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Happy at last December 6, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.

No, not me, though I am, it goes without saying, ecstatically happy at all times. Why Erik Ramgren, of course, whom misery compelled to set out from Sweden to the Caribbean in an old baked bean tin and whom I’ve mentioned twice before, not that any of you noticed, you heartless things, you. It’s only taken him fifteen years to get there, and his journey has been strewn with disasters and a very early and protracted stop in Norfolk, but what a story. Go Ezza! Go Ezza! I knew it could only end in success, though I was hoping he’d settle in Norfolk and find himself a nice local lass. But he’s out till all hours in Trinidad, or so he claims, and I suppose we can’t say he’s made the wrong choice as far as climate is concerned.

On an utterly separate and quite unrelated note, the Russian has discovered my new blog, which, for however many naughty weeks it’s been, I’ve pretended didn’t exist. “What, you just deleted the blog?” “Yes (tee hee).” “But you wrote so much.” “Yes, but you were quite right, darling. It’s a footling and time-wasting thing to do. You were right all along (tee hee).” Cover blown. ABER, blogging’s going to get a little honeymoon period and, in a conciliatory gesture, he has discovered this piece of software, which, allegedly, we blogging wastrels all need. I shan’t touch it with a bargepole, of course, but perhaps you clever types might let me know if it’s a great life-improver.



1. Lukeski - December 7, 2006

Contribute is wonderful, but a little excessive for a single blog. It is bliss for a website being updated by multiple users, but that has just one template (that can be controlled by the IT Obersturmbahnfuehrer) – so the users just change the text without buggering up the formatting/design, etc…

So, your secret has been discovered then… Does the Russian also hve a secret blog? Although, if you knew, it wouldn’t be quite so secret – it may be that his bluster is a smokescreen?

2. A Blogger - December 7, 2006

Hey Broke,

In a recent e-mail you asked me when I was going to leap back into the murky waters of Blogland.

I’ve leapt

Do me a favour, will you, assuming (!) you place a link on your site, can you keep my name out of it?


3. BiB - December 7, 2006

A Blogger, your secret’s safe with me. Consider yourself anonymously linked.

Lukeski, I bow to your greater wisdom in all things technologcal. And I hope you are the IT Obersturmbahnführer at your gaff…

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Russian had a secret blog. At all. We’re both double-life-leading, truth-hiding, obfuscatory scoundrels.

4. Taiga the Fox - December 7, 2006

I always knew Swedish pensioners are most odd, but adventurous. Heja Erik, väl gjort, mycket bra!

What is it with those secret blogs? Mr Fox had one and I somehow quite accidentally made it sort of public and now it seems he’s going to have another secret blog again. I just can’t get it. Bah.

5. Mangonel - December 7, 2006

Footling and time-wasting, eh? Couldn’t agree more. But on the other hand you make this man sound like a willling slave to his job, ergo he doesn’t have time for you, so what ezzackly are you supposed to do? Bloggo, ergo sum, and all that.

For no reason that I can define – Oh yes I can, who am I kidding – being as how Significant Other is not in actual fact Stephen Mangan *sigh* I felt it unwise to acknowlege the existence of my own blog. It’s as close as I am prepared to come to infidelity.

6. BiB - December 7, 2006

Taiga, Mr. Fox’s secret blog(s), Mango, your secret family blog, the Russian’s secret (though perhaps non-existent) blog… Erm, dunno what to say next, really. It’s all a scandal! A terrible scandal! We should all be deleted immediately!

(Oh god, I really need to delete myself for a few days. I am so going to be crucified, maybe by myself, if I don’t make some work headway SOON.)

Today, I officially hate blogging. Everyone, delete your blogs today!

7. Ben - December 7, 2006

Yes, blogging inspires a fair amount of Hassliebe from yrs truly too–but should you wanna keep the monkey on your back (in junkie parlance), check out this Firefox plugin (assuming you use Firefox); me likee. It’s nice for on-the-fly posting (the only drawback being it always puts a promo link at the end of the post, which you can of course delete).

