Thursday, July 30, 2009

Transylvannia Vacation

A friend of mine recently sent this to me, so I thought I'd share it with you.
Bob Hill and his new wife Betty were vacationing in Europe, as it happens, near Transylvania .. They were driving in a rental car along a rather deserted highway.. It was late and raining very hard. Bob could barely see the road in front of the car. Suddenly the car skids out of control! Bob attempts to control the car, but to no avail! The car swerves and smashes into a tree.
Moments later, Bob shakes his head to clear the fog. Dazed, he looks over at the passenger seat and sees his wife unconscious... With her head bleeding! Despite the rain and unfamiliar countryside, Bob knows he has to get her medical assistance.

Bob carefully picks his wife up and begins trudging down the road. After a short while, he sees a light. He heads towards the light, which is coming from a large, old house. He approaches the door and knocks.

A minute passes. A small, hunched man opens the door. Bob immediately blurts, "Hello, my name is Bob Hill, and this is my wife Betty. We've been in a terrible accident, and my wife has been seriously hurt. Can I please use your phone?"
"I'm sorry," replied the hunchback, "but we don't have a phone. My master is a doctor; come in and I will get him!"
Bob brings his wife in.
An older man comes down the stairs. "I'm afraid my assistant may have misled you. I am not a medical doctor; I am a scientist.. However, it is many miles to the nearest clinic, and I have had a basic medical training. I will see what I can do. Igor, bring them down to the laboratory."

With that, Igor picks up Betty and carries her downstairs, with Bob following closely. Igor places Betty on a table in the lab. Bob collapses from exhaustion and his own injuries, so Igor places Bob on an adjoining table.

After a brief examination, Igor's master looks worried. "Things are serious, Igor. Prepare a transfusion." Igor and his master work feverishly, but to no avail. Bob and Betty Hill are no more.

The Hills' deaths upset Igor's master greatly. Wearily, he climbs the steps to his conservatory, which houses his grand piano. For it is here that he has always found solace. He begins to play, and a stirring, almost haunting melody fills the house.

Meanwhile, Igor is still in the lab tidying up. His eyes catch movement, and he notices the fingers on Betty's hand twitch, keeping time to the haunting piano music.. Stunned, he watches as Bob's arm begins to rise, marking the beat! He is further amazed as Betty and Bob both sit up straight!

Unable to contain himself, he dashes up the stairs to the conservatory.

He bursts in and shouts to his master:
"Master, Master! ..... The Hills are alive with the sound of music!"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Here's a great idea for making some extra dosh.

Tweetbucks allows you to 'sell' links to products for cash. It's that simple.
You will need a Twitter account before you can get started, but that's all.

Now, I am the first to be cynical about these kind of things, however, this seems so simple and it doesn't involve any capital outlay; in other words it's free.

What's the catch?

OK, I admit, there is one catch.

It's a numbers game.

To make money, you need as many followers as possible to click on your links, which is why you need a large number of quality followers on Twitter.

I say 'quality' because some of your follower will, undoubtably, be businesses and spambots - automated followers, who cannot react to your messages.

When your followers click on a link, you earn. If you link to an affiliated site, then you also earn a small percentage of whatever is spent.

Now, don't get me wrong. This is not a 'get rich quick scheme'. It will take many, many clicks to earn money, and Tweetbucks won't pay out until you reach $25.00.

They give you $5 for signing up, but after that you're talking cents.

As an example, after 526 clicks (from 29 links), I've earned 75cents. Not exactly earth shattering.

So what can you do to improve your 'hit' rate.

  1. Target your links to your audience
  2. Don't go overboard on links - this will just turn your followers off
  3. Write your links yourself - the personal touch goes along way, rather than the automated links
That's all there is to it. Get yourself set-up, start twittering (if you're not already) and add your links.

Oh, and if you want to follow me on Twitter, then I look forward to seeing you there.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Then there were two

Holy mackrel (or should that be goldfish?) late on Saturday night, we lost Minnie. The biggest of the fish was not immune to the White Spot (ICH) disease, and I found 'her' caught in one of the plants.

So, there are now just 2 fish left in the tank, and, quite frankly, until we get back from our holiday I am not going to add any new friends.


The Formula 1 weekend, in Hungary, turned out to be very exciting, and upsetting, as the championship competition continued to twist and turn.

Thoughts go to Felipe Massa and his family, after the accident during qualifying, which has led to emergency surgery on his skull. The sport has constantly strived to make it as safe as possible, but with open wheel, open cockpit racing, accidents will continue to happen.

On the other hand, following the fatal incident at Brands Hatch, where Henry Surtees was killed by a loose wheel, it is unbelievable that the Renault pit team allowed Alonso to leave the pits with an unsecured wheel cover. The wheel worked loose and bounced off down the track. Luckily, there was no other driver (or marshall or spectator) involved and he limped home to the pits on 3 wheels.
The Renault team have now been suspended from the next race (Valencia on 23rd August), pending appeal.

