Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Happy Birthday Martha!

Today, February 1st, is my wifes birthday!

She's not normally one to make a song and dance about it in public - it was several years after we were married before any of my friends even knew what day it was, simply because she never went out of her way to tell anyone. I also decided to keep my mouth shut in case there was a very good reason for this, but gradually have let it slip, culminating in today - effectively publicising it to the world on my blog! Ha, ha, ha!

I did actually mention to her that I would be submitting a post for her birthday and she didn't kick up a fuss, so I guess it's OK.

I've spent some time trying to come up with words suitable for this entry, and been finding it very difficult. It seems that nothing I can say could ever really come close to conveying my feelings for the woman who I have spent nearly 9 years devoted to in marriage, has given birth to my beautiful daughter, and has put up with me for nearly 15 years in total. That's got to be quite a woman! So where do I start?

Maybe I should tell you about how we met at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada. How I was actually trying to "help" another guy who was besotted with her to find ways of seeing more of her but finding myself falling in love instead!

No...too confusing a story to write down in words.

OK, maybe I should talk about the long distance relationship that followed which lasted 6 years. How we sent letters to each other almost daily professing our undying love for each other, making plans for our future, finally culminating in the lead up to our wedding.

No...way too much information to write in so small a blog. Plus some of it's pretty "private"!

Alright, how about relating her courage at packing up her belongings and moving to the UK? Now that was impressive. Moving from your home and native land to a new and unusual country for the man you love, with no job to go to, and not even having seen the tiny flea pit of a house you are going to be living in for the foreseeable future.

Uh-uh, as amazing as it was, it's not really birthday story material. Save it for another day!

And how do I even start to condense 8 years of marriage with her, with some of the most awesome memories I shall ever have, 9 months of carrying our child, and two years of bringing our child up, in a short birthday blog?

It can't be done.

We've had our ups, our downs and occasionally complete U-turns. We don't always see eye to eye, but have always found a way to agree, even if it's to agree to disagree. How she puts up with me sometimes I shall never know...I don't always deserve her to be so forgiving.

She's beautiful, intelligent, funny, courageous, sexy, gentle and most of all loving.
So what can I say except

Happy Birthday Martha! I love you!


Hold on to your bits Bobs!

I have a few interesting bits and bobs tonight...

Audrey has lately got really into Toy Story and Toy Story 2. She doesn't really know the films by name, and calls them "the DVD game" for some reason. Anyway, she's still kind of familiarising herself with the characters, but Martha taught her that Buzz Lightyear was the "Space Ranger".

So this evening she's playing with her Duplo building blocks and I ask her what it is she's making.

"I build Space Ranger!" she replies with confidence.

"Uhh, OK!" I reply, so I watch to see what she builds.

Here's a photo of the final piece along with a picture of the real Buzz Lightyear...bearing in mind she had no help at all from me, what do you reckon?

Tomorrow we're going out on a date - it's a special occasion, more on which to follow, but we are getting the childminder to babysit, and going out for some food and a movie - "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" to be precise. Martha has been gagging to see it for some time now, and although it's not high on my list of movies to see, I am intruiged. She kind of humoured me a bit when we saw "King Kong" which was a total *must see* for me but she was less than enthralled about being dragged along to see it, so I owe her. In the end she did like it though, so lets hope I enjoy her movie as much as she enjoyed mine!

Finally, it's weigh-in day again. We did our workout tonight and I really made an effort with it. I felt like I kicked Harvey's ass this time rather than the other way around! My weight last week I recorded at 164lbs. Now, bear in mind I have had a little bit of a helping hand with weight loss this week through illness.

This week folks, I weigh 159lbs! A loss of 5lbs in a week and a total loss in 4 weeks of 11lbs.

I still think the trick is going to be maintaining that weight now that I'm back to reasonable health. I anticipate a possible increase in weight this week, or maybe no further loss at all at the next weigh-in. We shall see.

So thats my little lot for today! Goodnight!

Monday, January 30, 2006


Should I stay or should I go?

Things are finally getting back to normal at Kagan towers.

None of us is 100% yet, Audrey refuses to eat much, and Martha and I are still taking it day by day with food, but we did feel well enough today to do a workout. This is good because tomorrow is the weekly weigh-in, and we've worked out only twice this whole week. I think it'll still be good news, simply because being sick has made me lose weight, but the difficulty of tonights workout made me realise how hard it will be to keep on track with regular exercise.

Today I've been in a bit of a daydream mode. I've been daydreaming along the lines of wishing I could be somewhere else, doing something different. After the excitement of selling up our house last year, I guess I'm getting itchy feet again. I could really use a change of scenery. I'd even go so far as to say I'd like a lifestyle change.

Anyway, the time will come - for starters our lease ends in June, so we'll have to do something about it by then, if not before. I did wonder if a holiday would cut the mustard, but to be honest I don't think it would. Sure a break is nice for a week or so, but afterwards it's back to the same old stuff. I guess you could argue that it would be the same deal anywhere else...the grass is always greener apparently. We shall have to wait and see.

Anyway, thats enough random waffle for tonight! Adios everyone!

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Help (no longer) Wanted!

I was having a pretty good day today. Audrey's passport photos arrived, and I posted her application without any further hitch. Swimming went well, and we spared ourselves an onerous grocery trip by figuring out we really didn't need much at all, so instead took a short walk to the nearby mini-supermarket to get all the little bits and bobs we needed.

When we got home I decided to spend a few moments to collect together my thoughts and old Half-Nekkid Thursday posts from my evil former blog, in order to port them over to this one ready for the Rogue festival.

That's when it all went wrong.

When I originally heard that my former blog was to have the plug pulled on it, I decided to try to upload it in its entirety for posterity. At the time it all seemed to work perfectly, and I was a very happy bunny. So I went back to it with confidence today to dig up all the old HNT posts.

The first thing it did was ask me if I wanted to connect to the internet! Hmm, not a good sign...it should work without it. So I clicked "Yes" anyway, and then got an evil message saying that Myblogsite is now (finally) closed for business! I should be careful what I wish for, because for the longest time I was annoyed that they didn't close off that blog when they said they were going to. Now they have, I'm wishing they had held off for a bit longer.

It appears that my entire former blog is not only shut down online, but the backup I made of it is still somehow reliant upon it. In other words, it's gone!


As it stands I can currently see the blog as it was with the subject headings and the mini "write-ups" it used to have. However, when you click on "more" it then asks to connect up to the web and that's where it all goes wrong. It's like I have an archive list of every entry, but the actual content of those entries is completely gone.

Anyway, I am appealing to anyone out there, who thinks my 22MB file, that I so carefully downloaded of my old blog, is somehow retrievable, to help me out. I'd be happy to chuck it on a CD and send it to you to dissect if anyone thinks that there's a way to get any or all of the content back from it.

Otherwise it's 7 months of personal blog and nearly 4 months of HNT posts down the toilet.

EDIT: Panic somewhat over! I actually discovered I've lost only the archives of my blog up to the end of August 2005. My first HNT post was made on the last Thursday in August, so it's only the first one I ever did that can't be moved across! Hurray!

On the down side, I started my blog in May 2005, so I've still lost a hefty chunk of stuff, but I have a feeling it's my own fault that it's not there, so I don't think anyone will be able to help find it. I guess if I understood how websites worked better, I might have done a more thorough job at the time...

EDIT No.2: I've now managed to port over my old HNT posts to Blogger...for those interested in looking just click on the monthly archives starting in August and work through until October where the two blogs interweave. Unfortunately none of these HNT posts contain any original comments from readers simply because the task would have been way too labourious for me, so if you're feeling extra kind, it'd be great if you could post a few comments on them!!! Thanks!

Friday, January 27, 2006


Passport to Hell

So a little while ago I mentioned that we finally got Audrey's Canadian citizenship certificate and that the inevitable move after that was to get her a Canadian passport as well.

