Thursday, 29 November 2007

Happy Bloody Thursday

Crap job, no money, debt, tomcat regularly pissing on the kitchen floor where you step in it when you switch the kettle on, OCD afflicted spouse, attacked by albatrosses on a regular basis?

(Not all of the above may apply)

I just had to look at this work of genius on B3TA to make me a happy fluffy bunny.

Linky thang:

Oh yeah, click on der piccie to make it work. You know you want to.

And another one. Making a slow day at work bearable.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The Tax Man

Now I'm normally fairly switched on with my admin and paperwork. Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration. More of a complete lie, actually. Lets start again.

I am a paperwork mong. I admit it. I have the short term memory of a goldfish and a briefcase that doubles as a black hole. However I am also a very accomplished liar when it comes to generating righteous indignation at call center employees, hence I usually get away with forgetting to send them bits of paper on time. Top tip, folks - ALL banks and utilities lose loads of your personal and confidential stuff all the time so they'll believe you often as not.

Anyway, I get my tax coding for the year, and notice I'm being taxed as if I still receive private medical and all sorts of stuff as if I was still with a decent employer. So I do a bit of digging, and find out that I've been overcharged for about 4 years. SO I should be getting a few pennies back from the talon-like grip of the taxman. And finally to the point...

A Wish List

1. Lee Enfield. SMLE/Jungle Carbine/No 4/Sporter in order of preference. No real reason, just what I like. I saw a very clean SMLE when I was on holiday in North Yorks, manufactured about 1916 methinks (no magazine cutoff, which I think dates it to about then, where is Henry when you need him?) for £200 shiny pounds. Gimme. Add a bayonet from fleabay so at least if I miss something fluffy, I can still fix the pointy thing on and charge. Think instant kebab.

2. Centre-Fire .22 of some description (whenever the new regs for Muntjac permitted calibres are published). Foxy and Munty both.

3. Generic Deer rifle. Too many to choose from. And then we enter the .243/.308/7mm debate and to be honest given that I am a poor person the amount of deer action I am likely to see probably makes this a poor choice.

4. Black Powder Rifle. Because it'd be rude not to. A flintlock along the lines of a Baker would be rather nice. All I need is a French General 800 yards away and a bit of patience...

5. Add a .44 Remington Navy Model because we still can. Actually, I'll have a nice flintlock duelling pistol as well.

5. Martini - action rifle. Look, I just like them, OK? It's what I learned on as a nipper. This one might be in a slightly more impressive calibre. Can you still get .577-450?

6. Completely pointless shotgun. FAC Franchi SPAS or Mossberg for extreme bunny blatting, a Hushpower for the remaining extremely nervous Flopsies the next day, Pump Action Remmy for the day I ever go fowling etc etc.


Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Happy Birthday Sir (I'm not a Sir, I'm a Ma'am!)

A tribute to Her. She who must be ignored. The Obergruppenfuhrer (Domestic). My little spitting cobra (thanks Basil). The missus. The ball & chain. The Doris. Etcetera.

She's put up with a lot, poor lass. (Okay, being Welsh was always a disadvantage). But she's had to endure sorry enjoy being with me for 14 years, 6 of those being legally binding.

Not once has she casually enquired the whereabouts of the keys to the gun cabinet, even after seeing my death in service benefits.

She's put up with me doing various silly things, has eaten almost without complaint everything I've shot/caught and dished up (sorry about the piece of shot, but if you hadn't had seconds you'd have missed it), hasn't laughed too much when I've injured myself in stupid ways, and only complains when my Early Morning Jalfrezi Sourced Trumpet Solo wakes the baby. Well, actually, there a few more complaints or moments when the look of bemused scorn/incomprehension turn to full-on scary, but if I put too many examples I may be found in the early hours kipping on the garden furniture with mysterious groin trauma.

So, Happy Birthday Boss.


