Saturday, December 30, 2006

What, no green eggs?

Scientists in China have successfully bred green fluorescent pigs which they hope will boost stem cell research. I'm not sure how fluorescent green pigs will help stem cell research, but there you go. They created the pigs by injecting green protein from jellyfish into pig embryos.

'The mouth, trotters and tongue of the pigs are green under ultraviolet light' Professor Liu Zhonghua told Xinhua news.

It's a little worrying. After finding out that farmed Salmon are in fact fed dyed food to make them pink, I can't help but things like this don't bode well. Mind you, I'd quite like a red cat.

Spirited Away

Today at 5:15pm BBC2 are showing 'Spirited Away', far and away the best animated film I've ever seen. Produced by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki of Team Ghiblink, it won an Oscar for best animated feature in 2003. It really is the most beautiful film you'll ever see. There are no computer animated graphics, all the animation is hand-painted.

The story centres around a young girl who is moving home with her parents. They get lost on the way to their new house and end up stumbling into the spirit world, a world ruled by gods, witches, and monsters. Her parents are changed into pigs and she has to work out a way to rescue her parents and get back home...

You've never seen a film like this. I urge you, if you haven't already seen it to stop whatever you're doing at quarter past five this afternoon and watch it. And set your videos. You'll definitely want to watch it again and again.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Out with the Old...

Well, Christmas is over and much fun was had by all. Good food, good company, a real tree and some rather fantastic presents. Including a marvellous vegetarian cookbook, a bracelet and a hand-painted picture from my little Slovenian nutcase friend Josie: "In 2007 I wish you a dirty woman". One can only hope.

And of course, once Christmas is over, one cannot help but think of the new year approaching and the year that has been. I had high hopes for this year and it turned out to be a bit of a rollercoaster, all things being equal. Good in some ways, shocking in others. So what lies in store for 2007?

Will it be a good one? A bad one? The last two have been particularly tricky. Not bad per se, just full of lessons that I probably needed to learn, but didn't particularly want to. But it's all gravy, as they say in the hood and what doesn't kill you makes you stronger etc. It's just that I'm a little tired of learning now, I'd really like a nice year this year.

So 2007... I have plans. Inspired by my recent novel-writing escapade, I've decided it's time to revisit my list of things I've always wanted to do. And it's no good sitting here year after year, thinking I wish I could do this or that. Until I find a magic lamp to make those wishes come true, I'm going to have to do it the old-fashioned way. So here are my ambitions for 2007.

- I'm going to learn to play the piano. I used to play, but I stopped when I was about 11. Being taught piano by the mega-religious church organist was not the best idea. Kids do NOT want to learn to play hymns.

- I'm going to learn to play the guitar. I was taught violin when I was at junior school. And they did the lessons in play time. So when every other kid was out playing in the sun, I was stuck inside, learning to play three blind mice. Again, not the best inspiration to turn me into a budding Nigel Kennedy. Thankfully.

- I'm going to take up running. I did once accidentally get quite fit through pure laziness. I kept oversleeping and was always late for uni. So I'd end up running to college and I did end up quite fit. I rather enjoyed it, to be honest. And I think a bit of exercise will do me good.

- I'm going to learn to draw. I've always wanted to learn to draw, but I've never been taught. I enjoyed the creativity of writing the novel, and I'd like to be able to express that creativity in something that doesn't take that long to do. Something that isn't all-consuming.

- I'm going to live more healthily. No more crisps for dinner (and lunch and breakfast).

- I'm going to have a proper go at tai chi. I found it pretty difficult and frustrating, but that's probably a good thing.

- Finally, I'm going to put something back into the world. I've already signed up to give blood and I think I'm going to do some voluntary work. Haven't quite decided what yet, I'm thinking maybe Samaritans. It's something I've always thought about doing but has scared the shit out of me to be honest.

So those are my New Year's Resolutions 2007. I'll let you all know in 12 months whether I managed to achieve them all!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What is ET short for?

Because he has small legs.