How "effing" difficult is it to get a passport these days do you reckon?!

The first time we applied for her Canadian passport was also the first time we applied for her Canadian citizenship. Due to a misunderstanding of the rules of the photograph dimensions, it got rejected. Entirely my fault...mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

So we decided the passport wasn't a priority and resubmitted our application with new photos for her citizenship, and as you know, hussah and hurrah it arrived the other day.

I then decided it would be an easy (ha ha!) task to fill out the passport forms, and use the same photos we got from her citizenship application for her passport one. No problem! All the paperwork was together, all I needed was a guarantor to sign the form saying that Audrey was indeed Audrey.

I think most people know but for those that don't guarantors usually have to be in some sort of "reliable" profession (I use the term reliable loosly), like a lawyer, police officer, doctor, and occasionally an accountant. On Audrey's UK passport that was easy because a good friend is an accountant, so it was a simple ask. However the Canadian's don't recognise the noble (ahem!) accountant as a reliable guarantor, so I had to go up the pecking order.

Fortunately my sister has a friend who is a solicitor, and she had very kindly agreed to guarantee Audrey's original Canadian passport application - the one that got rejected. So it was a simple choice to use her again for the job. I asked first, got a favourable reply and sent off the lot to her only to get an email saying she would regrettably have to send it all back...why? Because she is no longer a practising lawyer!

The phrase that sprang to mind rhymes with "clucking bell".

So, back it all came, with a suggestion to maybe try my local General Practitioner. Failing that I would have to fill out another form "In lieu of a Guarantor" and swear an oath at a local solicitors office, along with paying all the fees that go with that...and I didn't want to go there.

Therefore I took it upon myself to drop in at the doctors surgery on my way to work yesterday and ask if they would complete the forms and sign the back of the photo. The answer was a yes, but there was a charge...£17.50 to be exact, but it sounded cheaper than a solicitor (just about anything would I think) so I decided to go for it and left them with all the blurb they needed to get on with the job.

This morning, I dropped in again to see if they had managed to do it, and they had! Hurray! I can finally send this application out today!

But wait...what's this? No, no, no! Please don't do this to me!

As I looked through the application, I noticed that the photo that required the doctors signature had indeed been correctly signed, and a large inky stamp had been used saying "I confirm that this is a true likeness of..." - behind it was the second photo of Audrey, her face spotted with once very wet ink from the stamp, now completely dried onto it and completely impossible to remove.

Doctors are meant to be smart aren't they? Well, let me say, this one is completely lacking in the "common sense" department.

I got to work and told Martha. I pretty much knew she'd convince me we needed a new photo, but I somehow tried to tell myself this ink stain would be fine. However, those pesky Canadian beaurocrats are sticklers for everything being exactly right, so it didn't take Martha long to convince me that there wasn't a hope in hell that the application would be accepted with a ruined photo.

Therefore with nothing to lose, I decided to try to remove the ink from the picture with a cloth. And remove it I did, along with most of Audrey's face!

Finally defeated, I picked up the phone and called the photographer so they could send out two fresh copies of the photo - two is the minimum order, but I only needed one. In a way it's nice, because the doctors signed one is fine, so we'll get to keep a copy of what is actually a lovely photo of Audrey, as you can see!

So, fingers crossed, tomorrow I will get my new photos and finally be able to send off her passport application. If it gets rejected after all of this, you'll find me in the garage with a noose around my neck!

Bon weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Sharin' the love!

Well, as many of you regular readers have ascertained the Kagan household has been crawling with disease for the past few days.

It started on Tuesday when Audrey came home and planted a nice pukey hug on her Daddy. On Tuesday night I slept with Audrey on the guest bed, and luckily for me she slept well, waking just once at 4am to ask for water and then milk, which she drank and kept down. It was at this time that I noticed my stomach wasn't feeling quite right either, and Martha, who was woken by my to-ing and fro-ing to the kitchen also said she was feeling unwell.

On Wednesday morning I got up as usual, showered, got ready for work and made breakfast. Maybe my tummy ache was hunger, I thought, but after toast and orange juice, it didn't go away. Martha, perhaps wisely, skipped breakfast, and we decided that maybe it would be a good idea if we both called in sick at work. We took Audrey to the childminders, and when we got home we both collapsed in bed.

I promised my parents I'd call them at 10ish to tell them how I was getting on. I still hadn't been sick, but my tummy was telling me it was imminent, so after a hasty conversation with my mother I retreated back to bed. Half an hour later I was heaving over the toilet bowl.

The rest of the day is a bit hazy. All I know is I was out of bed hourly to throw up - in fact it was so regular I would get up minutes before hand to give myself time to get to the bathroom. The rest of the time was spent in bed either asleep, or writhing in pain whilst whatever it was in my stomach did its worst.

Martha fared slightly better, managing to retain the contents of her stomach, and pulling off some surfing and phone calls to loved ones as well. I was certainly in no fit state to touch the computer or telephone until the evening, and even then I tried to make my time on the computer as short as possible.

By mid afternoon the puking had subsided, but I didn't know if I was bored, punched or countersunk. I drank a little water, followed by some Liptonice tea, which due to the sweetness gave me a little more energy than water ever could. Eating was very much out of the question.

Martha fetched Audrey - she had been struggling to keep her food down at the childminders as well - something which happened again today. She's certainly not herself right now, but she has eaten a little bit of food, so I think she's on the mend.

Last night I was up a few times - I had the shivers, but never bothered to check my temperature - but all in all it was a reasonable nights sleep. This morning I drank more iced tea and dared to eat a plain arrowroot biscuit before heading to work. However, I didn't touch a thing at work. I drank a mug of hot chocolate in the afternoon and all I've had since returning home is a slice of toast smothered in Nutella.

Of course, as a result we haven't done a workout with Harvey for 3 days, but wait for it...I've nearly lost more weight in the last 3 days than I have in 3 weeks of workouts! A quick "fully clothed" weigh in tonight put me at roughly 161lbs...

Obviously this isn't a weight loss programme I wish to continue, but it would be quite nice to be able to keep that weight loss. We'll have to wait and see what happens, but I have a feeling I may have piled it all back on again in a few days.

Moving on...I've added a few new things to my blog for those vaguely interested. First of all is a new link to a site called Popjustice. Not surprisingly it's a site dedicated to pop music, but has a rather interesting tongue in cheek approach which I like. It's a place that kept cropping up for me during searches and on other websites, so I decided it was about time I added it as a regular link.

The second new item is the picture link to the Rogue Performance Festival 2006. Half-Nekkid Thursday is to be featured at the festival this year under the banner "Blogging as an Artform". Whilst I'm not the most daring HNT'er out there, I think this is very exciting and have signed up as a participant. I guess what that means is people who attend and perhaps might not normally look at blogs will be able to see my blog and my HNT posts along with other fellow HNT'ers. I have some housekeeping to do to get all my old HNT posts from my current and former blog in one place for that, and will hopefully have a dedicated blog with all my HNT pictures should anyone wish to see them that way...

Anyway, thats you lot for tonight! Over and out!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Postponed HNT

Sorry folks, but due to catching some horrible tummy bug off my daughter (listen to yesterdays voice post) I haven't been able to muster the energy to do an HNT this week.

I've decided to do a retrospective of my movie based HNT posts as a stop gap which I hope you'll enjoy. You can certainly see how it's progressed from its humble beginnings with The Terminator and The Evil Dead. That's mostly thanks to my wife and her Photoshop skills so again a BIG thankyou to her.

I promise you I'll have something for next week, because I already have the idea for it, so be sure to check back next Thursday!

Happy HNT everyone!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Tuesday evening washout

I had already decided today would be an audiopost, but I didn't have anything to blog about.

Of course you can always count on Audrey to "come up" with the goods!

this is an audio post - click to play

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Having a "Daddy" day!

