Today has not been a good day. I spent most of the afternoon and early evening at the count, watching friends lose their seats or not gain them, then watched ballot papers get piled higher and higher in the "No" slot, and then had to clear a big pile of potentially spoilt ballots, which overwhelmingly meant me saying "yup, that person clearly meant to vote No" a lot more than the other way around.

So tonight, I'm watching Victoria Coren on Have I Got News For You (not a single guest I can't stand, this is a step up) and looking for things that make me laugh. This is doing the rounds:

golf club rules list

Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] webofevil, reposted by [personal profile] andrewducker and [personal profile] theweaselking. It's apparently very genuine.

Any and all links to funny, irreverent stuff that have nothing to do with politics, especially not the bloody awful AV referendum, very very gratefully received. As long as it's not LOLcats.
Item: Jennie put on Would I Lie To You, and the female panellist reveals she lied repeatedly to her husband before they married.

Jennie: Why did he marry her then?
Me: Jennie? She's Keeley Hawes.
(Jennie then went on to wonder why she felt the need to lie, but that's a Serious Topic)

Item: I am a listed here: Brighouse Ward: Statement of persons nominated: Calderdale Council, yes, that is the ward I actually live in, and yes, I'm actually running seriously to try to win. Last minute unplanned nomination, but that doesn't change that I could do it and would like to. This does of course mean that I'll need to be posting some 'local news' stuff over the next few weeks, as that'll be stuff I'll be concentrating on. And having spent years building up the Google presence for my name, ought to actually make use of it.

Item: Livejournal has for the best part of the last week been under a massive, sustained DDOS attack. It appears to be politically motivated from within Russia. This does of course highlight the need, if you care about such things, to backup your journal somewhere, either on your own machine or elsewhere online. I like that I've got two homes that are interoperable for my writing; if you haven't got a DW account & don't want to pay for one, I have a number of invite codes spare--I need an email address to send them to, feel free to comment or email me (matbowles@gmail.com).

Item: At the gym recently, Jennie watched an episode of Doctors, partially. It had Colin Baker in it. She didn't see all of it, so is now inflicting it on me. It has some reasonable actors and acting in it. Shame about the script, plot, etc...
Last night was the worst night of my adult life. The fever finally broke at about 4am, and by 6am I could feel the medications I'd been dosing myself on actually take effect.

I work with kids. If I'd thought about it, I should've known to go get a flu jab, the thing is, every dose of flu I've had up to now has been a mild form of "knock you out for a few days, Lemsip'll help" type.

This dose of flu? Bloody awful. I've had it since last Sunday, thought I was getting over it Thursday, only to have it kick back in with a vengeance Friday afternoon. Apparently, total number of cases this year is about normal but the Govt is being criticised for not spending enough money on an advertising campaign to get people to go get their jabs.

Me? I always wondered why spending money on adverts for this sort of thing were needed. We have newspapers, TV news, radio news, etc. Govt ministers could simply push it as a news item and get the media to cover as an essential public interest story.

And those of us with some method of communicating news could help spread that message. Right?

Does this actually make sense, or is my brain so flu addled it's coming up with daft ideas again? If I'm right, feel free to link to this post, write your own, tweet it, share it on Facebook, etc. If I'm wrong, well, y'know, my brain is barely working.

Oh yeah. Merry Christmas. You're not supposed to take alcohol alongside a chunk of the pills I'm using to take the worst off. So I'm stone cold sober watching The One Ronnie. I think being sober is a mistake for this one.
Goldeneye was a reason to actually buy an N64 thirteen years ago. I didn't, but a good friend did (my former boss). We spent hours playing that game. A bunch of us would regularly decamp to his house and spend the evening shooting each other in the back. I was crap at it. Really, really, crap at it.

Jennie is pretty much housebound for the next few weeks. My parents have wired me money for Xmas presents early, knowing that we'll have some cash flow issues. I bought a 2nd hand Wii with some of it as our old one is broken. This has proven to be a very good decision. Of the games we have, Worms has proven to be the most popular, we have a houseguest helping us out, so three/four player games are good.

We went into town today (her second time out of the house since the op, her first not in a car for the whole time), and thanks to the staff at the excellent Ninja Games in town (nice store, shame about the website) we got a collection of cheap stuff. We also got a copy of Goldeneye for thirty quid.