On a positive note for the weekend, Lewis Hamilton, in his McLaren, has proven what a driver he can be, given the right car. From being fastest in practice, to starting 4th on the grid, and finishing first, after what can only be described as a miserable first half of the season, he drove a masterful race.

The points table now looks like this:
Button - 70
Webber - 51.5
Vettel - 47
Barrichello - 44
Rosberg - 25.5
Trulli - 22.5
Massa - 22
Hamilton - 19

Let's hope that the season continues to deliver some exciting races, and Jenson Button continues to fight for his maiden championship victory.


Free calls to freephone numbers, from your mobile - Read on...

This is a shamless (and unpaid!) plug for 0800Buster. If you have a mobile phone, you're probably aware that calls to 0800 numbers are not included in your bundle of minutes.
Sometimes, it can be a big shock when the bill comes through and you've been charged about 20p per minute!!!

This system allows you get around that by calling a normal landline number (that will be included) and then calling the 0800 number.

Click on the image to visit their website and see what I mean.


That's all for now, but feel free to leave feedback and comments about anything I've written. These are my views, and not those of anyone else.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Shameless Plug

You may notice that I've added a new link, in the bar on the right, that takes you directly to my Amazon aStore. Why not have a look and treat yourself (or someone else) to a mid-summer gift.

The Three Musketeers

Alas, poor Red Cap, we didn't get to know him that well. This evening, the white dot disease took another victim. He was caught in the reeds at the back of the aquarium, but when I freed him, he slowly rose to the surface.
That's two lost to this vicious disease, but on the postive side, the remaining three are looking a lot healthier.
I've done a partial water change again tonight, with another dose of salt, and hopefully by the end of the weekend we'll be back to normal.

Another three musketeers now, by the names of Harry, Hermione and Ron. Yes, that's right, the latest installment in the Harry Potter films has been released. "The Half Blood Prince" is the 6th book in the series, and quite dark in tone.
I took the boys to see it this evening, and at just over 2 and a half hours, is quite long for what, in essence, is a childs film.
Highly recommended.

Fishy Tales 2

Just dropped by to give you an update on the fish. Our 4 remaining friends appear to be doing well. I've adjusted the filter, so that the water is pushed deeper, hopefully further increasing the oxygen in the tank. They are feeding well, and seem to be responding OK to the salt water that I've been adding daily.
I am a little concerned about the Red Cap, who is still a bit quiet. I am hoping that over the next few days, normality will be restored.
I'll then need to clean the statues that were in the tank (I removed them, as they probably housed a number of the parasites!) and replace them. They add interest and colour.
That's all for now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

And then there were four

It is with great sadness that I have to report the demise of Heffalump; our smallest of goldfish, who, last night, succumbed to the white spot disease I have written about.

The remaining four fish have appeared to perk up a little, but I am still in no doubt as to the danger of their situation, and will continue to vacuum and salt the water, to iradicate the parasite that is ICH.


On a more cheerful note, last night I watched the first episode of a new BBC drama Desperate Romantics. Once again, the BBC does what it does best. In glorious HD, the picture is fantastic, the musical score is a triumph. The script is tight, the acting superb.

To summarise, from the official website:

Some artists want lasting fame. Some want money. Others want sex.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood want it all.

If you missed episode 1, you can see it again on BBC HD on 26th July, or on BBC on 28th July.
Episode 2 is broadcast simultaneously on BBC 2 and BBC HD on 28th July at 9pm.
Don't forget, you can also watch via the BBC iPlayer.
Highly recommended.

Time to get on with the day, but I'll be back soon.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fishy Tales

It's a sad(ish) day today, as I've discovered that all the fish have ICH; or to give it its proper name - Ichthyophthirius multifilis. It's more commonly known as the 'white spot disease', where little parasites attach themselves to the fish.
It's heartbreaking to watch, and there are a number of websites that give good advice about what to do - one of them is here, from the Goldfish and Aquarium Board.
The prognosis is not great, and I will be amazed if all five of them survive. It's just annoying to think this was introduced when we bought the additional goldfish a couple of weeks ago.
I'll let you know what happens.
In the meantime, there's not a great deal to report. Swine Flu fever has taken hold, and there is much ambiguity about what to do, and plenty of confusion about what Swine Flu actually is.
I don't know, and, quite frankly, I hope I don't have to experience it!!
All the boys have recovered from their bugisode last week. Strange doings there, however, Mrs C has serverly hurt her back and has been almost totally invalided for the past few days; much to her chagrin, and mine!!

Nevertheless, she appears to be on the mend, and will be up to full speed in no time. Importantly, she has The Cruise to get better for, so fingers crossed.
Right - this will never do, I can't sit and chatter, there's work to be done. Thanks for stopping by, please do so again, soon.

