Cool Canadian Graffiti (or Mural?)

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Just a quick one today. An example of some of the cool graffiti I’ve seen on my travels.

I’m sorry? Graffiti? Are you referring to the unsightly defacement of public buildings do I hear you ask?

Cool Graffiti

Weeelll, yes. But let me be very specific. It needs to be of an extremely good quality and of general interest, not just Shaz luvs DazBazza wuz ere or even a person’s tag, no matter how elaborate that tag might be.

And in that sense, those you’re about to see may actually have been commissioned or “allowed”, but having checked the old Oxford English, it makes no stipulation that the artwork has to be unwanted to achieve the moniker of graffiti.

You may think differently and choose the word mural. It matters not, the pictures are cool anyway:

Ooh, where are they?

If you want to see them in person, as best as I can remember, they’re in Vancouver somewhere underneath or close to the huge road bridge over to Granville Island.

It’s Not All Good

As stated above, not all graffiti is good. I remember with disdain my disappointment on visiting Venice in Italy to discover that the beautiful and famous Ponte Rialto had graffiti down the side of it.

You’d have thought the authorities might have quickly called in a graffiti removal firm, given how many holiday makers snaps (including mine) were being ruined.

In Conclusion…

So if you are tempted to graffiti, I think the lesson is please practice on your own property until your skills are good enough not to cause offence.

I wonder if that’s what Banksy did?


Plumbing the depths?

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We’ve all done it at some point in our life. Most of us will have done it more than once, but how we dealt with it and the consequences depended very much on the individual circumstances each time… …and perhaps our own squeamishness.

What is it of which I speak? Why, nothing other than dropping a wanted household or personal item down a recently used toilet bowl.

Yuck, do I hear you say?

Yuck indeed, but as I said we’ve all done it and after one of my customers told me of his recent experience I thought I’d relay it here, along with a couple of my own.

The customer in question is a plumber and so has had his fair share of such experiences, but this one made me chuckle a little…  …plus of course it made me glad I’m a web designer and the dirtiest thing I have to handle is congealed sneezes on the keyboard!

Ish washn’t me! Hic!

Where alcohol goes, trouble is never far behind and this is where the troubles began for our protagonist in this story. A drunken Blackpool resident returning home from a night on the town had the misfortune to drop his mobile phone into the u-bend whilst relieving his bladder of his night’s efforts.

Being a bloke (and under the influence), he did what most of us (drunken blokes that is!) would do. He wished it on its merry way, flushed the loo and collapsed downstairs on the couch, returning several more times during the night to top up the now blocked proverbial big white telephone.

Well and truly blocked

As the morning sun beamed through a chink in the curtains, the previous night’s events played out in his head and a visit to the toilet quickly confirmed what his befuddled brain wished it’d made up.

So after a half-hearted attempt to clear it, he was forced to thumb the Yellow Pages for an emergency plumber in Blackpool.

Made in China

Enter my customer. He tentatively attempted to plunge the blocked toilet, but soon realised the problem was in the soil pipe. After climbing up ladders and cutting into the pipe, he was amazed to hear the mobile’s ring-tone emanating from the depths.

Even though it had been flushed and drowned a number of times by our lead character, it was resting on the knuckle joint (albeit coated in the unmentionable) and still appeared to be functioning!

Not surprisingly though, the decision was made not to keep it!

Can I top that?

Well… Following a very satisfying “Numéro visite de deux”, I myself once dropped a watch and flushed it, thankfully without consequence.

Whilst on holiday in Australia a few years back though, I did something not once but twice and if you’re currently eating, turn away now!

I had a pair of sunglasses with curved sides, that whilst very trendy, were not ideal for tucking into the top of your t-shirt.

Whilst on a tour of the Great Ocean Road, near Melbourne I had cause to visit a dunny and as I stood up and turned around, they made a break for freedom and in they went. Plop!

Run away?!?

Now then, many of you might’ve thought sod it, leave them. And I nearly did, but as we’ve shown above and as anyone who’s ever visited a gentlemans public convenience knows, anything blocking the toilet rarely stops the next user from contributing further.

So thinking very much of the poor bugger who’d have to deal with the end result, I plunged my hands below the waterline and retrieved the shades.

Now then, I thought, “well, the worst is over and after all, if I’ve rescued them, I might as well keep them?” and promptly set about (very) thoroughly washing them and myself in the sink.

And yes folks, I did put them back on again.

However, several days later when the same thing happened again, I concluded that they were jinxed and in the bin they went.

In Conclusion

Beware the bowl? There’s no conclusion to draw really, this wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last, no matter what I type!

Perhaps for my next post though, we’ll change the subject. Enjoy your dinner…

No, I don’t want fire safety training!!