This weekend has been pretty good, in spite of lingering colds which finally seem to be getting the message that we're still going to do our workouts with or without them! Our missed session on Friday night didn't stop us last night or tonight, and yesterday I had a quick unofficial weigh-in and hopefully will have some good news on official weigh-in day this coming Tuesday!

Audrey, after a bumpy start at the beginning of the week, has been on top form this weekend, and I've been able to spend a lot of time with her.

I guess it's a fairly common thing for children to some days prefer Mummy and other days prefer Daddy. I'm used to the idea that sometimes she just doesn't want cuddles from her old man, and try not take it too personally, but its always a joy when she actually prefers to do stuff with me instead of Martha!

Well this weekend was pretty much a "Daddy" weekend! Yesterday after a pretty good swimming session Audrey went for a nap. Martha, still struggling from her cold did so as well, leaving me with Audrey on the couch and me with nothing to do but surf and chat online. When Audrey woke up though I gave her a late lunch which she inhaled and we had a little time for some fun before waking up Mummy for supper.

Today was the real "Daddy" day though. Martha decided she needed to tidy the house a bit, which culminated in re-archiving stuff on the computer as well, so Audrey didn't have much choice but to play with me. Good job she wanted to!

We began after breakfast with some chasing around the house and some fairly boistrous "Ring-a-roses". It always amazes me that even when I play quite rough with her, she asks for more. She's always been a thrill seeker though, enjoying being spun around, and thrown up in the air, etc.

After that we did some hiding under a blanket, and when Martha took a break we used the blanket to bounce Audrey in, and swung it like a hammock which she really loved. Lunchtime was a joy - I made her a chicken sandwich with honey mustard and some chopped tomato. She inhaled it again and ate half a chocolate dessert as well (Daddy polished off the rest!).

After lunch I had promised Audrey we would do some painting, so after getting some inspiration from a kids art TV show called Smarteenies, she donned her Pooh apron, and Daddy got the paints and paper out. What you see to your left is the outcome of that painting session. Yes, there was probably more paint on Audrey than there was on the paper, but that was OK.

It was a lot of fun, apart from when Daddy foolishly spilled the glass of dirty water all over the carpet. It's at times like that I'm glad the living room carpet has a hideous pattern because there is no discernable stain!

So, we packed away the paints (there was no fussing which got Audrey extra bonus points for being good!) and chucked her into the shower to get the paint off her hands, arms and face.

Up to this point, Martha had had little or no involvement in our day, and although Audrey was still full of beans, Daddy was fading fast. I decided to take a nap and let Audrey have some Mummy time. I crashed for two hours, and even then Martha had to wake me up otherwise I probably would have kept sleeping.

We made supper and once again Audrey behaved wonderfully, eating all her food up and getting a special biscuit treat at the end. Martha called home, so for the next hour and a half I was back on duty. Audrey actually played on her own for a while, and we watched some bedtime kids TV together, before it was bathtime. After that it was the usual routine but again without incident. She had a fun bath, playing with her toys, and once she was in her pajamas, I made up some milk and we snuggled up on the couch to watch "Here Come the ABC's" on DVD. I can't believe I was worried about her liking that DVD when we bought it...it's become her total favourite now and she sings along to the whole thing.

Martha finished up her call, and Audrey finally decided she's had enough of me and switched her allegiances to her. However, the routine is Daddy always gets her to brush her teeth and puts her to bed, so we still had that to do too. Since she didn't have a nap all day, she zonked out right away and we were able to crack on with our workout.

At Audrey's 2 year check up were were given a bunch of leaflets which sadly state the bleedin' obvious, even if you're a half decent parent. One thing was to spend 15 minutes with your child daily, totally devoted to play. Even with my busy schedule and utter devotion to my blog I can muster that without even giving it a second thought! Today I spent virtually the entire day playing with my daughter and it was wonderful.

What worries me is that such a leaflet should even exist! I pity the poor kids who have parents who can't even be bothered to spare 15 minutes a day with them.

Friday, January 20, 2006


The week that never was.

This week was *blah*.

We all got colds which still haven't gone, but for me anyway, it's not so bad that it's really put me out too much. I still exercised nightly except for tonight - Martha said she felt too unwell to do it, so I took advantage of the break. I think it's fair to say we worked out hard this week, so one day isn't going to threaten the regime.

Work was blah too. It sort of puttered along, and whilst there were a few excitements during the week, it wasn't exceptionally exciting, or even demanding. One little triumph was receiving a letter from HM Customs saying sorry (yes, an apology!!!) for the grief they caused me over this. The customer now has a refund for duty on its way to them, and I can finally put the files away and forget about them!

My biggest excitement of the week was receiving in the mail "The Coca-Cola Kid" on DVD! Some of you may recall from my old blog (still online the last I checked at http://kagan.myblogsite.com) that I used to rabidly collect Coca-Cola memorabilia. I don't any more, but I realised this movie was missing from my collection and I felt I needed to rectify that.The movie itself is middle of the road fare. I'm not a big fan of Eric Roberts, but he's OK in this, and Greta Scacchi is very sexy, plus it's about Coke, so it's all good really I suppose! The premise of there being a "dry" area in the middle of the Australian outback where nobody drinks Coca-Cola, but instead have their own brand of soft drink is very good. Roberts is sent in to find out why they don't succumb to the taste of Coca-Cola, and to try to bring the townsfolk around to the idea. Of course mayhem ensues and its all terribly hilarious!

So I'm looking forward to watching that sometime soon. Other than that, like I said, it was all rather *blah*...hope you have a great weekend everyone - I'm done!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Naked Half-Nekkid Thursday

It was only a matter of time before I posted a movie themed HNT from a film by one of my favourite directors, and here it is.

David Cronenberg has skirted the edges of Hollywood success but never really succumbed to it. Maybe it's because his films are just too damn weird! Whatever the reasons I'm glad. He's remained true to his Canadian roots and pushed the boundaries of movie making both as an auteur and a director.

The drug induced paranoia of this supposedly "unfilmable" novel is expertly portrayed, and both amuses and sickens you in equal doses. No wonder I never did drugs - you wont need them after watching this trip!

Thanks as always to Martha for taking the photo and Photoshopping me into the image. It wasn't easy I know. Special thanks also to my daughter Audrey for the use of her Winnie the Pooh keyboard which I think you'll agree adds another trippy dimension to what I think is a fabulous movie poster.

Happy HNT everyone!


Parenting 101


It's what you create to make sure your kids sleep through the night, eat at sensible times of the day, and hopefully eventually get them to use the potty!

It's also something that just happens by accident with your children. Silly little seemingly pointless and irrelevent rituals become the backbone of their day.

Audrey has one such ritual every morning when I leave for work. As I go to leave I kiss Martha goodbye, then give Audrey a hug and kiss then walk out of the living room to the hall towards the front door. Sure as eggs is eggs you'll hear Audrey squeak "I want another hug and kiss!" and she will scurry out of the living room to find me in the hall where I will give her one final hug and kiss before leaving.

Every morning is the same, without fail....except for today.

This morning I kissed Martha goodbye, and gave Audrey a hug and a kiss in the living room as usual. As I walked into the hall I realised I had stupidly forgotten to get some meat out of the freezer for supper, so I detoured to the kitchen to fix that. Out came the cry "I want another hug and kiss!" and I saw Audrey scoot into the hall to look for me. On discovering I wasn't there she turned around and immediately spotted me in the kitchen and made a b-line. At this point I'd finished getting the meat out of the freezer, so I met her in the hall, picked her up and gave her her second big hug and kiss before leaving for work. I shut the front door, got in the car and off I went.

At 9am Martha called me from work.

"Did you give Audrey her second hug and kiss today?"

"Urr, yes" - I detected there was a problem from her question and had it pretty much figured out already as a result.

