Right, who borked* the hamster

Whatever the RSPCA may ask you, I have not been abusing the hosting hamster. A complex technical issue exists deep in the server environment, the exact intricacies I shall not bore you with.

Obviously downtime in potentia exists in a multifaceted phase space bounded by compound but inter-related pseudo simultaneous events. The outcome – as simply explained to the layman – of such a byzantine interaction is “the site is bolloxed, sorry

I’ve cut out some of the more technical stuff there.

For those who emailed complaining their mornings have been unusually productive without the caffeine hit of the hedgehog, then all I can say – is come review time – you’ll thank me for steering you back down a vocational track.

Probably.

I have four articles parked up but almost ready to be shunted onto the main line. Translating them from “spidertrain” scrawl to almost English may take a while, but the site’ll probably be down so you’re not going to miss much.

Can anyone lend me a nano-bot?

* insert simile of choice 🙂

I’m sick of this weather

Wall to wall sunshine, soaring temperatures well into the 70s and sing of any respite for at least four days. So I’m off to Scotland where they still have proper British weather, single digit temps, total cloud cover shielding me from that nasty sun and that particular type of incessant rain that eludes expensive waterproofs and soaks you down to the molecular level.

Although, as the big four-o is less than two weeks drinking away, maybe I’ll hide myself away in a contented beery fug, warmed by a nice fire and fully in control of my new slippers. The option is to be totally out of control, sliding down a rocky hillside (sorry landslide) marking my headlong plunge as small, but important, body parts are cleaved off by spiteful, pointy geography. Now which one sounds more fun?

Or maybe a bit of both. Us wise old men understand the meaning of everything in moderation. Except writing for this blog of course and to save you from doing any work whatsoever, I’ve teed up a couple of ‘hog sized morsels for later in the week. One has a yak it it, the other a nice picture. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they are worth waiting for but if you’ve an understanding boss and terrifically low boredom threshold, you know where to come.

Before I go and pack (translation: cram everything waterproof into a bag and forget to add any strides), I’ve a favour to ask. A half written article is summarising stuff I wish I’d done before I was 40 and stuff I’m bloody glad to have got out of the way. Anything you can add which I’ll cheerfully plagiarise would be much appreciated.

Think of it as work if anybody asks.

Brief Encounter

Great Film – you really don’t need a citizenship exam for the UK if you’ve watched this. It shows all the great English traits of awkwardness, politeness and an absolute sense of doing the right thing. I always thought of myself as a bit of a Trevor Howard character but as someone kindly pointed out the other day “you’re quite strange really aren’t you?

Anyway the tenuous link to the title pertains to my holiday preparations. Firstly I’ve invested the family savings in galoshes futures and fully expect to return from a week in Devon a multi millionaire. Secondly, a large stick has been stashed for disciplining the children because I appear to be losing my voice in some kind of wages of sin laryngitides thing. And finally not being able to shout in no way prevents me from elbowing in to play our latest pointless purchase.

Yesterday we bought a Nintendo Wii. After a quick beer* with a friend of mine, plugs, attachments and cosmic interfaces were randomly shoved into appropriate sockets and we had a brief encounter with the sports pack. Well Carol did, I just drank more beer and ran around the room like a crazed aerobics instructor until 2am this morning.

It’s a brilliant idea, well executed and extremely moreish. I fully expect not to leave our holiday cottage for the next seven days. I certainly won’t be writing any of this nonsense during that time either because a) the nearest thing they have to the Internet in rural Devon is the postal goat and b) because no computers, laptops or communication devices are being afforded boot space.

Except for the Wii of course 🙂

* the first one was very quick. Lasted about a minute. We slowed down for the next four or five.

The quarterback is toast!

Which movie then, come on? No Googling, that is like cheating at golf which is marginally worse than actually playing golf. Although in my current uni-gloved status, I do feel the urge to reach for my driver. Or a driver through his open window whereupon my mood would be much calmed by the therapeutic laying about of his major organs with a nine iron. Any cager will do – half of ’em are deliberately trying to kill you, the other half are just absent minded murderers.

Anyway wresting myself briefly back to the point, the hedgehog shall this week be most resembling a raspberry (stick with me here), unloved, unwanted and unpickled. I make that random analogy since our garden is currently lost under the rampant expansion of a thousand raspberry trees/bushes/triffids. Should there be a nuclear strike in leafy Buckinghamshire tomorrow, and assuming one can extract all the major food groups from a acne’d grape, we’ll be fine for about a thousand years. Failing that, it’s Agent Orange and a good burn.
That wasn’t the point either.

