Meaning Of Loaf

       Taking the easy road through life

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

When you've gotta sleep...

It's been a while since I've had a list on the blog, and given the lack of sleep I've had this week, due to not being able to lay on back for fear of sticking my tattoo scab to the sheets, it's time for:

5 Unlikeliest Places I've Ever Slept

1. The boot of my car
After a night out at the pub, and walking home, I discovered that I'd picked up my keys, but forgot that I'd taken the house key off the ring earlier that day. As I didn't think the neighbours who have my spare key would appreciate the wake up at just after midnight, the boot of the car seemed the most spacious and accommodating place to catch a few hours sleep, and with a 5 inch sponge as a pillow, this was my bed for the night.

2. A chimney
A party at a friends house ended up with everyone sleeping on the floor pretty much where they fell, and although I don't remember climbing into the disused fireplace as I went to sleep, I did wake up, half sitting up in the fireplace with my head in the chimney. I suspect my friends may have had something to do with this.

3. The toilet at my parents
In my younger days while still living with my parents, I would head out to the pub of an evening, and stagger home around midnight (how they put up with this I'll never know). And on one such occasion, the usual standing for the toilet seemed just too much effort, and so decided to take the seat. The next thing I remember is being woken up the next morning by my parents, and with an imprint of the seat that lasted most of the day.

4. A kebab
No night out to the pub would be complete without the Donner kebab on the way home, and I managed to convince my wife that this would be the perfect thing to get one night. I didn't make a start on it until we got home, and she decided to have a shower while I played guess the meat with the kebab. By the time she returned from the shower I was fast asleep, with my face resting comfortably in the kebab. On the bed. On her pillow. Ok, maybe I'm starting to see why we separated.

5. The climbing frame at the local park
The route home from the pub regularly took us through the kids park, and of course, no drunk can resist a park. This particular one had a large frame with a rope grid hanging between it, which to us seemed like a giant, multi-person hammock. On more than one occasion we'd wake up to find ourselves dangling from this giant spider web.

So, while I must admit the most of the stories did in someway involve alcohol, I really can sleep pretty much anywhere. Just hope I can manage a good nights sleep tonight!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Going under the needle

Finally, another big thing comes of the to-do list.

Up until now, I've never made any mention of my plan to get a tattoo, and only a couple of friends had heard brief mentions about the possibility, despite the fact it's been something I've wanted to do for the past couple of years. I'd not mentioned anything until I'd had it done, just in case I didn't go through with it, and given my fear of needles, it was not something I was going to rush into.

I'd actually been looking around a couple of tattoo parlors in London earlier this year, but just didn't like the look of most of them. One in particular, I was greeted by an huge guy with a fag hanging out of his mouth and no concept of the word shower, and the place reflected this. But after all that, I found there was a place in my home town, just half an hour walk from my house, which turned out to be friendly, clean and more than happy to help.

So, with the appointment booked for Saturday, I treated myself to a large breakfast, and headed on down.

When I arrived, there was a bit of a wait, since I was the first of the morning and some setting up needed to be done, and I have to say this was the hardest part, sitting there in silent panic. Finally, they were ready; brought me in and sat me down, and after a quick shave of my back (not that I have a particularly hairy back!), they were ready to start. By this point my heart rate was something around that of a hummingbird.

The sound of the machine starting was one of the worst I've heard; sounding like some kind of high powered dentist drill. Yet, when he started, I was actually pleasantly surprised! Now I wouldn't say it was painless, but nowhere near the pain I'd imaged it would be, in fact no worse than having an injection. Repeatedly. But after about 10 minutes, I'd become numb even to that, and was sat there chatting away happily while he continued.

The whole thing lasted about an hour and a half, after which I was wrapped in cling film to protect it for a couple of hours afterwards, and for me this was just the most amusing part; standing there being wrapped in cling film by a burly bloke with tattoos!

So now I just have to wait while it all heals; I would post a picture, but at the moment it's just looking a bit blurred and scabby, but I'll put something up as soon as it's healed and looking good. And thanks must go out to the wife, who offered to come over to help rinse and moisturise it for the first 24 hours, I really can't imagine any of the guys would have been up for that task. Now I need to practice various yoga poses to be able to reach round and moisturise it myself, as it's centred between the shoulder blades, and I'm not that flexible!

So would I have another one? Yes and no; I'd certainly have no issues with going through with it again, as it's definitely not as bad as expected, but at the same time, being covered in tattoos is just not me, so for now I think this one is plenty. Still, for anyone else out there thinking of getting one, I'd say as long as you're sure about what you want, go for it!

