police were violent against anti-austerity activists, and to reward their loyalty the govt cut their wages by £4000

Whilst shopping in Boots, 3yo picked up a box of tampons and shouted "DO YOU NEED SOME MORE OF THESE TO PUT UP YOUR BOTTOM?" *dies on spot*

Karen on Facebook changed her relationship status to… "It’s complicated." No, Karen. String theory is complicated. You’re just a whore.

All athletes are on drugs. Or do you think records get broken every year because we’re evolving really quickly?

Many seem to think Lance is not merely the Boy Who Cried Wolf, but the Man Who Promoted ‘Wolf – The Musical’. In a non-existent theatre.

 

You know of the phenomena of ‘photobombing’? Just getting in on other people’s pictures, basically. Here are a few good examples.

Later,

Buck.

Pain. Not in a good way.

Bloody sinuses are playing up again. Totally ruined my weekend. Not that it wasn’t off to a bad start anyway.

I had no work until Thursday. Then they rang me up and said they wanted me in at 2100 to do a run to Chester. I thought that was probably bullshit. Why would they call someone in to do a 32 mile run?

It was bullshit.

*surprised face*

 

I had to run down to some place (still don’t know the town) and follow a hastily drawn map. OK.

The starting point for said was to come off the M6 at junction 33A. Fine. I set off in the fog, having no idea where I was going. I got to junction 33, peachy. 34… WHAT?

I pulled off at 34 and was driving down the exit slip road when suddenly a bunch of those sharp turn chevrons leapt out of the fog! SHIT! I stood on the brakes and nearly crapped myself. I thought I was going through the barriers. It turned out they’d posted the signs in plenty of time and I was fine. Apart from the heart attack.

I pulled up on an industrial estate (you’d be amazed at how few convenient parking spots there are for an artic and trailer) and checked the maps on my ‘phone. There is no junction 33A. Ace. I rang work, they were insistent it was 33A. I worked out it was 31A, primarily as that actually existed.

I got to the first drop and the guy said I had to wait while they assembled my order of newspapers. Then I was to do two more drops, no stopping for breaks, on a timed schedule. To places I didn’t know. So ace.

I pulled the curtains back on my trailer, got loaded eventually, hopped back in my cab, turned the key…. nothing. The bastard battery had died (it turned out).

I rang work, they said “It does that. Give it ten minutes and try again.”  If they knew, why wasn’t it sorted?

Anyway, due to the timed nature of the drops I had to open my curtains again and they put my load onto someone else’s truck. Then I had to wait for an hour for the recovery geezer to come and give me a jump. No-one wanted to give me a push.  Back home and in bed for 0515, back in work for 1400. Bah.

At least I was doing ‘my’ usual run on Friday. Crewe, Cowley. Coming back I got to Brum and they’d closed the motorway! Ah! I was cursing them roundly as if I’d have known I could have used the M5 route and joined the M6 after the roadworks. Thanks for letting me know, you bastards! Then I got up to the roadworks and the warning sign was up, it’s just I hadn’t been that way all week so I hadn’t seen it. Oh. Still annoyed.

I finally got back to Warrington, off the motorway with just 5 miles to go and the coppers had shut the (A57) road! Goddamit! I had to go to Birchwood, M62, M60 and on to the A57 from the other end. By the time I got to bed it was gone 0400. By the time I got up (1315) the day was nearly done. And then my sinuses started playing up. Most of yesterday in pain, same again today. I didn’t get to my Sunday Kung Fu class. Again.

 

On the bright side, all of my previous put-off tasks have now been done. Allotment, Visa, sent my T.A. kit back (I’ll wait for them to process it then send the resignation form back) and my tax.

Go me!

 

Now I have new tasks I have to stop putting off. The car needs MOT-ing by the end of the month. I’ve got to get back to my French studies. I need to get cycling, go to the swimming lesson with Warrington Tri, start banging in some serious hill work on my runs, and preferably get a second life so I can have time to do it all.

