Friday, 26 February 2010


I was on the way back from climbing, pitch black in the pouring rain, doing about 50mph... and hit the world's deepest pothole. The jolt was so hard that it felt like I'd driven straight into a wall and felt so violent that at first I thought the entire front of the car had come off! Thankfully that wasn't the case, but sadly there was some damage to the car in the form of a blown tyre.

If it's daylight with good weather and my boot is empty I'm not already worn out from climbing I can change a tyre in about 5 minutes. Sadly with the rain, cold (I was only wearing shorts+t-shirt because of climbing!), dark, having to find my locking wheel nut key, having to keep getting out of the way of occcasional cars as well as having to work out where my jack-point was (first time on this car), it took me about 20-25 minutes to change the tyre and then to put everything back away again afterwards.

I went to the tyre place as planned in the morning and asked for new tyres for the front of the car (should always replace in pairs). They looked at the existing ones and it turns out (since verified) that the car actually came with some pretty nice tyres... and they wanted £175 / US $267 for 2. I've since looked online to see if they were ripping me off, but no not really - Ouch. So anyway, I agreed and didn't want cheaper tyres as it'd just change how it'd been handling last two years and they went off to start on it. 5 minutes later the man comes running in and says I've got bigger problems than the tyre and I follow him out and I see what he means:

EEK! When it comes off the car and it goes in the boot you only see the front and I guess in my tired state I hadn't thought about it :( So I went over to the next town to the Ford dealership and asked them about an alloy. They looked it up... £150 / US $229... just for the one alloy. That's without tyres as mentioned above or the tracking that I should get done (~£25 / US $38). Eeek! Sadly the alloy wasn't in stock, but they're ordered one in and I should be able to get it sorted at the weekend. So much money :(

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Carrie and Mario 64

I didn't have any plans for the weekend, but I messaged Carrie and asked if she wanted to come and she did. Brief bits of text below each picture:

We tried to get all 120 stars on Mario 64 (starting from the beginning) although after a few
hours we only had 54 and wanted to stop to play something else, still that's not bad really!

I made us spaghetti bolognese - You can never have too much cheese!

Carrie wanted to trying out Dancing Stage: Mario Mix

Carrie triumphant aftering finishing Mario Mix

By now it was about 1am so we decided to watch "Cabin Fever 2". Yep a direct to DVD sequel so you can imagine how bad it was. To be fair it was terrible and completely over gorey, but it was very amusing at the same time. After this we watched Transformers 2 because she'd never seen it - Can you believe that?! Shocking! So we watched the film whilst I sat there playing with my Optimus Prime and Jetfire toys! :P

On Sunday we had tacos for breakfast/lunch

A great weekend!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010


I had awesome pancakes today! Look at them, here they are!


Monday, 15 February 2010

Pro Hands

A while back I bought a Grip II Squeeze Ball to help build up my hand/finger muscles for use with climbing. It was all going just fine until I... erm... squeezed it one too many times. Oops. First of all the outer covering started peeling off and the eventually it just started leaking covering my hands in this nasty gunk. Yuck. So I decided to buy something a bit more solid that would exercise each indivual finger and they arrived today:

It was cheaper to buy 3 at once rather than individually (3 worked out at just slightly more than 2), but they are hand exercisers and from left to right they give 7 lb pressure per finger, 9 lb and finally a rather large 11 lb. The idea is not to try and push something that's too hard, but rather more movements with one offering less resistance (yet still some effort) and then move up to the next one when that's too easy etc. There are also loads of different ways you can hold it as well so that you don't just exercise your fingers, but your entire hand. I'll be hanging on walls like Tom Cruise yet! :) Recently I actually bought the extra-light and light versions for my brother (3 lb and 5 lb) to help with with the rehab on his hand as he fell badly on it and he says they've been really helpful so that's good.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

More FarmVille

I wanted to get a total of 150 Valentines so I could get an Eiffel Tower, but in the past 36 hours or so I've managed to get a whopping 524 Valentines (and that's still increasing!). If only they were all real eh? This means I didn't get just 1 Eiffel Tower, but *3*!

Awesome! :) I wouldn't have been able to do it without a fantastic idea by my friend Kat who said about looking round the "Add Me" forums on the FarmVille website and looking for people with public profiles and then getting Valentines from their news posts as well :) It took a while (most of the weekend), but it's done now and I'm happy :) I also managed to get all the other Valentines stuff too:

You can see I've also got a mini Eiffel tower too (thanks Angel!)

Friday, 12 February 2010


If you don't know what FarmVille is, it's the most popular Facebook game (where have you been?!) but I actually stopped playing it in mid-December. The main reason for this was because it was getting a bit "meh" and I was really starting to resent the fact that you *had* to be there in time to harvest the crops before they spoiled. If I'm late on Café World I've only lost ~15 "crops", but on FarmVille I've lost over 400 which is a lot of clicks needed just to get back to where I was and without any benefit for my time. Boo.

Recently I found out that they'd bought out a new "Unwither Ring" and if you buy it (yes you have to use REAL money) then your crops will never die, no matter how late you are. Fantastic! I was debating about it for a few days, but decided what the hell because I do/did really enjoy the game except for the time constraints and a few hours ago I bought it and I can't wait to now open it on Feb 14 (it's a Valentine event thing).