Now can I go shooting? Or out on my (repaired since last stupid crash) bike? Pretty please? No, that's OK, I like stripping paint.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

One is not amused

And other Victorian sayings. I feel like I have returned to the days of crinolines, carbide lamps, annoying whales for fun and profit, child exploitation, colonialism, random prossie-slicing, a gentleman's right to carry firearms and other 'olde worlde' malarkey.

Why? Because apparently I might have Gout.

Nice Orthopod Scablifter from A&E phones me on Sunday morning to say that they had had 'some results back'. 'How am I feeling?' Fine thanks, much better than yesterday, I respond, a jolly happy chappy who can walk pretty normally and has just made breakfast for four plus livestock. Lovely stuff in those happy pills, thankyou so very much.

(Surprised tones) 'Well we think you've got gout, and you should get yourself down to your GP on Monday so he can prescribe....err did you say it feels OK? How many of the painkillers have you used? None? Oh.... OK, never mind, go and see him in a few days when the results from the sample we drew out of your knee will be back. You're sure it feels better already??

So I relay this to my beloved, and immediately get a bollocking for being a drunken idiot who has ruined my health with years of alcohol abuse etc etc. I whimper in true Alpha-Male stylee that the full results haven't come back yet and then beat a hasty retreat. (Note, the downing of a copious amount of whisky the night before did not help my case. The fact that I was up 2 hours earlier than her, and had cooked her and the spawn breakfast before she had even made it out of the scratcher, and crucially this included episode VI of the great 'introduce Junior to porridge' battle, was not deemed admissable in evidence).

So, off I scuttle to the GP the next morning, expecting to be told that I was Mr Creosote's younger brother, that my legs were going to drop off and I'd be admitted to Ye Olde Syphilitic & Drunkards Ward that day.

Results? No. Prodding of knee? No. "Lay off the red wine & rich food and you'll be OK" Yes. Urgent prescription of anti-gout meds? No. Although I should avoid pate. Well, bugger me, that's life not worth living, then.

And nothing on my medical records so far... until I go to the Annual Fireworks Mayhem tonight. Sort of like the Somme, but with prettier colours.

Monday, 5 November 2007

How to enjoy Saturday, NHS style

Woe is me. Saturday dawned fine & clear, and as I performed my normal morning checklist (1. Still Alive. Check. 2. Flatulent. Check. 3. Got to go to sodding work. Check.) I noticed that ‘something’ had increased it’s dimensions overnight. Luckily for the Obergruppenfuhrer (Domestic) it was my knee.

KNEECON 1 had been declared. Forget hippos, it was now accurately resembling Jumbo’s ballbag. With a triple serving of ouch, a sprinkle of whimper and a big sideorder of “AAAAAARRRGGGHHH”. Morning dear.

Being the macho ‘ard as nails type that I am, I was reaching for the tubigrip, kneebrace, duck tape and Ibuprofen when I was told to get my sorry arse up the road to the A&E.

A&E. On a Saturday morning. When they’ve only just finished sweeping up the Stella/vomit/blood/eyeballs & other offal that is the true legacy of a night out in Chester.

‘Not for me’, I cried, attempting to get my socks on and falling over in a twitching, gibbering heap. Then she got ‘that’ look in her eyes. It’s common to most teachers, I believe. Somewhere between a rutting King Cobra and Vladimir Putin in a really bad mood.

I went to A&E.

Firstly, I parked in the wrong carpark. One of those where you can’t get out unless you walk to the main building anyway and purchase one of their fine tokens. And I had limited change, so limp/curse/mutter time. Into A&E – wahey, not too many people in. Obligatory smack/crackhead slumped in one of the seats drooling a bit with the equally obligatory skinny pale girly holding him up, although it could have been the weight of her earrings that was giving her trouble. I digress.

I even get a nice receptionist, obviously just come on so no-one has tried to stab her too seriously yet. And a nice triage nurse, who whipped a pointy thing into my earhole within a nanosecond of me sitting down, to inform me that I had a temperature and she was writing Query SEPTIC ARTHRITIS? on the bloody form. Rhyming slang? No. Big-huge-ball-of-pus-thing-leg-dropping-off scenario. Eeek.