I’ve achieved some more landmarks with the running. I was struggling with the new plan of putting the treadmill on 1% for my 6 m/m runs. I managed a mile and a bit then flaked and had to drop the incline and then the speed. That was pitiful. I girded my loins, set my face as flint, and tried again.  I put the treadmill at 3% for 6 minutes (at a reasonable pace) to warm up then set it to 1% 6m/m. I did 3 miles though it nearly killed me, then kept the pace but had to drop the incline to ½% then shortly after to flat. Even so, that’s 4 miles uninterrupted at 6 m/m and 3 of them were at 1%! That’s pretty good for me.

Then I do a half hour on a ‘hilly’ setting on the bike, then come back and put the treadmill at it’s max speed/ hills for another half an hour.  Sweating like an offensive thing in an inappropriate setting. I was sweating that much it had soaked my sports top and the it was dripping off my top onto my legs.

Then there are people in fleeces.  Save your money and watch telly stood up.

 

The good news is the guy at Crewe reckoned they were going to be mad busy this week so I should be in work. Not that I want to work, but this is the time when I most need some money.

 

Enough of me, lets talk Twitter;

 

As usual the DM Reporter was abreast of affairs;

DANGER: One in five Britons may call themselves non-white by 2072 if current trends accelerate at seven times their current predicted rate.

ENVIRONMENT: Friends and family of this reporter all agree "it’s felt a bit colder this year", throwing doubt on climate change evidence.

This week’s Daily Mail Cancer List: Mon) Snow Tue) Cocktails Wed) Earwax Thu) Paloma Faith Fri) Pi Sat) Shadows Sun) Cures for cancer

WEATHER: Grit shortages threaten to release 500 dangerous paedophiles into the community.

MAIL LIFE: Engineer travels 400miles to turn off pensioners burglar alarm only to discover nest of cannibal badgers

 

 

Theological musings:

Last night my mate @LukeSmith214 turned wine into barf.. your move Jesus.

I’d imagine St. Peter – who was crucified upside down – would really feel for these Catholic priests who see equal marriage as persecution.

Saint Stephen, too. He was stoned to death. The first martyr. Probably thinking "Well, at least there weren’t any queers getting hitched!"

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away" Philip K Dick

 

 

Random observations;

Ninety-nine percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

"A ‘just war’ is when you don’t try to resolve the problem you just fight" #marking #gcse #RS #ohdear

@sanguinturtle: @williamshatner loved you on boston legal. have you ever done anything else?” No, that’s the only thing I’ve ever done. 😉

Dear PETA, Every time you photograph a naked woman, I personally skin a mink.

"porn gives young people an unrealistic and unhealthy idea of how quickly a plumber will come to your house"

I donate blood 5 times a year just so I’m less and less related to some of my relatives.

I once had to spell my surname over the phone. "M for millipede…" I then proceeded to spell out ‘millipede’. Idiot.

Do you ever just wanna grab someone by the shoulders, look them deep in the eyes and whisper, "No one gives a fuck".

"Want a boyfriend for these cold winter nights" …Shut up you slut go buy a coat.

GOP: "We’re all saddened by the deaths of children, so we have a plan to stop these shootings by depriving gays and women of their rights."

Sometimes I awake from a nap at my desk and my face is flat against the keyboard. My sleeping features have typed "MOTHER." over and over.

Just finished babyproofing my house. I must have spent over £5,000 on barbed wire alone, but there’s no way a baby is getting in now.

Lesbian isn’t a race. RT @SarahAdaaalia: Sorry I’m not racist, but I’m not afraid of gays, I’m afraid of lesbians.