Friday, October 27, 2006


Yet again, life farts in my face and give a hearty laugh.

Some of my more persistent readers may recall the BBQ back in September, where I made a shameful attempt to chat up a 20-something Austrian au-pair, and in my opinion, made a complete ass of myself. Well, fast forward to a conversation yesterday afternoon when I was chatting to the guy who's BBQ it was, the one with the au-pair:

Me: "So still got that Austrian au-pair?"

Other guy: "She's back home at the moment, but coming back to the UK soon. Oh, by the way, she asked me to give you her phone number, if you wanted to give her a call."

Me: "Wasn't that a couple of months ago?"

Other guy: "Yeah, I kept forgetting to mention it."

Me: "?!!!?".

So, I've sent a text, but chances are she thinks I've had the number for ages and just didn't bother calling, and so is probably sat there reading my text, saying "Sorry, missed your chance!".

Damn, Damn, Damn!

At least it's Friday, and only 7.5 hours until the weekend offically starts. Have a good weekend all!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

How well connected are you?

Today, something a little different.

As things are a little quiet recently, I've decided now is the perfect time to start some social experiments, and see if I can get readers out there doing something. It's a power fix really.

Anyway, to the point; I've been thinking recently about how blogs link to each other through their blogrolls, and how we start forming groups, which then branch out to other groups, and started to wonder how far out of our circle of known blogs we often venture.

The Experiment

To test this idea, I decided to count down 3 places on my blog roll, follow the link, go 3 down on the next blog roll, and basically repeat this 3 times to see if I end up somewhere new, or somewhere I know. For me, this lead me through the following path:

1. The Cherry Ride - Ok, I know where I am, I read and comment here.

2. 5 of 9er - Getting a little further out now, I've been here a couple of times, but not commented yet.

3. Mini Smartypants - Somewhere new, never been here before, but looks like a good find!

(I skipped the Chicago Bloggers and Dusty Groove links on 5 of 9er as they were directories and online shops, so didn't really fit the experiment).

So, now I'd like to know of the other readers out there, if you do this starting from your own blogs, where do you end up? Do you reach somewhere new or somewhere you know within 3 jumps? And if not somewhere new, how many jumps does it take?

Happy clicking!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Back to school

I'm alive! The cold has been successfully fought and destroyed, thanks to flu tablets, an abundance of fruit, and of course a little whisky. So, no excuses now, back to the regular postings.

The big decision towards the end of last week, was to finally give education another go, which for me is quite a big step, since me and education never really saw eye to eye. Most of my school years were met with what can best be described as a lack of attention (not that it's any different now, I still tune out after about 5 minutes), and so I finally left with some less than inspiring grades.

Despite this lack of legitimate qualifications, I've still managed to bluff my way into a career as a programmer, defying the maths teach who said I'd never have a career in IT if I couldn't do maths. But recently, I've been thinking recently that it's time to start filling in some of the gaps, both to give a few more options career wise, and also just out of the interest of learning something new, and so starting in January, I'll be starting the introductory course in Physics through the Open University.

For those outside of the UK, or just not familiar with it, Open University is a correspondence based system, along with some short summer schools and tutorials, whereby you do a series of courses each year, and each course earns you a certain number of points. When you have enough points in the right area, you can put this towards a degree, or other qualification. There are probably thousands of Open University students shouting at my two sentence summary of Open University, but perhaps I can describe it a bit better once I've been through it.

Both my wife and a friend of mine have been through Open University courses and now have their degrees to show for it, as well as having the pleasure of getting their own back on me for all the years spent asking "Why do you want to keep studying? Are you crazy??". But, they seemed to enjoy it and are encouraging me to go for it.

So, for me this means just over two months of TV, socialising and lazing around before I trade it in for study books and last minute revision, but whatever happens, I promise I'll still keep time aside for the blog and for going round other blogs. Here's hoping that old dogs can still learn a few new tricks!


Next Time, on the Loaf
A social experiment: how well connected are you?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Supporting Breasts

Yet another week flying by, and really not enough posts, but I'm excusing myself somewhat as I'm suffering with a cold. And not just a cold, but a man cold, which is the worst kind of cold, and as a result I'm carefully administering measured doses of flu tablets and whisky. It's kill or cure.