A Joke about Mickey Mouse

I've heard that Mickey Mouse is feeling poorly. Apparently he's been getting Disney spells.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The World's Most Gullible Criminal

What an invisible thief wouldn't look like.

In the long list of criminal dos and don'ts, one of the top pieces of advice has to be 'never rob a bank thinking that you're invisible when you're not actually invisible.'

Sadly for one man in Iran, he made just that mistake – and as a result, police in Tehran are hunting a fake sorcerer who convinced the man he was invisible and so could rob banks safely.

The man's ill-fated heist attempt started to go wrong shortly after he entered the bank, as he started snatching money from the hands of customers. For some reason, rather than being terrified of the mysterious invisible poltergeist stealing their cash, the customers quickly overpowered the hapless thief.

"I made a mistake. I understand now what a big trick was played on me." the man told the court, state-run newspaper Jam-e Jam reports.

He explained that he had paid 5 million rials (just under £290) to a wizard imposter, who in return gave hims spells to tie to his arm. The sorcerer told him that they would make him invisible, and that he could then rob banks to his heart's content.

Pop Quiz

So, pop pickers... What was the best-selling album of the 1960's?

I should perhaps have been clearer! I meant the best-selling album of the decade, so that would exclude any sales from the 70's onwards. And I should have said in the UK as well...

The best-selling album in the 1960's was the soundtrack to The Sound of Music. In the UK, it was at Nr 1 for 69 weeks from 1965 to 1968!

Mute Tourettes Syndrome

I don't normally make a habit of forwarding charity e-mails, but this seemed to be a particularly good cause. I know it touched me personally. Mute Tourettes Syndrome has long been in the shadow of its more famous sister-disease, Tourettes Syndrome, and although much rarer, is even more tragic in its consequences.

While a child suffering from Tourettes has difficulty in containing its anger and frustration, a child with Mute Tourettes suffers the opposite fate and is unable to express their true feelings. There is, however, an answer.

A great deal has been achieved by the Mute Tourettes Foundation using new art therapy techniques. However, their work can only continue with our help: Just £1.37 will keep a child supplied with crayons for a whole day. £5 will provide them with enough paper for a week. Please give what you can to help this deserving cause.

See the picture below to see how they helped one little girl.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Joke about Auctions

Q. What does an auctioneer need to know to do his job?
A. Lots.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Three in a bed Look-a-like Xmas Special

Balding goth Sisters of Mercy singer Andrew 'Moaner' Eldritch; ├╝bercamp Judas Priest frontman Rob 'Yes, that is a Whip I'm Holding' Halford; and forehead-kissing French goalkeeper Fabien 'Le Grand Slaphead' Barthez.

Dodgy Lyrics (or dodgy ears)

My car has a tape recorder and I only actually own three tapes, one of which is a tape of Libyan Belly Dancing music. But one of those tapes is Sisters of Mercy - First and Last and Always, one of the best albums of my childhoold. But one of the songs, No Time to Cry, seems to have Andrew Eldritch singing "No time for Latte", which isn't particularly goth, is it?

Reminds me of Madonna's Erotica, which sounds exactly as if she's singing 'Bill Oddie, Bill Oddie, Put your hands all over my body." (See this video on for proof). have got a couple of other funny dodgy lyric videos, including: Simply Red, Simply Red (again), the Beatles and Pavarotti.

The Di'ly Express

Of all the newspapers in the UK, the one I hate most is the Daily Express. Which may come as a surprise to some of you, bearing in mind it's in competition with the Daily Heil. But at least with the Heil, it does exactly what it promises to do. It's the voice of the conservative right and everyone needs a voice, irrespective of whether you agree with that voice or not. And I don't even mind the Sun, Star or Mirror. They're like comics for adults in a world where a good pun is much better than a good story. I don't particularly take them seriously and to be honest, I suspect that they are written tongue in cheek anyway.