The Vapor Rub is in full effect. I CAN* SEE THROUGH WALLS!!! *artist’s interpretation

 

Best Blue Plaque ever:

5e81282e573e11e29a9c22000a1fbe09_7

 

In Tory Scum we were spoilt for choice;

 

In which @OwenJones84 is angry, eloquent, and correct about the Welfare Bill and just how damn horrible Tories are: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-welfare-bill-a-government-of-millionaires-just-made-the-poor-poorer–and-laughed-as-they-did-it-8443619.html …

Having problems logging into jobmatch? Save time and click the new "I give up. Just sanction me." button for quicker & easier sanctioning.

Have you registered for Universal Jobmatch? Our new benefits sanctioning site. Join now and lose everything. #jobseekers

IDS thinks it’s unreasonable for anyone to receive more than £35,000 p.a. from the state, yet he claimed £98,000 in expenses in 2011.

"You plebs can survive on £71 a week, you just arent trying if you can’t. That’s why we deserve £1653 a week instead of £1250…" – Our MPs

MPs calling for a 32% pay rise. Do you think they’re just trolling us in to having a Les Mis style revolution by the end of the month?

Blimey, after a legitimate recruitment process over 100 MPs ended up with close family members as assistants. What are the chances eh?!

MPs can claim £400 p/m food allowance on top of their £65k salary plus other exps. A single person on JSA gets £71 p/w. #allinittogether

Jobseekers, exercise is very important in keeping a healthy body & mind. Why not walk to your local foodbank?

The public sudsidy to House of Commons for champagne is the equivalent of £176 per MP. If you care for someone 24/7 you get £58.45 a week.

"IMMIGRANTS FOREIGNERS IMMIGRANTS IMMIGRANTS LOOK OVER THERE BE FRIGHTENED IMMIGRANTS", says Eric Pickles.

 

Finally, Twitter says “awwww”;

 

A sloth hugging a girl:

http://i.imgur.com/5AWUr.jpg

Snow paws;

Brains! Carrots and brains. Mostly Brains.

And a baby Musk Ox

 

Final, final thought has to be with this petition (and response) started on the official U.S. government website;

Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.

Those who sign here petition the United States government to secure funding and resources, and begin construction on a Death Star by 2016.

By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense.

Created: Nov 14, 2012

Issues: Defense, Job Creation, Science and Space Policy

total signatures

34,435

Official White House Response to Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.

This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For

By Paul Shawcross

The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:

  • The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
  • The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
  • Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

However, look carefully (here’s how) and you’ll notice something already floating in the sky — that’s no Moon, it’s a Space Station! Yes, we already have a giant, football field-sized International Space Station in orbit around the Earth that’s helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations. The Space Station has six astronauts — American, Russian, and Canadian — living in it right now, conducting research, learning how to live and work in space over long periods of time, routinely welcoming visiting spacecraft and repairing onboard garbage mashers, etc. We’ve also got two robot science labs — one wielding a laser — roving around Mars, looking at whether life ever existed on the Red Planet.

Keep in mind, space is no longer just government-only. Private American companies, through NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO), are ferrying cargo — and soon, crew — to space for NASA, and are pursuing human missions to the Moon this decade.

Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.

We don’t have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke’s arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers.

We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field. The President has held the first-ever White House science fairs and Astronomy Night on the South Lawn because he knows these domains are critical to our country’s future, and to ensuring the United States continues leading the world in doing big things.

If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.

Paul Shawcross is Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget

 

Buck.

Me. Getting shit done!

You know how I’d been putting things off for months, I am on fire with the getting things done!

I was as good as my plan and sorted my allotment the very next day. I posted the key and notice of termination the same morning. As well as my Canadian Visa application.

