Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Dressing Up

Road barrier pretending to be a shark.  Perhaps it's off to a fancy dress party.

For those interested (and even if you're not), I have two bits of news:

Firstly, I've got an interview tomorrow for teaching social media - fingers crossed!

Secondly, this is my 499th blog post - it's taken me a long time, but finally I'm nearly at that 500 post landmark.  To celebrate, expect a special post from me in a day or two.  Suggestions on how to celebrate are welcomed.

Finally, I got a new video out the other day for the first time in far too long - so, if you'd like to see a documentary about the plight of Easter bunnies, here you go!

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Randomise - Randomly Good Fun

Please note that I received a copy of the game "Randomise" free of charge in return for producing this blog post.  However, opinions are my own.

The obligatory box shot, ruined by an overhead lamp.

I was delighted to be contacted by the makers of "Randomise" to see if I would be interested in reviewing their card game on my blog - one of my favourite pastimes is playing tabletop games with friends and I'm always interested in playing a new one.

Ahead of playing the game, I visited the games website to do a bit of preparatory research.  The game sounded a bit like Charades, which is something that I've always enjoyed, but I did have a little bit of concern whether the group that I'd assembled to play, who are more at home with the likes of Munchkin and Cards Against Humanity (e.g. geeky / just plain wrong), would enjoy it.

And true enough, when I started reading the rules out, there was more than one comment from the table of "It's Charades" in not entirely energetic tones.  I think a lot of people have mixed feelings about Charades, probably from family gatherings when they've been forced to play, and been judged on their ability to act out anything from "NCIS" to "Gone With The Wind".

Anyway, we began to play. In Randomise, players from two teams take turns describe, act, or draw a random identity that they draw randomly from three piles of cards, with the other team able to steal bonus points if the first team doesn't manage to guess the identity.

In short - It's not Charades.

It's a LOT better than Charades.

The tactician plans how he's going to communicate his identity.

By having three ways to communicate you're able to choose the best route for the identity, your talents, and the people you're playing with, and the game seems well set up for you to be desperately trying to get across, in a hideously short amount of time, a very specific thing.

The game is simple to play which makes it accessible, yet has enough complexity in it to make it fun. I do tend to find that a lot of games fail to manage this, and the game makers are so keen on sticking in extra mechanics that the game becomes impossible to keep track of.  It's a testament to the people behind Randomise that they didn't push too far and make a fun game too complicated.

This is me trying to draw a weak zebra feeding ducks.

Everyone was surprised at how much fun they had playing it, it was a bit of an unexpected delight and a great start to the evening, and I think that we'll definitely play it again.  It's got a broad appeal which some of my other games don't have, I think it's a great game to introduce people to tabletop gaming as people will recognise enough of the elements to be comfortable playing it, but because of the way it's been designed it's very much a new experience.  And it'll also certainly be fine for the odd family gathering when you want something to play that everyone can take part in.

The price of it is also very good (currently £9.99 at Amazon including P&P), bearing in mind that it's all too easy to spend £20+ on a card game (and even £30+ on a board game) making a purchase a serious consideration - there are board games which have been on my to buy list for literally years, because I'm unwilling to commit thirty quid to a game that I might only play a couple of times a year.  Keeping the price low should encourage people to give it a try, and based on the five star feedback on Amazon it looks as though it's been well received by everyone who's tried it.

I also like that the whole game is in a small box, which when you might be transporting four or five games with you for a tabletop gaming evening is a consideration which might result in this game coming along and another being left behind.

This would be the drawing of the weak zebra feeding the ducks.

If you'd like to find out more about Randomise, head over to their website at  You can also buy Randomise from Amazon at

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Light Bulbs

Time moves on, and as it does so does life.

When I was young I fully admit that light bulbs were not a particular speciality of mine, my life being primarily taken up with books featuring the cartoon heroes Tintin and Asterix, but I did think about light bulbs I was aware of three different wattages of light bulb, and two different fittings.  Light bulbs came in either 60w (a little dim for lighting a large room but manageable), 100w, or the stunningly bright 150w.

The fittings were limited to bayonet (which we used exclusively at home) or screw - the first time someone got a desk lamp with a screw fitting it caused some consternation in that we would now need to keep two types of bulb in the cupboard.

Light bulbs failed impressively, with a decent "plink" noise and a bit of a flash, and when removed would make a decent rattling noise when shaken.  They produced a good deal of heat, so when a bulb did die you'd leave it a few minutes before removing it, so as not to burn your fingerprints onto the hot glass.