But the Express is different. The self-titled 'World's Greatest Newspaper' is in my opinion the most insidious of them all. It is sensationalism of the lowest degree, its headlines are always misleading, misquoting and over the top - it's not unusual for the headline to read something like 'House prices to crash by 30%', only to find out that some analyst or other might have said a few months ago that it could happen if aliens invade or interest rates rise by 5% or something. They just seem to come up with headline, then look around for the 'facts' to back it up. And they dig up the same old themes over and over again, house prices set to collapse / boom, new health miracle cure / deadly scare...

It's simple scaremongering and I HATE it when the media does that. It is irresponsible behaviour for a publication that has three-quarters of a million readers every day. If all their readers were to actually all BELIEVE what this shameless rag is publishing and acted accordingly, well, who knows what could happen...

I remember a headline after the July 7th bombing in London. 'Bombers are all sponging asylum seekers', when it turned out that NONE of the bombers were in fact asylum seekers (and two of the bombers weren't even known at that point). The Express's obsession with the asylum issue even led to Simon Darby, a member of the British National Party, crediting the paper with boosting the BNP's electoral fortunes.

And the other thing I hate about the Express... It's been ten years since Diana died. Ten years. But the Di'ly Express knows that she STILL sells papers. Friday's subheading read that 'Stevens Report does not answer the key questions: And The Daily Express won't stop asking them'. No, they won't stop asking the questions. It sells far too many papers.


Number of times this year that Diana has been the front page Headline: 60.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Suffolkator

Why are they calling him the Ipswich Ripper? He hasn't actually 'ripped' anyone. As far as I'm aware, they've all been asphyxiated? Unless, as I commented on Little Zoe's blog, it is as a result of severe flatulence, it's misleading to call him the Ipswich Ripper. And the Suffolk Strangler... I mean, it's not particularly unique, we've had a few 'stranglers' before, the most famous being the Boston Strangler.

I think we need a bit more imagination when coming up with new serial killer nicknames.

I think he should be called the Suffolkator. It covers both strangling / flatulence angles. And it sounds vaguely like some kind of futuristic killing machine, as opposed to some fat, dysfunctional 'mummy's boy' weirdo, which is probably nearer to the truth.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jack the Tractor part II

I just heard a nice lady on the BBC describe this nutter as 'potentially one of Britain's worst serial killers'.

What nonsense.

Surely Michael Barrymore is Britain's worst serial killer, since he's only bumfisted one man to death, and didn't even have the decency to admit it.

Jack the Tractor

Bit weird, Ipswich all of a sudden being on the world news. I'm used to Ipswich being a bit of a backwater type place, not the kind of place with a serial killer. Aside from anything else, I don't want Ipswich to be the kind of place that you always associate with some kind of tragedy - eg when you think of Locabie or Hungerford.

I've spoken to some people back home, they're all a bit scared, understandably. At the moment, it's only prostitutes who are being targetted, but there's no guarantee at all that it will stay that way. I'll never understand what it is that suddenly makes someone decide to go out and kill a load of people.

I hope they catch him quickly. And then Ipswich can go back to being famous for having a crap football team.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Satan's Flying Wizards

A story in the Surrey Comet about culling pigeons in the Royal Borough town of Kingston. Which goes out of control as the local residents start to add their comments....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Day 1...

Yup, today I have stopped smoking again. It was fucking tough this afternoon, there were countless times I had to fight the temptation to go to the shops and buy fags. But somehow I managed to resist the temptation and day one smoke-free is finished.

I hate stopping smoking. I am determined that this is the last time I have to do this. Tonight I didn't know what to do with myself, I didn't want to be with anyone but I also didn't want to be alone... I didn't know if I was going to burst into tears or into manic laughter. I've got so much energy built up in my muscles, I keep having to do Hulk-style muscle stretches...

And I can feel it searching for a weakness. I often think of my cigarette addiction as being a separate entity from me, like a monster that I have to face. This morning it fought on the old the enjoyment / pain battleground, one that I just about managed to win.

Since then, it's tried all sorts of different tactics to get me to smoke again and I'm resisting them all. I will not give in. Not this time. It's not easy this time - in the past it has been. But this time I think I need it to be hard, I need to feel the pain of it. I think that will be the only way I will not take it up again.

