Thursday, 27 June 2013

Staircases are harder than imaginary lightsabers

So the other morning, I decided to cleanse the upstairs of monsters.  I never really decided what sort of monsters they were, they were possibly zombies, the main thing is that they weren't armed with any kind of ranged weaponry, and I don't think they had armour either.

Anyhow, the best kit to deal with imaginary monsters that I could think of was a twinned pair of two imaginary lightsabers.

I managed easily to take down half a dozen of the monsters and was pushing them back with ease, when I went to decapitate one that attempted to flank me.

And instead of eliminating an imaginary monster, I punched the underside of a staircase.

And managed to rip a chunk of skin off.

injured hand

Ouch!  Next time I'll use a couple of bolt pistols, no need to swing my arms around quite so much.

I forgot on my last post to say that I've got a new video up on YouTube!  It's called Cash For Scratchcards, and you can watch it below or head to

As always, if you'd like to see more of my stuff, head over to and we can make that happen.

Amazingly, this blog is heading for 10000 views!  As I write this we've just blown through 9000 views, and are continuing to accelerate.  Thanks so much to everyone that reads this, and don't forget to comment on anything you want, the feedback is much appreciated (if you can get the website to let you comment that is!)

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

I am a guest blogger!

I've been let loose on someone elses blog!

Rosemary Richings, a writer from Toronto, has a great blog and I've been lucky enough to have a post of mine about writing up on her blog - guest blogging is something I've thought about doing but I've been quite nervous about, Rosemary was really nice about looking over a draft of my wording and putting it up on her blog for me.  The issue I have is that my blog tends to follow the pattern of "news about me, and something (hopefully) funny" and posts about a particular topic I don't always fit that well, so I'm really pleased that my writing is of a quality reasonable enough for other people to use!  Do go check it out if you can, at and fingers crossed I may have some more guest blogs out on the interweb somewhere in the future - some are in the pipeline now I'm gaining my confidence.

While I'm writing, I need to say a big thank you to Solarwall near York - I've just come back from a Introduction to Renewable Energy Technologies event they put on for G4C Yorkshire & Humber.  The event was excellent, the presenter Grant is clearly very knowledgeable not only about the theory and science behind the technologies, but also the practicalities of installing, usage and maintenance.

Have you seen The Wanted's new video, Walks Like Rihanna?  I've never been a huge Wanted fan (nothing against them, just never really listened to much of their music) but I do love their video - I've always had a weakness for videos like these that reference other pop songs!

And while I'm on about music videos, a TOTALLY different one... Honeydewyeayea from the guys at the Yogscast.  Amazing.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Using an ATM aka an "Hole In The Wall"


There appears to be some confusion as to how to use an ATM, as whenever I go to use it I'm inevitably stuck behind someone who takes approximately a week to prod buttons, insert cards, and generally mess around.

Step one: As you approach the ATM, have your card ready.  Don't wait until it's your turn to rummage around in your wallet/purse/carrier bag to find it.
Step one: Again, before it's your turn, decide how much money you are going to withdraw before you actually reach the ATM.  Remember the card goes chip side up, with the chip end first into the machine.
Step two: When you actually get to the machine for your turn, the moment the machine is ready to accept your card, insert it.
Step three: Enter your PIN number.  Hit the enter key if it asks you to.
Step four: Ignore all of the options - you are allowed to pick either Cash, or Cash with Receipt.  This is an ATM, not an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant.
Step five: Choose how much money you want.  Preferably pick one of the standard options instead of typing in the exact amount you want, it's quicker.
Step six: Take your card, then your money.
Step seven: Leave.  Do not put your card & money into your wallet/purse etc until you are out of the way and the next person can use the ATM.

In this way you can complete your usage of the ATM in about 20-25 seconds, unlike the average of around forty minutes which it seems to take whoever it is in front of me.

To be fair it's partially the fault of the ATM programmers - ever since they made it possible to top up your phone or pay your newspapers via the ATM it tempts people to spend more time using them (hence Step four) and I accept that you might not want to do step seven if you're worried about being mugged, but in that case have your wallet etc ready to put the money in as soon as it comes out of the machine.

My parents have started a new blog for their business at - they've been running a Facebook page for a while ( which has been going really well and I strongly recommend - it isn't the usual type of business facebook page, they fire you off a little bit of information about today and what special day it is, for example the 19th of June was "World Sauntering Day" which sounds to me more like something that should be done over thirty hours rather than the usual twenty four.