Also, in response to Rev-Ree's call for support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I'll be sporting the pink ribbon until the end of October, and for every visit to the site that gets logged, I'll be donating 25p to Breast Cancer Research. To be fair, as I'm jumping on this a little late, I'll be backdating to the start of October, which makes 144 hits as of last night, and gives a current total of £36.

So, while I go and extend my overdraft to cover this slightly drunken gesture, keep coming back and pushing up that total!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

TV Heaven

Lock the doors, close the curtains and unplug the phone. The season of TV Heaven is upon us!

Yes, it's that time of year again when the best that TV has to offer comes into full bloom, trapping me in the warm and comforting glow of widescreen heaven. So here's what will be helping me to shape the sofa for the next few months:

Season 3 is underway, although of course not in the UK yet, and as I would never condone downloading episodes from BitTorrent, everything I know about this is purely from what I've read on the internet. Honest.

Lost really does come top of my list in terms of TV addiciton, and is one of the few programs that will have me going back over old episodes several times, just to see something someone has made a reference to in a later episode. Some questions have been answered, and many more have been raised. Here's to another gripping season!

The 4400
Ok, we're just about coming to the end of the season over here, but by my count, there's still a few episodes to go and things are really hotting up. Another great drama, and although it's starting to feel a little like it's ripping off the X-Men storyline, it still has enough originality to keep me going. Looking forward to a climactic ending with this one.

Tru Calling
Not quite as popular as it could have been, which I think is a shame, as once I got into the first series, I found it quite addictive viewing. We saw series one in the UK about two years ago, and are only just getting series two now, which was announced with very little fanfare. From the opening two episodes, it looks to be another good season. Jason Priestley plays the cocky bad guy perfectly, and anything with Eliza Dushku will always get my full attention.

Robin Hood
As far as I know, this is in the UK only at the moment. To be honest, I didn't expect much of yet another re-working of a story that's been done to death, but I was actually quite surprised, and found it pretty watchable. It's definitely got a tongue in cheek style to it, and some scenes did make me wonder if the creators of Xena had a hand in the writing, but to me, those are all good points. I'll keep going with this one and see how it turns out.

Finally, in case you think all I watch is Sci-Fi and dramas, this is the one program that makes it into the lineup which can classed as educational. The favourite experiment I've seen so far, was watching them coat Adam in gold paint, to test the theory that being covered in paint can be harmful or even kill you; the look on Adam's face as they bring out the rectal thermometer to monitor inside body temperature during the experiment is priceless! Also, Kari Byron may play some part in my viewing pleasure.

So there we go, all I need now is a new series of Boston Legal, and a few new Simpsons episodes, and I'll be a happy viewer for the next few months. TV, you've done it again!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sneezing Pandas

And another week begins.

A pretty quiet weekend, and a dull Monday means nothing much to post at the moment, but a proper post is on the way. Until then, enjoy sneezing pandas!

Friday, October 13, 2006

How are you spending your Friday night?

Aromatic Crispy Duck, Hoi Sin Sauce, Pancakes, Red Wine and the TV remote. It's Friday night and I'm in a good mood!

After an awful week of work, working between 9 and 10 hours most days, Friday has never felt so good. Unfortunately, because of such a mind numbing week, there's really not much for me to write about tonight, so I'm just wondering how everyone else is spending their Friday night? Wild exciting parties? Painting the town?

The only other thing I've been thinking about this week is a trip for next year, since my last jaunt out of the country has got me in the mood for travelling. And, after many years of putting it off, I think the time has finally come to pay a visit to the U.S. Two places are top of the list at the moment; the first is New York, which is the place most people head for, since it has all the big sights to see, but then again, Chicago is looking pretty temping, as so far I'm hearing tales of midget wrestling, titty bucks, and good drinking.

So, since about 68% of the readers of this site are from either Chicago or New York (according to the stats anyway), sell me your cities and help me decide which should be the destination for early next year!

And finally, what Friday blog would be complete without a list, so I bring you:

5 things I've learnt this week

1. Even a small amount of spiced rum will give me a hangover.
2. Kippers for breakfast will repeat on you all day.
3. I'm not photogenic.*
4. Vodka and Water makes a good substitute ice pack (thanks to Mythbusters)
5. The Volvo Estate is Britain's sexiest car.

Have a good weekend all!

*Ok, I've known this for a while, I just refused to believe it until now.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Return of the Tourist

I'm back. Back from the warm beautiful streets Florence, back to the cold, wet streets of England.

Travelling aside, it was a great holiday; the weather was cloudy but warm enough to walk the streets with light clothing, the food and wine was perfect, the sights were wonderful and the people were friendly. Really can't ask for more.

