I have a Gmail address, thanks to my friend James Frost, which I don’t use very often. In fact, I think James is the only other person who knows that address and unless he suddenly gets the urge to become a spammer I foresee that I’ll not have any spam in that mail box for a good while to come.

A word of explanation: the only way to get a Gmail account, at the moment, is to be invited by someone who has been invited by Google, who are behind the Gmail project. Referrals are what makes the internet tick. (It doesn’t tick, you say. Stop what you are doing and listen… see!)

I rediscovered the following this morning. Once I had set up my account I emailed James a test message. I usually send the conservative, and rather geeky message: “Hello world”. But for some reason I sent the following:

Wow! I have an email address all of my own now. Now I don’t have to pray to the dwarf god of Norway*. Nor will I have to spend days draining the blood from used goats in order to write on them in a weak ink made from chips. My life is now so complete. And I have you to thank for it. Thank you, O thank you. May your legs always work, and
your arms not turn to dust.


(* or Ikea)

To which James replied:

Yes thank you. I am from Switzerland and not English am I speaking well. Could you fax details to download Psion Symbian celebration chipping?

Samwise Gamgee, my brother, and ham. Thankyou for kindness of website and wisdom in elders. Marjorie.


Berusso Dortmund

No. I have no idea what they mean either. But given that James is one of the funniest humans I know, and frequently has me in fits of laughter so that water is leaking from my eyes (as Ming’s PA, from the movie Flash Gordon might put it), I thought I’d share it anyway. Good boing!

I’m a real boy

I am not Pinnochio, I am a real boy!

The waiting is over: Jane and I visited our GP this morning to discover the test results for my semen sample. Here is a little tip for any GPs reading this: before you divulge the test results why not read them over first and then summarize them for the anxious couple sitting opposite. Alteratively, you could — as ours did — begin to read them and suddenly exclaim, “Oh! that’s not very much … that’s a tiny sample! 0.9 ml .. that’s hardly anything!”

“I did the best I could,” I defended myself. And, you know, they do say good things come in small portions. It seems that I do too!

Despite the initial less-than-pastorally-sensitive approach, the doctor went on to say that my sperm were fairly active and in good concentration for the small sample that was analysed (Look! she brought it up again!). In fact, I think she enjoyed breaking that news to us so much that she sent me away with another pot, another form and a plastic bag to pop the two into, and told me to try again. I told her that if it didn’t look much the second time I’d just top it up with milk. “Don’t do that!!” she exclaimed. I assured her that I wouldn’t.

Maybe I wouldn’t have to. Funnily enough, when I got home this evening and picked up email there were at least two spam emails in my Junk folder offering pharmaceutical solutions for increasing the volume of my ejaculations. Who says that all spam is useless …?!

Happy Birthday Mr Burns

We were going to have haggis, neeps and tatties today to celebrate Burns Night. But when we got to Tesco we discovered that everyone else had thought that too. No haggis! Not one. Not even a tin (yuck) of haggis.

We had burgers instead. With chips.

Not so much Burns Night as McDonald’s night. It’s what Rabbie would have wanted.

Although he would have been appalled by the way that I toasted the burger!

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the fast food-race!…

AND … (Oh no, it gets worse!) we sat and ate our toasted-in-the-style-of-Burns burgers watching The Simpsons, and a special episode about Mr Burns (not Robbie) discovering his long-lost son.

Take Back Your Life!

Take Back Your Life, by Sally McGhee

This past week I’ve been reading a book about how better to organize my life, and it is fantastic. Take Back Your Life, by Sally McGhee explains how to use Microsoft Outlook, synchronized with a PDA, to keep track of objectives, projects and tasks. And I can honestly say that it works.

One of the first steps, McGhee says, is to work out how many collection points we use. That is, how many locations do you collect information and tasks from? I was amazed to discover that I had 28 different locations. I’ve now reduced this to eight, which is far more manageable.

Next up, download the to-dos that you carry around in your head. I had eighty-one. No wonder I felt stressed, with so much to remember. I now have them typed up in my newly reorganised Tasks list in Outlook.

Thing is, I now have a full In-tray, and a bulging Tasks list because I’ve not reached the chapter on how you actually schedule these into your Calendar to make time to actually do them!

Blog lockout

That was a bit worrying: this morning I tried to log in to the blog, typed in my username and password, hit the Log in button and was rudely presented with the message

All comments have been turned off temporarily. Please try again later.

I was a little taken aback at that. I’d activated the “Comments Off” plugin last week as I was being inundated with comment spam, but it appears to have locked me out of my own blog control-panel now!!

Obviously, I’ve managed to get in now. What I had to do was fire up my FTP client and change the name of the commentsoff.php plugin. I discovered the same advice later on the WordPress support forum.