Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Cool Cuppa for a Belated Birthday

I had a birthday package arrive today, which was super awesome! In my box I discovered a shiny new kettle, which was good as we haven't had a kettle all this week. The one Mum sent me is supercool. I can set it to be one of nine different coloured-light kettles, or a mood light kettle. When it's got cold water it's blue and as it heats up it goes deeper blue, purple then red when it boils. Once it's done, it sings a cute little "beebeebeep", just like my tumbledrier which is also silver and cute.

Party-in-a-box not only makes for great partyness, but it also makes good packaging it seems. It certainly tastes better than polystyrene packing peanuts. Peanuts are yummy, but packing peanuts are not nearly as tasty, even considering how nice they look... There's also a cool book, some yummy chocolate, a packet of tasty dried figs, crisps, party poppers and cake. And so we have a party in my bed! Those party poppers are really loud! Jelly is awesome and Smarties cakes are just the right size for nommage. Even Tsam likes lemon and lime jelly.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

That's a Terrific Triple Tank!

The tripletank arrived a little later than expected; turns out neither of the lads had thought about how to fit a five foot by four foot board into a car! They ended up tying it to the roof with some leftover electrical cable and holding tight... We made it up to them with some nice bacon sammiches and coffee when they got here though.

I'm rather pleased about this, because just one 4 foot by 16" by 12" tank is about £120 to buy brand new. I bought three in a custom made clever unit for £90, delivery all in. Awesome! Potential Saving: £250

The picture isn't how it is currently - that's before it was taken apart and delivered, as I still have to put it together, but I figured it would be more sensible to wait until I've moved house anyway. It's got false drawers covering spaces to hide away the electrics and a special tray (currently off to show the features). The floor of each tank has a hole in - allowing your lizard to climb down to sleep in their special sleepy trays!

I discovered the controller on Tsammy's bulb would not be powerful enough to run a 30W 36" bulb that he'd need for a bigger tank - and I needed another controller for the new top tank. I was pondering how best to sort the lighting when I came up with a rather nifty solution. New controllers are about £25 a time, so I was delighted to find a twin bulb controller for the same price as a single! Problem solved! Potential Saving: £25.

Monday, 25 January 2010

A Polite Letter to the TV Tax Swindlers

Don't get caught out by TV licensing! It seems that paying works from the beginning of the month and doesn't matter WHAT day you pay. What a rip - if I'd have known I'd have gone without TV for 6 more days and started from February. The direct debit facility is even worse, requiring you to pay 6 months in advance! The website doesn't advise you why, or warn you of the date-to-date issue, so you only find out when it's too damn late. (Pic: Rooreynolds.com)

I've sent a formal complaint in on the matter and expect to hear back, but this is just in case you BBC saddos just happen to be Googling "BBC TV LICENCE IS GREAT!" Because you're going to get my little letter.

I'm not happy about having to pay TV Tax in the first place, so it's even more galling when they're taking the piss! Screw you BBC and your crappy programming list. Who the f*** watches creepy "Cash in the attic" anyway except brain numbed daytime zombies? I don't know what we're paying for; the quality is crap, your websites are worse and the IPlayer is being given away for FREE by other FREE channels - YOU don't pay ITV, do you?

Go shove it.

Yours sin celery,
One deeply cheesed off, forced-to-be customer.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

The Plum can Plumb!

I got home today to find no water and no TV licence! Seems as the lads are moving out, they'd taken their washing machine and not plumbed in mine, which is fair enough. I've never plumbed a washer before, so that was genuinely quite fun once I worked it out. It's a lot harder than I thought. The TV license is apparently George's, so he took it with him.

In the meantime, I've had a great evening! I've been helping a friend with chem, bio and phys study, explaining complex terms in simple ways, like isotopes. Atoms are like easter eggs, neutrons are like candy. Doesn't matter how many neutrons there are, it'll still be an easter egg, it'll just be a bit heavier or lighter. My favourite moment was discussing gravitational potential energy though. It's like a poster held up by a loose tack. It has the potential to fall, and gravity is affecting it. "Oh, I get it! If I calculate it, maybe I can stop it right at the moment it falls off. IN 1.7 YEARS FROM NOW, I SHALL BE WAITING!" (Pic: www.scienceahead.com)

I also won a tripletank on eBay, which I'll tell you more about later in the week.

Interesting Fact of the Day: A "Nocebo" is a placebo with negative or harmful effects.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Beautiful Baby Beardies...

