Monday, October 29, 2007

Bild Von A Duck

I was checking out my sitemeter stats like a saddo, now we are a whole year old and came across something strange whilst browsing the entry page referrers.*

A German translation of POAD aka Bild Von A Duck. So I dusted off my O Level and started to read. All seems well, until you see what they do with the About Me blurb:

JP (7), USB-Stick (5), Herr Duck, und ich wohne in suburbanen Osten Lancs. Mein Leben ist ganz normal. Die Jungs sind außergewöhnlich, der Garten ist violett und Fußball ist meine Religion.

Tiddler is USB-Stick in German! I like it! I think we'll change his name by deed poll.

*For non-techies, the stats thingy at the bottom of the page that tells me who you are and when you visit, also tells me how you got here. A surprising number of you look for pictures of ducks on Yahoo or Google - hello and welcome. Kind of makes me wish I'd called it Picture of a Cock - I might get more traffic.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Secret of Happiness - Part V

Gardening: Has a positive effect on your happiness which doesn't diminish over time.

So: The Secret of Happiness

If you want to be happy for a few hours - get drunk.
If you want to be happy for a few years - get married.
If you want to be happy for life - get a garden.

I thank you.

Oh, and while you're here, today is POAD's first birthday.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Secret of Happiness - Part IV

Having Children: Contrary to what you'd expect, the graph is negative when they're very young. There are little happy spikes along the way*, but the effect on your overall happiness is bad**, until they start to develop into interesting individuals - like JP and Tiddler.

*beyond my graph-making capabilities
** no sleep, no social life, just endless pee, poo and puke.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Secret of Happiness - Part III

Getting married: The bad news from the research is that the year in the run up to your wedding is the happiest! So if you're engaged right now - make the most of it.

Of course there are some gluttons for punishment...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Secret of Happiness - Part II

Getting Drunk: A brief peak at the point of being roaring drunk, followed by the crash into hangover on the negative axis. Not sure if the hangover dip shouldn't be sharper than the happiness peak, but I suppose that depends how much Guinness has been consumed.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Secret of Happiness - Part I

I told you on my birthday that I would share the secret of happiness with you and now the day has come.

The theory comes via Richard Reeves of Making Slough Happy fame.

If you're Salvadore Vincent, you can make genius diagrams of this. I will have an amateur go and make it last over a few days.

On the vertical axis you have degrees of happiness and on the horizontal axis you have elapsed time. The research asked people what made them happy and how long did it last and the results were then plotted.

You get graphs that look like this:

Winning the lottery: You get an initial uplift in happiness, but then it levels out and might even tail off. Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy some of the things that will contribute.

More tomorrow.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Can you guess what it is yet?

To raise funds for the school, the PTA offers personalised coasters, t-shirts, placemats, mugs, mouse mats and so on, with pictures drawn by your children. The ideal gift for those hard-to-please grandparents.

This week, sample coasters have come home for our consideration.

JP has drawn a dog and a rabbit on a green hill, under a rainbow-filled blue sky. Perfect Wrinklie Ducks material - lots of aaah factor.

Tiddler has drawn a dog and a head sticking out of a large brown object floating in mid-air. The caption reads 'Tiddler and his dog practising for the sack race, 2007'.


a) to my knowledge the sack race is a solo event, not human/animal pairs

b) he has never seen, nor participated in a sack race

c) we don't have a dog.

I think he's sneaking cheese at night.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Every now and again, it's good to help someone lose their virginity.

When they utter those words 'it's my first time', you stop in your tracks. You know you need to make it really special for them. An experience they'll remember for ever.

After all, it's not every day you get to take someone to Heaven and back. I got my latest opportunity last Saturday.

I have never forgotten my first time.

I was breathless with anticipation and my heart was pounding. I couldn't believe it was finally happening. We'd planned it for weeks and weeks and when the day finally came, I could barely contain my excitement. I stared at my reflection in the mirror, knowing that I would never be the same again. I chose my outfit with care. I wore red - but there was never any question really.

And it was Heaven. It was everything I had dreamed of and more.