It turns out Audrey had thought that my second hug and kiss evidently didn't count, and once I had shut the door behind me, she had come looking for her final hug and kiss from me only to find I had gone. Furthermore she was at the front door pushing her hands through the letterbox crying her little eyes out saying "Where did Daddy go?"

I felt awful!

I explained to Martha exactly what had happened and that Audrey had in fact received two hugs and kisses. Obviously, since it was somewhat outside of the routine she was used to, she hadn't seen it that way and taken exception to me leaving without that all important second hug and kiss.

Whilst routine is a good thing, and gives both parents and children a level of certainty on a day to day basis, I learned today that to waiver from it can be a dangerous thing. I took the routine for granted, even though it slightly wavered from the norm. It wont happen again!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Random thoughts from a notebook.

Last weekend I finally bought myself some notebooks to carry around with me in case I had moments of thought that would be useful for my blog. Here is the first entry that is directly from notes made in the first of those books...

Yesterday Martha bought a new mobile phone. It's one of those whizzy ones that takes movies and videos and plays awesome looking games...in fact I wonder if it even works as a phone? And you know what, I just don't care...

I used to be more techy than this - back in the 80's I had a clunky Commodore 64 (and upgraded to a Commodore 128 eventually) and I was a dab hand at programming little things into them - music, animation, text based adventure games. Heck I even programmed an entire advertising sequence for my Dad's company to go on show at an exhibition - next door to our stand was another company who had hired someone to do their computerised exhibit/video thingy - whizzy sound and cool graphics and doubtless very expensive at the time. Guess which one got the most attention?! Yep, Gabby's crappy little home made advert running on a humble Commodore 64! Hear me ROAR!

Anyway, over the years I've become less and less bothered about computers and electronics in general. As long as I have my TV, DVD player and HiFi, I'm a happy chap - sure I need my computer too, but my actually requirements for it are quite limited. As long as I can blog, email and see and hear everything I want to see and hear on it, I couldn't care less how it all works.

Unfortunately me expertise back in the 80's has haunted me ever since, and I am still the official office computer "guru" in spite of the fact that I know precisely nothing about them. The same goes for mobile phones. I just think they are evil little buggers. I don't like phones at the best of times, but now that they are a fashion accessory and a form of entertainment, it leaves me completely cold.

When Martha announced her new purchase I tried to be excited for her - I really did - but I couldn't. A phone is a phone, is a phone. I make calls on it, I receive calls on it. That'll do just fine for me.

I can see I'm going to end up like an old fuddy duddy who doesn't know how to operate a VCR someday, but I can't ever see myself being convinced. I'm already in the minority of people who can't even send a text message, but do I care? Not a bit!

My cold has finally "come out" - at work its not the greatest because I sit underneath an air vent and if the wind is in just the right direction, as it was today, I get a draft right on my neck. That can't be good for it can it? Anyway, now it's finally here it means kleenex on tap and snuggling up with a hot whisky before bedtime. I even woofed a few chocolate biscuits as well - don't tell Harvey!

Speaking of which, today's workout was rather gruelling. I still managed to make it through, but the sweat was pouring off me, and I didn't feel at all well. I just hope it's not harming me doing this whilst I have a cold. I had my weigh in, and can announce to you all that I have lost a further 2lb's this week, bringing my weight to 166lbs so I guess it's working gradually. Hopefully my cold will not get any worse. If it does I may have to review my workout regime until it's gone, which would be a shame because I feel like we're really getting into it now.

Anyway, thats my little lot for tonight...I should get to bed and try to rest up!

Monday, January 16, 2006


Quick Birthday shout out!

Happy Birthday to my mother-in-law Kay!

I know there are the old jokes about mother-in-laws being terrible dragons and if it's true then I guess I'm one of the lucky husbands who happens to have the exception.

She's a wonderful and sweet woman, always thoughtful and caring.

I hope you had a great day!



It's been a while since I did one of these, so you've Priya to thank for this...I think they're often an interesting thing to do, for myself as well as for other people, but I do have to be in the mood...so here goes...

4 Jobs You Have Had in Your Life:
1. Packer and later a QA lab technician in an ice cream factory (yes we got to try them!)
2. Freight Forwarder (my current job - a.k.a. Worldwide logistics)
3. Thats it!I only ever had two jobs! Oh unless you count one day in telesales from which I got fired because I wasn't reaching my targets! Like I cared - it wasn't exactly my dream job!
4. Did a few odds and ends for a mate who is a film producer while he was in college - some sound recording work, but it was unpaid and isn't as exciting as it sounds.

4 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over:
WHAT ONLY FOUR? Oh well, I'll beef this one up a bit with some quotes!
1. LoTR - Fellowship of the Ring ("Nobody tosses a dwarf.")
2. Robocop ("Please, put down your weapon. You have twenty seconds to comply.")
3. The Untouchables ("...they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way!")
4. South Park ("That movie has warped my fragile little mind.")

4 Places You Have Lived:
1. Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire
2. Portstewart, Northern Ireland
3. Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
4. Coleshill, Warwickshire

4 TV Shows You Love to Watch:
1. Blackadder
2. Lost
3. The X-Files
4. Little Britain

4 Places You Have Been on Vacation:
1. Denmark
2. Easter Island
3. Orkney Islands
4. USA

4 websites you visit daily:
1. Blogger blogs
2. non-Blogger friends' blogs
3. www.xe.com (World exchange rates)
4. www.petshopboys.co.uk

4 of your favorite foods:
1. Steak
2. Chocolate
3. Lasagne
4. Sunday Roast with all the trimmings

4 places you would rather be right now:
1. At home
2. On a trip somewhere outside of the UK
3. At the cinema
4. Easter Island

I'm not going to tag anyone else, but if you want to pick up on this for yourself go right ahead!

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Jumping off the wagon...

Ugh, just when things were going so well...

Firstly, scroll down to my earlier post and tell me why oh why Blogger is annoying me so much!

Secondly, we knew yesterday that Audrey wasn't on top form. Swimming went badly and she looked unwell, then in the afternoon she had a temperature and we gave her some Nurofen which got her through the night without incident.

So this morning is where it all REALLY went wrong. I woke up with a sore throat. Oh no, the dreaded cold is comng. It's only a matter of time before I'm coughing my guts out and my nose is streaming river of snot! The sore ness has lingered all day, and I've decided to start taking 1-a-day multi vitamins to try to stop or stem it.

Then this morning Audrey had a bad breakfast. Thats not entirely unusual in itself, until she got upset about something, cried until she coughed, then coughed until she puked! It was mostly phlegm, so I can only guess that her being upset and throwing up probably did her a favour. We gave her a bath, and decided to get on with our day.

Things perked up after that - we went shopping and spent more than we can afford on groceries. The only plus side to it is it is mostly wholesale bulk items which will last us for months. If anyone is short of toilet roll in the next little while, let me know!

After that we came home for lunch...no problem there, and then Martha decided to wash her car whilst I did some painting with Audrey. We now have five wonderful works of art to add to the collection, but Audrey seems to have got into her Goth phase early, and the only colour she wanted to use was black!

It was then, at about 3.30pm that I realised I was gasping for a cup of tea...the evil drink that I can't seem to kick. I decided "Screw it!" and made me and Martha a steaming cup of "Rosy" and managed to tuck into a few chocolate biscuits at the same time! So much for Harvey and the workout!

Supper and Audrey's 2nd bath of the day went without incident, and we put her down at the usual time. We started our workout, but became wary when Audrey started to cough. About two thirds of the way through our workout we heard her retching from next door, and quit our exercises to see what was happening.

Sure enough she'd thrown up! Martha took her out to the bathroom where the retching continued, while I sorted out the new loads of laundry that had suddenly appeared. Again, it seemed to be a lot of phlegm, so we can only assume she has a cold although our concerns did also turn to her allergies again, because we had given her whole milk at one point during the day.