Or electrical PAT testing or health and safety advice or insurance or to place any advertisements or bizarrely a website?!? Nor do I want to outsource any website design, software development or search engine optimisation to India or China and especially not to someone who is struggling to express themselves in my native tongue.

Okay, so here’s the situation. I now work from home and I’m self-employed and unlike when I was a civilian and I made every effort to keep my telephone number out of the public domain, I now of course do the exact opposite.

So, I’m sitting with my laptop, with my head buried in some code and the phone goes… Hurrah! Maybe a potential customer on the line? I leap up to answer the phone and “Could you put me through to whoever is in charge of your fire safety training”?

Fire Safety Training?

Well, that’s just the latest one. “Er, sorry luv”, I say, “my fire safety goes as far as two battery operated smoke detectors, a fun-size foam fire extinguisher and a heavy chair to throw through my double glazing.”. Adding, “And I know the smoke detectors work because every time I cook toast to anything other than warm bread, they happily warn me of my impending doom!”.

And before that it was health and safety and my all time favourite (NOT!) phrase, “Well would you like a call back in 6 weeks to review your situation?”.

Aaaargh!! No I bloody well wouldn’t. The only time I really want the phone to ring is when there is someone on the end who is interested in perhaps giving me some money.

A Bit Harsh?

Well okay, yes, a bit. Being self-employed myself I know how hard it is to get the message out there and in truth I don’t really begrudge anyone trying to make a living. And in the main the calls are short and the callers are polite.

But DON’T call me back if it’s clear I’m not interested and DO be clear about your reason for calling. I’ve lost count of the number of calls, particularly from India and China, where I have to wait several minutes to find out what it is I’m going to be saying no to.

If you’re ringing about outsourcing, your opening line should be “Hello, we’re xyz, are you looking for reliable outsourcing solutions?” and NOT “Hello my friend, we are in a good position to offer you a chance to work together to deliver customer focussed solutions…”

And what about a bit of targeting?

Y’see I work at home and a 2 second Google search on my business address would reveal that it is in a residential, not industrial area and therefore it is extremely unlikely that I have any employees on-site, legal obligation to comply with health and safety law or indeed, a secretary to fend my calls.

I actually have a customer who offers fire safety training and they employ a very successful sales call system, whereby only potential customers who are likely to have the need are targeted i.e. with dedicated business premises, a sufficient number of employees and where they have specific legal requirements to comply with.

Give me Spam any day!

No, I don’t mean the tinned chopped pork and ham variety of Spam, although it is delicious fried. I refer of course to the unsolicited email variety of spam.

Now I know this stuff gets a bad name, but I’m not really sure why? Unlike the irritation of an interruption which can disrupt my line of thought on a complicated issue, they can be tackled at my own leisure and are quick and easy to ignore if I wish.

They also don’t cost anything, carry more information at a glance, don’t involve the felling of trees and don’t give the postman a hernia. So why not? So long as they are relevent, offer an option to opt out of further emails and you don’t receive 100s a week from the same organisation.

But a final plead to whomever it is that thinks I want a Russian bride, appendage enlargement or pills beginning with “V” designed to ensure the aforesaid appendage remains usable… …I really, really don’t require any of those things thanks all the same!

In conclusion…

If you want to let me know about your services, then please just send me an email and give me the time and space to digest it. Or if you are going to phone, at least make the effort to ensure I might be interested before you call.

Regards advice on appointing a fire warden, evacuation procedures, how to wield a fire extinguisher, etc.. I’m sorry to say that, if at some point in the future, the business takes off to the point where I’m employing others at an external premises, I’ll probably give the work to my own customer. 

Good luck with your venture!

Top 16 I.T. Geek T-Shirt Slogans


Okay, okay, it was only supposed to be 10, but I couldn’t decide which ones I liked best and then I got carried away.

Why make the list? Well, I thought after my earlier less than exciting post on t-shirts, that I ought to try again with something more interesting.


True, the subject I’ve chosen is probably only interesting to software developers like myself and other I.T. nerds, but hey, who cares?

The Top 16

From not quite the best to the absolute bestest, here are my top 16 computing geek slogans for printed t-shirts:

16) I am not a geek
I’m a level 9 warlord
15) If that doesn’t fix it, …
…let me know and I’ll come back with a chain saw.
14) <body>
Hello World!
13) Just f**kin’ Google it!
12) Cannot find REALITY.SYS. Universe halted.
11) For when life gets tough there’s always… CTRL ALT DEL
10) Error: Keyboard not attached. Press F1 to Continue.
9)   BREAKFAST.COM Halted…
Cereal Port Not Responding
8)   ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSII…
7)   Available for beta testing
6)   All wiyht. Rho sritched mg kegtops awound?
5)   There’s no place like
4)   C:\DOS
3)   If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance
Baffle them with Bu11$h1t.
2)  There are only 10 types of people in the world.
Those who can read binary and those who can’t.

