Thursday, October 18, 2012

Number 74


Once upon a time we were friends, then I wouldn't give him houseroom. However, this chap sometimes speaks a lot of sense (I will give him that) and as far as using the Internet for his own self-promotion, he is a past master. Read this to see just how effective Facebook and Google+ are if you are a professional, and then work out just how many of your 'friends' actually know about anything you post.
I've always said that Facebook would be stupid to try and charge people to use their portal - mainly because they fuck too many people off too often and if you paid for it you'd have the right to reply, which, because it is free, you haven't got now. But, if you want to promote something, that's a different matter entirely. It also suggests to me that all of this 'settings' gubbins you are offered by Facebook is all a load of twaddle. I have something like 225 'friends' on Facebook and a large percentage of those I have in my news feed never actually appear. Take Roger or Will for instance, both are constant in my news feed, yet if I go to their own pages, they've actually posted a lot more than I've seen and therefore someone or some thing arbitrarily decides for me what I should see and that seems a bit wrong to me...

This brings me nicely to something I've cut and pasted into a text note the other day because I figured I could moan about it.
Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first sportsman to receive over 50m 'Likes' on social networking site Facebook. The 27-year-old boasts 10m more fans than his great adversary on the football field, Barcelona's Lionel Messi. The figure also means 5% of everyone who uses Facebook is a fan of the former Manchester United player.
50 million? Really? I'm not denying it. It suggests that all but about 9 million people in this country like him. I am aware that in Spain, Portugal, east Asia and Croydon he's a massive hero and 50 million 'likes' is small fry when you consider Farcebook has 1billion users (well, one billion accounts, whether they're all unique has already been proven to be a fallacy).

There is a Phil Hall Facebook page (lifted from the Wikipedia entry that Dan Black put up years ago) It's here: I have 15 fans (14 if you discount me, and 13 if you discount my other alias). At this rate I shall be as popular as Ronaldo in 3247AD...

Odd Spam

I've been getting at least 3 emails a day from David Steel. He's selling some form of insurance now and is offering me a 200% discount on something that involves me giving my personal details on line. Presumably a 200% discount means they'll give me my money back with a 100% bonus?

Maths probably isn't my strong point.


The food chain. Someone buys a bag of chips; eats half of them and then throws them away (not in a bin). Marley finds them, eats them and then throws up in the back of the car. The vomit is then dumped onto the road and crows come along and eat it (if it was spring they might even take it back to feed their young). Who would have thought that the humble spud would feed so many?

Personality Wins

Despite feeling like shit last night, I accompanied RnB and the Wife to the Lamplighter public house to spend the £10 drink voucher we won for coming second in the weekly quiz last time out. Going to this quiz has caused some consternation amongst Team Squonk...

I think it would be fair to say that we have a split in the ranks. Two of the team like the Lamplighter, it is clean, the toilets are very nice, there's a kitty to be won every week (£40 last night) it has a genuine choice of ales and the quiz finishes before 10.45, which means that we're all home long before 11 o'clock and on a school night that extra ½ an hour is really important. However, the team captain and frankly the brains of the outfit (the reason we win so often), likes the Vic quiz. She accepts that the toilets are horrid; the place could do with a really good clean, there is no choice of beer, they run out of essentials so often it's stopped being a joke and smacks of incompetence and we rarely get home before 11.15pm most nights. But, the Captain is a huge fan of One El, our intrepid quizmaster and close friend. More of him in a few seconds.

The other two members of Team Squonk (Me and Colin) don't really care where we do our quizzes, we just want to win. I'd rather go to a pub that sells beer I drink and both the Vic and the Lamplighter tick those boxes; I rarely use the toilets in pubs anyhow as I have a bladder the size of our Captain's brain and if we had the time and the money I'd be inclined to do both of them. This isn't really practical.

We decided to give the Vic a hiatus - One El was going to Cuba for a fortnight; RnB were 'quizzed out' and the kitty was in the red for the first time in 5 years. We weren't winning at the Vic after being the most consistent team there for four years. we weren't winning because some weeks our two biggest rival teams were merging into one mega team and trouncing us and the poor schlubs who make up the numbers. My gut feeling, mainly because it was how I felt at the time, was it wasn't worth going to the quiz to maybe win £5 a week and not get a chance at the Envelope Challenge. The irony of this is that B has always said if we dominate a quiz the chances are that lesser teams would stop going, reducing the possible winnings and pissing off all the people who do it for fun but fancy their chances of winning it once in a while. These fears have never been realised.

Our first week at the Lamplighter we won the quiz by 8½ points and pocketed £22. Those fears again were raised. Team members suggesting, in a conceited way I believe, that our presence would kill the pub quiz and we'd be playing for £10 if we were lucky. The following week the place was heaving, the kitty was £50 and we lost... So much for that idea.

