Friday, 17 April 2009

On shaving...

Almost every bloke does it - shave, that is ;) Blokes with beards (I used to have one before my heart attack, got rid of it because of the Living History hobby I joined afterwards) tend not to shave, as growing a beard takes more than a day ;)

So... having originally used an electric razor, and received much in the way of shaving burn from that each day, a while back I tried wet shaving. Much better. However, it's getting expensive. I currently use a Gillette Mach 3 razor. Excellent bit of kit, I have to say, but the blade cartridges for it are hellishly expensive - close to a tenner for a five cartridge pack. NOT good at all.

The "Retro" aspect...

Then I remembered that my old man uses a "Safety Razor". These are those old double bladed jobs that you see a lot of the previous generation using. I did a little research (searching online), and found that while the razors themselves can be an initially expensive purchase, the blades on the other hand tend to be cheap as chips (have you SEEN the price of fish'n'chips lately?!) - put it this way: The blades for these things can be as much as five times cheaper over the course of a year than my Mach 3 razor! In these hardening times of economic paucity - i.e. we're all bloody skint! - it makes sense to get something that's relatively cheap to use. It's also apparently "Retro" to use a DB Razor these days. Hmm. Not such a great selling point for me, but what the hell.

So, thinks I... time to change...

Problem. It would appear that you can only find these damn things online nowadays.

For something that I'm looking to use every day for many years, that is designed to put a very sharp bit of metal against my skin, I am damn well not going to simply buy online. I want to feel the blasted thing, get an idea of it's heft in my mitt, how manoeuvrable it is, what the workmanship is like, what it actually looks like in person rather than in an optimised advertising photo, and so on, before I part with my money.


I want an old-fashioned bricks and mortar shop to go to, in order to buy the first one of these that I'll use.

Can I bleedin' find one?

Can I heck. I even spent most of a day stomping around the West End in London trying to find one. All I got for my trouble was somewhat damp (it rained, and naturally I'd forgotten my blasted umbrella), sore of leg (I drive for a living. This walking malarkey's for the full-time pedestrians!) and exceedingly irritated through lack of progress. It's like trying to find rocking horse droppings, this. So, it's over to you, the reader of this blant...

Anyone know of a good men's grooming supplies shop in the London area (that's within the M25 area)?

Let me know through the comments system on here - many thanks in advance!

Edit: It appears Gillette no longer make Double Edge Razors. They still make the blades, but not the razors. Instead, they make a mint selling razors and accessories that utilise their proprietary-design multi-blade cartridges (as do a lot of the other razor and razor blade manufacturers, I should add). So much for minimising waste and making recycling easier.

I suppose it's escaped their attention that, in addition to the Environmentally responsible side of this (ease of recycling), "Retro" is "cool" again, has it?

Thursday, 16 April 2009

How to corpse a physicist :)

So, here I am, last day before I go back home tonight, the other half is still sleeping, and I've woken up. Go figure (we're both on similar shifts, now, thank wotsit) :)

Anyhow, last night (read: in the early hours of this morning), we'd been watching a Dr. Who DVD, and then discussed Time Travel in general.

This got us into a typical discussion regarding the "Grandfather Paradox".

I better also point out that my partner holds a degree in Physics, and is part way through studying for a Masters in it as well. "Good bleedin' luck", says I, since (1) I never passed physics at school, and (2) it gives me a headache!

Anyhow, as I understand it, the "Grandfather Paradox" goes something like this: Assume that time travel is possible for a moment. A man travels back in time and kills his grandfather before his grandfather has even met his future wife (the time travellers grandmother).

This therefore results in one of the time traveller's parents never having been conceived and born, and thus also results in the time traveller never having been conceived and born.

Simple logic then dictates that the time traveller could not have travelled back in time to kill his grandfather, which then shows that his grandfather was never killed, and that his parents existed, that the time traveller was born, and that the time traveller went back and killed his grandfather, at which time most folks would be sporting one killer headache from trying to sort out the contradictions in logic and so on. Kinda makes your head want to explode, doesn't it? :)

It's a form of "logical paradox" that has come to signify the immense problems around the concept of certain interactions within the idea of time travel.

The grandfather paradox has, I should add, been used by some to point out that rearwards time travel (that is, travelling back in time) is impossible. However, a number of alternative methods to avoid the paradox have been suggested over the years (sic), for instance the "Many Branches" theory that has it that the time traveller would end up in a parallel timeline, while the timeline in which the traveller was actually born in branches off, remaining "real and independent" but blocked off at the point of the grandfathers death... I know... it's making my head ache just trying to describe it here... Anyhow, the field of science that covers this is called "Quantum Physics".

Anyway, there we are, with us arguing - I mean energetically discussing - left right and centre, the holes one could drive a bus through with these ideas, when out of the blue, it emerges from my partner that high-end maths, or the study of probabilities, is at the core of Quantum Physics.

It's at this point that I realise that I'm on a sticky wicket, to say the least, as I recognise the signs that my partner is about to either baffle me with bull droppings, or blind me with science.

So quick as a flash, I come out with:

"So, then, smartypants, what's the probability that Quantum Physics is wrong?"

Cue one bug eyed face, slack of jaw, and "b... b... wha-" and then I got a teddy bear (not, thankfully, Schrödinger's cat!) lobbed at me at close to the speed of light, with both of us laughing our backsides off...