Thinking of famous dragon names, should my next potential lizard be called Falcor or Elliot? There are too many obvious dragon names - and we all know I don't do obvious. But I do love the name Elliot for a lizard...

The lizard I'd choose would be either a red and black (or an orange and black like pictured) Italian leatherback from Bloodbankdragons.com. They're very reasonably priced, but the export is going to be the difficult bit, as it could get a bit expensive. It's legal and doable though, and well worth it for a genuine BBDBeardie! One day, hey?

Quote of the Day: "Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus" - Never tickle a sleeping dragon. Very wise advice, also the motto of Hogwarts.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Jack in a Box? No. Tsam in a Box!

Tsammy's really getting into the swing of this packing idea, and has decided to help out by packing himself into a box. He's a very cute Tsam in a Box. A little reassurance for the animal-welfarers:He knows full well he can get out the way he came in, he just likes it because he's a silly boy. Tsammy is far from stressed, and has since gone to sleep in his new favourite magic air patch, full stretch as I've opened the closed end too. Bliss.

Audioswap: "Life Turns Around" by Chrome Kitty.

Related Superstition of the Day: "To dream of a lizard is a sign that you have a secret enemy." - Listverse. Well if that's true I'm really stuffed then!

Monday, 18 January 2010

T'riffic Telephony (Tumblers Saga Continued 3)

I was on the phone for 36 minutes today with a man from the Government with absolutely no sense of humour. Bless him. He was doing some sort of questionnaire and was asking all kinds of questions, like would I be interested in mobile phone banking. I told him "I don't have a mobile phone. Yes, if it means the Government are going to give me a nice shiny new Iphone." He had a think about that one and said that the Government weren't currently doing any freebies. Shame that. I also did about two hours worth of ironing. It was about the same level of interesting. (Pic: Owl representation of Gvt Bloke Caller)

I also gave ApplianceDeals a call as we hadn't had confirmation of time slot or delivery as expected today. They were playing Razorlight's "America" which made a pleasant change from the synthetic garbage I have to listen to when on hold at work. It turns out there had been a blip in the system and the order hadn't gone through. Kyle apparently thought this was very funny and gave us one of her best laughs.

I've always said every complaint is a great opportunity for customer service. ApplianceDeals really proved my point - Chris, the bloke that was handling my call, was so nice about it all I just couldn't be irritated, after all, these things happen sometimes. He was very understanding, explained things clearly and helped me get it reordered and booked for delivery in record time!

Interesting (Kind of Related) Fact of the Day: The English horn is neither English nor a horn – it's a French alto oboe!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Warning: Contains Spiders!

This post is dedicated to Dad, for his highly amusing Birthday Touché. I had asked my father for bugs for a few birthdays in a row, to be responded with a rather firm "NO." on each occasion. This year though, he got me good. I received an awesome red stag beetle in resin! I'm not sure which species, as there are about 1200, He also got me a rather cool garden spider in resin as a keychain, which has spawned this creepy creepy-crawly post. (Pic: not my beetle - camera broken, so this image is from dandltrading.net.)

On my internettable travels, I came across some true delights of the animal world. Well, I say delights, but I appreciate they aren't the cup of tea for everyone. I personally find most insects fascinating, but the two showcased here are exceptionally interesting.

My personal favourite of the spider families is the Portia. There's a rather good bit of work here: Click for Creepy Insects! The Portia spiders' favourite dinner is... other spiders. This tiny chap has turned out to be one of the most extraordinarily intelligent arachnids, creating a wide and scary repertoire of tricks, traps and cons to capture their next eight-legged meal. They design a whole new game plan for each individual spider from what it has learned from the last time it encountered that particular species. They even go so far as to throw a real fly into a victims web to lure it out!

I also collected this clip from "the web". He's a jumping spider, and this little fella is SO funny. Turn your volume on, and listen to the little guy's fantastic fancy footwork!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

T'riffic Tumblers Two

I am both amused and impressed today. You all recall I recently purchased a tumble drier from ApplianceDeals.co.uk. Well, today someone from the company had left me a comment on the T'riffic Tumblers blog comment: "Did you receive your tumble dryer alright? Hope you are happy with it, let us know how you are getting on, or leave a review for other customers!" (Pic: Scribble on a wall somewhere.)

That, my friends, is good customer service! I promptly wrote an email in with a thanks. I'm pleased to say I am delighted with my drier. The service was speedy and simple, the drier itself is fabulous - I never realised how much water tumbledriers kick out. I'm just glad that's not going all over the house and is neatly contained in it's easy to empty water tank!