I'm crap at it. Really, really, crap it it. It's great. The controls are going to take a lot to get used to, they've put a lot of thought into them and it's a very powerful interface. But, um, I'm not used to it yet. Despite being Goldeneye, it's got Daniel Craig voicing Bond and Dench as M. This Is Good.

The graphics and the game engine have both been updated, but it feels right. It feels like Goldeneye did sat on Lee's couch getting shot by Simon and Doug. In the back. Repeatedly. At least playing it single player I'm getting shot repeatedly by Russians.

We're taking a break from it at the moment, Alien Syndrome looked like a good buy for £3 if the objective is simple multiplayer games. And we got fed up dying as Bond.

But we'll be back to Goldeneye soon. I want to shoot Jennie with a Golden Gun.
So, I awoke this morning to hear Jennie crying in agony on the stairs from the attic room.

She'd been getting ready to go to work and had got some clothes from the attic drying racks. And slipped and fallen a few steps on the way down.

Normally, this sort of fall would merit a loud ow and possibly a minute or two to recover. Unfortunately, she has, for the last few weeks, had a cyst on one of her ovaries, that has been more than a little bit painful (for a definition of pain that us mere men simply cannot fathom, seriously, I don't know how she's been handling it).

The fall had caused the cyst to twist, turning the pain from very painful but livable to unbearable and causing her to scream in agony. An ambulance was called, she went to hospital. That was at about 1130.

They called in specialists, got a consultant to come in, and agreed operating today was both viable and necessary. Through a combination of keyhole surgery and more icky procedures, the cyst, which was walnut sized when diagnosed but had grown to bigger than tennis ball size by today, was cut up and removed.

Rather than waiting until February for the scheduled op, she's in hospital now sleepy quietly, and will be home either tomorrow or Tuesday. While she'll have the pain of a recovered operation, she'll be back on her feet by the end of the week and should be mostly recovered (but probably not well enough to return to work properly) by Christmas.

The pain will be over, and she can try to enjoy life a bit more. This is a Good Thing.

The Doctor did say that, given the rate of growth, they'd likely have had to bring the operation forward anyway, but it's done with now.

For those wondering why I've been mostly silent, with a side order of extreme crankiness in various online comment boxes, I've been more worried than a worried thing being worried (it was possible cancer at one point before formal diagnosis).

Tonight, I've had several glasses of whiskey, and am about to log off to play a bit of Plants Vs Zombies before trying to get some sleep.

Many thanks to all who've offered support &c, too much to take in today, but, y'know, she's going to be OK.
So, I awoke this morning to hear Jennie crying in agony on the stairs from the attic room.

She'd been getting ready to go to work and had got some clothes from the attic drying racks. And slipped and fallen a few steps on the way down.

Normally, this sort of fall would merit a loud ow and possibly a minute or two to recover. Unfortunately, she has, for the last few weeks, had a cyst on one of her ovaries, that has been more than a little bit painful (for a definition of pain that us mere men simply cannot fathom, seriously, I don't know how she's been handling it).

The fall had caused the cyst to twist, turning the pain from very painful but livable to unbearable and causing her to scream in agony. An ambulance was called, she went to hospital. That was at about 1130.

They called in specialists, got a consultant to come in, and agreed operating today was both viable and necessary. Through a combination of keyhole surgery and more icky procedures, the cyst, which was walnut sized when diagnosed but had grown to bigger than tennis ball size by today, was cut up and removed.

Rather than waiting until February for the scheduled op, she's in hospital now sleepy quietly, and will be home either tomorrow or Tuesday. While she'll have the pain of a recovered operation, she'll be back on her feet by the end of the week and should be mostly recovered (but probably not well enough to return to work properly) by Christmas.

The pain will be over, and she can try to enjoy life a bit more. This is a Good Thing.

The Doctor did say that, given the rate of growth, they'd likely have had to bring the operation forward anyway, but it's done with now.

For those wondering why I've been mostly silent, with a side order of extreme crankiness in various online comment boxes, I've been more worried than a worried thing being worried (it was possible cancer at one point before formal diagnosis).

