Monday, January 17, 2005

Trivia Quiz

Nobody took up the trivia challenge except for Alan who got two of the answers correct and also threw in Max von Sydow who played Blofeld in Never Say Never Again (as Max Von Sydow according to IMDB).

The correct answers are of course:

Donald Pleasance (You Only Live Twice)

Tele Savalis (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)

Charles Grey (Diamonds are Forever). That film was actually mentioned in my Blog so I don't know why Alan didn't get it.

Blofeld also appears in Thunderball although we never see his face and in the credits the actor is "?".

The Importance of Being Zeno's Paradox

There was this man who enlisted in the army. In fact, he joined the parachute regiment because he had a revolutionary new way of jumping out of planes to test.

"Well," he said to his fellow recruits. "In order to travel from the plane to the ground, you must first travel half way from the plane to the ground. Then you have to travel half of the remaining distance so you are now a quarter of the way to the ground. Then you have to travel half of that distance and then half of the remaining distance and so on. No matter how close to the ground you are, you always have to go half of the remaining distance so you can never actually reach the ground. All I have to do is get sufficiently close and then put my hands and feet out to stop."

He tried his technique on his first jump. Unfortunately, although his jump did indeed consist of an infinite number of bisections of the remaining distance to the ground, each one took an exponentially shorter time to travel than the last and when they were all added up, in accordance with analytical theory the total time was finite. In short, he learned at least two meanings for the phrase "terminal velocity".

Miraculously, our hapless recruit had managed to put his hands and feet out as he planned and the shattering of the bones in his limbs cushioned the fall such that he was otherwise unharmed.

He lay in the hospital bed with all four limbs in plaster. The Colonel of the Regiment called in the Paras' best medical team to look at him. The head surgeon looked him over with a grim expression.

"I'm afraid zere is little hope", he pronounced (he was a Frenchman on exchange and spoke in an outrageous French accent).

"Why?" said the colonel.

"Well, most of our patients seem to land on zere heads. We are very good at reconstructing flattened noses, but not much else."

"So there's nothing you can do?"

"I'm afraid not, it is ze impotence of being ze nose Para docs."

This blog post fulfils the assignment The importance of being Zeno's paradox at You can rate it here.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Tao of Fish

I've done extensive research on the Tao of fish and come up with this handy blog which fulfills the requirement to blog about the Tao of fish although I don't think I agree that "Fish" is a good name for a rock star.

Here we see one of the limitations of SimonG's It'll give out topics that have only recently been assigned. If I were in Simon's shoes, he'd probably be asking for them back, but also I'd attach a weighting to each context and each noun that people submit so that topics that have been blogged recently are less likely to come up again in the near future.

This blog post fulfils the assignment The tao of fish at You can rate it here.

Cautionary tale

Nothing to blog about for months and then loads of things come up at once. I found a link to the Woolamaloo Gazette whilst surfing Alan Saunder's Blog and I think it deserves posting.

Firstly, it is a cautionary tale for bloggers everywhere to be careful about what you post. I've often read blogs and thought "hmm, if that person ever reads this, you're in trouble". Some people seem to have a blind spot.: they think people they know won't ever read their blogs.

Secondly, although I think Waterstones might have a point (I've never read any of the comments that got this person fired so I cannot judge them), they have handled the situation dreadfully. If somebody has done something wrong, the best thing to do first is have a quiet word with them straight away to see if they'll stop. Nobody gets fired, nobody gets bad publicity and the problem is resolved. The whole story demonstrates an incredible lack of respect for their employees.

Thus it is with regret that I must now withdraw my custom from the Waterstones who previously would have relieved me of a couple of hundred pounds a year. It's actually the only decent bookshop in Reading now that W H Smiths have turned half of their book department into a coffee shop. I suppose I can still go in their and browse (immediately after my coffee, jam doughnut and sticky chocolate cake from Smiths) but then buy the books from Amazon.

If I had all the Poo in the world, this is what I would do with it

OK, it was a mistake.

You may have noticed that my blogging is somewhat erratic. This is because I am often at a loss for something to blog about. In short, I lack inspiration, so I signed up to in the hope of obtaining some erudite topic on which I could wax lyrically. Sadly, I underestimated SimonG's friends.

Well, I've made my bed so I have got to lie in it, which is, incidentally, why one of the things I most emphatically would not do with all the poo in the World is keep it in my bed.

I think I'd start by cataloguing it. There are many different (dare I say) flavours of poo. There's human poo obviously, and cow poo, cat poo, dog poo. Somer kinds of poo are maybe not poo at all, bird poo for instance and I remember many years ago there was a scientific argument as to whether some yellow stuff found in Iraq or some place like that was actually bee poo or weapons of mass destruction. Then there's fossilized poo e.g. there's a whole scientific discipline for studying dinosaur poo. I'm not sure fossilized poo should count though as it's actually made of stone.

Having catalogued it, I'd spread it on my roses.

This blog post fulfils the assignment If I had all the Poo in the world, this is what I would do with it at You can rate it here.