This last weekend I spent ages trying to do my self assessment tax return online.First off I had to collect all my old wage payments, distance travelled to work (to claim for petrol) and such. Then I filled in the bits I could, blagged the bits I had no idea about (tax deductions from previous year? Wha..?) and got to the end of the seemingly interminable form. I have a P45 from my  last job, that said I’d earned £8k in 6 months and paid £1k or so of it in tax. I worked out my total earnings for the remaining 6 months, about £8.7K, deducted a £1K for petrol (that stuff really adds up! 45p per mile allowance ~petrol, wear and tear, tax, insurance~ times 20+ miles a day, times 121 days, worked out as £1,230!) take off the money for my satnav £355, and ‘phone (£90 for 3 months). So that’s £8,700- £1,230- £90 – £355 (= £7,025).

So, about £900 tax, right?  The final page said tax due: £2,600+ ! What the very hell?

Time to get an accountant.

So all that hassle filling in the form was a waste of time. Other than that I no longer begrudge paying an accountant. And it made me collect all the relevant data the accountant needed.

It may have been that that was my total tax liability for the year, from which the £1k I’d already paid would have been deducted. I wasn’t about to press ‘submit’ to find out. Anyway, there’s not a whole lot of point in submitting a tax claim that’s wrong. Might as well not declare it all.

So today I coughed up £255 for an accountant (which is tax deductible!) and he’s on the case now. He’s already picked up on nights out, meals, and using my home as an office. Because I fill in my timesheets here and email them to the agency, obviously.  He thinks the £2k thing was the total, so probably about a grand owed. Not to worry if I can’t get it in by the end of month deadline though, he said they only charge 3% annual interest on outstanding debts which, he worked out of the top of his head, for a grand for a month is about £2.50. That impressed me.

 

So, allotment, visa, tax, all in hand.

 

The only things left are getting out of the TA and MOT-ing and taxing my car.

I’ve already re-bagged all my kit. I just need to arrange for the free pick up, get billed for whatever items are missing, then hand in my resignation form. (Whatever it’s called.) I think I’ll go through it again in a minute, see what I think is missing, then ring them up tomorrow to pick it up.

 

Work is slack at the minute. Monday and today (Tuesday) they have rang and cancelled me. As long as I get a few days a week to pay for the shopping we’ll be OK. It’s only for January, then things will pick up again.

The agency rang me today trying to pressure me into doing a different job. Permanent nights (not good for a driving job, especially with noisy neighbours) doing multi-drop all over the place. I didn’t fancy that at all. My job is ideal. Trunking from Irlam to Crewe to Cowley. Long, incident free, motorway miles to known destinations. And in bed before the sun is up. I’ll take a slack period then get back to it, thank you very much.

 

The running is all up and down. I had two epic near misses last week. I was going for the no-mind thing. Set the treadmill to 10 mph (6m/m, obviously) and just do it. The first one I was at 2.78 miles and going strong when I bust the machine. I like to think it couldn’t keep up, more likely couldn’t bear the weight. Anyway it just died. It’s one thing going for no-mind, it’s another when you stop. I couldn’t be arsed when I knew I’d already blown the continuous bit.

The second attempt I was going like stink, coming up to 2 miles and feeling really up for it, when the emergency stop thing (a crocodile clip on a piece of string that’s attached to the treadmill. You are supposed to clip to yourself. If you fall over it cuts out. It’s widely ignored.) bumped into my leg. I picked it up to put it out of the way and it cut the bloody machine out!  I reset it within about 30 seconds and did another 3 miles at 6m/m.  I was feeling fine. I thought I’d finally cracked it.

Then I went for a mile warm up, followed by a 10 mile run. Outdoors. Supposed to be 1.05 according to the training plan, 6:30 m/m. I thought I was going to blast it. I faded after the first mile and ended up struggling to do a 1.10!

I was beating that before I started the training plan! And a lot easier.

I reckon it’s the treadmill. Running on the level on a treadmill is pointless. It gives you fast times that are no bloody use.  So, it’s back to ‘train hard, fight easy’. But without the ‘fighting easy’. Ever.

I’m doing the ½ hour ‘hill’ setting when I have the time (put it on the hardest hills/ fastest time) as well as trying to get up to speed on a 1% incline. It doesn’t sound like you’d even notice the difference, 1%, but it is surprisingly wearing.