We won 4-1.

On Saturday it was 4-0. I'm sure J will never forget his first visit to Old Trafford either.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Go As You Please

My uncle lost his battle with cancer recently, so family and friends gathered to celebrate.

Not his untimely death at 66, but the life of a fell-running, music-loving free spirit.

The day dawned with sunshine and clear skies. Two of my brothers*, my niece and I headed for Whitley Bay.

The funeral was organised by appropriately named Go As You Please.

The day was a genuine celebration of his life, rather than the mourning of his passing. His fellow members of 10th Avenue Band played, as we walked and danced from the sea front to the crematorium, flanked by the permanent and conformist reminders of the more usual face of death.

The band were dressed in their signature black and white costumes; ostrich feathers, hats, polka dots, checks and stripes making the monochrome display anything but sombre. My uncle himself would have probably worn an outrageous black and white kaftan, had he been walking and playing his flute or tenor saxophone, instead of being carried behind by his children.

The simple coffin was vibrant with flowers from his garden, woven into the wicker with ivy, by the family that morning.

Inside the building, his photographs watched us from the walls as one by one, friends and relatives stood up to share stories and memories. The building resonated with laughter and smiles and love.

As we left, Carl from Go As You Please, showed us the photographs they had taken of the procession - already printed out on sheets, to the delight of the family.

We proceeded to the wake to hear both 10th Avenue and later, one of his other bands - the Cradlewell Jazz Band - perform. We drank, ate, looked at countless pictures and news clippings, and shared more stories and tributes.

He would have loved it.

*sister in china and the ginger one - for interested commenters

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Black, White and Bling...

... is the name we have settled on for the new Pink Palace.

It does exactly what it says on the tin. It is all black, white and silver and has sparkly bits in the polished, black floor tiles*. Even the Human Bacardi Breezer**, keeps it monochrome for work - apart from hair (pink) and flip flops (turquoise).

The polish has gone upmarket too. The house red is 'Merlot' here - in the PP it was 'Cranberry'.

Some things do stay the same though - like the tea and gossip with the regulars.

Yesterday, the conversation turned surprisingly to football. 'Guess who Blonde Salon Owner is dating?' asks HBB.

'A Manchester United player!' - she continues, without giving me a chance to rattle off a random list of contenders. (This still gives me 35 to choose from so the game is not over yet.)

I make my pitch.

I am wrong.

Several times over.

'Ooh' I rejoin - non-committally, when I fail to guess and the answer is revealed.

'But I'm not sure I believe him' - adds Blonde.

She lays the evidence before us. We are all ears.

1. He claims to be 27, but official sources put him at 23 (and I've checked this).
2. She has been to his house which has a waterfall in the garden and a Lamborghini in the garage, but thinks it might not be his.
3. He looks like the player, but his hair is longer than the current squad photo - but that was taken a while ago.
4. He complains of soreness in the place where this player is currently injured, but could be faking.
5. He does not have the accent of the country for whom he is a capped International, which is correct.

Now, I'm no Lazlo Woodbine, but I offer to help out. As I scrutinise him from my seat, watching the second-half demolition of Wigan with his injured team mates, I draw up my plans.....

* which BTW I'm giving serious consideration to laying in the kitchen
** formerly of the PP, who does my nails

Monday, October 01, 2007

Not To Do List

While Anna has been driving herself crazy with Lists of Things to Do over at Little Red Boat, I decided that as an antidote I would have an antilist. So here is my Not To Do list, so far.

1. Go shopping regularly

2. Run too far with my iPod*

3. Keep banging my head on the same shelf in the kitchen

4. Leave the pub before closing

5. Watch football quietly

6. Put the milk in before taking the Tea-Bag out

It's a work-in-progress, but has more more of a feel-good factor than a To Do list don't you think?

* Went out again without a swanky armband yesterday. Decided to action point 1 on the list and didn't buy one. Legs in working order though, (as far as I can tell). I must be forgiven. Switched the playlist order so Joy Division comes on during the big uphill. Inspired!