So, off to hide behind a giant packet of crisps for a couple of days. Wish me luck.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Death Sticks from Hell

A lot has been made of the recent death of Alexander Litvinenko due to Polonium-210 poisoning. I had never heard of Polonium-210 before this episode - chemistry was never my strong point - but apparently one milligram of Polonium-210 emits as many alpha particles as 5 grams of radium. Weight for weight, it is 10 to the power of 9 times more toxic than hydrogen cyanide. In fact, one gram of Polonium-210 is enough to poison 100 million people, of which 50 million people would die.

Was reading today Kyklops' struggles at stopping smoking. I rather stupidly took up smoking again recently. And today, more than ever, I wish I hadn't. I was doing a little bit of research... And you can imagine my joy when I discovered that cigarette smoke contains Polonium-210. According to U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop (on national television, 1990) radioactivity, not tar, accounts for at least 90% of all smoking related lung cancer. And guess what? The cigarette manufacturers have known about this since the 60's.

And when you dig deeper into what are actually breathing into your lungs, it absolutely fills you with horror. There are 43 known carcinogens in cigarette smoke. 43! There are over 4,000 different chemicals. Aside from Polonium-210, there is also lead-210, which is also radioactive. And there are also the old favourites hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and of course, how could we forget formaldehyde?

And I was horrified to find out that animals are STILL being submitted to the most horrendous tests by the cigarette companies. Examples include:

* Cutting holes in beagles' throats through which the dogs are forced to breathe concentrated cigarette smoke for a year.

* Inserting electrodes into dogs' penises to measure the effect of cigarette smoke on sexual performance.

* Strapping masks to the faces of rats and monkeys and permanently restraining them to force them to breathe cigarette smoke constantly.

* Forcing dogs to be on mechanical ventilators and chronically exposed to cigarette smoke.

* Restraining Rhesus monkeys in chairs with head devices and exposing them to nicotine and caffeine to determine how caffeine and nicotine affect breathing.

Having now been vegetarian for about five months, I am horrified that this is still going on. Thankfully it's been illegal in Britain since 1997, but in the States it is still widespread, paid for by both the taxpayer AND the cigarette companies, even though the long-term effects are pretty much well-known.

All things being equal, I think that cigarette manufacturers are about as close as we will ever get to Satanic representation on earth. I mean, I bet even Hell wouldn't have been able to come up with something as evil as cigarettes. Cigarettes not that big in size, really... How the hell do they manage to fit all that stuff in them? It must be really packed in to fit so much that is bad for you in one little stick.

It reminds me of the Terry Pratchett book 'Omen'. For those that haven't read it, there's an angel and a demon on earth, maintaining balance. And they both let each other have the odd victory every now and then. The demon, Crawley, receives a commendation from Satan for the Spanish Inquisition... And it was the first time he'd even heard of it. Just goes to show that we are often better at creating suffering for ourselves and our surroundings than anything old Beelzebubbles has downstairs.

Friday, December 08, 2006

On my own in the office...

and having a disco. Well, not so much a disco, more of a rave, really. It's four twenty on a Friday afternoon and I have psychedelic trance blasting out of my laptop. Oh yes. I like work on days like this.

Sorry about the bullet sound effects that happen everytime you open the website. It's from that George Bush shoot 'em up game. Eventually it will find its way into the archives and normal service will be resumed. But to anyone that hasn't played the game, it's really rather good.

Pizza Hut

If any of you phone up Pizza Hut to make an order, make sure you say 'Smells Like White Spirit' to the operator. You won't get a discount... But it helps to get the name around.

Now the Novel is finished...

It an explosion of creativity like I've never previously experienced. To write a 65,000 word novel in less than 6 days... The whole story and dialogue just ran through my head, like I was watching a film. I literally couldn't write fast enough. If I hadn't had to go to work and if I'd been able to type faster, I'd have finished it much sooner.