8. BiB - December 7, 2006

Ben, got to be quick as I’m wallowing unhappily in floods of translation and the Russian’s only popped out to spend money unnecessarily for a few minutes so I’m guaranteed a tiny bit of non-moan-about-blogging time BUT, while there’s a wee window… I don’t use Firefox. Am I mad not to? I still use the other one. You know. The original one that everyone used to use. Sometimes I think monopolies and communism are an excellent idea. Erm, is it Windows, or Microsoft, or Pacman or something? But I’ve heard of Mozilla and Opera, if that makes me modern. Does it?

I’m thinking of following in Erik’s footsteps actually, but he built his own boat, which might be a tad tricky living in a flat in suburban Berlin.

9. bowleserised - December 7, 2006

You may have been beaten to it by this guy: http://bigoceans.com/

10. BiB - December 7, 2006

Good lord, all the way to Australia! So I’m not even the only foreigner in Berlin who dreams of sailing away from it all. Although, admittedly, this chap wants to sail home, whereas I just want to sail. Except I don’t, really, as I’d be petrified in a boat alone, and obviously wouldn’t be able to cope with the slightest problem. My fantasy long journey is travelling from northern Europe to the southern tip of Malaysia which, I reckon, must be the longest trip one can do overland. Must learn to drive as well as sail…

11. leon - December 8, 2006

You could just build a very small boat for starters (a coracle, let’s say) and sail (or row, or pole) it up the Landwehr Canal.

I was visiting some friends not that long ago and saw someone with a clearly home-made boat on the…um…whatever that river is that goes through / near Oxford. It appeared to be made of a skip on a couple of planks, and had no visible means of propulsion, but go it did, and quite fast too (I’m still not entirely sure how it was managing it).

12. BiB - December 8, 2006

I had to look up coracle to make sure I wasn’t getting my means of water-borne conveyance wrong. I trust you knew the word came from the Welsh “cwrwgl”. Actually, as I’m mid-translation and had the online dic open, I thought I’d see what the Russian for it was to help clarify the image in my mind’s eye, and I got “рыбачья лодка из ивняка, обтянутая брезентом”, which means “canvas-lined, willow fishing-boat”, which was vaguely helpful, if prolix. So do you just get one oar with those? I see myself going round and round in circles for a while before wetly taking the tram home.

13. bowleserised - December 8, 2006

I once watched Ray Mears make one out of a buffalo. He left the tail on so that, should one make lots of buffalo coracles, one could tie them altogether in a string. A practical man.

14. bowleserised - December 8, 2006

“all together”



15. BiB - December 8, 2006

Had to google Ray Mears, of course, because of living in my lifeproof cocoon. Unless the Wiki-person is taking the piss, he has become Cockney rhyming slang for beers.

Maybe I’ll start on my coracle next week when this work’s out of the way. Hopefully it’ll all be over by Christmas. In the meantime, it’s synchronised shouting at the computer here. I scream, “No, no, ich kann nicht mehr,” at mine and I occasionally hear something russianly along the lines of, “Your mother sucks cocks in hell,” being shouted by the Russian at his computer. We’re just one big happy family. (I’ve had red wine with lunch to improve productivity.)

16. Ben - December 8, 2006

Re: Firefox. It’s a cross-platform (Windows, Mac, whatever) web browser from Mozilla–like Explorer but worlds better in every way imho (and pretty much everyone else who ‘switches’ from IE). Plus, you can install all kinds of make-life-easier plugins like the blogging one I mentioned or to block ads or for translation, for example. It’s free, faster and cooler. You can also import your bookmarks and whatnot from Explorer


17. Ed Ward - December 8, 2006

Be careful: if you get busted coracle-ing without a license on the Landwehrkanal, you’ll do hard time!

18. BiB - December 8, 2006

Ben, you are my technology guru. Not only do you point me in the direction of new life-improving items – I’ll get onto it/them – but you give me new blogging experiences too. Firstly, a pingback, and now I had to approve your comment, which was waiting patiently in moderation limbo, I think because it had two links. I’m feeling all experienced.

