29 November 2006

A miracle of modern medicine!

This bloke should have been sacked, IMO.

Copied from the BBC News website:

'Pregnant' man fined in SA court A South African man has been fined $140 for taking a week off work, telling his employers he was pregnant.

Charles Sibindana, 27, stole a certificate from a clinic during his pregnant girlfriend's checkup, a court near Johannesburg heard.

He then added his own details to the note and submitted it and took seven days off work, seemingly unaware that only women consult gynaecologists.

His employers became suspicious and investigated the matter.

On passing sentence Magistrate Bruno Van Eeden warned Mr Sibindana "not to walk around faking sick letters from gynaecologists" as if he was pregnant, the South African Press Association news agency reported.

26 November 2006

Boycott Walkabout

I don't go out drinking in Liverpool very often, seeing as it's a bit too far to stagger home. However, next time I go, I definitely won't be going to Walkabout in Concert Square because their dress code stinks.

The Liverpool Echo has reported that Walkabout refused entry to a group of Royal Marines who were in the area for the funeral of one of their comrades who was killed in Basra.

If this pub manager likes to judge people by the clothes they wear, then he should think about how these lads have been serving their country in the armed forces, whilst he's been sitting in his cosy little world. I bet he wouldn't allow bikers in either. Probably a good thing, it saves us from finding out how petty-minded he is. Wanker.

Printer installation woes

A little bit of help for people struggling to install the HP PSC 2510 Photosmart printer onto a wireless network.

Yesterday, I spent approximately seven hours trying to set a wireless connection between my dad's printer with his new computer. Every time I ran the installation program,it would get stuck in a loop and kept going back to the 'which type of connection do you require' screen. It was bloody annoying, so I decided to search the Internet. I was rather peeved to find that many people had had the same problem and no-one had posted a fix. Indeed, most people seemed to have given up and left it as a wired connection.

I tried the 'online help' chat thingy with a bloke from HP, and he did try very hard indeed, but even he was stumped, and then the damn connection dropped and 'Calvin' disappeared.
Anyway, in the end, I sussed it for myself, so here's how you do it.

First of all, this page is useful.
  1. Go to the HP website and download the latest installation software. The one on the CD supplied with dad's printer was way out of date.
  2. Go into the printer's networking menu using the keypad on the machine itself (setup >> networking) and then choose the option 'wireless radio', and set it to 'OFF'.
  3. Using the printer's setup menu, print out a network configuration report.
  4. Using your Internet browser, connect to your router using the gateway address. On the Belkin routers I use, it's but if you use a router from another manufacturer, it'll probably be different. If you are on an ad-hoc network, it will show a channel number under your channel and SSID settings. Make a note of this number,and also of the IP addresses of any machines connected to the network, and the subnet mask.
  5. Connect your printer to your wireless router, using a CAT-5 ethernet cable. There should have been one supplied with the printer.
  6. Remove any wireless networking dongle from your PC, or disable your wireless card, as appropriate.
  7. Connect your computer to the router using another CAT-5 ethernet cable.
  8. Run the software installation program, selecting 'wireless network' at the appropriate place, entering the channel number when it asks for it. If you use WEP, you will also need to tell the printer the WEP key.
  9. Once the software is installed, remove the ethernet cables, reinstate your wireless dongle/card on the PC, go back into the printer setup menu and switch the 'wireless radio' back to 'ON' and get printing.

I hope this is of some use to someone out there, and saves them several hours of annoyance.

25 November 2006

Buy Nothing Day

Saturday November 25th 2006 is Buy Nothing Day (UK), It's a day where you challenge yourself, your family and friends to switch off from shopping and tune into life. Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending!

This year the message is simple, shop less - live more! The challenge is to try simple living for a day, spend time with family and friends, rather than spend money on them.

Buy Nothing Day also exposes the environmental and ethical consequences of consumerism. The developed countries - only 20% of the world population are consuming over 80% of the earth's natural resources, causing a disproportionate level of environmental damage and unfair distribution of wealth.

As consumers we need to question the products we buy and challenge the companies who produce them. What are the true risks to the environment and developing countries? The argument is infinite - while it continues we should be looking for simple solutions - Buy Nothing Day is a good place to start.

Of course, Buy Nothing Day isn't about changing your lifestyle for just one day - we want it to be a lasting relationship with you consumer conscience - maybe a life changing experience? We want people to make a commitment to consuming less, recycling more and challenging companies to clean up and be fair. The supermarket or shopping mall might offer great choice, but this shouldn't be at the cost of the environment or developing countries.

Go and have a look at the website for more information.

Turkey and Tinsel Show !

Lost Weekend will be be playing at the Sportsman's Hotel in Halifax on Saturday 2 December. Entry is free and the band are due on stage at 9pm.

More info on the Lost Weekend website.

24 November 2006

A story to chill you to the bone

A nine month-old baby was severely scaulded when hot water pipes above her bedroom burst and sprayed her with almost-boiling water as she slept in her cot. Read the story here.

This sort of story makes me go cold. The family had only moved into their new home the day before and, if my own experience is anything to go by, they were probably very happy that they'd got their new place and could relax.

The little girl has suffered 85% burns and and is in intensive care. Doctors have said that it is still possible that she may die. My heart truly goes out to this family. The highest amount of compensation in the world cannot even begin to make this better.

23 November 2006

Muay Thai Fights

Ever wondered why there's never a copper around when you want one?

I know exactly why. This morning, I went to an inquest at the local Coroner's court. There were eight Police Officers in attendance. That's OK, they needed to be there.