And my personal favourite, because it is my own creation (see One for my fellow nerds!):

FROM all_users
FROM  uk_flora
WHERE genus = ‘Narcissus’ );

0 row(s) returned

Got Anything Better?

If you’ve got anything better, why not submit it below? All comments welcome.

Not An I.T. Nerd?

Any (or all) jokes you don’t understand? Ask below and I’ll try to put it into “user speak”.

Am I becoming a “Quiz Addict”?

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It all started whilst planning for a quiz night with some of my old workmates (from before I became a self-employed software developer / web designer). The intention was a night of playing Buzz on the old PS2. Great for a beer-fuelled gathering if you’ve never tried it.

Anyway, as a few of the party are at a slightly higher intellectual level than the aforementioned Buzz game, I thought I’d print out a few sheets of other challenges to peruse between breaks. 

I came up with the idea of finding a blank map of the world with country borders, but no country names on it and set to work trying to find one on Google.

Within a few clicks I encountered Sporcle and the following page containing an on-line name the countries of the world quiz:

Have a go! I managed 89 on my first go, but would have a got a few more if I could’ve spelt them! Bosnia and Herzegovina definitely got the better of me…

Anyway, that was 9th January and a day hasn’t gone by that I haven’t been back on the site. That’s it. I’m addicted, which isn’t a good thing as I work from home on a computer and the ability to quickly alt+tab from what I should be doing to the Sporcle site is hampering my working day…

Help!! Is there an organisation that caters for this sort of thing?

The thing is, the quizzes are short (up to 15 minutes), but often fast and furious so there’s a real “just one more…” feel to it. Plus, there’s 1000s of quizzes on there covering a wealth of different subjects and best of all, it’s fast to load, requires no registration, is relatively advert free and doesn’t require any browser plug-ins.

Is there a word for it?

Quiz addiction that is. I did have a brief look on Google, but couldn’t find one. If you know of one, let me know in a comment below and I’ll credit you.

And do you know of any other similar free sites?

I know even at the rate I’m going, it’ll take a considerable length of time to work through all Sporcle has to offer, but it’d be interesting to know if anyone else has encountered any other sites they’d recommend. Again, stick it in a comment below.

Remember though, to compete with Sporcle it needs to be easy to search through, super fast and require no browser plug-ins in order to work.

Finally, beware…

Everyone that I’ve mentioned this site to so far has also become addicted. You have been warned!

Right, better sign off for a quick quiz. Think I’ll do a music one this time…

Not Vacuum Sealed?

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Following on from my previous post (Why being a Web Developer is interesting…), I thought I’d write about something I learnt recently whilst developing a website for a local building and joinery contractor, who amongst other things, installs upvc double glazing.

During our discussions about his website design, he passed on a few interesting tit-bits relating to the building trade and this is one of them.

Not Vacuum Sealed?

The first revelation was that double glazing is not typically vacuum sealed. It is sealed with the intention of being air-tight however and although not a vacuum, the pressure inside will often be different to that outside.

As could be expected, the air that is sealed within the unit will have naturally occurring moisture within it, so why you might ask (and I did) do you not get condensation within the windows from the start?

Secret Silica Gel

The answer? The second revelation I received was that the brown (or black) metal strip that you can see inside your glazing running the length of the seal contains thousands of silica gel crystals. It is perforated with holes to allow the crystals to absorb water moisture from between the sealed panes.

This means that inevitable small breaks within the window’s seal can be tolerated up to the point at which the silica gel becomes saturated. After that, the windows are considered to be ‘blown’ and need repairing / replacing.

From reading further, I gathered that the length of time double glazing lasts depends on the quality of the seal, whether it is damaged during installation, whether water can freely drain from the frame so that it does not submerge the seal for any length of time, the amount of water moisture sealed in the unit to start with, the amount of silica gel used within the seal, the area in which you live and which direction your window faces.

Further Reading

Note, this information is recounted second-hand and although I have a passing interest, I don’t claim to be a scientist. If you want to know more or be sure of your facts before boasting in the pub, do a Google search or take a look at the following sites:

And for anyone who is interested in the green credentials of double glazing, this website discussion is worth your while:

And that’s it! You may have already known this or you may not care, but it was certainly news to me…

One for my fellow nerds!

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Another quick work related post of something from yester-year. A slightly edited version of some SQL I wrote one day when I was extremely annoyed about a particular user.

The original contained more in the where clause that identified the person in question, obviously removed for publishing purposes.


FROM all_users
                      FROM  uk_flora
                      WHERE genus = ‘Narcissus’ );

0 row(s) returned


Bozz, ©Copyright ‘03

Although they say plagarism is the sincerest form of flattery, please don’t get this printed onto a t-shirt before I have! Or at least put a credit to me on the bottom…

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