To be succinct (oh I hear your pleading) for once, it is a happy triumvirate of Canada, Work, Me. Well two out of three ain’t bad. Everything I wrote last time holds true except for the puncture story, but in it’s place is a predictable finger wag at some wanker thinking it is someway clever to ride his horrid folder on the TDF course. And if my spleen is somehow insufficiently un-vented after that, there’s always the weather to talk about.

I’ll leave you with this; in a moment of narcissistic vanity (tautology reigns on the hedgehog), the site stats tell me two things.

1: Another 150 hits in June and it’s our biggest month yet
2: At least 30% of them last only 2 seconds but leave notice of a quality penis enlargement product. Is it just me that sees the irony in that?

I’m not sure which worries me most 😉

Vanity..

… oh I know what it looks like. A bit like me really in a self promoting, willy waving kind of way. Although I try to keep the latter to indoor use only and not in front of the children. But after a quite staggering volume of email from mental patients allowed access to a web browser, I’ve finally given in. If only so I can craft an auto-reply to the oft asked question “Found your blog, occasionally amusing, not reading all that shit you’ve written, anything mildly funny in the archives?“.

The answer is something along the lines of humour is a very personal thing. But opening myself up to justifiable questions of extreme narcissism, here is the stuff you have most read.

I now fully expect to see their original emails forwarded back to me with “so, the answer is no then

How could this have happened?

A drunken roam over dusty posts during the last three months show a disturbing ratio of apparent contentment to foaming vitriol. As any fule no this is not how the hedgehog operates. It should be well known that if I could be arsed to fuck about with the site name, it would be transformed into a somewhat more descriptive “thanks for listening, that was better than therapy“.

Normal service shall be resumed soon. God knows, I’m hurtling towards 40, have about three strands of my own hair left, a burgeoning beer gut, an every decreasing riding skill base (coming off a pretty low start) and enough peripheral angst to fill the cargo hold of whatever flying reaper is destroying the ozone layer this week.

Maybe I’ll think some more about my job where the spoon of hurt just isn’t cutting it. I now have to courier in the entire utensil drawer of everlasting pain to my place of work.

Right now I’ll be writing later..

… so much drivel to share, so little time to do it. Can someone have a word with my boss who has loaded up a new e-mail rule entitled “forward difficult and time consuming task to Alex, he’s clearly a man with too much time on his hands

As well as my robustly argued treatise on the importance of pissing in a compost bin, there’s an oblique reference to Joan Armatrading and a ruinously honest description of some other thing that seemed incredibly important at the time, but I seem to have forgotten it for now. But they’ll just have to wait for a while.
In the meantime, here’s a picture of a man who has stolen Rupert the Bear’s undergarments.

A poor choice of trouser

Have a fun weekend. I shall be taking the kids to London and, if they continue to behave in the same manner as this previous holiday week, I shall be leaving them there.

Spam

In a period of less than four days, 534 different spam sites have attempted to prosecute their – frankly – shady products on the hedgehog, and all those who read her. For any of those with both chromosomes, around 532 would not have been of any interest whatsoever unless your beloved has requested a penis extension for his birthday. Of the other two, one offered a low rate interest loan from the bank of bqrwwallsiizx.com and the second promised that with just a single click, high resolution photos of Britney Spears would be available to me. “In every position you can imagine and some you can’t” allegedly and I’m quoting verbatim here.

You would clearly have to have the brainpower of a special needs haddock to even consider clicking on one of those links, and yet some people must because Spam’s random, scattergun approach is apparently successful. However, it firms up a couple of lingering suspicions I’ve had; 1/ It takes all sorts and 2/the web is primarily an electronic wank factory.

I feel quite proud to prod its’ vice ridden underbody with the occasional spike of the hedgehog. And yet, looking back over eighteen months, it appears I am not entirely blameless in some glorious stereotyping and ill considered abuse. A brief scan of 300 odd posts informs that the following groups have been lampooned, sent up, randomly abused or held up for a brief baseless examination before being dropped for something more interesting.