Monday, July 13, 2009

New additions

As written about previously, the move to the new aquarium (for that is what it is) went very smoothly. However, because we had upsized, it was decided that there was now room for additional fish to be added.
So we re-visited the 'fish shop' and purchased another couple of goldfish.
I also bought some greenery, and a sunken ship was added to the mix.
We now have a bright, colourful, tank, with five fish enjoying a spacious living area. That's all for now, and if I manage to get any good quality photos of each fish, I'll post them here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

We Have Moved

Many of us have experienced the excitement and the stress of moving home, so I tried to make moving to a new aquarium as easy as possible for the 'the three amigos'.

Having bought a new tank yesterday, I spent some time preparing and cleaning the gravel, putting the underfloor filter in place, adding the statutory statue! and adding the required chemicals to remove chlorine and other goldfish unfriendly 'stuff'.

With the filter running all afternoon and all evening, before I went to bed, and without the distraction of the children, I tested the waters in both the new tank and their existing one. Having confirmed that the water composition was the same, I used a pyrex bowl to 'catch' each one and transfer to their new home.

It's lighter (there are built in lights), it's more airy, and we don't have to suffer the 'drip drip drip' of the water from the filter. In fact, there's no sound, and when the lights are on, it's like looking at the sun filtering through the sea. It's very calming.

I gave them some food, to help settle them, and with fingers crossed, retired for the night.

This morning, I was pleased to see them swimming around happily, and it seems we might be acquiring another one later today!!! It's a great tank, and once we've added some greenery, it will really look like 'home'. I'll post some photos in the next few days.

Right now, though, I'm preparing to watch the next round of the Formula 1 World Championship - Germany. Mark Webber is on pole, for the first time, and Lewis Hamilton has qualified in 5th; which is the best this season, for him.

F1 on the BBC, BBC Red Button, Radio 5 Live, and on the web. It'll be great.

Friday, July 10, 2009

It's The Weekend

At last, it's the weekend. Just watched the finale of Torchwood. Absolutely gripping drama, and the quality in HD is just superb.
Actually, let's discuss HD (High Definition) for a brief moment. Some programmes it's difficult to see the difference. But on others, the picture is staggering.
Take Wimbledon as an example. The clarity of the picture made you feel as though you were actually there. It was sharp, the detail was amazing.
For the techies, the BBC have a fab blog, which covers the technologies under research, including HD broadcasting.
Anyway; strayed off track there. Back to Le Weekend.
Off to see "Scooby Doo" tomorrow afternoon, so hopefully I'll get to see the German Grand Prix qualifying session. Hee Hee!!
In the evening we're out with friends.
On Sunday, my brother in law is doing a cycle ride from Manchester to Blackpool, to raise money for Christies Hospital. It's a worthy cause, and you can donate here.
I've done my bit, and it's the Grand Prix for real in the afternoon; I'll probably doze off though!!
That's all for now, time for bed. Enjoy the weekend, they always seem to go sooo fast!

Sunday, July 05, 2009


We've got another fish. The school fair was an apparent success, and suffered one big shower. After that, the sun re-appeared and all activities continued. Donkey rides, snakes, bearded-dragons, cake decorating, fairground rides; something for everyone. Not forgetting bagels, hot-dogs, ice-cream, popcorn, drinks. And fish. Always a favourite, and once again, we're the proud owner of a new goldfish. I need to check what variation it is, and I'll let you know.

It's A Fair Day

Firstly, I may be a day late, but Happy Independence Day to our American cousins. The 4th July is also important to me, as it marks the 28th anniversary of my Bar-Mitzvah. Since I turned 13 and 'sang' my piece to symbolise me becoming a man in the eyes of G-d.

However, lots has happened since then, both in the world, which has changed, and in my life. As I write this, I'm watching 2 of my sons bouncing on the trampoline, in the garden, on a lovely summers day. These are the days as I remember them as a child - care free, not a worry in sight.

This afternoon we're off to the school fair; which, if previous years are anything to go by, should be quite good fun. I'm hoping we won't acquire another goldfish. Number one is no longer with us, but we now have a tiddler (that hasn't grown all year) and a lovely fan-tail goldfish, which I bought!!!

That's it for now, don't forget to catch up on our preparations for our cruise on my separate blog.

See you during the week.

Thursday, July 02, 2009


It's my birthday today. The ripe old age of 41. Don't feel it though; still feel like a teenager!
The temperature has almost been unbearable over the last few days, and today is no exception. Peaking at around 27 degrees yesterday, who knows what it'll do today. It's not easy for the elderly or very young, so I hope they're being looked after.
Time to do a days work. Have a good, and cool, one.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


July has arrived, and the heat has not abated. The sun is a little weak in the sky this morning, but nevertheless, the temperature is rising once more.

Last night I sent an email to our holiday partners, asking them if they minded me including them in the holiday blog. Hopefully they'll agree, but if not, it's no great shakes. I can still post about us.

Have a meeting this evening, in Manchester, for the Professional Contractors Group; OMG, you don't know, do you!!

Since I last wrote, my career has taken a sharp turn to the right, and I headed in a completely new direction. Stop the press. I'll write about that next time.

Meanwhile, I need to get on with the day.


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