I'd certainly recommend them (and am doing!) for good quality, fantastic value electricals. It saves trawling all round town and paying over the odds from the bigger companies, as much as they may be well known. My tumble drier came with a year's warranty and I purchased using a credit card just in case they weren't legitimate. No worry there though, as they're definitely legit (having been Visa Verified) and lovely!

When I need to buy a new washing machine in a couple of weeks, I'll be certain to come back as I have my eye on a shiny matching Beko washer. "A" rated energy and wash efficiency and only £221 with delivery, that's a bargain I can't resist - especially being as I've had such a good buying experience last time. I won't be waving "good buy" to these guys! (Pic: AD's Beko washer)

UPDATE: Am purchasing it now, as Hank is moving his next week.

Quote of the day: "This town has plenty of local colour. It's just a shame that colour is beige..."

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Wat -er Fool!

I went to get a cup of hot chocolate at work today, leaned to fill the kettle and... nothing. No water, no gurgle, nowt. A quick call to the waterboard revealed no problems, so they sent a man out to have a look if we had a burst pipe. 10 minutes later he came back in. "It's the meter itself that froze. If you could do me a kettle of hot water I'll soon have it fixed!" I looked at him. "And how am I supposed to do that? You're here because I CAN'T have hot water." ... "Oh. Oh yeah. Um, I'll ask a neighbour." I mean, I'd understand if I said it, but this guy does it for a living!

On a plus side, the snow we were supposed to be getting turned into sleet and rain, and has been dissolving the rest of the ice. If it doesn't get too cold tonight, it should stop entirely! It certainly made it easier to get home and look at a potential new home. This one, whilst a bit pricy, is much nicer - it has two bedrooms, a sweet but spacious kitchen (you can actually move in it), and a quirky front room. It's built on top of garages, as well as tucked behind a row of houses and trees away from the main road so it will be much quieter and one of the garages belongs to the house. My favourite part was the bay window in the lounge, a boxy three sider that I just know the lizards will adore watching the world from. (Pic: unknown source.)

Talking of lizards, Tsam has been in explore-mode and has repeatedly been warned away from various obstacles. He had been insisting on climbing round behind the sofa for some time, so to prove a point, I let him. He scrambled up a pair of someone's boots, stretched up to the side of an empty copper bin... poised... and... jumped. And failed. And got stuck.

Poor boy. I did rescue him after laughing at him for a while and taking pictures. I think he might have learned his lesson now - he hasn't tried it since at any rate!

I have often come back to one particular blog for various religious stats and Biblical quotes (it's allowed me to win the odd theological argument), so I was amused to read this page: http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/2006/08/worth-of-woman-bible-vs-quran.html

To synopsisize, it's a combination of the Quran and the Bible's view on the worth of a woman. It works out about 1/2 to 2/3rds. Bear in mind the "Gender Wage Ratio" is about 77% on a rough constant over the years. Summary: A two thousand year old book is not too far off, especially if you consider today's employment standards. Ouch.

The appropriate Captcha I received today: "Cloning Necessary".

Monday, 11 January 2010

Kyle is a Twit?

Well, the weather we were promised has not yet arrived thankfully, but here's a picture of England in the snow from www.i-am-bored.com. That'd be a whole lot of cold then folks! It seems the snow is slush and fading fast - still bitterly cold, but an improvement. Hopefully I'll be able to lift the rhubarbs into their bag soon.

The monster icicle snapped off under its own weight in the early hours of the morning, landing with an extraordinary, almost electronic sounding smash on the pathway.

Tsam and Kyle have spent their time tucked away in their huts - it's too cold to want to run around today. Kyle's sat by her bowl wondering how that puddle has sneaked in and stolen her snowball.

Update: Kyle now has her own Twitter. I don't, as I don't like the concept, but she was insistent that we should "get with the times". You can follow her from here: https://twitter.com/KyleSquishee

Thought for the day: Rumours have it that Twitter, Youtube and Facebook are teaming up to build a supernetworking site. They're calling it "YouTwitFace".

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Wild Wintery Weather

Turns out the dragons aren't all that impressed by snow. Kyle (not pictured) was not amused, ignored it and went to sleep. When I tried her later when she was in a better mood, she licked it, didn't like it and went to bed again.