The ‘hill’ run is fun. 2:30 minutes fairly fast on the flat, then 2:30 at 1% same speed, then 2:30 at 2% a bit slower, and so on up to 7%, then down again. The last 2:30 on the flat feels so comparatively easy I went a bit mad. Slammed it up to 11 mph (5:27 m/m!) and sprinted the whole 2½ minutes! Not bad. Until you remember Alistair Brownlee did that mile swim, 27 mile ride, then ran 6.2 miles at less than 4:50 m/m! I did 2½ minutes, on a flat treadmill, and had a near-death-experience!

 

 

Anyway, enough with my crap, onto the wonderful world of Twitter!

 

The DM Reporter was telling it like it is;

SCROUNGERS: Stiffy-forcing rage over ‘goldplated’ £11 rise in Jobseeker’s Allowance over last 5 years. Ian Duncan Smith – "it’s pure greed."

HEALTH: Children whose parents let them watch BBC iPlayer could "explode from cancer" warn experts.

ROYALS: Concern that relaxing of succession rules could lead to a Muslim, Catholic, Scientologist, homosexual or woman seizing the throne.

CHURCH: Gay people "ok." Gay marriage "not ok." Celibate gay bishops "ok." Active gay bishops "not ok." Women "don’t be ridiculous."

VICTORY: High fives all round as black female left-wing politician blames feminism for all society’s ills. *happy dance*

TRAVEL: Rail bosses defend price rises – "Don’t like the costs, don’t travel. You think we care? Go fuck yourselves. We own you."

 

 

Other Stuff;

Jim Davidson’s arrest cited by religious experts as irrefutable evidence of the existence of a benign God. Atheists forced to agree.

I see a lot of people are laughing at Jim Davidson. That’s something that hasn’t happened in a long time.

The difference between a good wine & a bad wine is six months in a cellar. If you spend six months in a cellar, everything tastes good.

Take your age, Subtract 3. That’s how old you were three years ago. Mind=Blown

After tuition fees, #NHS, #BUB, Lib Dem MPs have nothing to lose anymore. They may as well just start randomly punching voters.

Shut your eyes. Imagine a balloon. The balloon is your mother. Oh no. The balloon has floated into a tree. SQUIRRELS ARE BITING YOUR MOTHER

CONVINCE people you were famous in the 1970s by walking grim faced out of a police station.

Tip. Dissuade neighbours from logging onto your home wifi network by simply renaming it BTOpenzone

Gerry Adams gave the best answer re freedom of conscience on abortion. I’m against abortion but I’m not mandated to legislate for me

Anyone else watched the alleged 50 Funniest Moments of 2012 on Channel 4? #34, and I’ve gravitated from ‘not laughing’ to ‘wanting to kill’.

I honestly have no idea how to use dating Web sites? where’s the bid button ?

 

I noted: Islamic town bans women from straddling motorcycles, have to ride side-saddle. Can’t make it up.

A female chum asked  “How do they change gear?”

I tactfully replied: I assume they are just passengers. Only a godless infidel Jezebel strumpet would ride her own motorbike! 

 

 

Tory Scum:

feeding homeless to be banned or fined & sleeping rough become an offense – unbelievable http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/feeding-homeless-to-be-banned-by-tory-run-westminster-113433#.UOYeg0Yh44k.twitter …

What do Tories want to happen? Can’t squat, can’t sleep rough, can’t accept food… what do they want? Gas chambers?

Illegal to sleep rough, illegal to squat, hostels cut, housing benefit cut, social housing sold off. Illegal to exist

George Osborne claimed £700 on heating oil for his farmhouse last winter seven times the winter fuel payment for the elderly

Ever notice that people who praise austerity always want it applied to some one else?

Conservative police commissioner wants SUSPECTS to pay money for their overnight police cell stay http://bbc.in/136gAPg Didn’t take long!!