Tonight, I've had several glasses of whiskey, and am about to log off to play a bit of Plants Vs Zombies before trying to get some sleep.

Many thanks to all who've offered support &c, too much to take in today, but, y'know, she's going to be OK.


comment count unavailable comments on the original post on Dreamwidth. I'd prefer it if you comment there[1] if you are able to keep the discussion together. [1] If you are reading this, you very likely have an OpenID.
In actual terms, someone earning about £25K today is close to the average, and probably struggling to get by. But a hundred years ago, that would've been a very comfortable living. Two hundred years ago, that would've put you in the very wealthiest sector of society, with servants to do your bidding and every need catered for.

Triple that today, you're looking at a good earning for a member of the professions: a doctor, a lawyer, an MP. A hundred years ago, it'd give youa millionaires lifestyle. Two hundred years ago, a billionaires lifestyle. So I thought I'd do a poll...

You need to be logged in in order to take part in the poll. You do not need a Dreamwidth account, use your blog url as an OpenID here, you can also use your Google or Yahoo account, just type http://www.google.com/profiles/USERNAME or https://me.yahoo.com/ in the OpenID box.


Poll #5213 The days of yore
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 23


You have a fixed income of £75,000 per year, when would you rather live

View Answers

2010s
19 (86.4%)

1960s
3 (13.6%)

1910s
0 (0.0%)

1860s
0 (0.0%)

1810s
0 (0.0%)

You have a fixed income of £75,000 per year, when would you happily live

View Answers

1960s
22 (100.0%)

1910s
12 (54.5%)

1860s
9 (40.9%)

1810s
8 (36.4%)

You are male and have a fixed income of £27,612 per year, when would you rather live

View Answers

2010s
10 (47.6%)

1960s
7 (33.3%)

1910s
1 (4.8%)

1860s
2 (9.5%)

1810s
1 (4.8%)

You are male and have a fixed income of £27,612 per year, when would you happily live

View Answers

1960s
20 (95.2%)

1910s
13 (61.9%)

1860s
10 (47.6%)

1810s
8 (38.1%)

You are female and have a fixed income of £22,152 per year, when would you rather live

View Answers

2010s
14 (73.7%)

1960s
5 (26.3%)

1910s
0 (0.0%)

1860s
0 (0.0%)

1810s
0 (0.0%)

You are female and have a fixed income of £22,152 per year, when would you happily live

View Answers

1960s
15 (93.8%)

1910s
4 (25.0%)

1860s
4 (25.0%)

1810s
3 (18.8%)


My answers to the above poll, with some explanations )
Ten years ago, I knew the phone number of most of my close friends and family, backwards. Now, if it's not programmed in my phone, it might as well not exist.

5 Years ago, I could, at a pinch, remember the birthdays of close friends and family. Now, if I don't get an online prompt, it might as well not happen.

I still remember lots of stuff, but now it's weird stuff, not mundane everyday stuff.

Is this good or bad?
Oh come on, like I could resist posting this:
It's a bit like ASCII art, but done with D6s. Must've taken a lot more patience than I could manage. From [livejournal.com profile] karohemd.

PSA: I am away for a few days as of about an hours time when I get on the bus, I'll be staying at my sister's, and I'm not taking the laptop, I'll likely use hers to check in, but I won't be online at my normal frequency.

Devon types!

Having completely lost track of who reads this that's still in Devon, well, no set plans, Red Arrows this evening, going to Dartmouth Regatta at some point, and probably visiting my grandmothers in Slapton and South Pool Saturday, travelling back up Sunday, I'll be reliant on my sister and/or buses to get about, but it'd be cool to see people if possible.
So, today, we had a few problems. We ran out of petrol on the way from school to Tesco's (not the best start), but while in Tesco, I made a cardinal error. Perhaps not as daft as going up against a Sicilian when death is on the line, but nearly.

Y'see, I need to buy some more toys for the school playground, so I thought I'd get some prices. So me, [personal profile] miss_s_b and [personal profile] amazing_holly, having finished our shop, took a quick detour into the toy aisle. Their rangeof die-cast toys is both varied and cheap, which is what I needed to know. Unfortunately, on the way out, my eye was taken by some Transformers toys on offer. Now, when I was a kid, Transformers were my favourite toys EVER (I even had a complete run of the UK print of the comic).

