Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Breaking News

Just when other nations are stealing headlines with their ongoing conflicts, you can always rely on the good ol' Axis of Evil to throw you a knuckle-ball.

Reports: Iraq signs arms deal with Iran

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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

I Have To Return Some Videotapes to Amazon

Meet Jeremy Bateman, Patrick's younger, less successful brother, sharing his take on "The Daily Routine."

Bonus unrelated troll review.

Friday, 14 September 2012

One Hand Giveth, The Other Taketh Away

Two separate issues, somewhat intertwined.  Both of which, the current Secretary of State and Chancellor of the Exchequer are familiar with:
Both articles were published today, the 14th September.

Just saying, is all.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

"I'm a Bit of a Dick, Really"

Bookmark and ShareLord Willoughby, a member of the landed gentry of the United Kingdom, compared Germany's current economic policy to the WWII concentration camp at Auschwitz today.

Obviously, as a human being this in fucked up.  As an Underground Salary Man however, it additionally begs the question "Have you not noticed how incredibly productive and financially stable Germany is, especially when compared to the UK?"  This whole issue grew out of Germany's distaste at being asked to help bail out Greece (along with Finland, and, perhaps less openly, every other country in Europe).  Coming from a member of UKIP, a political party that essentially has one goal: "GTFO of Europe", I see it as hypocritical to criticise others for taking the exact same stance that you yourself take.

Oh, but I guess the difference here is that the rest of Europe doesn't bring up seventy year old dirt when debating economic policy, whilst simultaneously making yourself look stupid.

Feel free to contact Lord Willoughby by post, telephone or email at:

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Why Dial 112 When Your iPhone Has 3G Capability?

I just found this in my drafts.  I started it in 2009, and can't remeber where I was going with it.  Anyway, it can serve as a cautionary tale as the delayed winter sports seasons gets under way in winter 2011.

A young man has died snowboarding in the Swiss Alps. This was somebody's son, somebody's friend, and perhaps somebody's lover. My condolences go to the bereaved.

A big mistake was made by everyone involved in this incident on that Swiss mountain that day; Nobody had mobile phone numbers for anyone they were out with.

A few years back I found myself separated from my group whilst snowboarding in the low Alps in France. Solely due to lack of snowboarding expertise I found myself off-piste somewhere between two resorts on opposite sides of the same mountain. The suddenness with which you are thrown out into the wilderness is breathtaking. One moment you're with your friends on well maintained, busy slopes, surrounded by the noise of dozens of people enjoying themselves, and the next, you're in an eerily quiet, seemingly infinite expanse of snow. Pure, white, undisturbed snow, stretching out as far as the eye can see in all directions.

Preparing for the trip I had the naive idea that it would be good to purchase a pair of cheap two-way radios for the trip, and as such that was all I had on me in the way of communication with the outside world. Silence. A perfectly silent mountain interspersed with the crackle of static. Nothing. Absolutely nothing on the radio or on the breeze.

All I wanted to do was let my wife know I was OK and that I'd meet her somewhere once I had figured out where the hell I was. I was lucky. I knew roughly where I was and that no major obstacles lay between me and civilisation. I was lucky that it was a clear day and that I was reasonably well equipped (bar my mobile phone).

I decided against taking my phone out with me as I didn't want to break it. What kind of lame prioritisation is that?

[2011] So, like I said at the start, I have no idea where I was going with this.  So, I'll call it here.  Basically, always take your phone, ensure other people know your plans for the day when you're up on the mountain, and take basic tools and emergency supplies up with you.  Happy skiing, y'all!

Fluval Roma 90 Light Repair

Okay.  This post doesn't fit with the general theme of USM, but it's better here than over at PTWD, so here goes...

My Fluval Roma 90 Aquarium Light Canopy stopped working a few days ago.  Both lights failed simultaneously which I took as a pretty clear indication that I didn't just need to replace the bulbs.  

I googled the problem, and found absolutely nothing online, apart from a few links telling me I needed a whole new unit, and a number of sites attempting to sell me one for around £80 ($125).  So, "fuck that," I thought, and cracked the thing open.

There are six tabs that hold the lid of the unit on.  Use a flathead screwdriver to pop these out from underneath.  The lid is glued down, so you will have to use some force - I was fairly rough with it and didn't damage it all.

You can see the two starters on the left, one for each bulb, so again, very unlikely that they've failed at the same time.  That leaves the choke (the big white thing in the middle) as the only real potential culprit.

I googled the brand and model of the choke: "Helvar L30A," and found a few results.  I ordered one for just over £10 including tax and shipping from lightbulbs2u.com, which arrived in around 36 hours.

Two screws hold the choke in place.  Remove these with a crosshead driver, and cut the two wires going into the unit.  Twist your wires, and simply push them into the contacts of the new unit, they automatically clamp in place.
Put everything back together, test it, put it on your aquarium, turn it on.  Done.  You've just saved yourself £70 ($105).

Friday, 11 September 2009

For Those Who Were There

Relationships are like the sea off Barcelona. They are difficult to get into and rife with obstacles (prophylactics and sanitary products) once you manage to get in. Ultimately it's easier to tread water rather than risk the humilation and pain of getting out. All the while you can see beautiful topless women just out of reach on the beach just a few metres away.

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