Tsam, on the other hand, (pictured) was considerably more enthusiastic about the whole concept. But not by much. His consideration in the matter was that it was very cold and white. He had a good mouthful of it, mulled it over with a few crunches and deemed it to be cold and wet in flavour also.

We did go for a walk in the wild wintery weather out into town to view a property. I can't say I was enthusiastic. The "surprisingly spacious hall" was indeed surprisingly spacious. At two foot square, I was surprised at the lack of space. The double bedroom was also accurate - putting a mattress in there would have turned it into a double box bed.

I wasn't impressed by the "kitchen door" - a brown curtain, although the nice lady said it was included in the price, which was nice to know. The kitchen was either a novelty or a mockery, but I'm not sure which. Blue Formica and no room to take a pot out of the cupboard without having to reverse through the door. Sorry, curtain. In all, I believe the only redeeming feature (besides the avalanche of old mail wedging the front door when you try to open it) would be the £14.33 available on the electricity meter. Although this would soon be rapidly negated by the lack of central heating replaced by the provision of a crummy electric heater in the front room.

The suspected leak we have has been confirmed today, by this humungous icicle I discovered down the side of the house this morning. The water running down the wall from what appears to be an overflow pipe (possibly for the immersion boiler upstairs) has been catching on the boiler vent and trickling down to create these monstrous daggers of ice - the long one is just shy of six foot and four inches wide at its thickest point. His Lordship is in a state of disbelief and 5 10" if that's any help for true reference.

I noticed when we got back home this evening that it had grown another three or four inches!

Though all of us, including reptiles, were impressed by this very talented guy!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Self-rolling Snowballs!

We have had something really cool happen this week. This is an incredibly rare phenomenon, otherwise known as "snowrollers". In a field down the road from my house, Ron Trevett (the guy who took this picture) discovered what looks like snowballs and thought kids did it - until he realised there were hundreds and no footprints in the entire field!

It's not known to happen in the UK, but sometimes appears in the US praries. This odd occurrence appears when there's perfect weather conditions and thick snow of two types - moist over powder - with strong winds. The sticky, heavy snow on the top gets caught by the wind and is pushed onto itself, creating this weird rolling snowball.

The snow is causing real problems now - Wednesday I was stranded and walked into work in town, but the rest of the week I have persevered to get to my village branch. It takes 15 minutes just to wheel my bike out of the carpark through the snow - you just don't have any grip for your feet and I daren't try to drive it out. It's alright once you get onto the road, but my heavy duty boots have proved ideal skis on multiple occasions!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

They're taking away my green...

Excusing the bad spelling on the image, but it made me laugh. I do wonder if the housemates will get puzzled as to why the magic house faeries don't come to clean their new house. I have noticed the megapack of loo rolls I buy (as I'm the only one that actually buys 1.decent looroll and 2.more than just four in a pack) has been vanishing rather abruptly. Ah well, perhaps they can pray to the Porcelain God for their next supply - hehehe. I wouldn't mind, but I HATE that cheap, nASSty peach stuff that gets bought when I don't buy the looroll for a change. It clashes with everything, even the previously-considered-impossible-to-clash-with downstairs bathroom.

In preparation for the world taking away my green, I have been outside salvaging and potting up my plants, with Tsammy supervising from the windowsill inside. The bizarre caterpillar I discovered in the summer has eaten my lemon thyme, so I have left it, but the small leaf thyme, rosemary and chives have been retrieved, as have my two best strawberry plants and their runners. I've decided to wait for the new raspberry stalks to come up later in the year, as the crop is taken from a two year old stalk - if I take the smaller new risers, I can have fruiting stalks by the time we're moved into a proper garden again.

As to the 'barbs, I shall follow my Mum's genius thinking, and purchase tomato grow bags. Shallow, fertilised and easy to transport - the rhubarb plants should be quite happy in there for a year. After all, the original 'barb sat dormant in a bin liner in a bucket for a good year too! I'll wait for the snow to fall back a bit before I dig it up. I think there's more on the way though!

The passionflower of miracles I shall not disturb, but I shall leave a care letter for the next owners as it deserves to be noticed. The mock blackcurrant is too big to move, but will smell beautiful for many years to come in the space under the wild white insanity rose.

We had banana, orange peel and raisin crumble for pudding today, fantastic! His Lordship has been experimenting in the kitchen. I'm not keen on his brussels sprout and celery soup, but he likes it...

Thought for the day: Why is it in a restaurant, when you ask for a Coke and you're offered Pepsi, do you never respond with: "Sure, is Monopoly money alright?"