Monday, April 19, 2010

Love Forever

The wife and I have had this long standing joke; it involves products that we 'get into' that either disappear off the shelves or stop being as good - become 'new and improved', which as we all know is an impossible thing, something cannot be new and improved, only new or improved.
It happens all the time and the list is endless and mainly forgotten; but it might have started with the introduction of Marmite (Oxo) cubes - they were great and as a new vegetarian, also very helpful. They stopped producing them. It carried on for many years; things we'd look forward to for dinner or a snack and poof they'd magically disappear, to the point where we came to the conclusion that if supermarkets keep a tally on what their individual customers purchase, they were purposefully cancelling the brands we liked! We were being forced to stop being vegetarian by the oppressive might of market forces! It has become amusingly frustrating; we're almost scared to take a shine to a product in case it gets the axe.

Breakfast and me are difficult. I spent ten years having a mug of tea and a Kit Kat to kickstart my day; but for the last 20 years, I have religiously worked my way through just about every palatable breakfast cereal known to man and growing to loath every single one. Then about 8 years ago, I discovered a Jordan's muesli that didn't contain the dreaded dried fruit things from hell; it was just granola, nuts, seeds and shredded coconut - it wasn't overly sweet - I can't eat sweet breakfast cereal - and I loved it for a full eighteen months before Jordan's discontinued it. I know, I'm a freak, I don't like dried fruit - live with it, I do. My back up cereal is Corn Flakes; I like them, but get bored really quickly.

I can see all of you are completely fascinated by this marvellous account of serial cereal behaviour, so I'll make it quick. Last summer, I discovered Kellogg's Nature's Choice cereal without added organic rabbit turds and I was a happy man again. I bought it with gay abandon, up to 4 boxes at a time, because it was invariably half price and already over £2.50 a box.

The last two weeks I haven't seen them anywhere. I emailed Kellogg's because I was that distraught at the possibility of losing something else I enjoy eating. Nature's Choice has been discontinued, according to their sources only 4 boxes a week were being sold anywhere and they were all in the Northampton area; not really, but you get the message.

Just to extend this yawnathon a second longer - Dorset Cereals do something similar, but at nearly £4 a box they can do all manner of barely possible things to themselves.

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I perhaps should include this in my political blog, and who knows, perhaps I will, but it can start here. I was talking to my mate Tony tonight and he gave me a really good idea - on election ballot papers have a final section which says, quite simply, "None of the Above", allowing a person to register their vote, but not commit to any candidate if he or she isn't up to what you regard as an MP. I think it would encourage a lot more people to vote, knowing that their vote would still be counted and could eventually have a say in how this country should be run.

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I did a really bad thing about a month ago. A really heinous and abominable thing that I shouldn't even admit to, but the wife made me do it...

A number of times over the last few years I've spouted about cable TV, satellite TV, HD, Freeview and various other things, despite having been in one incarnation or another a customer of Virgin Media for getting on for 25 years. To be fair they were never a problem until they 'upgraded' us a few years ago and then suddenly things just went horribly wrong. In fact, we started to have problems with NTL as they were known just as they appeared to be sorting their customer service act out.

A quick example: we've had 11 set top boxes in the last 3 years and that's just the tip of the cock-up iceberg. So when a young whipper snapper came a calling and sold us Sky TV with all the bells and whistles on it for £30 a month less than we were paying Virgin, we rather bit his hand off.

Yesterday, the wife did a deal with Virgin for a far better package than we left them with for £25 a month cheaper and we cancelled Sky. I could do a cereal and tell you all the reasons why, after 25 days of our 28 cancellation period, we opted to cancel Sky, but it really boiled down to one thing - they're shit.

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To many of you the following statement is going to seem a bit random and bizarre, but... who cares?

My first PC had a 20mb hard drive with a drivespace partition that turned it into 40mb. My operating system, Windows 3.1, took up 8mb and ordinarily 12 meg of available space was more than enough for the average computer user. My first Internet connection was at 16kbs and it took about an hour to download a 1 megabyte file.

This morning, I downloaded Lost in a little under 15 minutes; it was 350meg. That was slow because as I mentioned not so long ago, I am running a ZX Spectrum in a world full of Hal 9000s. My mate downloaded the same episode in 4 minutes. His laptop has more hard drive space than all of the PCs I have ever owned, put together. It will also handle 8 or 9 applications at the same time, almost instantly. I can go and prepare my dinner while my PC loads Google Chrome. I can't use Firefox any longer, it uses too much memory. I hoovered it the other day and the mouse stopped working for two hours. It also occasionally comes up with an error message warning that says, "You have to be f**king kidding!" when I'm burning a CD, want to look at a website and have the clock TSR running...

It has other problems, but I'm not at liberty to disclose them.

I need a new computer, but I especially need some new money to pay for it...

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Facebook continues to piss people off at a rate of knots. My mate is up in arms about the new changes to the privacy controls and has virtually admitted that despite being on every other social networking thingy, Facebook is where most of his friends are; giving it up is a bit like cutting off his nose to spite his face, but it is turning into one big social networking nightmare and I've spouted off about it too much already; complaining about Facebook is a bit like picking a fight with God (if he existed).

but, it does appear that my blog entries are not appearing in my news feed; the last one didn't show up at all, despite the fact they often get published about 3 days after they were originally written and while other mates blogs are appearing, mine didn't. If this doesn't then the food curse is now afflicting my social networking habits. You watch, Facebook will whither and die in the next two years and I'll be the only member left in 2013...

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I know I've been harping on about Ulrich Schnauss on here and Facebook, posting links to his songs for weeks and proclaiming this nerdy looking German to be the best thing since dried porcini mushrooms; but sometimes I get obsessed and people suffer as a result. I'm more than aware that Mr Schnauss is a bit of an acquired taste and a bit too Euro for some people, but hey, it's still a relatively inexpensive country (it stopped being free a long time ago).

One of my birthday presents was Schnauss's most recent solo album and on it is a version of a track I already own called 'Look at the Sky'. I cannot find it anywhere on the Internet; it's not available on any torrent I've found, it appears to exist only on this reissued version of 'Goodbye'. The thing is, the version I had, subtitled (the Rod McVey version) is a pretty cracking nu-shoegaze kind of thing with a husky female singer. The 'original' is a completely different kettle of bratwurst, yet still the same song.

But, I can't share it with you the way I'd want. The only version I could find on any of the sites was it being used as the soundtrack for a rail journey from Littlehampton to Bognor Regis at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9CoDTrw4Iw which has very poor sound quality and doesn't give you the depth that the song actually contains. I have no doubt many of you will just think my music taste has got even weirder.

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I warn many of you now; in about 5 weeks I am going to subject you all to an essay about one of the most startling TV series of all time and why many of you gave up on something quite extraordinary.

1 comment:

  1. An essay on Lost? Gawd help us! It is rather good tho' :)

    ReplyDelete