Ed, I’ve been on to the Bezirksamt asking which department I need to be put in touch with to get a Kleinesovalesruderbootmitlederbezogenemflechtwerkserlaubnis. Hopefully I’ll have their answer any day now. I bet Erik never had this much trouble.

19. Mangonel - December 9, 2006

‘Coracle Licence’! ROFLMAO!

20. BiB - December 9, 2006

Ja, except I’m thinking now that it should really have been a Führerschein and not an Erlaubnis. Hopefully the Amts will cope anyway.

21. nick - December 9, 2006

hey BiB, this is nick from http://bigoceans.com. i have no idea who you are, but i do quite enjoy the randomness of life… so if you’re around next summer, i cordially invite you to come for a sail (maybe not to australia, but i will hopefully be puttering about off the coast of europe for awhile)

best, nick.

22. daggi - December 9, 2006

Ne, “Erlaubnis” ist ok – wir sind doch im Osten.

Oder “Bootsfühererschein”.

23. BiB - December 9, 2006

Nick, thank you for your kind offer. I’ll certainly be around in summer, and before. Can sailing happen even earlier than summer? And I shall keep a close eye on your project/progress and recommend it to everyone I meet! Sounds like a proper, mega-adventure.

Daggi, thank you galore. And a whole comment in real German. I MUST take classes. The Russian told me I made a mistake with a very basic verb today, and it was in a Japanese restauarant where your neighbours are 1 inch away, so everyone heard, and must have been nudging each other and suppressing laughter. The shame, the shame!

24. MountPenguin - December 9, 2006

“Genehmigung zum Betrieb eines kleinen ovalen Ruderboots aus mit Leder bezogenem Flechtwerk auf Bundeswasserstraßen”? (with thanks to my Collins German-English dictionary for that concise translation of coracle).

25. BiB - December 10, 2006

Penguin, I saw that definition too, but struggled with the aus mit. Tell me that’s a mistake and I’m not missing something. Yours wishing he could live exclusively in Anglophonia.

26. Daggi - December 10, 2006

As far as I’m concerned, the “aus” should be deleted.

Off to work. Aaaargh.

27. BiB - December 10, 2006

New job? Doing what? Is there a place for me? Would I like it? Has it got anything to do with teenagers from the former SU? Or coracles?

28. MountPenguin - December 10, 2006

Hmm, a coracle is basically “ein kleines ovales Ruderboot aus Flechtwerk”, and the Flechtwerk [*] happens to be “mit Leder bezogen”.

Take away the “aus” and you have a small, oval rowing boat which just happens to have some leather-covered Flechtwerk on or possibly in it.

[*] I am sure there is a concise translation for Flechtwerk but cannot think of one right now.

29. BiB - December 10, 2006

What about if we take away the mit instead then? Aus mit looks incredibly odd to me. Or perhaps not, actually, if I think of it as, “made of with-leather-covered Flechtwerk”. Anyway, aren’t they more round than oval? Leon?


30. David (TEFL Smiler) - December 11, 2006

I seem to remember* St Columbus** going to Iona in a coracle***, but I’m not sure it had with-leather-covered Flechtwerk****.

* Not personally, of course.
** In the early years, right out of Ireland and before he was a saint.
*** Or something along those lines; there was certainly coracle-involvement.
**** Whatever Flechtwerk is.

31. pleite - December 11, 2006

Of course I instantly got googling, but got waylaid by youtube and Plastic Bertrand, in an odd twist of events, but the Iona community’s newspaper, or newsletter, or some publication or other, goes by the name The Coracle, so Columbus – gosh, he got around, didn’t he? If he wasn’t coracling to out-of-the-way Scottish islands to establish monasteries with nothing more than a small oval boat with some with-leather-covered wattling, he was off inventing America! – must indeed have paddled there. Don’t know if he made the vessel himself though.