Anyhow, my mum wanted somewhere to put longer pieces of text up for people to read, hence the blog was born.  If you are in the UK and are interested in their selection of weird and wonderful magical supplies, remember they send a free catalogue out - probably simplest is to contact them by sending a message via Facebook with your postal address.  I believe that you also get a free gift token to use with your first order!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Random Websites and new video going up

Well, I pretty much spent yesterday creating stuff, and it felt great.  I recorded the material for four new videos, and wrote two guest posts for blogs.

Since then, it's been a long slog to edit the videos.  I've got two rant videos which are pretty much ready to go as recorded, but the two others are comedy sketches and need a lot of cutting and editing and effects and all sorts of stuff.  Cloning yourself on video is theoretically easy, and can be done really quickly.  With the video I've been editing though, I've had some major problems, namely:

a) The lighting in the room changed as I recorded the video, so you can see one half of the video is lighter than the other.
b) I must have nudged the video camera in between recording Mike and recording Joel, so I had to muck about to make the cut between the two not be too obvious (and even now if you know where you look you can see dodgy bits in the final edit)
c) For one of Joel's lines I didn't give enough of a gap before to allow Mike to rant, so I had to muck about stretching time on a video clip to make it fit.  This alone took an hour to fix.
d) I totally forgot to record one line.
e) Another line I just could not get to fit.
f) In between the clips there were really obvious gaps where the background sound dropped out for a split second.

As a result the video is really not as good as I'd hoped it would be.  Nevertheless, it's been made and I've learned some stuff from doing it, which isn't the worst thing in the world.  The video is about Mike and Joel playing an online space shoot-em-up together, and it is going to be available in a few minutes at so if you want to check it out, head over there.

Otherwise, if you have time to kill, why not check out - this site basically takes you to a totally random website.  A lot of the time the website you end up on may be not of interest at all, but you never know where you'll find yourself.  Obviously a word of caution - it is random so you may wish to restrict kids from using the website.  But it's surprisingly good fun.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Fathers Day

About half an hour ago, I was sat watching the guy from Man V Food take on some sort of "Burger of hell" challenge in Texas, whilst eating a fried turkey and cheese sandwich, and waiting for a meat feast pizza to be delivered.  This isn't my usual diet, honest!!

Yesterday was Fathers Day and I had a great day having fun with my son and my other half, doing very little - watching an episode of Poirot and then after seeing my dad we took the lad to a birthday party.  This was the first time he's gone to someone else's party and as a parent my feelings were a mixture of happiness that he'd been invited, and apprehension about his behaviour when he got there!  As it happens he had a great time and everything went swimmingly - his particular favourite I think was a blow-up slide, he spent ages on that after I took him up it once to get him used to it!

It's slightly weird realising that you're a father on Fathers Day, I don't really think of myself as having deserved a day of fun and presents (Angry Birds lunchbox full of sweets, plus beer!) but on the other hand I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth!

Anyway, news?  Um the plan is tomorrow to make loads of videos for my YouTube channel, so watch out for them!  Apart from that I'm trying to push myself out of my normal comfort zone by guest blogging on topics that aren't what I'm used to writing about.  Hopefully some of my work will bear fruit, obviously if and when that happens I'll flag up my posts here too!

Thursday, 13 June 2013


I don't have anything decent to say right now (hoping to have an announcement in a day or two though) so here's a picture of me asleep under a duvet.

Some girly thing.  And a duvet.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

No Chocolate cake

Sometimes I feel bad when my son cries. Okay - I always feel bad when he cries.

But then he turns to me and goes "Want Chocolate Cake!".

A) Not that upset.
B) Clearly lining himself up to "be upset" when the desired cake does not appear.
C) I want cake too.

Anyway - I finished!

I finished the YouTube Creator Academy last night.  It's been a really valuable exercise to learn more about YouTube and how to sort your videos out to make them more attractive to potential viewers, and it's also let me experience a lot other channels by other creators that I'd normally totally miss.  I particularly recommend TheNickCrompton - very funny plus I believe he's from somewhere in Yorkshire so that's always a bonus!

If you haven't already seen it here's my welcome video to my YouTube Channel:

Apart from that I've now put a page up on my website about guest posts - I've started getting people talking about working together on stuff so I thought I ought to have some guidelines in place.  If you really want to you can check them out.

And if you did contribute on Kickstarter to the second season of My Gimpy Life, well done!  The target of $50,000 has been passed, so they're going to have the money to make the season.  Jolly good.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

YouTube Creator Academy

Currently my son is taking great joy in organising things.  In his playroom he has a load of letters and numbers, and given time he'll arrange them into piles of:

  • Numbers
  • Foam letters
  • Hard plastic capital letters in one font
  • Hard plastic capital letters in a different font
  • Hard plastic lower case letters

Well, it keeps him out of mischief.