Saturday, January 15, 2005

Advice for Ubervillains

Firstly, apologies to Germans: I can't seem to figure out how to get an umlaut in the title.

Are you an ├╝bervillain? Well, if you are I have some advice for you: satellite space weapons do not work. This struck me this evening while I was watching "Die Another Day". Let's review the evidence.

In Diamonds are Forever, James Bond thwarts the evil Ernst Stavro Blofeld who is trying to hold the World to ransom with a diamond encrusted laser satellite which can blow up cities.

In Golden Eye, James Bond thwarts the evil Major Richard Sharpe who is trying to hold the World to ransom with an EMP emitting satellite that can blow up cities.

In Die Another Day, James Bond thwarts the evil... err.. person who looks disturbingly like my financial advisor who is trying to hold the World to ransom with a diamond encrusted satellite that can blow up cities. Hmm that sounds familiar.

In Under Siege 2, Casey Rybeck thwarts the evil perm who is trying to hold the World to ransom with a nuclear satellite that can blow up cities.

The evidence is clear. Satellite weapons are just far too vulnerable to maveric secret agents with a grudge. In the above examples only Blofeld even escaped with his life. All the other ├╝bervillains died in horrible and yet ironic ways. This leads us to this week's trivia challenge:

This Week's Trivia Challenge

Name the three actors who have played Blofeld in James Bond Movies.

Trivia update

Name the four actors who have played Blofeld. Either that or name the three who have played him in real James Bond films. Should have checked my IMDB.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Apto Solutions

Apto Solutions, the company I work for and am in fact a founder of is a thrusting new company in the IT space. Consequently, we now have a fine web site which I am sure you'll all agree exemplifies the art of IT company web sites at its finest and it's only taken six months.

Thanks are due to Claire Pereira who put the initial site together based on an idea produced by our branding company and also for not submitting an invoice for her time (hooray!).


Thursday, January 06, 2005


I am saddened to see that Humphrey Carpenter has died. Many readers of this blog will not know who he is. Briefly, it is little known that he was the "Third Carpenter" but left the band before they became famous, citing musical differences with Richard and Karen. He achieved short lived fame as the star of a series of Milk Marketing Board commercials in the late 70's and then went on to a successful career as a Radio 4 broadcaster and writer.

One day about a year ago I was sitting on a train on the way from Reading to London. One of my favourite pastimes on trains is to liten in on the conversations of other passengers. For instance, I once overheard the conversation of the widow of Sir John Fieldhouse CinC of the Royal Navy at the time of the Falklands. Anyway, on this occasion the two passengers opposite me we talking about a biography one of them had evidently written.

Another of my favourite occupations is "can I guess who Sue Lawley is talking about in her intro to Desert Island Discs before she mentioned her name". I found I could apply this game to my fellow passengers' conversation. Could I guess who the biography was about before either of my fellow passengers mentioned his name.

It soon became apparent that they were talking about a dead comic: Peter Cooke? Then the biographer started discussing the difficulty of finding out about the biographee's early life because it had taken place in India. Spike Milligan.

The next, harder, game was to guess who the biographer was. It must be somebody I'd heard of to write a high profile biography like one of Spike Millgan, but sadly I failed. In the end I resorted to popping in to WH Smiths at Paddington and having a look at the biography section for Spike Milligan.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Take the first exit at the first roundabout and the second exit at the second roundabout.

Christmas present of the year was my Dad's new Sat Nav unit (apart from my brother's new telescope). It was so impressive at navigating us to PC World that we all decided we must have one. The fact that I was able to post a link to the Amazon page for it should be a big clue that I do now have mine.

Anyway, I decided to test it last night. Being a bit worried that it might get me lost I chose to let it navigate me home.

It turned out to be useless! I have previously blogged about the amount of roadworks on my normal route home last summer and to summarise, since the Sat Nav's maps were published a completely new roundabout has appeared on the approach to Arborfield, the main junction in Arborfield has been replaced with a massive new roundabout and the double mini-roundabout where the A327 crosses the M4 into Reading has been replaced with an enormous single roundabout. The last of these is extremely serious because the nice lady, Jane, tells you to take the first exit here which sends you off to the A33 instead of towards my house and lots of "turn around as soon as possible" advice.

I gave Jane another chance this morning to get me to work. This was more successful as I was forewarned about the new roundabouts. The only problem was that there is a little road between the A30 and Fleet which Jane (and Autoroute strangely) refused to acknowledge the existence of. When I refused to listen to Jane's advice to turn right on the A30 and instead crossed over and took the route, she did manage to recalculate it correctly.

Tonight I might see if I can navigate to Sara's house. I've only been there about a thousand times, so the Sat Nav will help.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Phish phishy phishy phish

This is my first blog of the new year, so I thought I'd return to its original subject. I have found a Phishing IQ Test which some of you may enjoy. I managed 70% and the three I got wrong were in the "right" direction i.e. I thought they were phishes when, in fact, they were legitimate.

Actually, what is the plural of "phish"? Is it "phishes" or "phish"?

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