Three hours later, after seeing our drug-addled chum seen off the premises by the NHS Security SWAT team and two of Cheshire Constabulary’s finest, I have at least seen some fishing on the idiot box, while the sprained children are dragged in, still with footy kit on – glad to see some kids are still injuring themselves the traditional way. Lots of yellow & green taxis have been turning up delivering those delightful specimens who have regained consciousness upside down in a skip somewhere, so I gimp about a bit more.

A-Ha, I am to be treated. A trolley of my very own (stamped Operating Theatre, with clotted blood decoration, but lets not get picky). Hello flustered newly qualified Doctor. Have a good AIIEEEK prod around. And ano AIIIEEEK ther. Oh, a needle.You might want to dump huge amounts of antibiotics and anything left over in the cupboard in me? Lovely. You just attach that home-brew kit then. Did I just hear someone mention that those bloods should have been taken 3 hours ago? Bugger. Byee…..

Hello again FNQD. And trainee nursie (‘ello Darlin’). Oh, a trainee MIDWIFE? How interesting. Yes, I suppose it is a bit different….what are you doing with that needle? Oh, yes Doctor , of course you can drain some samples out of my knee with that FUCKING ENORMOUS NEEDLE…. No BOTH FE Needles. (Gulp). What’s that other needle for? Oh, Lignocaine. So it hurts that much, does it? Don’t trust Mummy’s Little Soldier not to thrash around like an epileptic in a strobelight factory as soon as you stick Concorde’s Nosecone into me leg?

Ahh, five, no fifty minutes to relax as no-one has actually penetrated me with anything sharp again. Nice ceiling tiles. Pity about the light not working, but I guess it’s a romantic atmosphere thing. Oh hello Mr not flustered much Orthopeadic Scablifter type. Right, not Septic Arthritis. Could be reactive Arthritis?? Or Gout. GOUT? I’m 35 years old man. You’ll be prescribing a course of leeches next.

And yes, I can hear what you’re whispering to the FNQD. Yes I know what those funny medical words mean but LET ME OUT OF HERE YOU SADISTIC NHS BASTARD WITH SOME HAPPY PILLS OR I WILL LISTEN TO THE VOICES.

I get some happy pills.

Time elapsed, 6 hrs plus. I wobble home, collecting junk food and whisky en route.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Cartilage, Joints & Associated Gristly Bits

No, not a lecture on the correct way to joint your ex-Bambi with laser like precision while only equipped with a blunt potato peeler and a novelty gherkin fork.

There's more than enough of that on t'net from smug people who are good at stuff.

Nope, I'm referring to the collection of bone splinters, red hot gravel, squishy bits and dog food that currently masquerades as my knee. Having been a bit of a liability for many years, ever since a young & foolish chap decided that jumping out of perfectly serviceable aircraft* was a good idea, it's decided that a knee's role in life no longer involves errm knee stuff.

You know, bending, kneeling, holding both ends of the leg together, that kind of thing.

Now I have been attempting to lose some of the solidified Guinness and Pies that have turned me into a Buddha clone over the last few years of parenthood.

In the course of this I have got the bike out again, and fallen off in a spectacular fashion to keep the spectators happy and the NHS busy (cracked ribs), gone charging (waddling) around local forest trails like a sexually frustrated Cape Buffalo (sprained ankle), and done my best to 'strengthen' the knee.

In my fevered imagination, I would be able to start jogging again, then running, and in no time I would be a lean, mean steely eyed six packed hero who would be beating off the adoring hordes of pert, taut teenage lovelies attracted by the 100% testosterone levels.......... sorry, sidetracked a little. Ahem.

OK, get fit, use the scant hours after the sprogs have got their heads down to get some honest exercise instead of slumping into a heap with a flagon of Chateau Special-Offer-At-Sainsburys and a book. Or a copy of Shooting Times if I wanted to rant a bit.