Writing it was intense... And I didn't plan the storyline in advance, I had no idea how it was going to end. In fact, I often didn't know what was going to happen even in the chapters I was writing. Which meant I learned about the storyline at almost exactly the time as the characters and indeed, the reader. And it worked... Somehow it worked. I have absolutely no idea whether I'll ever be able to do this again. I hope so. I'd quite like to be an author. A lot will depend on whether I can get this one published or not. If I can, I'll definitely try and do it again.

But it was a book I needed to write, even though I had absolutely no idea as I was writing it. It's so bizarre, the main character is on a journey in both a physical and metaphorical sense... And I walked every step of the way with him. And even at the end, I still didn't know what the point of it was. I just wrote what I saw.

And three days later, it's starting to make a bit of sense now. Amazing how the human psyche finds a way to let you to see what you need to see, even if you can't see with your everyday eyes. I'm not going to go into any detail, but it's all good.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Women... They just don't get football.

This is a true story from a West Ham season-ticket holder. His season-ticket last year was an absolute plum seat half way up the Upton park main stand close to the half-way line. In other words, a TV camera style view. Anyway, after the first few games of the season it became apparent that despite all the home games being sell-outs, the two seats on his left were always empty. This continued until just after Christmas when all of a sudden a guy and his young son appeared there. After a few weeks of sitting next to this guy and his son, he decided to ask if the guy knew why the seats had been empty for half the season.

The guy said "Don't even go there mate. The wife bought me and my son a season ticket but decided it would be a nice idea to give us them for Christmas. I was fucking raging!"

Can you guess in which country this photo was taken?

My sort of Town

Italian Time Keeping

Monday, December 04, 2006


Well, it's taken six days and 65,000 words but the novel is finally finished. The Trouser Legs of Destiny are now ready to walk into a bookshop near you. It's been intense, seriously intense. I don't know if I'll write a second one, I guess that depends on whether I can get the first one published. But it's been absolutely draining. And yet exhilerating at the same time. I can't believe I've finally managed it, my own novel. I can safely tick that one off the list of things to do before I die.

Ladies & Gentlemen, we have a title...

I've just reached 50,000 words and I know how it's going to end. How do I know? Because I've already written the last chapter, that's how. Now just have to finish the last third of the book and it's a done deal.

And we have a title. 'The Trouser Legs of Destiny' by Chez Guevara. There you go. Available in all good bookshops, just as soon as I find someone to publish it...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

This Novel-writing lark is easy!

I'm now past halfway, just finished Chapter 22. So far, I've written about 41,000 words. Which equates to about ten thousand words a day. If I carry on like this, I should be finished by Wednesday, I reckon! I'm going for the world record in shortest time to write an entire novel. If I can get it done by Tuesday, I'll have written the whole thing in a week.

It's been a lot of fun, so far. I would recommend it to anyone. The hardest thing is coming up with the original idea. As soon as you've come up with that, the rest just writes itself! By the way... if anyone knows any publishers... I'll give you a 'shout out' in the book!

Friday, December 01, 2006

So far, so good!

I'm about quarter of the way through the novel now, I've just finished chapter 10. So far I've written about twenty thousand words. I have no idea whether it's good enough to get published, but that's not really the point. Of course, once I've finished it, I will try and get it published... But I won't cry if it doesn't happen. It will be just enough to have written it.

I did consider putting the chapters written so far on the blog... But I'm a little worried that it might get nicked. I know it's not very likely, but you can never be too careful. Who knows, I might be sitting on a blockbuster, and if anyone's going to reap in the rewards of it, it'll be me! You do hear sometimes of people stealing ideas or even sometimes entire manuscripts of stories. If it's good enough for Dan Brown (allegedly), it will be good enough for some internet dweeb running low on inspiration.

But it has actually been remarkably easy so far. As soon as I came up with the bare bones of the story, the rest has just fallen into place. I'm at a bit of a crossroads in the plot. And I haven't worked out how it's going to end yet. But then again, I quite like that. I've got a couple of ideas about how it's going to end, but nothing yet set in stone. I'm sure all will become clear soon.

If anyone wants to read what I've written so far, let me know and I'll email you some chapters.