In the meantime I rearranged my farm a bit (removing most of the Xmas stuff that I had when I left) and got the Valentine things instead:

Check out the "My Little Pony"! :) Awesome lol. Oh and my white stallion, love chest, love scarecrow, two carriages, 2 bird baths... the "Luv Ewe" sheep (lol), baby tiger, weird cat thing and the unopened "Unwither Ring". Awesome :)

I also built my new stable and expanded my farm to the maximum size (neither of those things were available when I left) and then decided with all the extra space I should get my extra 2 Villas out of the barn and put them next to my existing one!

Yes my barns (top right corner!) somehow have enough room for not one but two Villas... They must be like the TARDIS in there or something... :) Oh and if anyone wonders, I overlapped them slightly to save space, but to also make it look like a MEGA VILLA! :) W00t! :)

Love this game! Now I just need another 130ish Valentines so I can get the Eiffel Tower! :)

How do you make your keys look so much cooler?

Get some MonKeys!

How cool are they? :) I've been meaning to get some key covers for a while because since I added my parents house key to my keyring I've been having problems telling my key and theirs apart. Then whilst shopping for key covers I came across these MonKeys and I was like "Why get something dull when I can get something cool!?" :) Voila here are my keys now:

The two work keys (far right) already had key covers, but I've changed the boring red one to the pink MonKey (similar in colour) and the yellow one has now become orange (again closest colour to what it was). My house key is now purple and my parents is green and I have two spare for future use! Fantastic! :)

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Random pictures from the last week

Summing up my week:

Lucy came over and we ordered (way too much) chinese food

I ate the last of my Xmas chocolates (Thanks Vee!)

We had 10 minutes of hail which left this

Time Traveler's Wife DVD arrived (great book/film!)

I bought a new toothbrush holder (mine on left, Lucy's on far right for when she stays over)

I bought a new sports bag and got a free VERY LARGE mug with the company name all over it
("Puppy in my Pocket" for size comparison - Thanks Lianne Marie!)

Exciting week eh? :)

Friday, 5 February 2010


This has to be the most obscure thing I've ever bought:

That's 25 * fluorescent starter's for my kitchen light. If you didn't know in each fluorescent tube there's a tiny cylinder that slots in which is what helps to start the light and when these go the light doesn't start even if the bulb is good. They only cost about £1/USD $1.56 each so I like to just have one spare at all times. I had to use my spare earlier in the week so went shopping for a new spare. I found out that they'd be about £3 with shipping and then I noticed that Amazon sold *25* for £5.83/USD $910) and since I have Amazon Prime... free next day shipping! Bargain! Since each one lasts about 2 years (in my experience) that's 50 years worth! More than I'll ever need probably! :)

Dancing Stage: Mario Mix

I've bought "Dancing Stage Mario Mix" for the Wii! (well technically it's for the GameCube!)

It is the normal Konami licenced Dancing Stage/Dance Dance Revolution, but with Mario and a lot of Mario tunes from the various games. There are some interesting mini games like "whack-a-mole" where you have to step on the arrows to hit the moles, but it's more or less the same dancing game, even has the same announcer voice. I don't really like the story mode though (it's just weird!) so I'm unlocking it as fast as I can so I can just freeplay it on any song I want!

I did notice it's a lot easier than all the other home Dancing Stage games though, because I did two of the songs on "Hard" without even getting that worked up. I suppose that's the difference, it's called "Difficult" normally and I can do that in the arcade without too much problem, but home editions with the mats get too slippery with the amount of moves you need to do. Anyway, it's still a lot of fun :)


At some point in early/mid 2009 I bought an OWL CM119 wireless electricity monitor. It has a transmitter that connects to my main supply wire and a wireless handset with a huge LCD display so I can see live readings of how much power I'm using (as well as keeps a history). Recently I found out that they made a USB receiver and software so it uses your existing transmitter and you can also receive it on your PC for permanent use/graphing/whatever. I thought that sounded awesome so I ordered it.

It sounds good in theory, but in reality it's incredibly disappointing. The biggest problem is that it only records information when your computer is on! Yes you have to leave the computer on to actually log the data as it has no internal memory like the handheld device I've already got. How useless is that?! (hardly energy efficient!). Now this isn't so much of a problem for me as I've always got my mailserver on at home so I just connected it up to that and then I hit the next snag, the software. Put bluntly, it's rubbish. it's extremely basic. It does exactly what you want, but it doesn't run as a background service, heck it doesn't even minimise to the system tray! You have to have it on the taskbar all the time. NICE! :(

Thankfully OWL have an API software development kit which you have to ask for so I'll do that an if they let me have it then I'll just write my own service to log the data.


Ages back my brother bought me the Masterpiece Starscream Transformer and it's very cool, but I decided that I wanted to make it even cooler! If you've ever seen the 1986 animated Transformers movie (if not, why not?!) then you'll know that there is a scene where Starscream has a coronation. An unofficial company made some addon parts for the Masterpiece figure, namely shoulder pads, a cape and the all important crown and trying them out they look like:

Okay to be fair they're not THAT amazing, but they're pretty realistic and they weren't exactly expensive either so I'm happy with that :) They also make a Skywarp coronation set (because I have that one as well), but that's just stupid since he was never coronated...