However, the entire morning was wasted because a key witness couldn't be arsed to turn up (even though they'd said they would), so the eight coppers were sitting around for four hours, waiting for this dickhead to put in an appearance. In the meantime, several more Police Officers had to be sent off to try to find the aforementioned dickhead, only to discover he'd gone to the Lake District instead.

The hearing has had to be adjourned to another day now, so those eight coppers will have to turn up again and probably waste another morning. The Coroner was less than impressed too. I think that the missing witness is gonna get a serious bollocking over this.

So, don't blame the coppers, blame the idiots who think that their absence won't be noticed. As my old school teachers used to say, it's not just your time you're wasting, it's my time, and all these other peoples' time. Thanks a bloody bunch.

It's true, having babies makes you stupid

Honestly, how desperate is the Manchester Evening News for a real story? They've got a stupid article about how 12 women who all sat in the same chair on a supermarket checkout have had babies., so they are claiming that the chair has 'special powers'. One mum said "It was the last thing expected" Oh FFS! How thick do you have to be? If they don't know what's causing the babies by now, they need serious help. Get real!

Come on M.E.N., put some real stories in, please!

20 November 2006

Crüxshadows gig

Club Heresy is putting on a gig on 1 December, and for a measly £12 you get to see Crüxshadows and Trauma Pet. Bargain! Rumour has it that there's a bit of a party afterwards too...
The gig was originally scheduled to be at Edwards No. 8 in Birmingham, but some bugger burnt the place down, so it'll now be held at The Crew in Nuneaton. Not a venue I know, but what the hell, you go to see the bands, not the venue!

Buy a ticket and help keep Rob in schnapps :o)

Leave our Witchwood alone!

There is a shortage of good live music venues as it is, and the Witchwood is one of the best, so if 'Inventive Leisure' insist on selling it, I hope that the buyer is someone who cares about live music, and not some profiteering business person who wants to turn it into flats.

16 November 2006

Bad bogs

Beswick was asking about motorway service stations on his show this morning, and it led me to think about the one thing that really pisses me off, not just at service stations, but in any public place. Bad bogs.

You spend ages searching for a bog which has a working lock on the door, and then have to deal with loose or missing bog seats. Then you have to hunt for bog roll, or search your pockets for scraps of tissue. Then you try to flush it, but no matter how many times you punch the stupid plunger, it just won't co-operate. Some service stations have started using ones with a light sensor now, so you just waft your hand past it, and the bog will flush. These are great, unless you are wearing a hi-vis vest, like I do when I'm out on the bike sometimes. The hi-vis constantly triggers the flush which can be rather interesting when you're sat down.

And who designs the bloody cubicles? Do they not realise that when they make them so small that when you open the door it scrapes against the bog seat then it also means that you have nowhere to stand whilst you try to shut the door? I've taken to stepping up onto the bog so I can close the door. Perhaps that's why the seats are always broken... Then there's those nasty little sanitary waste bins. The cubicle is so narrow that the bin has to be rammed right up against the side of the bog, so that when you sit down, you have one thigh resting on the cold edge of the bin. It's not nice! Some places have started to use bins which are smaller in height that the bog, and that's great, but not many places have them yet.

OK, so why you've finally managed to use the bog and extricate yourself from the cubicle, without trapping your feet between the bog and the door, you have to negotiate the washing facilities. Whoever designs those stupid 'press to operate' taps, please have a rethink. You press the button and get a split second's worth of water and not enough time to get your hand from the top of the tap to the water flow, so you end up leaning on the tap with your arm whilst trying to contort your hands under the water. I understand that these taps are designed to prevent people from leaving the water running, but it would be nice to be able to get some water at all! If you're lucky, there will be someone else around to hold the button for you, whilst you wash your hands, and then you can return the favour.

Finally, there's those dreadful hand dryers which operate off a light sensor, so that you have to wave your hands around like an idiot to activate the damn things and then they switch off after 2 seconds so you end up doing a stupid John Cleese-style war dance to get the bloody thing to work. Bring back roller towels!

Designers of public bogs take note: Please make the cubicles a minimum of three feet wide and six feet long. It is better to have fewer, usable cubicles than to squash in as many as you can and make them damned awkward and uncomfortable to use. Sanitary waste bins are not nice to sit upon, please bear this in mind. Make sure the flushing mechanism is heavy-duty and actually works. This is a public bog, not a home one, and it will get a lot of use, so it needs to be up to the job. Please provide at least one cubicle which has a sink in the cubicle. Sometimes, one needs to wash things which one would prefer not to display in public.

10 November 2006

Just how shit is Orange Broadband?

Well, after making numerous complaints to Orange and having them ignore every single one, I took drastic action. I rang and obtained the MAC in order to transfer to another provider, and told them exactly why I was changing. After further complaints with no acknowledgement I thought 'Right, you buggers, I'm going to get your attention one way or another', so I cancelled the Direct Debit. Funnily enough, they rang me the very next day. Strange, that, innit?

Anyway, the girl was very nice, listened to all my complaints and said that as a gesture of goodwill, they would give us a free month's broadband. Great! or so I thought. Five days later, they cut us off. I have given up complaining now, because I am aware that Orange are completely and utterly useless and deserve to lose every bit of business they have. I hope they fold.

In the meantime, my new Internet connection should be sorted by Monday 20 November, so my apologies to anyone who e-mails me over the weekends because I won't be able to respond until I get back to work.

Vote for Mark Thomas!

Nominations are being taken for the Morgan Stanley Great Britons Awards 2006.

I could write you a 5000 word essay on why you should vote for Mark Thomas, but I really don't have time right now. So please, take my word for it that he really does deserve an award.

So go on, vote for Mark Thomas, you know it's right! Vote here.