We chucked Audrey into the bath and showered her down, and eventually she calmed down. We made sure she got lots of snuggles from Mummy and Daddt before going through the bedtime routine all over again. As far as I am aware she is now asleep.

Martha and I got back to out workout. It was nice to have a break, but I'm not sure if ultimately that was a good thing. I felt like I'd totally lost the rhythm. Afterwards, I decided "Screw it!" again and poured myself a giant glass of whisky and devoured a couple more chocolate biscuits! Sorry Harvey, but you try getting fit while your kids puking their guts out next door?! I think you'd do the same!

Anyway, hopefully it's just a blip. I hope I don't get sick, or if I do, I hope it's not so bad that it stops me from working out - I'm just starting to enjoy it!


Can anyone help?

I'm having a really frustrating issue with Blogger right now.

Every time I upload a photo (be it from Flickr or anywhere else) the picture wont show up in my entry.

When I look at the html for it I get something about:-

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/2737/1659/320/Citizen%20Audrey.0.jpg" alt="" border="0" /

The offending item is the "not a real namespace" bit. so I remove it and all is fine.

Trouble is, if I revert back to Compose (WYSIWYG) mode that darn thing comes back into the html and I have to go back and remove it again.

I can work around it, but it's a pain in the butt, and it's severely limiting what I can do with my images right now, because my html knowledge is, well, pretty non existent!

I'm using Firefox as my browser, but up until a week ago when this started it was 100% fine...the only difference is I upgraded to a later version, but I reinstalled the older version and the problem remained, which makes me think it's not the browser thats the problem.

SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT IS GOING ON before I start wishing I'd moved my blog to Livejournal!!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Citizen Audrey

Several months ago I mentioned in my blog (you remember the old one over at Myblogsite? - yep, and it's still there!) that we applied for Audrey's Canadian citizenship.

Of couse this is merely a formality for us. Audrey's actual entitlement to Canadian and British citizenship (dual nationality) is not in doubt, but we wanted to get her the piece of paper to prove it, so we completed the forms, got the photos, paid the fee, and sent it off. This was back in July.

Well today it finally became official! Her citizenship card came through the post, and here's a photo of it to prove it!!!

We haven't decided whether to get her a Canadian passport yet, but doubtless we will eventually as it will be useful for when we travel between the UK and Canada. Also Martha has just sent off her application to become British citizen! Hopefully this is also just a formality - you'd think nearly nine years married to an Englishman, living and working in the UK, paying UK taxes would account for something. We shall find out in a 3-5 months...

There have been some new developments with Audrey's allergy situation. I mentioned earlier this week that at her check up we were advised to step up her milk and egg intake to see how she copes. It seems our childminder has taken this advice to heart and has begun experimenting on our daughter!

At first I must admit to feeling a little uneasy about our childminder using Audrey as her guinea pig, but I'm glad she has the nerve to do it, because I doubt Martha and I could.

So, on Wednesday our childminder fed Audrey a full four ounces of whole cows milk...and the outcome was surprisingly good. She didn't break out in a rash, nor did she throw up. In fact, precisely nothing happened!

On Friday Audrey drank a further 4 ounces of whole milk again to no apparent ill effect. Perhaps we're being paranoid parents, but the only thing that has concerned us is Audrey has mentioned once or twice that she had an upset tummy, and it is quite possible that the milk is causing that. However Audrey hasn't been refusing food which you'd expect from someone with a dicky tummy, and has been playing happily too. She's also been known to be a faker!!!

We've also been keeping a close eye on her skin which can flare up with eczema several days afterwards, but we've not seen anything out of the ordinary so far.

Having said that, today Audrey has been somewhat out of sorts, but we think it is the start of a cold - she has a cough and a fever and is rather changeable with her moods. The last time I checked these were not the symptoms of someone with a milk allergy!

The fact that she has drunk and kept down a reasonable quantity of whole milk is very exciting for us. We even bought a carton of whole milk for her today which we'll be giving to her for drinks. I'm still feeling cautious though - I don't want to get my hopes up.

We also had an interesting discussion with one of the other parents at Audrey's swimming class regarding potty training. We've found out some techniques which are pretty intense, but this couple had their daughter potty trained almost overnight as a result. We really want to really push for this now - Audrey knows the deal with the potty, but for some reason just uses it as a reason to manipulate us to get out of other things. It's frustrating when she goes on the potty almost daily at the childminders, yet we can't get her to go at home at all. Although she did manage to squeeze out a pee for me the other night!

Come on Audrey, use that potty and make the Canadians proud to have you as one of their own!

Friday, January 13, 2006


Something for the weekend?

I can't believe its the weekend again already. Hurrah for that! Still can't believe we're not even half way through January yet though...man this month just drags its heels!

It's been a busy week, the evenings being especially hectic now that our fitness regime is firmly part of the schedule. It really seems to be helping. Apart from a few achy limbs right now, I find I sleep much more soundly at night, and I haven't touched a drop of whisky in well over a week, even though the bottle is sitting there still one third full! There is also a packet of dark chocolate biscuits begging to be eaten on the kitchen counter which I can't bring myself to eat either, simply because after our workout all I want to do is drink liquids to get my strngth back. All thought of food and alcohol intake disappears from my mind temporarily!

Tonight we got some video of Audrey which I'd like to share with you all. For those of you who don't have Quicktime, tough! Download it, or get over it! However, I normally encode my video to DivX avi, which is amazingly high quality video compressed into unimaginably tiny files. The other great thing is it will work on Windows Media Player as well as Quicktime if you download the codec from DivX. It's free, so definitely worth a look. I may start uploading DivX encoded stuff in future if enough people who read my blog have it, so if you do that be sure to let me know!

On another tack, I've been frustrated yet again by the fact that I remember thinking I had something I wanted to blog about and then forgetting it when I actually come to write the darn thing. I think it's time I started carrying a small notepad and pen around with me at all times, so I can write reminders or notes as the fancy takes me. Otherwise I'll just end up blogging about how I forgot what it was I wanted to blog about! Nobody wants to hear that do they?

Anyway, enjoy the movie and hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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Thursday, January 12, 2006


Weird Half-Nekkid Thursday

Today's movie based HNT is really apt I think. It really oozes essence of Gabby!

I don't think any self respecting 80's throwback (see yesterdays blog entry for proof of that) with a penchant for science fiction (more incriminating evidence here) could find fault with this film. I love it and urge everyone, even those who don't like sci-fi, to see it. It's a fabulously dark and thought provoking film.

Thanks to Martha again for taking the photo and using her Photoshop skills to put me into the poster.

I can't say I'm quite as mentally messed up as poor Donnie (although I do have a 6 foot rabbit as a mentor right now), but if you're a newbie and want to know more about HNT, "they made me do it!"

Happy HNT everyone!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Have you got it? Do you get it? If so, how often?

Want to feel old? It was exactly 20 years ago today that the British electronic duo the Pet Shop Boys reached No.1 in the UK charts with "West End Girls". On being asked what it was like to be at No.1, singer Neil Tennant said "...what it feels like is vaguely nothing. It feels like having a cup of tea".

It still remains the song they are best known for, which is a shame since there have been many, many more songs by them since then that are equally good, if not better. That's not to say I don't love the song. When I first heard it, it struck a nerve with me, conjuring up images of a wet, drizzly night in London, cruising around the dirtiest, seediest, most taboo places one could find, yet also breathing fresh air through that image, making it all somehow seem alright, legitimate and acceptable to be there. I think it also went against the grain by being more sombre and dare I say it, depressing, which was unlike other bands at the time who tended toward more upbeat songs in a sort of post New Romantic way.

My love for the band definitely started here, although for many months afterwards I ignored them, not even buying their first album "Please" until a friend graciously sent me a tape of their own copy and I had listened to it so much I doubtless wore out the heads on my cassette player!