Do you have a YouTube channel?  Are you interested in getting more views, improving your channel, and all that kind of thing?

If so, have you checked out the YouTube Creator Academy?  It's an online course discussing the various features of YouTube (especially the new YouTube One channel layout) and how to make your videos more popular.  I've started doing the course and I've certainly found it of value - I've mucked about with my channel homepage (if you've not visited my YouTube home, head over to and check it out) and added a new welcome video too.  It's actually quite challenging, it encourages you to work with other YouTubers on the course and it's really highlighted to me just how far I have to go in improving the quality of my content to compete!  But I'm working on that.  If you do like my videos though, if you do have a YouTube/Google account, please do like my videos and subscribe to my channel if you can - and feel free to let me know what you'd like me to make, I love feedback!  Feel free to leave comments on YouTube, email me, or tweet at me at @ravenswingthog -  it's all good.

Not to over do it but if you haven't donated yet on Kickstarter for the second series of My Gimpy Life (first series available here) you've got till Friday 14th to donate - as things stand they're just under $10,000 short of their target, so if you were planning to put some cash in, head over to Kickstarter before the deadline passes.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Are you thirsty? Are you a gamer? Let me help!

I put together this decision tree for gamers for when they get thirsty - hope it helps!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Nappy guidance


Is your little one in nappies!  Here's some guidance if taking you're taking them around a nature reserve.

1) Before you leave the house, might be an idea to change their nappy.  If you don't, take some nappies with you.
2) If you didn't change their nappy before you left, it's probably wise not to let them drink two full bottles of water while you're out.
3) If you did let them drink two full bottles of water, remember to take the bag of spare nappies with you when you leave the car to walk around the nature reserve.
4) If you didn't abide by all of the three rules above, it's probably a REALLY BAD idea to give your young child a piggy back unless you want a wet neck.

Luckily he didn't actually burst his nappy but I thought he had!  We got about halfway round the park when the nappy became so heavy that it was pulling his jeans down, so I thought the piggy back would be the simplest way to resolve the problem.  It promptly turned into a route march so that I could get back to the car in time!

Changing the subject completely, have you seen My Gimpy Life?

It's a really good web series starring Teal Sherer, a disabled actress who you may know as Venom from The Guild.  It's about her life and is very funny indeed.

Anyway, she did her first series (see it here) and now is looking for funding for her second series, and she's funding it through Kickstarter.  The deadline is Friday June the 14th, and she's looking for $50,000 (as I write this she's got over $31,000 pledged already) so if you liked the first series and would like to enjoy the second series I'm sure she'd appreciate a donation!  It's made me dip my toe into Kickstarter for the first time and it is really easy to give money if you have an Amazon account.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Adventures in Norfolk - Post Three!

So, last time I asked the question, what does the word "Quaggled" mean?

It took us about half an hour to drag an answer out of Dusty's mum, but apparently it means wrinkled, as in how your toes might become wrinkled if you stay in the bath for too long.  You learn something new every day.

On the Saturday evening we had a barbecue, which included ghost chilli burgers from Tony Perkins butchers in Dereham.  Ghost chilli's are, for those not in the know, ridiculously hot chilli peppers, and we were somewhat concerned at our ability to manage to actually eat them.  I could certainly imagine stories of people decomposing due to an overly hot curry - and I can recall one night when a group of us went for a curry a friend of mine had a particularly hot one, and as a result several hours later he had to telephone NHS Direct because he thought he was going to die from it.

As it turned out we were delighted when we tried the ghost chilli burgers that rather than just being a battle to eat, they were actually really tasty burgers.  Very hot and spicy obviously, not the sort of thing you'd plough through in a couple of bites, but if you took your time with it it was really nice and I must admit if there had been another two or three on the go I wouldn't have been against taking another one on.  The butcher did advise us to marinade them in the hottest sauce that we could lay our hands on, cook them and then challenge people to eat two of them and then sit for five minutes without having a drink.  Perhaps we'll do that next time!

Dusty also picked up in Tesco a bag of what appear to be a Polish version of Wotsits.


They're basically massive wotsits, but without any flavouring.  Dusty did say at one point "They're really nice dipped in something!" - yes, they would be nice perhaps if they were dipped in cheese powder.  Like they do with Wotsits!

(I do actually like Polish food - these things however were just flavourless and reminded me of the puffed rice that would sometimes be used as packaging materials in the parcels my parents get from their business suppliers!)

Unfortunately that's pretty much all of my news from Norfolk - I had a great time, except for when I had to go for a lay down after drinking a glass of water - yes, apparently the beer was fine, but I couldn't handle water.  Life is strange.

After my bad experience with the water I bought some cider to be on the safe side.

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