So, naturally, I had a quick glance. And Miss Holly saw a Bumblebee, and fell in love. Jennie saw one she wanted, and despite me pointing out we're a bit skint, she decided we should buy some "for Holly". I got an Optimus Prime (never had one as a kid, too expensive).

"I want my Megatron"

So, in the checkout queue, I had two problems. One was that the girl was rather pretty, so someone couldn't resist flirting with her and telling her how nice her hair was. The bigger problem, of course, was someone else complaining and saying I want my Megatron in a bit of a strop.

So, out of the 6 year old and the 31 year old (who's been seriously proposed for a peerage), which one do you think was flirting outrageously, and which was having a strop over being able to play with the toy we hadn't paid for yet.

What do you think?
Why is it, when you've got loads of stuff to do, there's loads of interest in the news and on t'telly, that your body throws a stinking headcold at you that doesn't affect your physical abilities at all but completely messes up your brain's ability to think?

I'm trying to put the finishing touches to a blog redesign for a friend who's actually going to pay me good, solid money. Can I concentrate on it for long enough to actually, y'know, type a line of code?

Can I buggery.

The Prime Minister has finally gone and called the General Election, so it's 4 weeks and 2 days until we all get to go to the polls (or not, according to preference), and after that the really interesting stuff starts. Can I get my head into the right space to write about it? Dinnae be daft.

I'm the election agent for three local council candidates as well as having my own campaign to run in the 4th local seat. Spent the best part of yesterday out delivering, have a new leaflet to write and send to the organiser. Except my brain won't concentrate for long enough. On top of that I have loads of volunteers to help organise (seriously, we've got more local volunteers than the Tories have, how cool is that?), but I can't even type their email addresses properly.

Still, at least I've managed to write a post for t'blog. There's a reasonable chance that this may continue. There's also a good chance I'll keep using Twitter a lot over the next few weeks; I've got a new phone with a decent internet access y'see.

So, anyone want to come to Yorkshire and help me get my brain working?
K, this evening, I decided to make a steam pudding, and due to a rather dried out orange, it ended up being a lemon and orange steam pudding.

Which got us talking. [personal profile] amazing_holly isn't that familiar with the rhyme and, as is usual, [personal profile] miss_s_b seems to know a completely different version to me, which is again different to the ones I've found online (and neither of us can remember the exact lyrics we knew as a kid anyway).

I've found several online sources, best two seem to be Wikipedia and rhymes.org.uk, which also has the alternate London Bells nursery rhyme. However, none of these mention the Bell of St Stephen's, which Jennie swears blind was in the version she knew as a kid.

Can anyone else remember St Stephen's being mentioned? It's very likely it's not the Bell of St Stephen's (ie Big Ben) anyway, but...

Oh, wait, the pudding? You want a recipe? Oh go on then...

Easiest and quickest pudding mix ever )

Nom nom nom.
Apparently, if I stop posting here, people will start ringing me to check I'm ok, or wondering what I'm up to, or other similar things. This is especially true if I just, y'know, stop writing stuff and stop commenting elsewhere.

Well, I did. It started as a weekend break from t'internet in which I didn't even look at my email, then it turned into a few months where I simply scanned my email for important stuff, occasionally checked into Twitter, but otherwise didn't read any of my reading, friends or feed pages and simply turned off. Honestly? It's been good.

So, what have I been doing instead? Well, making money definitely wasn't one of them. Ah well, that'll have to start changing. What I have been doing is enjoying life in many respects.

Learnt how to bake and cook

I've learnt, not just how to bake (which is quite easy), but also how to actually, y'know, properly cook. I am no longer scared by a recipe that requires I chop an onion. I know what a vichyssoise is (but not how to spell it), and have even made one. My carrot, cream and orange soup, adapted from Mary Berry's recipe, is quite simply gorgeous, and I successfully made baguettes yesterday.

I've been helping [personal profile] miss_s_b in the garden, in which we have potatoes, beetroot, oregano and even scented geraniums growing well. The newly planted garlic is already sprouting, so that'll be nice for next year.