I was even seriously considering ambling down to my local TAC and seeing if they had any vacancies for old bald gits. After selling the concept to She Who Must Be Ignored as a form of aggressive camping.

So, for all of the above, knees were involved. Having been hobbling around like a hobbly thing for a couple of weeks as the ankle slowly healed (Tubigrip & Ibuprofen, accept no substitute) (actually I would have happily accepted Morphine or amputation at one stage), it's got better. Yippee. Foot points in the correct direction and everything.

And then the knee decided that mediation has failed, ACAS have given up and it's a wildcat 'end of knee duties' scenario.

This morning, the sun rose in the clear Autumn sky, the birdies were tweeting, and my BASTARD knee has swollen up to the size of a hippo's scrotum, so I'm limping/walking like an extra from Thriller. Ouch. Ouch Ouch Sodding Ouch. With extra Ouch.

Worse yet, I've got to hand my vulnerable carcass over to the NHS again. And they have daytime TV permanently on in the waiting rooms. A double portion of ouch and daytime TV. Can it get worse?

(OK, having my body vigorously rubbed with a cheesegrater while electrodes are clamped to my nipples would be worse, but that's pretty unlikely unless I exceed the speed limit in North Wales again)

So, once again I hear myself uttering the immortal words "Well, looks like that's another season well and truly buggered then".

*Yes I know there's no such thing as a perfectly serviceable aircraft, but it looked all exciting and macho. Until I went splat.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Barking Mad US God-Botherer in Court

From the Beeb

A church whose members cheered a soldier's death as "punishment" for US tolerance of homosexuality has been told to pay $10.9m (£5.2m) in damages.
The Westboro Baptist Church was taken to court by the father of Lance Cpl Matthew Snyder, a marine who died serving in Iraq in March 2006.

Members of the church - based in Topeka, Kansas - have denounced homosexuality for years, initially targeting the funerals of Aids victims.
But they later extended their pickets to the funerals of soldiers, who they say are being punished by God because of the US' tolerance of homosexuality.

Last year they caused outrage when they attended the funeral of Matthew Snyder with signs reading "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "You're going to hell".

On Wednesday, the jury ordered the church and three of its leaders to pay $2.9m in compensatory damages, and an additional $8m for invasion of privacy and for causing emotional distress.

Defence attorney Jonathan Katz's argument that the $2.9m in compensatory damages already far exceeded the defendants' net worth and would be enough to "bankrupt them and financially destroy them" was ignored. Good. Bankrupt the bastards and then sell their organs for spares.
The church, which is unaffiliated with any major denomination (funny, that), is headed by Fred Phelps. Most of its 70-odd members belong to his extended family. Anyone hear banjos?

Members of the church, however, reportedly greeted the verdict with tight-lipped smiles. Of course they did, there's nothing smugger than a born again cultist who knows that they're right as God told them Personally. Via the microwave.
"It will take the 4th Circuit of Appeals a few minutes to reverse this silly thing," said Rev Phelps.
See above.

Daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper - co-defendant along with another daughter, Rebecca Phelps-Davis - called the verdict a blow against free speech and vowed to continue picketing military funerals. Same again.

Although I would never dream of inciting violence, I'd happily buy a beer for someone at the next funeral these troglodytes picket who accidentally parks a SUV on top of them. Or has an 'incident' while loading his .30-06. Or, to be 100% fair, rogers the chief loon almost to death with a cheesegrater before setting fire to him.

Incidentally, I wonder if 'Rev' Phelps had an early experience that sent him off on his deranged path? Did Uncle Bubba babysit a little too often? Or is the Rev protesting a little too much as he wrestles with his inner desires to be nailed to the wall by a Pro Footballer? And seeing as most of the members of the church are family (and, notably the daughters keep the moniker when they get hitched), I'm starting to think that they need to be checked for webbed feet.