I think it's safe to say that the Captain (my wife) doesn't mind the Lamplighter quiz, she just finds the quizmaster about as inspiring as David Cameron (but much fatter) and misses the camaraderie and sense that we're all just a bunch of competitive friends. There is a mutual respect at the Vic - winners are applauded, the quizmaster is applauded, even beer leg winners are applauded. Last night the person that one their version of the beer leg walked up to collect his prize and Team Squonk started to applaud, but stopped quickly when it was obvious we were the only people doing it. When we won the £40 (dropping only 8 points), there was more of a slightly grudging groan than witty banter. We can go to the shitty Vic, lose and have a really fun time; the Lamplighter wins in all categories apart from the fact that it doesn't seem like a fun night out, it seems like two hours of working (with beer).

Which brings us back to One El, a consummate professional, thoroughly decent chap and one of my best friends. His quizzes are excellent, even if I personally would just prefer to win rather than go through an envelope challenge; but that's the way his quizzes are and we've accepted that for nearly 5 years. He is personable, jovial, an excellent comedian and mimic and yes, I am blowing huge quantities of smoke up his arse, but as a quizmaster he has no peers. It's just a shame he plies his trade in some dodgy establishments. And therein lies the rub - the Lamplighter might piss all over the Vic (and that might explain the strange smell in the Vic most nights) in just about every department, but their quizmaster is rubbish and he brings nothing to the evening apart from questions and he got one of them wrong last week and admitted he didn't check his facts, which suggests to me he doesn't create his questions, he steals them off the Internet... Boo and indeed Hoo. That way lies acrimony and arguments from knowledgeable contestants. If One El gets it wrong - it's happened once if memory serves and even then he wasn't wrong as such, he just wasn't as right - he's gracious, jovial and bows to someone with a greater knowledge (Stand up the pretty girl from the much-missed Who Is Margaret Thatcher team). Team Squonk have taken a break from the Vic, next week we're going back. We've decided that we should do the Lamplighter at least once in a while (probably the week after the jackpot has been won at the Vic), because we stand a better than good chance of bolstering the kitty; but that's the only reason. The Vic is a shit place, but every Tuesday there's a star there who makes it better. It's just a shame that One El doesn't do the Lamplighter quiz - that would be a match made in heaven...

On A Serious Note

I want you to read this. I want you to read it and then think about reblogging it, using part of it as a status update, or just cutting and pasting it and sending it to as many people you think would benefit from reading it. This is something a very good friend of mine had to say about the benefits system. He works, essentially, as a debt collector for a Housing Association - not the best job, especially as he has one of the most acute social consciences I have ever seen.
Having held two benefits surgeries over two weeks I've dealt with a few people who should get benefits or should get more benefits. I'm making a generalisation but if Cameron put as much effort into finding who is entitled as opposed to who isn't entitled - the benefits bill could increase. It's a lot of codswallop to suggest we can make any dent in the [National] debt by trimming benefits. The situation regarding Housing Benefits and over-occupancy is also going to mess up a lot of vulnerable people if today is any indication. I had a 48 year old woman with mental health issues willing to give up her keys to her flat and live fuck knows where due to misinformation and stress. Things will start to get very nasty come next April. 
I have highlighted the key sentence. Oddly enough it's the sentence before the highlighted one that says more and obviously is the main reason why the Tories are targeting benefits rather than tax dodgers. They don't want people dependent on the State because the poor and underprivileged are obviously there because they want to be and not because of their circumstances. The Tories also seem to think that disabled people shouldn't be treated any different to able bodied people. That isn't a bad thing if you're talking about parking charges or queue jumping, but when it's applied to things such as working and living...

Stuff & Nonsense

  • The Killers, Primus, Tom Petty, Psychedelic Furs and Nikka Costa.
  • I continue to be non-plussed by some friends' aversion to A Feast For Crows, I'm thoroughly enjoying the book, especially as an interlude away from all the main stories and as a bridge to understand a lot of the politics and brief references the author makes during the earlier novels.
  • Today I am experimenting with the breadmaker. Usually it's just a recipe that is followed, today I'm dicing with defeat as I try my own recipe (involving a mix of flours, sunflower seeds, honey and a small lamb. (I lied about the lamb)
  • Did any of you know that the inventor of Velcro lives (lived) in a really nice house between Stoke Goldington and Salcey Forest? I wonder if ZZ Top ever visited him there?
  • The last of my garden harvest - the plum tomatoes - are rotting on the vines. I'm not surprised we're all going to starve to death over the winter or need mortgages to pay for Sunday dinner.
  • Having just run the Blogger spell checker on this, apparently the word 'proven' still doesn't exist and that oft used word 'prize' (you know, what you get if you win something) also doesn't exist. It is also telling me that the term 'a while' should be written as 'awhile' but when I do put that down it tells me it should be 'a while'. Fucking useless piece of shit...
  • Congratulations to my brother-in-law and his girlfriend on the announcement of their engagement. It's about bloody time!!!

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