And so, for a good two or so minutes, we sat there laughing until my partner, who was alternatively laughing like a drain, or giving me "That Look", sat bolt upright with eyes like saucers, and said:

"You know you just destroyed an entire branch of high-end physics, don't you?"

Um... oops?

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Welcome to the Great British Summer :(

OK, Spring Bank Holiday just gone, and the Sunday and Monday were passable, weather-wise.

Now, it's Wednesday, and I got woken by a massive crack of thunder at around 5.30 this morning, to find a rather rattled Achtung on my bed (I'm on holiday with my partner currently), looking worriedly in my face as if saying "can you make it stop, please?"

So, I stumble out of bed (yes, I'm probably as clumsy as the next bloke when I wake up, sorry to disillusion all those that think us bus drivers are supermen!), and stagger to the window, to see what's going on out there. Hmph. So I took a photo.

That's the golf club over the road. No, I don't play the game. Tried once. Sent divots all over the place, and by a pure fluke, managed to get the ball to go maybe twenty metres. Not my game. I'm MILES better at darts, and truth be told I'm average at that too!

Anyway, looking over the road, it's a fairly safe bet that anyone playing golf today will require aqualungs!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Hmm... Support Our Troops (#2)... viral emails...

I got sent (yet) another email today, in the continuing Support Our Troops campaign. Only problem is that it was a rather poorly forwarded and ill-thought-out viral, tailored not to the UK population, but the American one. And I've found copious examples of it, in its' original wording, by a simple Google search... I also found what I suspect is the original idea for the viral email... an advertisement by Budweiser in the USA thanking the US Military. Here's the video.

Here're some examples of the resulting viral on Message Boards (Forums)...

And here's the Icing On The Cake: It's definitely a viral... from an Obama Presidential election support website forum, no less...

Now remember: I'm Ex Territorial Army (Royal Military Police), and while the above doesn't take away the importance of supporting our troops - Hells bells, I have mates from my time in the RMP(v) that served, and others that continue to serve, over in both the sandbox and the arridbox (Iraq & Afghanistan), it should be very firmly borne in mind that heart string pullers like that tend to get some folks noses out of joint (mine included) over here in the UK.

Most especially, noses will be disjointed when someone has had the gall to use a situation that most certainly has not happened in a UK Civilian Airport (not yet, anyhow), such as in the above examples, when the forwarded email replaces an American City name with, say Birmingham, Manchester, or even London. It's simple laziness and bandwagoning, at the end of the day, and should not be tolerated.

I'm all for supporting our troops. I'm all for reminding the citizenry that our troops require our constant thoughts and well wishes, along with the financial, logistical, technological, and material support from our government that sent them there in the first place, which in some cases is sadly lacking (can you say lack of kit and equipment failures?).


Be warned.

With very few exceptions (the example in the previous post is a good exception!), it's highly likely that the next person to send me a copied and ill-thought-out email on the topic may well be sent a rocket by return for having a total lack of imagination and wit on the topic.

So. Support our Troops.

Do it with flair and imagination.

Do it with pride for the effort they make on our behalf and the risk they take every day they don the uniform and put their lives on the line.

But most of all...

  • Do not do it because someone suggested you do it.
  • Do not do it because it looks "cool".
  • Do NOT copy someone else's idea. BE ORIGINAL.
  • Do it because you MEAN it.

More importantly, go visit the Help For Heroes website, and spend a little money there! It all helps and supports the troops!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

A Road named for our Honoured Dead...

This was sent to me by a mate earlier this evening...


A country road upon which the bodies of repatriated soldiers begin their final journey could be renamed Highway of Heroes if a petition succeeds.

Hundreds of people regularly line the streets of Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, to honour the soldiers brought to the town along the A3102 from RAF Lyneham.

The petition on the 10 Downing Street website, set up by ex-Para George Ryan who wants to re-christen the route, has more than 750 names.

The soldiers who fell in Iraq and Afghanistan are taken along the three-mile road into the town where residents, shopkeepers and members of the British Legion pay their respects.

The petition proposes to "rename the stretch of road (A3102) between RAF Lyneham and Wootton Bassett Highway of Heroes to honour all those of our military who have given their lives in the service of their country".

The idea originates from Canada, after a road between an Ontario air base and Toronto received the same title last year...

I agree that this is a fine petition to support, and wholeheartedly support it. You can find the online petition at the No 10 website.

A new emergency exit, or perhaps a new trap door...?

Seen arriving in the depot this morning after I'd cashed up at the end of my night bus shift... yep... the entire window was missing.

The driver related that he only found out when a passenger left the bus at the end of the journey (his final one before bringing the bus back to the depot, unfortunately, or he might've had an early knock-off, rather sad that!), and told him that it was "a tad chilly upstairs," and this was "probably because some **** has taken one of your windows at the back out!" Our mans comment was allegedly printable for a change! Obviously the Mandatory Customer Relations courses for all staff are working, then

Anyhow, the glass looked to have completely popped out, as there was no shattered glass inside the upper deck, so... erm... anyone know of someone wandering around in a dazed, battered, bruised, maybe even slightly pebble-dashed manner on a main road in South London asking what the number of that bus was...?

More to the point, was it the muppit who scribbled on all the other windows, to find that the last glass he wrote on was the trick window that ejected him into the road (please, God, let this be sooooo true!)?