Strange habits

Grim question time – ladies, you should read no further.

Can anyone explain to me the reason why blokes feel the urge to spit into a urinal while they’re using it? This seems to be happening more and more and I can’t think of a reason why. I don’t personally have the habit but it crossed my mind today at work as somebody was having a good spit next to me. I’m genuinely curious – why do these two things go together? What makes a person start to do it? Very strange.

Is there a word for using a metaphor about the thing itself?

Well, is there?

On a business trip this week I caught an episode of The Office on TV and it reminded me of something Ricky Gervais said in his Animals stand-up show. He was reading from Genesis in the Bible and was commenting on how amazing some of the things that happened in the first few days of the Earth were – such as “and he said let there be light, and there was” etc – and suddenly came out with “It’s called the gospel, so it must be true” at which point everybody cracked up. Is there a word for using something that became a metaphor about its original thing?

Another good example is the spoof front cover of The Onion newspaper from 16 April 1912 about the sinking of the Titanic – ‘World’s Largest Metaphor Hits Iceberg‘. I love these – I think doing something like this is ingenious as it’s so obvious. Can anyone think of any more examples?

Happy New Year

So, that’s 2005 over with. How was it for you? New Year always gives me mixed emotions – I love New Year’s Eve, especially as it’s my birthday, and the first day in January always gives you a chance to reflect and look forward to doing things a little differently in the year ahead, but it seems to always come around a little faster than the last one did.

I finished what felt like a relatively difficult year, with moving house and a very intense project at work, continuing what seems to have been a bit of a theme for me – drinking too much. I’m not quite sure how it happened – a few close friends of ours got together and we went for a curry at the brilliant Curry Garden in Berkhamsted and I felt as though I was doing pretty good; I wasn’t too drunk and hadn’t over-eaten, which is an easy thing to do there! After the curry we headed back to Mat‘s place and continued the fun with the new Pictionary game (which is fab – I’m expecting Mat to post some photos up soon) and a few more beers. My downfall came when we cracked open the various bottles of champagne and sparkling wine while watching the amazing London fireworks at midnight. All of a sudden I felt as though I was going to be ill and I spent the next 2 hours in the bathroom feeling horrible. Spoiled what was up until that point a fabulous evening with some awesome people. So I know what my first New Year’s resolution is – drink far less than I have been doing.

I’m looking forward to spending more time with my lovely wife. I’m looking forward to our first full year in Berkhamsted – learning to garden, finishing off the inside of our house, having lots of people over for dinner and eating outside in the summer. I’m looking forward to updating this blog more frequently, trying to learn to play the guitar (I’ll have to try and pick it up first) and getting much more proficient with DIY. So much to look forward to. Happy New Year to you all!

8 January 2005 update: Mat’s now put up some photos from New Year’s Eve.

A couple of blog changes

I’ve made a couple of changes to the sidebar. The allconsuming.net details have disappeared as the guy who runs it lost all of his site after a hacker attacked – the method of managing what you are currently reading seemed to disappear when the redesigned site came back online. In it’s place is a Flickr badge which should show some of the photos I’ve uploaded. I’ve just started using Flickr and don’t know what to make of it yet – I’ve been wanting to add a photo section to this website for some time and this may be the best way to do it.

I’ve also added a couple of buttons that link to the three syndication feeds. If you’re looking to read my full postings in whatever feed reader you use, choose the Atom feed (if it’s compatible) – I haven’t worked out how to get anything but excerpts in the others yet.

Hopefully I’ll get time soon to make the category pages etc look a little prettier than they do!

Update

Hello again! We’re halfway through May and this is my first blog posting. Pretty poor form, I’m sure you’ll agree. Lots has happened since my last post…I’ve been on two stag weekends and attended one wedding as well as trying to settle into our new house; when this is coupled with being unbelievably busy at work trying to keep our project on track it’s been hard enough to spend quality time with my wife let alone my blog! Anyway, moan over…on the plus side I’ve been noting down a few items of interest which warrant a post as well as spending a little time looking into setting up a photo blog, so watch this space…

Cakes and biscuits

Wikipedia has done it again! It came to the rescue last night when it solved a classic dinner-party question – what is the difference between a cake and a biscuit? The answer is that it’s all about moisture content.

“The difference between a cake and a biscuit is that a cake has a higher level of moisture than the average moisture content of air, whereas a biscuit has a lower level of moisture than air. Hence, a cake will go hard when left in air and a biscuit will go soft.”

What a nugget!

Left-handed nuggets

In the usual strange way, a random conversation cropped up at work this week about being left-handed. I recalled that I had recently read something about left-handed people having a shorter average life expectancy than those who are right-handed. This is the sort of story that usually appears on the BBC News site, so I typed in my search for "left handed" to try and find the story. I had no luck, but I was fascinated to see a large number of wonderful nuggets of knowledge instead! Did you know that left-handedness was common in the Ice Age? Or that most walruses are right-flippered? Or even that couples turn their heads to the right as they kiss? All good little gems to be recalled at the pub as necessary.

Crush those bottles!

It’s a difficult habit to get out of. You finish your drink, screw the lid back on the bottle and throw it in the bin. The trouble is that the bottles are incredibly strong when sealed and are very difficult to crush. If you’re not recycling (and we haven’t been up until now as there isn’t a ‘plastic bank’ near us by foot) then at least save some space in the landfill by crushing the bottle before sealing it up again!

The Ross Gazette

parasol_taken.jpgMy lovely wife grew up in Ross-on-Wye, a beautiful town in rural Herefordshire. A couple of weeks ago, after returning from our honeymoon, we spent a weekend in Ross and whilst there I got my hands on a copy of the fine Ross Gazette.

This publication is legendary among people from Ross and I had heard many things about previous headlines such as ‘Riot!’ when a handful of sixth-formers gathered by the river with a stereo and a bottle of Strongbow, but I didn’t quite believe it. That is, until I saw the 2 September issue. The article on the right completely cracked me up – imagine the look on the policeman’s face when he heard the tale of the canoe-bound umbrella thieves. Classic.

The cream of the crop, though, was to be found on page 11. ‘The Lea Show Results of the Fruit and Vegetable Show – 2004‘ was something else. Imagine being the winner of the ‘arrangement incorporating a kitchen utensil’ category! Marion Martin and Sarah Williams, I salute you!

Apology

Over the past couple of months I’ve been having to deal with an increase in the amount of blog spam I’ve been getting. Basically, evil spammers are writing comments on the blog that link to various sites (casinos, porn, etc) in order to increase their ranking in Google. This version of Movable Type doesn’t really have a very good way of getting rid of comments en masse, which can be a pain when you have over 20 spam messages.

To combat this, I recently installed the excellent MT-Blacklist plugin, which gives you the features that MT should have had in the first place. However, MT-Blacklist is frighteningly easy to use and unfortunately I have tonight deleted the last 20 legitimate comments made on the blog.

All I can say is that I am sincerely sorry to any of you that have contributed your thoughts here. Hopefully this will be a lesson learned and I will be much more careful in future – please don’t be put off!