Now, there appears to be approximately fifty seven different fittings for bulbs, which come in a variety of sizes, types, shapes, and colours.  For all I know they also come equipped with a selection of different smells, perhaps there might be a "bakery" light bulb for the kitchen so that whenever you put the light on it smells of freshly baked bread.

I had to venture into my local hardware store to purchase a bulb earlier this week.  In our bathroom the bulb within the room light fitting (apparently it is called a "bathroom flush" which I thought referred to an entirely different piece of bathroom furniture, but you learn something every day) had gone, and needed replacing.

Investigating (which sounds altogether better than "dropping a piece of a light fitting on my son") I determined that I needed an E27 screw fixing bulb with a wattage of less than 50w (unless it was an energy saving bulb, in which case under no circumstances should 11w be exceeded), but also that it had to be sufficiently small to fit within the light fitting.

In my quest to find a bulb, in the first shop I ended up walking out because I couldn't find a bulb that suited all of my needs, and in the second I bought an entirely unsuitable bulb with a far too high wattage purely because it is described as for "rough service".

Rough service apparently isn't something you might request from a person of the night, but is actually a light bulb which is resistant to external pressures such as vibration.

At any rate, eventually I did find a light bulb that met all of the many requirements stated by my light fitting, and my bathroom is once again illuminated through a ceiling mounted bathroom flush.  So that's alright then.

Finally, I've noticed that Sainbury's has in its advertising suggesting a twist on the traditional Easter Hot Cross Bun by putting some bacon in it - I refer you to this MANEATING episode from last year...

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Going Down

Not actually the best guidance on how to traverse a staircase.

Monday, 14 March 2016


Did you know that automated bowling alleys were invented in 1936?  Gottfried Schmidt invented the mechanical pinsetter back before the second World War - prior to this people were employed to work as pinsetters or pinboys (or my favourite, pin monkeys) to return the pins to their normal position.

This isn't a picture of a bowling alley.  Unless the bowling alley has pins shaped like unicorns.

So, why are bowling alleys still a bit rubbish?  Bowling is great fun, but I can only ever recall perhaps one time that I've gone bowling and the lane hasn't at some point broken down, requiring someone to come and fix it.  Sure, I get that mechanical stuff has a shelf life and I'm sure bowling alley machines get some beatings from people bowling at the wrong times, but still, they seem to break down a lot.

Apart from bowling, I've been doing stuff in relation to my manly challenges - I can't blog about them because all the material will be going into a book, but let me say that in just the last week I've been worried, injured, excited, wobbling, bleeding, deafened, and fearing for my life.  I can't wait for the next 3-4 months to happen.

Monday, 7 March 2016

You Gotta Eat Here

I've been watching a lot of "You Gotta Eat Here!" which is a sort of Canadian version of "Man v Food" without the challenges, instead it's just lots of visiting great eateries and seeing what food they sell.  It's fun to watch, especially because the main guy can't handle really spicy food, and the various restaurants like to feed him the spiciest thing they can deliver.

So, in tribute, here's some food related pictures of mine from the past:

This would be evil carrots, made when I really wanted chips but couldn't leave the house due to having an ill child.

Two really huge biscuits.  Quantity, not quality.

Jaffa cake jelly.  You wouldn't think it, but there's about a thousand calories in that bowl.  It really needed some squirty cream to finish it off though.

Some sort of meatball curry with a huge amount of tandoori paste.

Pocky (they're like Mikado) from the local Chinese supermarket.  Well worth a visit if you're feeling adventurous.

A really big marshmallow.

Some sort of pate on a cracker, which means it was Christmas.

Sandwiches from Waitrose

Fried chips with extra fried.

What happens if you use a herbal tea bag twice.

A takeout coffee so that I could pretend that I'm in NCIS.

I have no idea what this is but by the looks of my desk I'm feeling emotional.

A Polish dinner so amazing that it's upside down.
Two Norwegian policemen.  I haven't eaten these.

The yin-yang of puddings.

I'm nearing my 500th blog post, which is surprising and quite pleasing.  If you've got any suggestions for my 500th, do let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Car Fresheners

See this thing below?

Don't take it out of the packet all at once.  I did, and now my car smells like a candy floss (cotton candy) machine.

This has been a public advisory message from The Blog of Thog, the people that brought you Dave the Robot Angel, and the Vibrating Pig. Thanks for reading.
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