Friday, 13 November 2015

Happy Birthday, Dave.

This is a special post for my friend Dave, who turns 30 today.

This one's for you Dave.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

On the Fiat 500XL (and other crossover vehicles)

Fuck the Fiat 500XL so much.

Look at that hideous piece of shit. It's not even just the styling that makes me hate this fucking thing but the name. The Fiat 500XL (or sometimes X or L separately).

Fiat 500XL

Fiat 500XL.

This is a Fiat 500.

It's a tiny little car, known for it's vintage style and inability to get up hills. This is a tiny car for use in the city that has a pitiful little engine. So, how is the Fiat 500XL a Fiat 500 in any way?

The answer, of course, is that it isn't. Beyond the name, all they share is a tiny amount of (terrible) front end styling and, most likely, the shoddy build quality that Fiat is known for these days.

This bastard child is just the most recent in a long line of fucking awful 'crossover' vehicles and they are all terrible.

Here's the Mini Countryman.

Why does this car even exist? Once again, they seem to have missed the entire point of what made Mini Coopers good cars. The thought process seems to be: "People like Coopers and idiots by crossover vehicles, so if we make a crossover look like a Cooper, idiots will buy it!"

And they were fucking right! I see these abominations all the damn time.

Here's why I hate crossover vehicles: They exemplify the idea "Jack of all trades, master of none."

Their large size makes them uneconomical and difficult to park (areas the Mini and 500 excel in) so they aren't great city cars, yet they're not 4x4 enough to actually go off road, so they're useless there, too. They're big yet still only have 5 seats and not all that much space. People go on about the high driving position, which is ideal for not seeing children which, given these pieces of shit seem to be most often driven by mothers on the school run, is just aces.

The other reason people use for buying these crapsacks is how safe they are. Let's talk about that, shall we.

Both the cars above score 5 stars on the NCAP (apparently, but I can't find the Countryman on the terrible NCAP site), which is great! But so does a 2003 Renault Espace, which would also give you more space and seats.

The problem is, these big, ridiculous cars are terrible for pedestrians and other motorists, for two reasons. One, if one of these things hits you, it's going to do a hell of a lot more damage than a regular sized car and if it hits your car head on, it's likely it will plough through your windscreen and into the cab. Two, if you see your car as much safer than other cars, you will actually drive more dangerously due to something called Risk Compensation. This would explain why so many people who drive these monstrosities do so like total bellends.

The prevalence of crossover type cars is growing and it drives me nuts. I have to drive near schools and mothers in these things are fucking deadly! They're too busy shouting at little Tabitha in the back to watch the road and pull up with no warning, usually on the yellow zig-zag lines which obviously mean Entitled Bitch parking.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Dear Tory Voters

I cannot even begin to express how disappointed I am in all of you.

There's simply no way that nearly 40% of the population are millionaires so I can only assume that some of you are middle or working class and yet you voted for the Tories. I won't act like I can even begin to understand why you would do such a colossally stupid thing.

But it's happened now and we're all in the same sinking boat. Apart from all the millionaires, obviously. They have helicopters.

Already, Cameron and his rich friends are trying to take away our human rights and strip the most needy of benefits. They've even appointed a known bigot as Equalities Minister!

After already wasting huge sums of money on a completely failed and pointless top down restructure of the NHS during the coalition years (money that could have gone to patient care) and after working out deals to sell big chunks of our health service to his rich friends, experts are predicting a slow death for the NHS. After all, it's not like Cameron and his Eton mates need to use poor people health care, is it? If they have no use for it, why should it exist?

Besides, with the Tory attitude to food banks we probably won't need it, as the poor people will have starved to death anyway. They'll need to do it on the street though, because the Tories will have sold off all the affordable housing.

Oh and they'll most likely start their own version of the NSA as well, as it was the Lib Dems that stopped them before. I wouldn't be surprised if the Great British Firewall comes back, too, because how can us dirty poor people be expected to know what is good for us? We need the nice millionaires to tell us how to lean a good, clean life. After all, politicians would never be involved in anything so depraved, would they?