After that my fascination for all things Pet Shop Boys took off in earnest, and before long I realised that the version of "West End Girls" that most people know wasn't the first. It had been a minor underground hit two years previously in a much more raw and unpolished form, with some extra lyrics, which some might say were mercifully cut from the version that eventually became a mainstream hit.

I made it my mission to find a copy of this which in the days before the internet was no mean task. Also, because I was still in school, it wasn't like I could just nip out at lunchtimes to a big city, find a rare record store and search for it. However, search I did, and I did frequent many rare record shops when I got the opportunity. Strangely though when I found the elusive record it was right under my nose in the small record department of an electrical HiFi store in the small town of Warwick where I went to school. I remember I couldn't believe my luck when I found it and although it was pricey (they obviously knew its worth to the right person) I knew it had to be mine, so I quickly withdrew the money from the nearest cash machine in town and handed it over in exchange for this gorgeous piece of vinyl!

I realise this sounds like the rants and raves of a man obsessed, and if thats what you think then that's totally fine. I hope you all have something in your lives that you can get just as excited about because the feeling I had was fantastic.

"West End Girls" still sends shivers down my spine when I hear it, but perhaps like many other songs had a backlash against it by becoming overplayed. However, if you're not a fan and haven't heard it for many years, but still remember the song fondly you should give it a listen today. It doesn't sound as dated as you might expect, and for me remains one of THE songs of the 80's.


Test Video Post!

If you can see and hear this OK please let me know...also let me know if you cannot!

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Audrey update and King Kong!

So Audrey's two year check went well.

She showed off her jigsaw puzzle skills and the health visitor who saw her commented on her "excellent" speech! I try try try not to be the doting Dad who thinks their kid is the smartest, cutest one of all, but I felt really proud today because the compliment was coming from someone whose job it is to check these things. If she thinks her speech is excellent, it must be true!

Audrey was a little uppity about getting on the scales to get weighed and measured though, and we had to bribe her into doing it with a biscuit. Her weight isn't up at all since her 18 month checkup, so she's in a lower percentile, but nothing to worry about. However she has grown (and I think maybe grown since her birthday only a month ago but need to check that) and this seems to be making up for the lack of weight gain.

The general concensus is to give her more milk and egg, particularly now introducing whole milk into her soya milk feeds. I'm a little nervous about it simply because I hate seeing Audrey sick and having to deal with the puke. However our childminder made a good point that we have good medicine that works if she has a reaction and also Audrey is now able to tell us when she feels like she is going to be sick. Therefore if she does suffer any ill effect we should be able to deal with it before she throws up.

Last night we went to the cinema to see King Kong! I've been ordered by Southern Sweetheart not to give anything away, but I thought it was bloody good. I think Martha enjoyed it more than she expected to as well. Of course it's not without it's problems (what movies are truly 100% perfect?) but I will say that to director Peter Jackson's credit, he really knows how to shoot fast paced fight scenes.

Time after time I bemoan the fight scenes in movies that are cut so fast you can't tell what is going on or where people are, and where they end up. To me it's simply a directors way of dodging the technicalities of filming intricate action scenes without having to put any thought into it. However, I noticed with all three Lord of the Rings movies that the fight scenes, which are similarly fast paced with short cuts, all seemed to make sense. You could always follow the action, and were never left wondering how someone wound up getting some other place during the fight. The same is true in King Kong. Everything in the fighting and action sequences makes sense. Not once was I left wondering how or why the action was progessing in a certain way. I think the attention to that detail alone is astonishing.

Anyway, obviously last night there was no Harvey workout for Martha and me. It was too late when we got home, but tonight we're getting right back to it and we're going to move to Level 2 - it's a longer workout with harder exercises. Also since its been a week, I should do a weigh in and let you all know if I'm now less than 170lbs! Keep your fingers (and everything else) crossed!

EDIT: Just did Level 2 of the workout...I'm pooped but feeling good about it! And I just weighed myself and I am now 168lbs - I lost 2lbs this week! Yay!

Sunday, January 08, 2006


How to be a domestic God!

My mind obviously wasn't on the proverbial ball last night. After the disastrous bath I decided to put on a wash. In the usual "guy" way this wasn't a normal wash and consisted of the following items:-

A pair of my underwear
A pair of my socks
A few of Audrey's clothes
My workout clothes (shorts and t-shirt)
My best fleece jacket which I'd been wearing after workouts to keep warm
My slippers

OK, spot the odd one out?

Why oh why did I put my slippers into the wash? Well, they stunk of course, why else?

So after I wrote last nights blog I headed for bed via the laundry room to put all the aforementioned items into the tumble dryer. What I found were some clothes seemingly covered with dried glue and weird brown fuzz. Missing from the load though were my slippers, and what remained were the rubberised soles and some pieces of material that vaguely resembled the uppers.

I salvaged what I could, and everything pretty much survived except for my fleece which took the brunt of the crap that came from my disintegrated slippers. It was absolutely covered in weird brown fuzz which was impossible to pick off, and there were some weird gluey bits which were virtually melded into the fabric. Not surprisingly it ended up in the bin. Anyone want to buy me a new fleece?! Oh, and a new pair of slippers!

Anyway Sunday has come and gone...we stayed home and got caught up on house chores mainly because, horror of horrors, we're going to the cinema tomorrow night, and need the house tidy for the babysitter. The plan is to see King Kong, so expect me to be full of the joys of cinema-going on Tuesday!

I also finally got shot of the Christmas tree. It was already denuded of decorations, but I needed to take it out and chop it into small pieces. Except I didn't. I cut off the branches and a bare trunk is now sitting in our garden.

In other news, Audrey has her two year check up on Tuesday morning which could prove interesting in relation to her allergy situation. In the last few weeks we've been trying her on two tablespoons of whole milk in her cereal in the mornings. She's also been eating toast and jam, with BUTTER on it, all to no discernable ill effect. Today I decided it was also time to try her on egg yolk.

Frequent readers may recall us trying her on meringue a few months ago and she broke out in a rash about 30 seconds after inhaling one. Try telling a toddler she can't have any more of something she really likes - it's heart breaking! Anyway, this time I decided we needed to see if the yolk was also a problem, so I hard boiled an egg and separated the yolk from the white.

Audrey willingly ate a quarter of the cooked yolk, but refused to eat any more. Of course this could simply be that she didn't like it, so I'm not going to get paranoid, and to our surprise she didn't show any outward problems after eating it. We even smeared a little yolk on her cheek to see if it would react and nothing happened.

Hopefully this is all good news, but we're going at it cautiously as we don't want a repeat performance of her first time drinking milk based formula and scrambled egg, both occasions which resulted in her throwing up quite dramatically.

Our next plan of attack is to increase the amount of milk in her cereal and I have a notion to try her on meringues again and also maybe cook up some scrambled egg to see how that goes. Like I said before it's perfectly possible that she could have grown out of these allergies overnight, and I've got my fingers crossed that she has because you have no idea how much that is going to revolutionise mealtimes!

Anyway, like I said it will be interesting to see what they say at her 2 year check up. She's been on soya based formula since she was 7 months old, and quite apart from the expense, it would be great to move onto something different.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Lobster Thermagab

As expected today was a day of very little acheivement. The morning grocery shopping was postponed due to us being unable to get moving quickly enough, and swimming at noon wasn't great due to Audrey being tired...she failed to nap in the morning.

She did however have a nap when we drove to get groceries, so ended up missing the whole thing. Martha ended up doing the actual shopping while I sat in the car with Audrey sleeping. I haven't done some proper people watching in a while, and it passed the time wonderfully. I must have spotted at least half a dozen people parking in the disabled spots who looked remarkably fit and agile.