 

 

 

In the ‘Amazing Cool’ section we had:

Under ‘Cunning Ruses’ there was this:

Someone worried about the personalised messages on Facebook:

 

From the letters page of the Guardian:

‘Teddy Bear For Pet Mouse’ section:

The ‘Irish Girl Sunbathing’ section was full:

Embedded image permalink

And finally, proof that rabbits shrink when wet:

 

Later,

Buck.

Go me!

I’ve been putting things off, and putting them off some more. The longer I’ve left them the bigger and scarier they’ve grown in my mind. Tonight, my last day off before I return to regular work, I’ve taken the plunge.

The allotment paperwork was so simple it only took me 5 minutes, I truly don’t know what the fuss was with that. I’ll nip over in the morning and clear out my apple tree, fruit bushes and asparagus. Hand my key in and that’s it, job done.

This emboldened me to start on another one that I’ve been panicking over and trying to avoid; my Canadian visa application. I got stuck in while I was on a roll and an hour or two later I’ve got that done!  I can post the allotment and visa application in the morning. Thinking about it, if I get an early start I can clear out my allotment and return the key in the same envelope. Plan.

 

Now all I have left to do is return my kit to the T.A. and the small matter of finding an accountant, getting them to tell me my tax bill for last year and paying it by the end of the month. Oh, and MOT-ing the car by the end of the month as well. The money tree in the back garden is going to get well and truly thrashed. Wendy thinks it will probably be about a £4,000 tax bill. Though being a debt advisor she does tend to think the worst. I told her not to worry as I’d got us a loan from Wonga.

That was funny.

 

I popped out for a 9 mile run to Lisa’s (my sister) house today. I’d looked on Google maps and there seemed to be a way around Victoria park and along the Mersey right up to Brooke Avenue, which is just off her street. Obviously I got lost. The way I did it turned it into a 10.4 mile run. Through slutch and a biting wind. Hard to run when your feet are sliding everywhere in the mud. Probably wasn’t the brightest of ideas, running along the park in the middle of the 2012- eternity monsoon.

 

I’ve had a falling out with my training plan. One week it’s run 5 miles in 30 minutes (still not done that!) then it’s 15 miles in under 2 hours (did that even though I was done-in) then it’s 6.2 miles in 39 minutes. It’s just not working for me. Apparently I need to have a 6 m/m pace for at least 13 miles for the sub 3 hour marathon.

This means I have to have the speed for 6 m/m and the stamina to keep it going.

My plan is simple; lot’s of 10 mile runs (or above) outside in the real world with at least one run a week dedicated to hills, and a progressive indoor speed plan.

I’ve managed to run 3 miles in 18 minutes. That will be my starting point then. Will of iron. Do or do not, there is no ‘try’. (To quote Master Yoda.) I’ve been setting a cracking pace, getting my breathing under control, my legs are not hurting any worse, but after about 2½ miles my will cracks. I start thinking that I can’t do it, and have to stop NOW! Then I start making deals, just get to the next mile, then slow it down etc. As soon as you think there is an option to stop you’ve lost the battle.

The indoor plan then is that 3 miles is my starting point. I’ve done it once (and nearly did it a second time but then I killed the machine at 2.78) I can do it again. No option to quit, run 3 miles lard-arse. Then increase it. 3 miles plus 1 minute for two runs, then 3 miles plus 2 minutes. More if I can, but no less. Surely I’ll be able to increase it by more once I’m used to running a minimum of 3 miles at 6 m/m? Or maybe aim for ½ a mile a week increase. Not sure on the details yet, but I have to stick to a plan that get’s me used to 6 m/m pace and always pushes me further.

 

It’s the allotment tomorrow, and post off my two forms. Maybe arrange an appointment with an accountant if I’ve got time. Wing Chun on Thursday, run on Friday, then Saturday go through my kit checklist for the T.A., get it all bagged up and arrange for pick up, fill out the forms for leaving and get them posted as well.  By Monday or Tuesday I could be completely obligation free!