There were only a few problems in getting there, the first being entirely my fault. I'm a pretty good morning person, but given a 6am flight, which means getting up at 2am to get ready, drive to the airport and get checked in, things just can't go well. True to form, I set of for the airport after a brief look at the map of where my pre-booked off-airport parking was, and thought I would be able to memorise it. I also left the GPS, as I didn't want to leave it in the car or drag it on holiday with me. So after an hour of driving round and having to resort to paying extra for Heathrow long stay parking, I really only had myself to blame.

Despite the set back, I made the flight to Rome, followed by the transfer to Piza, arriving at around 2 in the afternoon, leaving just the final train journey from Piza to Florence. And here was the next problem. I'd assumed that if you buy a ticket, that's it, you've paid, you get on the train. Nobody mentioned stamping the ticket in the little machine next to the platform, as I found out when they came round to check the tickets:

Conductor: "This ticket has not been stamped."

Me: "Stamped?"

Conductor: "I can stamp it for you now, but you have to pay a fine."


Conductor: "That will be 5 euros."

Me: "Oh? Ok, sure!"

5 euros? You'd be looking at close to 30 euros in the UK! And since the ticket itself was only just over 5 euros, I could hardly be upset!

With these minor problems out of the way, I had arrived. The hotel was very nice, within a reasonable walking distance of the city centre, and was small but had everything I needed. It's the small details that make me happy, and after many hours of travelling, a hot and powerful shower was just the best thing in the world! Refreshed, I took a walk around some of the town and went in search of somewhere to eat.

One thing I was very grateful of was the amount of English speaking people around, I mean I had tried to learn some of the language and pick up a few basic phrases, but would still have been lost and starving if it wasn't for them. However, it's a testament to the Italian lifestyle, that the phrasebook I bought has a whole section on chatting up people:

You have such beautiful eyes
I tuoi occhi sono bellissimi

I love you
Ti amo

I don't feel as strongly about you
I miei sentimenti verso di te non sono cosi intensi

Take your hands off me
Non toccarmi

I'd like to go to bed with you
Vorrei andare a letto con te

Do you have a condom?
Hai un preservativo?

That's what they all say
Questo lo dicono tutti

Really, do you need to know any more than that?

So over the days I was there, I found many great places to eat, although I stuck mainly with pizzas and pastas (18 hours in a foreign hospital on a past trip was enough to kerb my enthusiasm for being too adventurous). Every meal was just perfect, and even the house wines that I had with the meal were far better than any I've had back home. If I'd stayed here any longer than four days, I would have exceeded the weight limit coming home.

Then there were the sights, and at this point, I have to admit that I didn't get that many photos as it was pretty cloudy, and I didn't want to stand around looking like a tourist waving my camera too much, so instead I'll treat you to these other pictures by people with far more talent than myself.

I spent most of my time over there just wandering around the streets and taking in the sights and sounds, from the markets where locals were selling locally crafted goods, to the churches and museums which were still packed with tourists even at this time of year. I have to admit I didn't go to the Uffizi, which is the one gallery everyone said I should visit in Florence, but my appreciation of art was outweighed by the queue that stretched round the building and didn't appear to be moving. I decided I'd rather spend time on the move and seeing everything else the city had to offer, and have no regret that I did.

Of course, no holiday would be complete without the handful of tourists that are just an embarrassment to the countries they come from, like the American couple I overhead while stood outside the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore:

"Hey, is that the Vatican?"

And just in case you think I'm picking on the Americans; an English couple I overhead at breakfast:

"You'd think they'd at least offer a full English breakfast alternative!"

Really, take away these peoples passports.

Still, a fantastic holiday, made all the better by hearing how awful the weather has been over here while I was away. With a bit more time, it would have been good to have a look around Piza and Rome as well, but I guess that will just have to wait for the next holiday. Italy, I'll be back!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Not forgotten...

Just a quick post to say I'm back, not still swanning around Italy, and a full post is on the way soon!

I've actually been back since Friday, but between sorting the house out for some late birthday celebrations on Saturday, having the celebrations, then recovering from the celebrations, this is the first chance I've had to get near a keyboard.

Also, the company has started monitoring our internet activities, which means I can't sit and happily type away first thing in the morning or at lunch, but don't worry, I won't neglect the blog, it just means it will be updated in the evenings, somewhere between dinner and several hours of quality TV viewing.

Normal transmissions will resume shortly....