Also parked next to us in the parent and toddler parking was a tiny blue two door car out of which popped a rather large woman, with a pasty white face, round like the full moon. Behind her came three children, two boys who must have been maybe seven or eight and possibly twins because they looked very similar, but also bore a remarkable resemblance to the woman too - large, with big pale moon faces and dark bowl-cut hair. The third child was a girl who must have been about ten. She was fairly obviously the daughter of the aforementioned woman, but all I can say to describe her is "Vicky Pollard from Little Britain"...for those of you who don't know who I mean, here's a pic of this character from the UK's current most popular comedy show.

Anyway, from the drivers side out popped a fifth person who was somewhat older. Judging from her build and face it seemed obvious to me that this was Grandma. I then noticed Grandma was smoking a cigarette which was almost down to the filter. She took a final drag and flicked it to the ground without a second thought and off they trotted to the store, which is when I noticed that Mum also had a cigarette again almost smoked down to the end. My immediate thought was of how these five people had been cooped up in this tiny car, two of whom had been filling it with cigarette smoke, and the remaining three, who all looked like death warmed up had been given no choice but to inhale it for goodness knows how long. My second thought was what gave them the right to park in the parent and toddler parking. The two youngest kids were perfectly capable of walking, and to be honest looked like they could use a few decent strolls to put some colour in their cheeks and to shed a few pounds. Then it got me wondering at what point a child is no longer classified a toddler? Does anyone know? Answers on a postcard please...

I saw very little else that made me feel any better about the people of my country...everyone looked thoroughly miserable going about their grocery shopping. I was actually glad to be warm and cosy inside the car.

We returned home, by which time, as I anticipated it was virtually time to start making supper. We had that, gave Audrey a bath and did the bedtime routine. Martha and I did our workout which went well, and we agreed not to watch a movie because she wanted to play on her Gameboy and I had some bills and bank statements to sort out. I had also got this idea in my head to have a lovely bath tonight...

I don't have baths often - I shower daily of course, but when I do have a bath I have to be in the right mood, and even if I am, I never sit in it for long...I actually find it quite boring, and I never read in it because I'm paranoid about getting books wet. Until tonight!

I decided I would have a hot bubble bath and that I would sit, soak AND read and damn it, I'd enjoy it! Well, three out of four ain't bad! The bath was hot - perhaps a bit too hot, but more on that in a moment. I soaked in it, and I read my "eXistenz" graphic novel for a while...until the sweat from my brow trickled into my eyes and stopped all that. Then I started to feel rather weak and sick. I thought it would go away so I moved around a bit to swill the bubbles around, but I still felt worse than I did before I got in.

So I got out...I actually ended up with a raging headache, and thanks to my overzealous nature with the hot tap my skin now itches to high heaven from what I guess can only be minor burns! On the plus side I smell like a lovely pine forest!

Anyway, I've cooled down a bit now, the headache has subsided somewhat, the itching hasn't yet though, so that'll make trying to get to sleep fun!

I'll quit complaining now shall I?! Goodnight!


Colour Test - Stolen from Deb

I did this before many moons ago on my old blog - might be interesting to track down those answers to see how it compares to these.

Draw your own conclusions folks!

ColorQuiz.comGabby took the free ColorQuiz.com personality test!

"Seeks success, stimulation, and a life full of exp..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.

Your Existing Situation

Sensitive; needs esthetic surroundings, or an equally sensitive and understanding partner with whom to share a warm intimacy.

Your Stress Sources

Feels that life has far more to offer and that there are still important things to be achieved--that life must be experienced to the fullest. As a result, he pursues his objectives with a fierce intensity that will not let go of things. Becomes deeply involved and runs the risk of being unable to view things with sufficient objectivity, or calmly enough; is therefore in danger of becoming agitated and of exhausting his nervous energy. Cannot leave things alone and feels he can only be at peace when he has finally reached his goal.

Your Restrained Characteristics

Able to achieve satisfaction through sexual activity.

Circumstances are forcing him to compromise, to restrain his demands and hopes, and to forgo for the time being some of the things he wants.

Your Desired Objective

Seeks success, stimulation, and a life full of experience. Wants to develop freely and to shake off the shackles of self-doubt, to win, and to live intensely. Likes contacts with others and is enthusiastic by nature. Receptive to anything new, modern, or intriguing; has many interests and wants to expand his fields of activity. Optimistic about the future.

Your Actual Problem

The fear that he might be prevented from achieving the things he wants leads him to play his part with an urgent and hectic intensity.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Weak end...

The weekend is here...not quite sure what I'll be doing with it yet.

The only certainty so far is swimming. Audrey is now in the midday "Advanced" class. She's borderline - she's not quite as confident as some other kids, but she likes to join in and is always watching the others and picks up what to do from them, so I think it's the right thing to do. Keeping her in a lower level would hold her back. The time is somewhat troubling though. Audrey gets quite tired if she doesn't have a nap, and midday is a crucial time of the day for her. If we can get her to nap on the way to the pool then all will be fabulous. If not, it could be an utter disaster.

Also, midday kind of screws the rest of our day up. It leaves little time either in the morning or the afternoon to achieve anything else. We've decided to try to do the weekend grocery shop in the morning. That should be OK, but the afternoon could be interesting...by the time we get home from swimming and have lunch theres very little time left to really do much else than chuck on some laundry and play with Audrey for a bit before it's time to don the oven gloves again and make supper. It'd be nice to maybe get out in the afternoons on a Saturday, but I can't really see that being possible.

So I guess it's down to Sundays with which to salvage our weekend and we have no plans there just yet either...oh dear!

Still we have DVD's to watch don't we? So once Audrey's tucked up for the night I suspect we'll settle down for some of that - oh but not before our workout with Harvey the six foot rabbit!

On which note I think I shall call it a night...bon weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Boring blog about Christmas Presents!

I'm suffering a bit from writers block lately...I guess after the excitement that was Christmas and New Year things have just got back to normal and therefore it seems a bit dull to write about the same old thing.

I thought about quickly skimming through what I got for Christmas...is that too materialistic? Oh to heck with it, I'm in a weird mood, so I don't care what people think, I'm going to do it anyway! Some of these were jointly gifted to me and Martha by the way...

I got some awesome CD's and DVD's...a best of Blondie CD, which has been playing non-stop in my car since I started back to work...I was too young to fully appreciate Blondie back in the day, but seriously there is hardly a duff track on this album. I love it!

I also got the album Monaco, by Monaco. It's good, but not as good as their Music For Pleasure album...nonetheless it's also on rotation in my car right now and fills a gap I've been wanting to bridge in my CD collection for some time.

Also on CD was the Sugababes latest Taller in More Ways. I have yet to listen to this but Martha has heard it through and assures me its good. With a cover of the 80's classic "Obsession" how can you go wrong!!! Their last two singles from the album are great anyway, so I can't imagine why I would have any issues with this album.

More for Martha than me, we also got They Might Be Giants, Dial-A-Song CD. I love the Malcolm In The Middle song, so doubtless I'll find plenty more I like here too, but Martha is the true TMBG fan.

On DVD I got Groundhog Day...I know some might find this a weird one, but I totally LOVE this movie. Weirdly I don't really like Bill Murray or Andie MacDowell, but this film is just so brilliantly put together and their roles just seem right. It's one of the few movies that makes me properly laugh out loud.

Also on DVD we got Robots. We've not seen this yet (we missed it at the cinema) but I am genuinely excited about it as it was something I was quite keen to see when it was out at theatres. It's also cunningly got a Robots action figure with it so there'll doubtless be fighting between me and Audrey over who gets to play with that!!!

Anyway, thats quite enough to be getting on with...there were plenty more gifts - maybe if I'm stuck for blog ideas I'll do this again!


Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Half-Nekkid Getaway!

It's the first Half-Nekkid Thursday of 2006, but things don't change for Gabby the Guy!

I'm sticking with my movie theme, for now anyway, and much to my wifes annoyance since she is the one who has to take the photos and Photoshop me into the pictures.