So, when you're medical bills mount up and force you into bankruptcy and you lose your house, only to discover there is no no safety net and no affordable housing left and that even the food banks are gone, I hope you will think back to that day in May when you voted Tory and know that it is your fault.

You, personally.

You did this.

You asked for this.

You voted for this.

You have only yourself to blame.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

On Building A Pedal Board

Building A Pedal Board

Materials used:

Wood (some)
Velcro Loop - Self Adhesive (lots)
Velcro Hook - Self Adhesive (some)
Glue (wood, strong)
Tools (various)
Woodworking Ability (limited)
Over inflated opinion of woodworking ability (highly developed)


First thing you will need to do is draw yourself up a plan.

Ensure the plan is over ambitious.

Be sure to place your pedals on your plan too make sure they will fit comfortably. Leave extra space for new pedals as you don't want to have to build another board next time you buy a new pedal.
My plan consists of a base board (62x27cm) and three slats in the centre (1 40x7, 2 40x5) raised on an angle using 4 triangular struts.

The Build

Ensure your work area is cluttered, indoors and full of dogs.

This will make everything more interesting later
Venture to the shed where you're sure you have some wood that should be fine for this.

Grab workbench and tools whilst you're there.
Bring wood inside and inspect it for suitability.

If possible, do this when it's raining to make sure the wood gets wet.
Realise the wood is warped and unusable thanks to your leaky shed (which you also built after overestimating your woodworking skills).

Realise you're going to need to go to the hardware store to buy some wood. Forget you have a cable guy booked to come over to fix an issue with your TV and broadband. Go to B&Q. Realise you need to buy a giant piece of MDF because the smaller sizes are about 6 inches too small in one dimension. Have the employee cut it for you. Buy a jigsaw anyway because it's on offer for £20. Bargain!

Arrive back home to find out the cable guy has been and gone. Phone and rebook for two weeks from now. Curse.

Contemplate why you didn't just buy a pedal board.

As the helpful employee has done most of the cuts for you, all you will need to do now is the struts.

The giant boards at the back (there's two) and the one with the label is offcut.
It was a really big piece of MDF.
Set up the workbench, mark up your struts, cut with new jigsaw. Forget to take photos because you're too excited about your new jigsaw.

Realise you're terrible at using a jigsaw and that there's now sawdust just everywhere. Cut another strut from an offcut to replace the shit one.

You can see the quality of the cuts in this photo.
Use a coping saw (badly) to cut out the arches that will allow wires to pass through.

Glue the outside edge strut to the first 40x5 slat, ensuring you line up the edges. Clamp. Glue on central 40x7 slat, ensuring a gap of 5cm all the way along. Clamp. Glue on final 40x5 slat, again ensuring the gap. Snap clamp trying to clamp.

Take photo when you should be holding the last slat till it dries.

Allow to dry. Repeat on the other side.

Fucking shitty clamps...
Show amazing foresight by actually making sure the central struts are spaced to leave space for the power supply.

 Place struts and mark up where the glue needs to go.

Apply glue, place struts and clamp ends. Place a board on top to add some weight to hold it all down. Leave to dry.

Place on the base board, using your plan and pedals to check positioning.

Realise your struts aren't flat. Sand struts. Fuck it, good enough.

Mark off the strut positions for gluing.

Glue, position, ensuring it's all flush at the edges. Weigh it all down to compensate for uneven struts. Hope.

Whilst that's drying, prepare Velcro Loop.

So much Velcro loop.

Mark on the back two 5x40 pieces, a 7x40, a 27x11 and a 27x13. Cut the pieces.

Peel back the backing on the Velcro and stick it all on. Make sure edges are all flush.

Be absolutely astounded by how good it looks!
Build finished!

Pedal Placement

Figure out how you want all your pedals placed (this isn't final. Thanks to the Velcro you can reposition later).

You will probably need to remove the feet from some pedals.

Either stick the Velcro hook on and cut to size...

Or just cut squares of about the right size. It doesn't need to be perfect.

Do all the pedals.

Stick to the board.

Realise at this point that the screws that were holding the feet on were also holding the bases on.

Replace screws. Wire it all up. Use the gaps in the struts to run the wires.

Power that bad boy up!