I can’t believe I’ve made myself so stressed by avoiding all these hassles. I was getting a bit panicky just thinking about them. Break them down into small tasks and they are done in a few hours. Unbelievable. I honestly can’t think what all the fuss was about. Weird.

 

“Enough of your emo crap”, I hear you cry, “what’s the word on Twitter?”

Well, as usual it’s been fun.

 

The DM Reporter was on the case;

HONOURS LIST: Fury over Olympic team ‘gold for honours’ deal.

THREAT: Fury as Mo Farah uses Olympic medals as bribes to avoid customs investigation into his links to Somali terrorists.

CELEBRITY: Kate Winslet "just one marriage and two kids away from a Jeremy Kyle episode" say experts.

USA of AMERICA: Piers Morgan sets back gun control, atheism and gay marriage by 20 years.

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: Prisoners to get IVF, hand jobs and supple young virgin flesh under EU legislation.

BACK TO BUSINESS: Immigrant asylum seekers flock to Britain to rob taxpayer of benefits under new EU law to undermine sovereign rule.

 

 

Other ‘news’ accounts said;

Year in Review – Olympic setback as Beckham blows out flame, makes wish

Year in Review – Slaughter of first-borns could save £50bn in Child Benefit, pledges Cameron

Santa preparing statement on accusations he ‘clearly prefers rich kids’

 

Tory Scum;

It seems Jimmy Savile was quite friendly with Margaret Thatcher. Just when we thought his reputation couldn’t get any worse.

A recession is when your neighbour loses his job. A depression is when you lose your job. Recovery will be when Cameron loses his.

Who would have thunk it ! Tories misleading people on the figures of people who receive housing benefit is 1 out of 8 are unemployed

I’m in two minds over the whole Foxhunting thing.Either the people who participate should die,OR they should be fed to a pack of wolves & die

If you don’t like banker’s bonuses its the politics of envy. But tube drivers on £40k+ a year are greedy militant bastards. #ToryValues

 

 

General;

58,288th tweet dedicated to wasting my life on twitter #hurrah

If your reaction to the #tubestrike is "My boss shafts us much worse than those guys and we don’t go on strike," here’s a tip: GO ON STRIKE.

Stop fucking moaning you twats without Trade Unions your kids would still be going up chimneys on Boxing Day….. #Aslef

"Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." – Groucho Marx

I’ve eaten so much Ferrero Roche I feel sick. This must be what Julian Assange feels like EVERY DAY.

Daughter asked about laser eye surgery,I said I wouldn’t do it just in case it made my eyeballs explode. Nan seems to have calmed her down now

I’ve counted 8 people so far whose New Years resolutions include "loose weight". Can I add spelling to your list too?

This was nicely done: http://instagram.com/p/T8nBjkQhau/

My internet bride got delivered today, she’s the WiFi always dreamed of.

If you are thinking of starting #running for your #newyearsresolution here is an excellent (and quite funny) article http://bit.ly/TBtHnF

Lost the legend sheet to this box of chocolates. I’m allergic to the walnut ones. This will be like yuletide Russian Roulette.

A Doctor Who reference;

I can’t stand annoying people who bang on your door and tell you how you need to be "saved" or you’ll "burn"?…. Fucking firemen.

Waitress: ‘Do you have any questions about the menu?’ Me: ‘What font is this?’

Putting "do not drink" on bottles of bleach, or "may contain nuts" on packets of nuts, is just weakening the gene-pool.

#whatdrinkingwilldotoyou 7 Rum & cokes:

Sometimes Grease ISN’T the word. Sometimes it’s ‘Harold’, ‘plasticine’ or ‘omelette’

A lost cat:

And finally, someone chilling with their cat

Later,

Buck.