Biggest bestest cake in the world

I've been spending time with [personal profile] amazing_holly, reading, playing games, cooking and having fun. I managed to get her to teach herself the basics of multiplication and division while baking a cake. I even, as a reward for her for sticking with learning to be good enough at Speed Racer to actually beat Mummy in a championship cooked, with her, the biggest bestest cake that Mister Mat has ever made! which has, somehow, now become the biggest bestest cake in the world. Well, she is 6. It was fun making it though, even if it was so big it had gone dry before we finished it.

But also? I've been playing games. A lot of games. For this you can mostly blame [personal profile] liadnan. Y'see, awhileback I had a catastrophic OS failure involving a critical Fx vulnerability and a dodgy porn site, and we gave up on fixing Windows and switched to Ubuntu for the main desktop. I had some problems getting a few things to work, and he pointed me at the wonder that is the world of Linux repositories. So I installed some, to see what I could find.

Open source, extendable games

Mostly, I found games. Open Source, extendable, games. Based on some wonderful classics like Elite, Civilisation, Sin City and similar. I will, I hope, write up the ones I enjoyed, just so I can have a record of them. I may even write up the ones I hated, to remind me not to install them again. In the meantime, I'm back. I've been reading, and even commenting on, most of my reading pages, and plan to completely reorganise them to keep my sanity in place.

In the meantime, enough about me, what've you guys been up to, have I missed much?
OK, [personal profile] miss_s_b cooked us a lovely veggie cottage pie this evening, with cheap garlic bread using a baguette from Tesco's bargain bin.

So I need to cook pudding after Shrub's gone to bed. I've done loads of steam puddings recently, as well as cookies, muffins, biscuits and bread variants (recipes might get posted on request, I still have the bread recipe in drafts somewhere). So...

Any suggestions?


Preferably not involving nuts (because I'm allergic) or chocolate (as Jennie's allergic). Stuff involving syrup or jam is an added bonus but not essential.
So, today was the 2nd annual visit of the parents. They do a lot of weekends away, spent last weekend in Cheshire at an event and have an event next weekend in North Yorkshire, so they come to visit us today and tomorrow.

So we have an attack of planned vs actual.

So, about that late afternoon arrival time... )

My Mum orders a 'snack' lunch for us... )

A damn fine evening meal, only slightly spoiled by not having enough space left in our bellies... )

Tomorrow? We might go to Holmfirth. We might go to Wakefield for the National Sculpture Park (if only just to annoy Germaine "call me Professor" Greer). Don't know yet. I do know it requires us meeting my parents and the ungodly early hour of 10am. Wish us luck.
I knew, when I moved in with [personal profile] miss_s_b, that I was moving in with a massive SF geek. What I didn't realise at the time was the extent that I was moving in with two SF geeks, one of whom was 4 and will be 6 next month.

Today, we took her to see her first film in the cinema. Given she's watched every single episode of TOS and has the Animated Series in her pile of favourite DVDs, the choice was obvious and we figured there was a good chance she'd enjoy it.

We were slightly worried, as it's certificate 12A, which means kids only with an adult, but I did look it up on the rating site and the reasons given made it look like it was fine for her. It was—she had to hold Mummy's hands a few times and give her a hug when Mummy got upset and emotional, but, y'know, what are 5-year-olds for if not to look after their big soppy mother?

I'll spare you the acclamatory review. The casting was excellent, the characters were played perfectly, the whole establishment of the parallel universe thing was cool, the science was suitable crap and full of PSB, they made up at least two impossible plot devices, and I didn't want to kill Simon Pegg. Nimoy was cool, the girl playing Uhura was gorgeous (#29), and there were lots of big bangs and cool explosions.

They didn't destroy the Golden Gate Bridge, but came close—perhaps an actual Trekkie can explain to me why they built the HQ of Star Fleet, the most important institution in the galaxy, on the wrong side of a major fault line?

Anyway—go see, and if the kids like SF, take 'em, just be prepared to hold their hands a few times.

Her review? As the credits rolled:
Is it over? I don't want it to be over.
On the way to the car:
Me: What was the best bit Miss Holly?
[personal profile] amazing_holly: All of it.
She was genuinely upset that there wasn't more to see. Wrath of Khan with her soon then (we've got two copies of the DVD after all).

ETA: Jennie's write up is here.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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