Rock out!

Congratulations! You've just built an awesome looking pedal board!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Oh come the fuck on!

You're not even fucking trying now! At least fire up MSPaint. This is the laziest like grab I have ever seen!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

On Cancer Awareness Selfies

As most of you have probably seen, there's a trend rushing around Facebook that consists of women taking selfies with no make up. Apparently, this is raising awareness of Breast Cancer.

Apparently, when this craze started, the posts included a link to a place where you could donate actual money to Breast Cancer Awareness. Now it's devolved into the usual slacktivism. It isn't even Breast Cancer Awareness Month until October. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. I've only seen one person actually give out a text number and that was a guy wearing makeup!

Quick question: Who isn't aware of Breast Cancer? It's probably one of the most publicised forms of cancer and women and girls are taught and encouraged to check themselves and to go to the doctor if they have concerns. Male Cancers, such as Testicular and Prostate, receive much less coverage and men are generally more reticent when it comes to seeking help.

But that's completely by the by. This isn't a post about Men's Right or any shit like that.

I'm simply trying to do what a lot of the selfie people have not: Give you actual links so you can donate.

Donate to Cancer Research UK - On that page you will actually see donations from people who are donating after doing their bare faced selfie. You can also Text BEAT to 70099 to donate £3 from your mobile.

Donate to Breast Cancer Care

Donate to Macmillan Cancer Support

Donate to Marie Curie Cancer Care

Donate to Male Cancer Awareness - As I said before, men are a lot less likely to seek help or are not even aware of male cancers, the way women are about female cancers. It's Male Cancers that really need raised awareness.

Don't just sit at your computer sharing photos and claim you're raising awareness if you aren't willing to put your money where your mouth is.

Right, I'm off to MCAM to donate.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

On Footballers and Soldiers

Many of you may well have seen the following picture making the rounds on Facebook:

Some you may have liked it or even shared it but, at any time, did you stop to actually think about it?

Let's do that now, together. We'll take it in stages.

£300,000 a week for Football...

As a society, we've always revered and worshipped sports stars. This is not a new phenomenon. In fact, the highest paid sportsman of all time was most likely a slave-turned-chariot racer in around 2 C.E. It's thought that Gaius Appuleius Diocles could have earned as much as £9.6 billion! I somehow doubt there were people proclaiming it unfair that the soldiers of the Roman empire didn't earn similar amounts. Sports people do what they do for our entertainment and we put a huge value on our entertainment. Have you noticed you rarely see posts like this complaining about actors earning tens of millions of dollars for a film? Which requires more skill, really? Football is hard, guys! Players who earn the huge money are the best players who play for the biggest clubs. These clubs sell the most merch and demand the highest ticket costs. This means then can pay the most, attracting the best players to their club and so on. It's called capitalism. Yes, it's ridiculous that grown men who chase a glorified pig bladder for a living get paid millions but that is the value we, as a society, place on our entertainment.

Meanwhile... Soldiers... earn less than £30,000 a year

Whilst army sergeants earn over £30,000, most standard soldiers earn upwards of £17,767. Soldiers on officer training start at over £24,000 and that goes up over £38,000 if you reach captain. So the numbers are actually lower than stated but let's examine them anyway. First of all, £17,000 a year is not a bad wage. It's below the national average but I would say it's still more than your usual wage slave earns. Remember, the averages are pretty skewed by the highest earners. Also, consider that, for many soldiers, cost of living is greatly reduced if they live on base. I've only used the army here, so it may differ for other services.
Next, and I think most importantly, soldiers are not forced into their jobs. There's no press gangs roaming around and there's no forced conscription. Also, I've noticed I never see posts bemoaning the pay the police get or the ambulance service. These people put themselves in harms way to help people right here at home. Why are we not complaining on their behalf?

It seems to come down to the special status we bestow on the armed services and the special hatred people seem to hold for football players. Corporate CEOs earn millions! Why is this not about them? Although people may not think football players 'work hard', I promise they do. Remember, these people basically devote their lives to a game, practicing constantly. I imagine it's drastically more difficult than sitting on your arse in an office and partaking in some slacktivist picture sharing on Facebook.

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