This is a movie I really enjoyed, but was badly let down by poor continuity. It's also kind of in keeping with my new fitness regime (see yesterdays blog entry) although I doubt I'll be running away from any derailed trains if I can help it.

So at the risk of looking foolish, who's sexier? Me or Harrison?!

Happy HNT everyone and sorry for posting a little early - it's either that or post ridiculously late! Which would you prefer?!


Is there anythin' you'd rather be doing than marchin' up and down the square?

I'm not the sort of person who makes New Year resolutions, mainly because I'm very bad at keeping them. I don't think I'm an unreliable person generally, but when it comes to making a promise to yourself to do something, better yourself for the coming year on a daily basis, you might as well ask the cat to do it.

Martha and I have for a while now agreed that since Audrey came along we have not been getting enough exercise. There was a time, BA (Before Audrey), that we would walk four miles every other evening. It gave us a chance to chat and get into shape at the same time. We also used to run - it was short lived, because whilst I never really minded cross country running, Martha wasn't a big fan so that kind of petered out as a form of exercise.

I've never been a big fan of going to a gym - why spend the money when you can just as easily exercise for free at home, so long as you have the motivation and the discipline to do it? And that's where the crux of the matter is...motivation and discipline!

Enter Harvey...who is not, as one blogchum I was chatting to yesterday said, a 6 foot tall rabbit...we're talking Gunnery Sergeant Harvey Walden IV!

This fine chap sprung to fame as the hard taskmaster on a show called Celebrity Fit Club, putting minor celebs who were somewhat overweight through their paces to lose a few of those extra pounds. Not surprisingly what followed was a workout video, which we bought on DVD a year or so ago, and I believe Martha had some success with but never kept the regime going - MOTIVATION AND DISCIPLINE again!

So the other day when Martha and I were discussing the ways we could get ourselves fit in our PA (Post Audrey) days, I remembered that we had this DVD tucked away somewhere and that maybe it would be a good idea to give it a go. Martha agreed, and we decided that, once Audrey was put down to bed each night, we would don some comfortable clothing and do a workout with Harvey as our mentor.

Last night was our first night and it went remarkably well barring my extremely poor coordination - it only took up half an hour of our evening which meant I was still able to watch some TV afterwards and surf and chat online for a while. This morning I didn't find myself unpleasantly achy and hopefully we will continue to do this building up to a full one hour workout over the next few weeks.

I'm hoping that between us, and by telling you out there it will serve as a tool to help with the discipline we need to keep this going. What I guess needs to happen is to find a way to keep going after we're able to do the full one hour workout. I can see it getting rather boring after that otherwise.

Meanwhile the soup diet continues in earnest after the Christmas break. That entails eating only soup for supper (with up to two slices of bread) for three nights a week. It's not a miracle diet - seeing results is slow, but it does work, plus it's quick and easy to make soup and it's great to not have to think about whats for supper for three nights every week.

I guess I should really do a weigh-in and let you all know what I weigh, then do a weekly update...

EDIT: I weighed myself tonight - I am 12 stone and 2 pounds...or 170 pounds exactly.

Are you with me?

Come on guys - give me the motivation and the discipline to do this!

Monday, January 02, 2006


"I can't remember what 'D' is for!"

So the dust has finally settled on Christmas and New Year.

New Years Eve was spent as mentioned at my parents. I spent the morning with them in Stratford picking out a new TV set. It turned out that their budget was way higher than I had anticipated, so having arrived a half hour earlier to do a "reccy" was wasted by me looking at TV's they didn't even take into consideration!

I also spent some time before they arrived in a nearby HMV browsing CD's and DVD's and finding my wallet starting to itch inside my jacket pocket. I've obviously spent far too long buying my music and movies off the internet, and had forgotten what a joy it is to physically look through racks of CD's and finding stuff you'd never dream of looking up on the web. I did resist the urge to buy up the store however, but I've still got that urge to spend an entire morning in a large record store and spend more money than I should on CD's and DVD's I don't really need.

Back at the TV/HiFi shop my parents surprisingly quickly settled for a Sony 32inch LCD TV with integrated digital tuner, and I bid them goodbye so I could get home in time for lunch and to pack for going to their house later.

In the evening I spent much of my time setting up their new TV - tuning in the digital channels, figuring out how stuff worked, and trying to get their existing DVD and VCR to connect correctly. Mostly this was easy for me, barring a few things which kept me busy trying to figure them out right up until midnight struck for 2006! I don't think anyone was too impressed - I wasn't very sociable, but I did take 20 minutes out to enjoy a glass of champagne and watch the New Years fireworks in London on TV.

Fireworks usually leave me pretty numb...even at the best of times at the end of the day it's all a rather pointless light show which costs way too much. It reminds me of the quote from Blackadder's Christmas Carol which actually refers to Christmas crackers but could just as easily be applied to fireworks in my opinion - "Christmas crackers are like sex - one disappoiting bang and the novelty soon wears off!"

However, I have to admit London's £1million fireworks display was actually extremely impressive. Whether it was worth sqandering a million pounds on I'm not sure, but it seemed obvious that we had something to prove after winning the Olympic bid in the Autumn, and this seemed as good a way as any of doing that. Here are a couple of pics I nicked off of a Google search of the London Eye at midnight on New Years Eve/Day...

On New Years Day we had a nice time with my parents before heading home in time for the missed Doctor Who. I have to say it was very good, and David Tennant as the new Doctor hasn't disappointed me. Slightly more tantalising was the sneak peek of the new series afterwards...the return of the Cybermen and K9!!! Oh my God!!! I know some Who purists really hated K9, but I have to say "I'm as excited as a Frenchman who just invented a pair of self removing trousers!" and if the effects budget used for the Christmas Special sets the benchmark for the new series it's going to be amazing!

So last night I finally finished reading "Let's Make Love...the Bruce Campbell Way" - it's taken me a long time to read, not because it's a long book or even a difficult read - it's just I kept putting it down and never felt compelled to pick it back up again. Sorry Bruce, I love your work, but this isn't a great book...sure it has its funny moments, but for the most part it's pretty dull! What made me read it to the end eventually was the graphic novel of the movie "eXistenz" sitting on my bedside table since returning home from Christmas just begging to be read! Finally I can!

Today's been pretty blah as days off go...Martha decided to try our new powerwasher on the cars so I looked after Audrey. I didn't get out of my pajamas until after lunchtime, and have quite literally achieved nothing but I did get some spend a lot of time with Audrey. Martha has removed all the bling from the Christmas tree, so I guess I shall have to take it outside and cut it up into tiny pieces soon. It was a great tree and when Audrey saw it all naked again she said entirely unprompted that "Mummy, Daddy and Audrey cried for the tree." Awww! I told her not to be sad because we would have a lovely new one for next Christmas! Hurrah!

Audrey's been really enjoying her new "Here Come the ABC's" DVD by They Might Be Giants and I have to say Mummy and Daddy love it too. She's taken a real shine to several songs and asks for them mostly by name. It's kind of a weird Sesame Street/Muppets musical hybrid but more interesting than that, and some of the animated sequences are fabulous. My only quibble is it will undo all our hard work in teaching Audrey that the letter "Z" is pronounced "ZED" and not "ZEE" - all you crazy Americans out there have a lot to answer for, although doubtless if I researched why Americans say "ZEE" I'd probably find it stems from an original "Olde Englishe" pronunciation anyway. Anyway, it'd probably amuse you all to know that every time "ZEE" comes up Martha and I usually shout "ZED" over top of the soundtrack so that Audrey doesn't hear it!

EDIT: Here's a link about ZED versus ZEE!

So it's properly back to work tomorrow...no more holidays until Easter!!!! Aargh! January is always a tough month to get through - it just never seems to end. Here I am wishing my life away! So, where was I?

Oh yeah, "D" is for drums!!!!

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