Countries and their people; London and Londoners, the Welsh, the Scottish, the Irish, Belgium (a staggering 7 times), the French, the Germans and almost every other major European superstate. I believe Macedonia has so far escaped any ill considered angst but there is plenty of time. To prove I’m not merely a jingoistic anglophile, I’ve also taken the piss out of Australia and America a few times as well. And there is a special mention for Milton Keynes. Someone had to.

Vocations and Hobbies; Policemen, pretend policemen, politicians, doctors, washing machine manufacturers, call centres (to the power of irritated), traffic wardens, security guards (hmm a pattern emerges), airlines, car dealers, cricket, football, rugby, folding bicycles, normal bicycles, road biking, mountain biking, bowling, golf and darts.

General piss taking stereotypes; The Young. The Old. The Middle Aged. Women. Men. People who can’t decide which they are. Professional sportsmen and women. High earners. Low earners. Family types. Singles. Pensioners. DIY’rs. Road Cyclists. Track Cyclists. Mountain bikers. My friends. Me.

Special one off “I’ll get you Butler” category; Chiltern Railways.

And that’s just a happy subset. So far this catalogue of angst has properly pissed off a total of two people. The first was a post that made me laugh but was – on reflection – a little more cutting than intended. The second resulted in me pulling an entry which I’ve never done before and I’m unlikely to do again. And that’s all you’re getting on that one.

It made me think about words tho. Not the shit I write, but the real craftsmen and women who forge masterpieces on the anvil of a million words. Wordsmiths if you like; writers who use the same nouns, adjectives and verbs as the rest of us but craft them in such a way that shock, cheer, illuminate or illustrate. What they also have in common is raising such a strong emotional reaction, it leaves you wondering if you shouldn’t just stick to addressing letters.

For me, it’s Simon Barnes on sport, Joe Simpson on mountains, Stephen Ambrose on War and then Dickens, Huxley, Salinger and Laurie Lee painting landscapes in your head and peopling them with astonishing characters. I quite like Dick Francis too 🙂 It’ll be different for you and quite right too although am I the only one that cannot get on with Shakespeare? It’s not the stories I have a problem with; it’s every time he was struggling to think of a word, he just made one up. I’ve been tirelessly campaigning to have “Moonscuttle” and “Gruntled” added to the OED but have been serially and snootily fobbed off.

So, for a moment of pretentious gazing of a hairy naval, I wondered about pickling the hedgehog once and for all and sending the old fella, with my best wishes, to a warm electronic burrow in the sky.

We’ll see.

Bike Page Update

It’s been weeks since this page was updated and with the revolving door bike purchasing scheme in operation at Leigh central, this seemed an opportune time to update it.

I was considering changing the site skin as well but there was some quite dirty CSS jiggery pokery to make this one work and I’ve absolutely no idea what I changed. Basically random size and pixel values inserted anywhere that looked promising. On second thoughts I’d have to be seriously starved of entertainment to even consider searching for a new one.

Talking of entertainment, I had a hundred quids worth of non-entertainment yesterday, fifty of which was spent watching the mighty Sheffield United crushed by Chequebook Chelsea. Not that I’m bitter in any way about it. Then a few rounds of drinks were required to deal with the embarrassment of being stuffed by the Welsh in the Rugby. I left the boys around 7pm as they were considering hunting down a curry as the way I was feeling, death by spicy popodom was a serious possibility.

Instead I meandered, drunk, through the vast confusion of the tube system before setting fire to my face by stupidly biting into a station pasty that had been heated in a jet engine.

I can’t decide whether to attempt to fix the brakes on my bike for about the tenth time or rush headlong into some pointless DIY that’ll end in a desperate call to a plummer.

The world is my lobster today.

Happy Birthday Mr. Hedgehog

Yep, this blog is exactly a year old. That’s quite an achievement since it was started with no real idea, style or substance and has continued in the same vein since.

But I can’t be bothered to write a proper anniversary post. Instead I’ve gone for the lazy option of picking my favourites from the last year. Yes, I know that’s rather conceited and no, I don’t really care 🙂

Chicksands
Chip’n’Ping:
When Bromptons attack:
Street Riding:
24:
Washing machine crisis:
A brush with the floor:
Bristol Bikefest:
Riding when drunk:
Hangovers:
Hospital Diaries: 1,2,3 and 4
Darts:
Lifts:
Degrees:
Bingo Night:
Being Five:
Toilet Humour:
Five things about commuting:

I’m not saying they’re any good, I’m just saying they float on the top of the racid collection of other scribblings.