32. David (TEFL Smiler) - December 11, 2006

I vaguely remember now that he hid in a coracle in some reeds to escape death, rather than paddling from Ireland to Scotland in this wattling bowl. Although at my age, memory is not to be trusted.

And of course he also starred as a cigar-smoking detective (albeit with slightly disfigured morphology to his name). Well, he had to do something in America once he got there.

33. BiB - December 11, 2006

I feel my CV compares very poorly to his. We mustn’t forget his establishment of the district around the capital city of the new world, then the establishment of a city in the state of Ohio, and then a whole new country in South America. He was a touch conceited though, naming every bloody damned thing after himself.

34. BiB - December 11, 2006

(No, BiB, no. Calm yourself. You can’t make light of a massacre in a school for the sake of a cheap gag. NO! Don’t do it.)

35. David (TEFL Smiler) - December 11, 2006

A city in Sri Lanka, too, right? Too tired to check. And all by some man called Callum!

Of course, he had his failures, too. Hence the word ‘calamity’. Obvious etymology.

36. BiB - December 11, 2006

God, yes, I’d forgotten about Sri Lanka. What a geezer. (I once worked with a Sri Lankan chap in Paris who explained to me London was of no interest because it was, “…just like Colombo”. I find that VERY hard to believe.)

37. David (TEFL Smiler) - December 11, 2006

Perhaps he meant it was just like the detective series – shifty men in dodgy raincoats!

38. pleite - December 12, 2006

I think he meant , and, between you and me, I’m not sure I think he was that close to the mark, things like red phone boxes, pillar-boxes and buses. Not that deep a comparison, in my view.

39. David (TEFL Smiler) - December 14, 2006

Oh, maybe he was called Columba: http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0609.htm – and the coracle took him and some others across the Irish Sea. Just thought I’d tie up the loose ends.

That’s the saint, I mean, and not your old colleague in Paris.

40. pleite - December 14, 2006

I’m having a crisis of confidence today – again – and am livid wih myself that I’ve never done anything like colonise a whole island and set up a monastery on it, for example. Not that that’s what I’d do, seeing as I’m an atheist. But anyway. Just sitting here wasting away in my silly little translation capsule… OK, only one more week till the days start getting longer again.

And sorry to hear of your family woes. Life can throw some pretty nasty moments our way. I don’t think there’s any lesson to learn from them. Well, apart from that we can cope with a lot, almost anything, perhaps. My sincere condolences.

41. David (TEFL Smiler) - December 14, 2006

Thanks. Sad news is sad news.

Moving on, I think there’s no need to compare yourself with Columba. He had all the advantages in life from an early age. After all:

“He came from a race of kings who had ruled in Ireland for six centuries, directly descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, and was himself in close succession to the throne.”

Why can’t we all be descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages? And who were the other eight?

That text raises more questions than it answers!

42. pleite - December 14, 2006

It does, it does. You’re right. And for a hostage, he seems to have done all right for himself. Even if he was a royal one.

I think if you go back more than about 20 minutes in my family tree, everyone is a farmer. I am a true peasant, albeit a London one. And I’ve never donned a national costume.

43. MountPenguin - August 22, 2007

Effort of remembering, is to the? Recall, my enlightened ringtones. Your site is likeable, for the bookmarking of.



44. pleite - August 22, 2007

Honestly, you go away for a few days and your site’s full of spam when you get back. How did the bastards get through, I wonder? WordPress is normally pretty much spot on with spam. Anyway, I look forward to your linked site one day existing.

45. MountPenguin - August 22, 2007

It was spam then? I though it might have been some kind of blog comment meme.

From my own experience with developing blog software: it’s easy to catch about 95% of spam (80% comes from surprisingly poorly programmed blogspam software – often running on botnet zombies – which leaves a very easy-to-detect session footprint; a further 15% can be detected heuristically – e.g. presence of potency tablet name in both text and link). The remaining 5% is usually by real people in places like India.

46. pleite - August 23, 2007

Akismet-the-spam-detector-thing’s job is, admittedly, made easier by most of the spam comments containing 850 porn or, as you say, potency tablet links.

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